#1
i need help composing solos! im good at playing stuff by ear or by tabs, but i dont have the SLIGHTEST idea of how to compose music. i read somewhere that i should look up pentatonic or lydian scales but i just cant make head or tail out of it.
#2
Yes, look up the pentatonic scale - its your best friend.

Just find a backing track, say in A minor. Then play the notes of the A minor pentatonic over it, and it should sound good. After listening to other music/playing other music you will start to pick up phrasing and licks etc. that will come into your playing.
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#3
so i just play the a minor pentatonic over the backing track in a minor? something made me think it would be slightly tougher than that :\
#4
It does get tougher, but if I told you to switch to D dorian when the track is on a Minor 4th, you'd be confused.

Thats just a simple way of playing solos, and thats also the foundation of Blues.
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Last edited by chadreed32 at Jul 22, 2011,
#5
generally, minor scale is for sad song, and major more to happy song.
#6
Quote by payed
generally, minor scale is for sad song, and major more to happy song.


Fail

Minor and major scales are just modes. They contain the same notes just starting on different ones. Certain notes in each bring tension. Playing a minor 5th to a 6th, and even the 7th will cause tension, and waiting for a resolve to go to the 9th/root. however, if you play from the 3rd to the 4th to the 5th in a minor scale, it will sound "happy".
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#8
sometime i'm trying to compose a soloing but end up with very very **** quality. How to make a good soloing?
#9
Quote by adarsh.bindal
i am so confused.


Just stick with what I told you in my first post.
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#10
Use backing track right? Anyone know where can i get a free drum machine software on the internet..Desperate need it. :"(
#11
Okay, at first, I will let you know, you don't need any theory to make a great solo.


Just take your backtrack or song or whatever, and just run up-down the fretboard finding the notes that sound good(basically the scale) playing along the track.

Then just use your imagination and licks/techniques you learned to combine these notes into an awesome solo. It comes down to experience.

A really good musician can just take a listen to the backtrack, and IMAGINE in his head what the solo would sound like, and, assuming he has years of experience and knows every fret on the board, he will be able to transform what he imagined into reality


As a beginner at this, you will not be able to do that, so you have to experiment on the fretboard with the given notes
Last edited by Zeletros at Jul 22, 2011,
#12
Quote by payed
Use backing track right? Anyone know where can i get a free drum machine software on the internet..Desperate need it. :"(



Here


Or you could download FL studio, free trail version deal.
Where's Waldo?
#13
Quote by Zeletros


A really good musician can just take a listen to the backtrack, and IMAGINE in his head what the solo would sound like, and, assuming he has years of experience and knows every fret on the board, he will be able to transform what he imagined into reality


As a beginner at thies, you will not be able to do that, so you have to experiment on the fretboard with the given notes


Basically this, though.
Where's Waldo?
#14
Quote by adarsh.bindal
i am so confused.


To understand what Chadreed32 is on about, you really need to learn about Intervals.

They are not too hard to understand, if you've got some time check out this link, it tells you about the very basics of Intervals:
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/30

More onto topic though:
Yes learning the Pentatonic scale will help, but some notes sound better than others (thats where it gets hard, it wont sound great just playing any random note from the scale), it all has to do with what chords are being played at the time.

My suggestion is playing notes from the chords being played at the time and mixing that with pentatonic licks and phases (just youtube guitar licks, no doubt there are endless vids on them).

Just for an exercise, get a backing track, find out the chords and then just play one note over each chord, from there you can build up using more notes.

EX: if G C D are our chords
C has the notes C E G in it, so play one of those notes over the C chord
G has the notes G B D in it, so play one of those notes over the G chord
D has the notes D A F# in it, so play one of those notes over the D chord

Very basic way to look at it, but it will get you started knowing some good notes to start on when the chords change.
#15
Quote by chadreed32
Fail

Minor and major scales are just modes.

Hate to be a pedant, but no. The Ionian and Aeolian modes are modes, major and minor scales are diatonic scales I'm afraid. Also there's no such thing as a minor fourth!
#17
Quote by SumFX
To understand what Chadreed32 is on about, you really need to learn about Intervals.

