#1
In the almost 2 years that I've been playing one thing has always confused me and it's how to get from scales to actually being able to solo well? I know it's a cliche question and I already understand the pentatonic scale and which position to use over a key, etc. The thing is...I don't know how to make my "solos" not sound like rearranged scales - if that makes sense? :s Also, why is it that I can run through scales in 8th notes at 160 + bpm fairly comfortably but I can't solo at anywhere near that speed? Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!

Nick
#2
It's all about phrasing. Think of a cool melody and then try to play it. And forget about the positions. Learn the notes of the fretboard and learn scales as a series of notes and intervals.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#3
Quote by kaoticnick
In the almost 2 years that I've been playing one thing has always confused me and it's how to get from scales to actually being able to solo well? I know it's a cliche question and I already understand the pentatonic scale and which position to use over a key, etc. The thing is...I don't know how to make my "solos" not sound like rearranged scales - if that makes sense? :s Also, why is it that I can run through scales in 8th notes at 160 + bpm fairly comfortably but I can't solo at anywhere near that speed? Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!

Nick


That's the thing though, it's not about which "position" to use over which key - that's not the way to approach making music.

What you need to be thinking about is what sounds you want to be using. Drilling scales up and down just makes you good at running through scales, and playing scales isn't playing music - nobody wants to hear that. What you need to work on is understanding how scales function and using the sounds within a scale in a musical context.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#4
The thing you have to realize that scales are just an organization of notes. The first method that really got me thinking that way was to try out the "One note solo" idea. Making that part of my practice routine really helped me figure out how I liked to phrase my melodic lines. What I thought important wasn't so much sticking to one note exclusively, but rather learning how to tell when I had good melodic ideas and when I was just filling in space with a lot of notes to cover up the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to play.

Whenever I caught myself doing the latter, I went back and played the tonic note for a while until I could think of something more musically interesting. As far as I was concerned, holding that one note was more interesting than playing all the notes in the world. What I'm finding as I practice this kind of phrasing and improvisational exercise, I'm becoming more satisfied with my soloing universally. I'm enjoying playing solos more because I'm not falling back onto more dully phrased scalar or arpeggio lines. Instead, I'm learning to generate ideas by listening to what I'm playing and building off of that, even if all I'm playing at that point is one single, boring note.

I dunno how well that works for others, since I synthesized that routine independently from the One Note Solo idea that I've seen taught by others, but I'm finding that for me, it's really worked for me.
#5
Quote by kaoticnick
In the almost 2 years that I've been playing one thing has always confused me and it's how to get from scales to actually being able to solo well? I know it's a cliche question and I already understand the pentatonic scale and which position to use over a key, etc. The thing is...I don't know how to make my "solos" not sound like rearranged scales - if that makes sense? :s

instead of practicing scales all the time, practice licks. if you practice scales exclusively your muscle memory will always tell your fingers to run through those scales in one way or another. playing licks will get your fingers to run through different shapes, and help you to figure out where your fingers should move from the note you are currently playing to make certian sounds in a melody, for example learning where a minor 3rd is in relation to your fingers.

Also Geldin metioned "one note solos", this is a great thinig to think about. this is one of my favorite things to show guitarists who aspire to be beter at soloing. first person that comes to mind with this is Stevie Ray Vaughn. If you don't already, you should listen to him, I'm not saying you have to like him, just listen to him. This guy could make just one or two notes sound like a killer guitar lick.

Also, why is it that I can run through scales in 8th notes at 160 + bpm fairly comfortably but I can't solo at anywhere near that speed? Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!


and the reason you can play scales so fast compared to your other things is because you are mostly practicing scales.

also wondering, do you know the notes all the way up and down the fretboard? and how to construct chords? those things would help you greatly. then you can start working on learning how to use chord tones in your lead stuff.
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#6
when you try to use all the positions of a scale (pentatonic, blues, etc), it gives you too many choices all over the neck to choose from. instead, take one position (1st position in A for example), and stay in that position and work on your phrasing in just that position. That way, its broke down to be simple with less choices. It will really make you work on phrasing to make that one scale position more musical.
R.I.P. Randy Rhoads
#7
you are going to play what you practice..so if you practice playing scales your going to play scales..and yes you can get to be very fast at that..but as you may be discovering..it gets boring..

playing a melodic line in between a scale run changes the entire feel in a solo..a series of well spaced intervals in between a melocic line adds some mystery to the solo..adding some melodic intervals into the mix and some rythmic variation to the notes again makes the solo for more intresting...

listen to jeff beck..not considered the fastest player but one of the best..very tasty melodic lines...Mark Knopfler of dire straits is another very melodic player..do they know how to play scales fast..im sure they can and then some..but if that is all they did..yeah boring..and we would not know their names today if thats all they did..point being...speed in and of itself is not a factor in being a good player..knowing how and when to use speed in a solo takes time to develope..

start by playing simple melodies..then learn how to incorporate them into a solo..this will take time to develope but well worth the effort..

wolf
#8
Keep practicing the scales but do it in a practical manner

Always play to something, have a backing track in the key you are working on, have a drone, a bass line anything. You'll be doing two things at once. 1 getting your mechanics and physical ability to speak on the guitar up. 2 Building your ear which is most important of all.

Id suggest starting with the major scale first since its 7 modes are the most useful for any music you'd want to play. Pay attention to the actual shapes and how they are all the same no matter what key you change to. You are simply moving the same map up or down on the neck while the patterns don't change at all.
#9
Quote by Geldin

Whenever I caught myself doing the latter, I went back and played the tonic note for a while until I could think of something more musically interesting. As far as I was concerned, holding that one note was more interesting than playing all the notes in the world. .



Geldin's idea is gold.
#11
Some suggestions for breaking out of "scalar" playing:

1. Pursue the concept of chord tones. You're probably going to frequently be improvizing in some musical context in which chords are going on. It'll be useful to think with reference to the chords when building lines instead of running through scalar patterns.

2. Even when thinking in terms of a scale, try to be concious of your note selection. Instead of just playing up and down, try to create a varied melodic contour, which could include devises such as intervalic leaps. A scale does not necessaril have to be played very linearly. This jibes a bit with the above suggestion about getting into different "licks". There is a lot that you can do just by thinking about note selection and phrasing.
#12
This little trick helped me.. (still does)

Find a song that you like.. (at this point, not metal, or thrash, something with a clearly defined melody line) then play the melody along with the vocalist.. when you feel comfortable with that, vary it. Work the solo, around the melody...

I Play Guitar
Some Like it
Some don't
I don't care
Beats Workin'
OLD GUYS RULE!!!!
#13
Some great advice here already, but I wanted to add another reason you can play scales so much faster than solos.

Because you know what to play.

A scale is (sort of) set in stone, once you've learnt it then you just recycle it or practice it to increase speed. A solo is much more organic and requires creativity. But the creative process is generally much slower than the speed at which you can pick and fret.

The key to beating this is to know what you are going to play before you do it. Or at least have a vague idea of how you want your solo to sound. Try singing or humming the solo before you even attempt it, then play it slowly on the guitar (depending on your level you may have to to work out what you just sang/hummed) and build up its speed as you would with anything else (although it's probably better to start with slower ones anyway as it is easier to practice phrasing at a slower tempo).

Once you actually have a solid idea of what you want to play, there's very little stopping you from hitting the same speed in your solos as with your other practice, but you cannot expect to come up with creative solos and play them accurately at the same time.