#1
So, this may be a dumb question with an answer like "Practice" but I am curious about solo structure. I know that its different depending on where it is in a song and what type of song it is. I also know that chord progressions are very common like I-vi-IV-V and others. Are there "common" solo structures for solos in the middle of songs? like when you speed up, or where exactly to create tension, or things to do to end solos?

If so let me know, I'm currently trying to understand better, but I don't play with people much, so I feel like I don't get the opportunity to solo mid song very much to try to figure it out and I've been having trouble composing/improvising solos.
#3
I think when creating a solo it comes down to being able to hear a melody. When you're improvising, if you're not hearing a melody milliseconds before you play it on guitar the solo just won't flow. There isn't really a 'formula' to writing a solo so to speak, you just have to feel it depending on the song.

It's like every other solo you've learnt gives you a palette and the more solo's you can do the wider your palette becomes and you have more licks to choose from to integrate into your solo's. For example, this common one:


e|----------------------------
B|--------12H15PO12-----
G|--14^-------------------

I guess some structure for a solo is to make sure you hit the right notes at the end of a chord progression. If the progression were I- vi-IV-V in C it's good to finish the solo on a G note if that's the chord the solo ends on.

Maybe try downloading backing tracks and practice improvising, that should help with coming up with solo's. Also keep in mind the best solo's don't always use speed. If the melody is good you don't need to shred all the time, find the appropriate scale(s) to use for each track and focus on hearing a melody
#4
Quote by Woffelz
Most solos are improvised, as far as I know.




wait, you're not serious, are you?

Quote by Alysoun
I think when creating a solo it comes down to being able to hear a melody.


truth.

Quote by Alysoun
There isn't really a 'formula' to writing a solo so to speak, you just have to feel it depending on the song.


bullshit.

there's a lot more to writing a solo than "you gotta feel it man". you're right about saying that there isn't really a formula -- there are many of them. and the more music you listen to, the more you've analyzed, the better trained your ear is, and the better you know theory, the better equipped you'll be to write one. so if your taste in music isn't very broad, if you haven't analyzed much of it, if your ear isn't well trained, and your theory isn't very good, you're hardly equipped to write a good solo.
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Last edited by AeolianWolf at Mar 15, 2012,
#5
Quote by AeolianWolf


wait, you're not serious, are you?

A lot of solo's probably do start out as an improvisation. The good bits from that improvisation are kept, built on, added to, and eventually the solo evolves into a finished article.

I never claim to be a brilliant guitarist, but that's certainly how I work, and I'm sure lots of other guitarists do as well. Sure, sometimes you have a plan beforehand so the initial improvisation isn't needed (or at least isn't completely improvised in the true sense of the word), but not every time.

Have to partly agree with you though, for this topic it didn't really further the discussion in a particularly useful direction, as he was implying that's how everyone works for every solo they write. That isn't correct.
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Mar 15, 2012,
#6
Also, i think that being able to hear is the most important. If you can't hear how the notes will sound over the chords IN YOUR HEAD, then forget about making solo's.
A tight tuned ear is the most important thing in music-more important than technique and theory. My advice is to tune your ear up.
#7
Quote by GaryBillington
A lot of solo's probably do start out as an improvisation. The good bits from that improvisation are kept, built on, added to, and eventually the solo evolves into a finished article.


see, the thing is that people don't make a distinction between composition and improvisation. improvisation IS composition in real time. if you find something you like by dicking around, and you work on it, you're not improvising it; you're composing it.

to say that a lot of solos are improvised is not the same thing as saying that a lot of solos start out as improvisation.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#8
Quote by AeolianWolf
see, the thing is that people don't make a distinction between composition and improvisation. improvisation IS composition in real time. if you find something you like by dicking around, and you work on it, you're not improvising it; you're composing it.
See your point, although I think the distinction is verging on getting into semantics. I still think the initial 'dicking around' part is purely improvisation, but after that it becomes composition - that's how I work at least. Actually, I've changed my mind whilst typing - now it definitely IS semantics

Quote by AeolianWolf
to say that a lot of solos are improvised is not the same thing as saying that a lot of solos start out as improvisation.
Definitely agree with this.
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Mar 15, 2012,
#9
Quote by GaryBillington
A lot of solo's probably do start out as an improvisation. The good bits from that improvisation are kept, built on, added to, and eventually the solo evolves into a finished article.

I never claim to be a brilliant guitarist, but that's certainly how I work, and I'm sure lots of other guitarists do as well. Sure, sometimes you have a plan beforehand so the initial improvisation isn't needed (or at least isn't completely improvised in the true sense of the word), but not every time.

Have to partly agree with you though, for this topic it didn't really further the discussion in a particularly useful direction, as he was implying that's how everyone works for every solo they write. That isn't correct.


This is what I meant, but couldn't be bothered to type out.

No wonder this subforum is dead, with all the snobbery in here.
Woffelz

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#10
Quote by Woffelz
No wonder this subforum is dead, with all the snobbery in here.


Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#11
Quote by a0kalittlema0n
So, this may be a dumb question with an answer like "Practice" but I am curious about solo structure. I know that its different depending on where it is in a song and what type of song it is. I also know that chord progressions are very common like I-vi-IV-V and others. Are there "common" solo structures for solos in the middle of songs? like when you speed up, or where exactly to create tension, or things to do to end solos?

If so let me know, I'm currently trying to understand better, but I don't play with people much, so I feel like I don't get the opportunity to solo mid song very much to try to figure it out and I've been having trouble composing/improvising solos.


a good way to find out is to learn to play some solos. Then you'll be able to answer this question. And honestly you need to be able to do it yourself. You don't want chase random opinions of how your supposed to solo. Get some real experience and develop your own opinions.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 15, 2012,
#12
Quote by Woffelz
No wonder this subforum is dead, with all the snobbery in here.


I don't think there's any real snobbery going on here, however I'm always in full support of straight up arguments as long as there's no personal insults involved, and they're logically thought out.

I'd actually say that it depends on the band. For me a solo is either completely pre-written, completely improvised, or there thematic motifs in the solo which are referred to with improvising in between. An example of the latter would be a solo which is just really playing around for the first half, but then plays the vocal melody line for the next part.

On record however, I would assume that solos are pre-written, and that when they execute them live, the solo is kept the same (generally speaking).
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#13
The ability to improvise presupposes the ability to structure.

The knowledge of solo structure has to be there to begin with. Only then you can improvise with any kind of structure.

My soloing is very basic at the moment. I hope it will evolve as I progress. At the moment I just go for a simple 'beginning-middle-end' structure, with smooth transitions between the stages while at the same time having clearly identifiable sections.

The end section of the solo is where I often try to take it to a higher level or go a bit crazier with the note choices.

The more knowledge you have, the more thought you put into playing, the better your improvisation will become.
Last edited by Jehannum at Mar 16, 2012,