They are not too hard to understand, if you've got some time check out this link, it tells you about the very basics of Intervals:
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/30

More onto topic though:
Yes learning the Pentatonic scale will help, but some notes sound better than others (thats where it gets hard, it wont sound great just playing any random note from the scale), it all has to do with what chords are being played at the time.

My suggestion is playing notes from the chords being played at the time and mixing that with pentatonic licks and phases (just youtube guitar licks, no doubt there are endless vids on them).

Just for an exercise, get a backing track, find out the chords and then just play one note over each chord, from there you can build up using more notes.

EX: if G C D are our chords
C has the notes C E G in it, so play one of those notes over the C chord
G has the notes G B D in it, so play one of those notes over the G chord
D has the notes D A F# in it, so play one of those notes over the D chord

Very basic way to look at it, but it will get you started knowing some good notes to start on when the chords change.

so how do you know what notes a chord has? im sorry but i know nothing about theory.
#18
Quote by payed
Thanks for advise. I appreciate it.

Really if you're having a hard time, probably the best way to dive in is to learn some solos that you like, using sheet music or tab. Learn a variety of other people's solos.

You'll start to see what works and eventually why it works. But it is something that takes time and experience. good luck.
#19
Quote by adarsh.bindal
so how do you know what notes a chord has? im sorry but i know nothing about theory.



Yeay. How? I'm also not get about it
#20
Quote by adarsh.bindal
so how do you know what notes a chord has? im sorry but i know nothing about theory.


Now this is where lessons come in handy, i wont bother trying to educate you as online lessons can do that better and in more detail.

These links will help, just take your time going though them and don't get stressed out.

musictheory.net is a very good website which many people on UG will recommed, however some people find it hard to understand, i for one like it
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/40

btw I really enoyed this website, i learned a lot from it, very helpfull:
http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/MusicTheory/ChdCon/ChdConTOC.htm

Really good column on UG, has everything you will need for now and it's really worded easily
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/search.php?value=crusade&search_type=columns
#21
Quote by chadreed32
It does get tougher, but if I told you to switch to D dorian when the track is on a Minor 4th, you'd be confused.

Thats just a simple way of playing solos, and thats also the foundation of Blues.

Quote by chadreed32
Fail

Minor and major scales are just modes. They contain the same notes just starting on different ones. Certain notes in each bring tension. Playing a minor 5th to a 6th, and even the 7th will cause tension, and waiting for a resolve to go to the 9th/root. however, if you play from the 3rd to the 4th to the 5th in a minor scale, it will sound "happy".


You would be wrong about some of that though.

1 - "Switching to dorian" if the backing hits the fourth isn't switching to dorian, you're just playing the A minor in a different place. Not the same thing at all.

2 - As has already been said, diatonic theory and modal theory are seperate things, the major and minor may have the same notes as the ionian and aeolian but they're not the same thing.

3 - Modes are not scales starting on different notes. Modes (as well as scales and keys) are defined by the tone they resolve to, not what order you play the notes in or where you start or anything else of that sort.

Don't give advice on theory any more, you need to learn a bit more first.
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Quote by Master Foo
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#22
Quote by SumFX
Now this is where lessons come in handy, i wont bother trying to educate you as online lessons can do that better and in more detail.

These links will help, just take your time going though them and don't get stressed out.

musictheory.net is a very good website which many people on UG will recommed, however some people find it hard to understand, i for one like it
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/40

btw I really enoyed this website, i learned a lot from it, very helpfull:
http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/MusicTheory/ChdCon/ChdConTOC.htm

Really good column on UG, has everything you will need for now and it's really worded easily
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/search.php?value=crusade&search_type=columns


Really nice. Like it
#24
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr

Don't give advice on theory any more, you need to learn a bit more first.


