#1
I'm just starting to string together some Blues Leads. Right now I can think of a riff or lead in my head that would fit into what I'm playing but nothing is Fast or Fluent. It drives me Crazy. When I'm driving in the car or at work I can think of a solo to go with a tune I'll be playing but when I get home to play, I draw a blank.

I realize I'm basically still a beginner and it will take some time.

That's why I wanted to ask some of the Solo Artist's on U.G. if they plan a Solo out or is it something that just roll's off your fingers ?

Do you hear in your head what you want to play and it transfers to your fingers or is it just piecing together scales in a repetitive manner ?

I read in the Guitar magazines how Rock Stars will say that sometimes they will have an idea of what they want to play while other times I'll read where it's all on the fly and they will have to try several takes to get something that work's.


Thank's -
dngrsdave

Heavy Metal Thunder
#2
Steve Vai is an excellent example to your question.

On his Passion and Warfare album he had made many tracks that were just improvised a lot. If you read his excerpt about 'Passion and Warfare' you'll see that some tracks like
'Liberty' were pre-written and very complex in structure. While others like 'The Animal' were just improvised and the backing track is very simple compared to other works on that album. 'Ballerina 12/24' is all improvised too.

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#3
I think your question really hits home with the analytical/artistic argument for human thought. Many psychologist believe that human brains function one way or another, so if you so happen to think in an analytical manner, piecing solos together based off of scales will probably work better for you. Whereas, if you fall under the artistic column, you'll probably have an easier time improvising.


The problem with improvising is that, and as you've mentioned being a beginner, you do need a fair bit of technical knowledge to do it well. I.e. You need to know some scales/have a reasonable understanding of what sounds can be produced where on the fretboard.

I myself, think in an analytical manner, so piecing things together based off of scales seems much easier in theory, but I've also gotten to the point where I have a solid idea where I should go next to achieve a certain sound. Quite often, I'll improvise a solo/lick over a song and try to figure out what I played afterwards and why it made sense/didn't

It's a backwards logic sometimes, but it's easiest to do what comes naturally. There's great truth to the saying that playing guitar is all about feeling.
#4
From what I understand most professionals just play over the track and record it all so they can refer to it later.
I think more technical solos would require more planning and thought and trial and error.
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#5
I do both. I like to plan out longer, more technical solos, since the more demanding bits will require a lot of practice to get just right. In other cases, I play over the backing track several times and build off of ideas that I like and discard the bits I don't until I have a whole solo that is exactly what I want to hear. As I've improved as a guitarist, the number of times that I have to play over the backing track discarding ideas and building new ones has decreased, though I'm not sure if that's me becoming more satisfied with my playing or if it's me becoming better at transferring the ideas I like from my mind to my fingers (or maybe it's both or they're the same thing).
#6
Quote by dngrsdave
When I'm driving in the car or at work I can think of a solo to go with a tune I'll be playing but when I get home to play, I draw a blank.


I get this too. All the time. It's incredibly annoying.

I find it very difficult to just sit there and think of stuff to play, but if I'm out of the house and doing pretty much anything else, I'm always thinking of tunes that I'd love to be playing. Then by the time I get home again, I've forgotten all of those ideas and my inspiration just goes. If I do think of something while I'm at the guitar, I can translate it to the fretboard pretty quickly, it's just coming up with the ideas. I guess the best thing to do, which I have done before, is to get my phone out and hum what I'm thinking.
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#7
Thank's for your quick replies. I'm getting much more familiar finding the notes I want to play on the fretboard. Since I got a Snark I'm even beginning to identify what notes they actually are G, A,D and such.

I will admit that I need to work on my scales. I have charts(tabs) and can play some but I tend to play "boxed" or the whole notes.

As you said , I'm sure it will all fall into place as I progress. Unfortunately , being an Old Guy makes it difficult to find time to practice like I wish I could. Damn I wish I would have stuck with playing while I was younger !

