#1
Been playing guitar for about 5 years. For the first few years almost all that I did was fool around with tabs and did very little theory (scales etc.).

The last year I've discovered scales (hurray!), and now I've memorized the major, minor, and pentatonic scales and all their shapes and can play them ok. Not super fast, but sorta gets the job done.

I'm wondering what I should do now to get my lead and solo playing to that next level? When I play scales I kind of just play one shape up and down that shape, then transfer to the next shape at either the top or bottom note of the scale. So I can playing a decent solo on say the first main shape of the minor pentatonic scale, but once I get to the highest note of that first shape i can't really flow quickly to the next shape and continue the solo up and down the neck with speed.

So should I just continue practicing those main scales and all the shapes until they become second nature? Or is there some tips/techniques I'm missing? And to develop speed while soloing, is it just a matter of practicing my ass off on the scales until I can alternate-pick them with my eyes closed basically?
Last edited by Barricade_28 at Feb 9, 2012,
#2
Well, you should learn how to connect the shapes first. Theres multiple ways. That will help you flow along the fretboard. Just do 3 notes per string patterns.

Next, and now, you should start memorizing the fretboard and learn basic theory. You can get that at musictheory.net. As you play the scales, sing them. Play the notes in different orders and sing them, this will build your relative pitch. After you do this start using an interval trainer so you can learn the distances between notes.

Open your mind to every genre of music.

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#3
You have been playing longer then me but like any guitar technique you learn, there's not any real point to half assing it if you're going to learn something go all the way and make it your own so you can play it as easily as breathing.

It's kind of like learning how to type with keyboard, everyone starts out pressing each with one finger staring at the keyboard to find their home-row keys, after a few time you don't have even glance at the keys or think about where your fingers should be it all flows naturally.
#4
Continue learning theory and integrate it into your playing. That's a keystone for good leads. You can play as slow or as fast as you want, providing it sounds good, but you won't necessarily sound good just for playing slowly or rapidly. Also, get used to shifting positions cleanly. It's just like a chord shift - it needs to be smooth and fluid, not shaky. Otherwise, your leads will be confined to box patterns (which tends to get old after a while).

When you can, listen to a diverse group of artists and try to get an ear for different melodies. I personally think that my solos are as much influenced by David Gilmour as they are by Jason Becker. I play like I do because I listen to everything I can get my hands on and take all the bits I like for myself.
#5
Quote by Barricade_28
Been playing guitar for about 5 years. For the first few years almost all that I did was fool around with tabs and did very little theory (scales etc.).

The last year I've discovered scales (hurray!), and now I've memorized the major, minor, and pentatonic scales and all their shapes and can play them ok. Not super fast, but sorta gets the job done.

I'm wondering what I should do now to get my lead and solo playing to that next level? When I play scales I kind of just play one shape up and down that shape, then transfer to the next shape at either the top or bottom note of the scale. So I can playing a decent solo on say the first main shape of the minor pentatonic scale, but once I get to the highest note of that first shape i can't really flow quickly to the next shape and continue the solo up and down the neck with speed.

So should I just continue practicing those main scales and all the shapes until they become second nature? Or is there some tips/techniques I'm missing? And to develop speed while soloing, is it just a matter of practicing my ass off on the scales until I can alternate-pick them with my eyes closed basically?

No, absolutely not.

You've neg;ected to mention one absolutely crucial thing in that post - you haven't once mentioned sound. The shape of a scale isn't particularly important - learning a shape doesn't mean you've "learned a scale". A scale is a sequence of notes and intervals, but the important thing is that those intervals sound a certain way and those notes function together in a certain way...those are the important things about the scale, the shape simply shows you where those notes appear on your particular instrument, the guitar.

Soloing isn't about "connecting shapes", and you shouldn't just be running up and down the scale positions - that's not music. Start thinking about the sound you want to hear over your backing, don't simply move your fingers and hope something good goes out, you have to have some kind of aim, you need to be trying to make things sound the way you want even though it's going to be hard to get it right early on. Then listen to what you've played, is it what you wanted to hear? If not, try to figure out why not and work out what you need to change to make it right.

The shapes are just a convenient way to show you where the notes are on certain parts of the fretboard, they don't "mean" anything and in that respect one is no different to the other. Where you play simply boils down to what's convenient, comfortable, practical and what you want things to sound like. For example, if you want to play a sliding run it's not practical to play that in one position, you'regoing to have to move your hand and will probab;y end up shifting through 2 or 3 positions. However that's not how you approach it, you don't think "OK I'm going to move from position 1 to position 2 then 3". You'd simply think "Ok, I reckon a sliding run would sound good here", and you choose where to play those notes based on what's going to work best.
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#6
a good way to help memorize the fretboard AND help with your lead playing is triads. that right there is enough to keep you busy until...........
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