Sorry it was around 4 AM when I was posting that stuff, and I was so tired nothing was making sense in my brain. I don't even know why I was still up...
Where's Waldo?
#25
im confused,
you say that you can learn things by ear well, but you can't solo?
Soloing is pure from the ear and heart.
I would recomend learning your minor pentatonic, like chardreed said,and also maybe looking up reletive pitch ear training. i truley believe that what makes a good musician is his ability to hear.
#26
Quote by macashmack
Soloing is pure from the ear


</sentence>. the only place that "heart" comes in is your reaction to your own solo, and the use of that to adjust or further construct the remainder of the solo. anything more is pure, teenage music movie psychobabble.

mac's got a good point, and it was the first thing i thought of when i came here and saw your post -- if you have a good ear, you can compose. this suggests to me that your ear needs more training.

as far as theory goes -- you don't need it, but as with anything else in life, the more you know, the better off you are. no way around it. none of this "less is more" business. less is less. more is more.

train your ear, learn some theory, and learn your fretboard. being a good musician is not something that comes naturally -- it requires a lot of effort, study, and application.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#27
Quote by AeolianWolf
</sentence>. the only place that "heart" comes in is your reaction to your own solo, and the use of that to adjust or further construct the remainder of the solo. anything more is pure, teenage music movie psychobabble.

mac's got a good point, and it was the first thing i thought of when i came here and saw your post -- if you have a good ear, you can compose. this suggests to me that your ear needs more training.

as far as theory goes -- you don't need it, but as with anything else in life, the more you know, the better off you are. no way around it. none of this "less is more" business. less is less. more is more.

train your ear, learn some theory, and learn your fretboard. being a good musician is not something that comes naturally -- it requires a lot of effort, study, and application.

The better you get at guitar, at least technically, the easier it is to sound like 'just another guitarist'. So the 'knowing more' thing isn't always true. You can end up having less of a characteristic sound that way.
#28
Quote by Zoot Allures
The better you get at guitar, at least technically, the easier it is to sound like 'just another guitarist'. So the 'knowing more' thing isn't always true. You can end up having less of a characteristic sound that way.


On the other hand I find that the players who know the least theory and have the least technical prowess always end up playing the same old blues licks because even if they wanted to play something different they wouldn't know how to get to a new sound.

It's extremely difficult to sound new and different no matter how much you know but at least if you have a lot of technical facility and theoretical knowledge you have all the tools you could ever need to sound different, having neither of those things is nothing but a limitation.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#29
Solo writing and improvising tends to rely on your knowledge of the fretboard as well as the scales that fit the other musicians/backing track, your technical ability, your ear, and how long you have been improvising.

First and foremost you need to know what notes fit best over a particular chord and key. Although every note is available for you to use, some notes will naturally sound better based on the context of your solo. Usually you can find these notes by choosing a scale that corresponds to the key of the song. As a beginner, I would not recommend going anywhere beyond your major, minor, major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, and minor blues (minor pentatonic with the flat 5th "blues note" thrown in there); although the modes have a cool sound and can sometimes fit a backing track better than the other scales, the modes are tougher to play with since they are only meant to work in certain progressions. Although the key of the song is usually determined by the construction of the progression, you have some choice in regards to whether you want to use the full scales or the pentatonic. Picking out which scale to use depends on how you want to sound; the pentatonic scales are great for a rock sound while the major and minor scales are great for a more jazzy sound. Also, don't feel restricted to one scale; if the key of the song changes or you want to throw in some notes of the minor scale as you solo in the minor pentatonic, go ahead. In addition, try and learn every position of every scale and be able to switch between them as you need additional notes; locking yourself into one position gives you about two octaves of notes while being able to switch between positions on whimsy gives you every scale tone on the entire fretboard to use. It's daunting to learn each position of each scale, but doing so gives you a wide variety of notes to play over a given song. The more options you have in regards to what notes to play, the better your solos will sound.

In addition, the better you are technically, the better you can phrase and arrange the notes to make your solos sound unique and exciting. Even if you could play every note in a given scale, just playing the notes gives the solo very little character. Hence why guitarists have adopted techniques like hammer-ons, pull offs, slides, bends, and every other technique you can think of; they give a set of notes a guitarist's voice and emotion better than any amount of good note selection can alone. Even something as simple as a vibrato on a tone you want to emphasize or playing a passage louder or softer than the rest gives your solos your identity and you sound cool in the process. Every now and then throw in some of the techniques you know to add some character to the notes.