Thank's again, I enjoy the U.G. forum because there is a Big cross section of guitarists here.
dngrsdave

Heavy Metal Thunder
#8
Part of the problem is that in the car you don't actually have a guitar in your hands while at home you do. Try putting the guitar down, then see if you can get a clear picture of what you want to play and only then pick up the guitar and try to figure out how to translate what's in your head onto the guitar. It'll be a very slow process at first, but with time it will come a lot faster.

Also, hum/sing as you're playing and try to let the guitar follow the notes you sing. It doesn't matter if you're a terrible singer or if you can't hit the notes, it will still force you into phrasing your solos in a more melodic way.
#9
I sort of combine the two ideas when I write. I record all of my improv sessions with pro tools 8 and then listen through it a couple times over the next few days. If any licks or riffs really stand out and sound good, then I try to write something to go along with it. I rarely write something from scratch, consciously planning each note.
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#10
Sometimes when I come up with a riff I'll hum or whistle it and record it with my cell phone. Then later I'll try to figure it out on the guitar. I also ALWAY'S record any ideas I have and stuff i figure out.

My memory is just awful. Too much partying when I was younger I guess. I have a routine I practice each time I get the chance. It's a bunch of stuff I made up and parts of different Blues songs and such.

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dngrsdave

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#11
Quote by llBlackenedll
I get this too. All the time. It's incredibly annoying.

I find it very difficult to just sit there and think of stuff to play, but if I'm out of the house and doing pretty much anything else, I'm always thinking of tunes that I'd love to be playing. Then by the time I get home again, I've forgotten all of those ideas and my inspiration just goes. If I do think of something while I'm at the guitar, I can translate it to the fretboard pretty quickly, it's just coming up with the ideas. I guess the best thing to do, which I have done before, is to get my phone out and hum what I'm thinking.


Recording app for your phone. It's what I did and it helps immensely.

I would have forgotten some of the best songs I've written so far without it.
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#12
for Blues, I pretty much always improvise, even the covers... unless, it just wouldn't sound like the song unless it's played the way it was recorded...

Just takes practice and experience...

as dngrsdave pointed out... it's hell getting older... so maybe I just have to improvise 'cause I can't remember the parts...


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#13
I do both. What i simply do first is listen to the track i'm going to put a solo over. Then i try imagine what would fit in my head. Of course this may be difficult depending on the song etc, so sometimes i just improvise like 5-10 takes over the track. Listen back to it and like "That part was good, that one could be great if i changed it abit", and there i have my starting point.

So basiclly, if you can "imagine" a good line over what you are working on. Try finding it on the guitar. If you can't improvise and when you find something that sounds good, work from there.
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#14
For the most part, when recording, my approach to solos is just to record a bunch of improvized takes, then listen back to them and pick the one I think is best. The ones with obvious screwups get excluded first.

The only real "planned" component that occurs is if I'm in the process of recording takes, and I happen to find an idea for strong opening lines, so a number of takes may all start out the same and get deeper into improv from there.
#15
Quote by llBlackenedll
I get this too. All the time. It's incredibly annoying.

I find it very difficult to just sit there and think of stuff to play, but if I'm out of the house and doing pretty much anything else, I'm always thinking of tunes that I'd love to be playing. Then by the time I get home again, I've forgotten all of those ideas and my inspiration just goes. If I do think of something while I'm at the guitar, I can translate it to the fretboard pretty quickly, it's just coming up with the ideas. I guess the best thing to do, which I have done before, is to get my phone out and hum what I'm thinking.


Steve Vai´s and others solution is to learn how to properly notate music :P, i cant do it yet either, but its on the to do list definetly after im done with ear training and other schtuff..

TS
a good start is ear training and learning the notes on the neck.. afterwards depending on what you hear in your head you need to work on the execution (having the technique to make it sound the way you want it)

IF you hear shred like fast passages in your head, prepare to woodshed until you get those chops built.. :P
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Jan 18, 2012,