As important as these two elements are, however, the best way to truly play a strong solo is to use your ear to create your solos. Although every guitarist should have some licks that he or she knows that can be placed in a solo if it fits, the best way to create a strong solo is to listen to the backing and play according to what ideas and emotions it evokes in your mind rather than run down the list of licks you can play. You can tell when a guitarist is really into a solo just by how the individual plays; there is a level of passion in the playing that, whether you are listening for it or not, you can tell how the guitarist is feeling and his playing makes sure that you know it. When you are playing with a backing track, instead of diving into the solo on the first measure, listen for a couple bars and get a feel for the backing track and possibly get some ideas of what you would like to play. Then, once you have an idea, start wailing away. Of course it takes a strong level of technical and fretboard knowledge to get an idea and instantly play it, but playing with a level of emotion and sensitivity as to what the song is trying to convey will allow you to play stronger solos than if you only ran through some licks.

Finally, don't expect to get good at this overnight; I'd hardly call myself any more than a novice and I've been putting effort into my improvisation for over a year. The more you practice, the more ideas you have that you can incorporate into each solo (not to mention a list of ideas that you do not play again. Even failing can be its own form of success) and thus the better each solo becomes. Don't be expecting perfection the first few times you play over a part; just remember the old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," learn what works and what doesn't, and create the absolute best solo you can conjure.

For all the time I put into this, I hope this helps. I should also probably take some of my own advice to heart myself. :P
#30
learn music theory. you seem to be ill in it trying to compose a solo not knowing a scale.
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#31
Quote by chadreed32
Fail

Minor and major scales are just modes. They contain the same notes just starting on different ones. Certain notes in each bring tension. Playing a minor 5th to a 6th, and even the 7th will cause tension, and waiting for a resolve to go to the 9th/root. however, if you play from the 3rd to the 4th to the 5th in a minor scale, it will sound "happy".


Don't mean to jump on you too bud, but like he said above, major and minor are scales that make up modern music, not modes, and major and minor start in the same spot, its the 3rd, 6th, and 7th that change depending on what minor.

I really wish you people would get off this mode kick, they are WORTHLESS. I don't know how many times people here have to explain that modes don't work well in modern music (well 5/7 don't)
#32
Quote by hansome21
Don't mean to jump on you too bud, but like he said above, major and minor are scales that make up modern music, not modes, and major and minor start in the same spot, its the 3rd, 6th, and 7th that change depending on what minor.

I really wish you people would get off this mode kick, they are WORTHLESS. I don't know how many times people here have to explain that modes don't work well in modern music (well 5/7 don't)


Like I said earlier, it was around 4 AM, I was tired as shit, and nothing in my brain made sense.
Where's Waldo?
#33
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
On the other hand I find that the players who know the least theory and have the least technical prowess always end up playing the same old blues licks because even if they wanted to play something different they wouldn't know how to get to a new sound.

It's extremely difficult to sound new and different no matter how much you know but at least if you have a lot of technical facility and theoretical knowledge you have all the tools you could ever need to sound different, having neither of those things is nothing but a limitation.

That's true, but it can apply to people who probably know a lot about the guitar anyway. If you think about Joe Bonamassa he plays the same old tired generic blues licks on everything but he knows probably a lot of theory.. But Jack White plays the same blues scales on everything too but has a totally original sound regardless of how much theory he might know.

Then there's also people who don't know much of any scales like i could say Kurt Cobain, but i prefer his guitar solos to a lot of people who know far more.
#34
Quote by chadreed32
Yes, look up the pentatonic scale - its your best friend.

Just find a backing track, say in A minor. Then play the notes of the A minor pentatonic over it, and it should sound good. After listening to other music/playing other music you will start to pick up phrasing and licks etc. that will come into your playing.

If only some handsome devil had a link to one in his sig with an example of him improvising over it and everything.
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