#1
hey guys, so im having a problem and im assuming a lot of people have this problem. when I play a riff and put I on a loop. I usually can make a small little solo that lasts around 15-20 seconds and it sounds decent. but I fail extremely bad when it comes to making the solo really go to a new height if you know what I mean. take these solos. sweet child o mine
floods
cemetery gates
the unforgiven
I love how they all are sort of pregressive in that they build up and they really escalate. almost like they are changing key but im not sure if they are. is there a way these solos are written that makes them unique? I feel like if my riff is in E minor and I stay in E minor for too long. it gets boring.ive heard people say you can use the relative major but wouldn't that be G major? and if so those are the exact same notes
#2
focus on your phrasing and melody you can play pentatonics all day with good phrasing and make beutiful solos

also dont play fast al the time like in the cementary gates solo it starts off slow an builds up til dime starts the faster louder playing

also listen to the chords youre playing over hit some chord tones or othernotes to make some more complex chords and you can make some pretty cool sounds
for example if youre playing over an em chord try hitting a D note for that em7 or maybe an f#
you can make some interesting sounds that way
#3
You can also listen to the "feel" of the chords in your progression: Which of the chords sound more "emotional" and which of them sound more "powerful". React to the feeling of the chords. First only listen to the chords, don't play anything over them so that you know how the backing track sounds like. Think about the feelings of the chords. Which chord you want to emphasize? How could you emphasize it? You could for example play with a harder touch and faster over more "powerful" chords. It's about how you feel the chords. Only you can tell which chord feels the most powerful to you.

But yeah, good solos are about dynamics. And by dynamics I don't only mean volume changes but I'm also talking about using variety of rhythms and techniques. You also need to think more. At the time you might only play random licks that you remember and don't really think that much about the sound you want to hear. Try to think in sound. What do you want to hear and how to achieve that? Of course that needs ear training but if you start doing that and try to play what you hear in your head, your ear will develop.

Also, don't play too long phrases. That makes your playing sound really repetitive and it sounds like it doesn't have a meaning. By adding short breaks after your phrases you add a meaning to your phrases. Remember that you can also play slowly. If you start your solo slowly and in the climax start playing faster, it sounds much better than if you played fast all the time. The fast part gets much more emphasis and even if it wasn't that fast, it will sound fast if you start slowly.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 25, 2013,
#4
hmm I see. but I will say I play slow. personally im not a fan of shredding. it makes me cringe most of the time. the reason I posted those solos is cause the way they progress. but im a big fan of slow solos. lot of slash stuff. I do a lot of bending and sliding. I don't shred over the stuff at all. shredding has its moments such as in these or certain points in songs. I (unlike) most ug'ers hate people like MAB, john pertrucci, steve vai, people like that cause all the shredding. but thanks for the advice guys
#5
Look what is in your bag of tricks and decide to keep some for the end of the solo. For instance you might have some great, piercing bends or slides, so keep them for the climax and actually work backwards through the solo, just hinting at them early in the solo. Don't start out with your best stuff because you'll have no where to go; pace yourself.
Also, move around the neck.
#6
Quote by supersac

also listen to the chords youre playing over hit some chord tones or othernotes to make some more complex chords and you can make some pretty cool sounds
for example if youre playing over an em chord try hitting a D note for that em7 or maybe an f#
you can make some interesting sounds that way

Ooh, that's really interesting. I'm gonna start trying that.

OP: Just don't show all your cards right out of the gate. Let it build.
#7
I think octave choice is also important, to feel like you are on a journey. You can play the same riff variations that sort of move higher, higher still, lower, higher, higher still, kind of teasing the audience with two steps up, one step back, or vice versa. If you stick around the same octave it gets old fast.

Ken
#8
Quote by Vicious_Turtle
hey guys, so im having a problem and im assuming a lot of people have this problem. when I play a riff and put I on a loop. I usually can make a small little solo that lasts around 15-20 seconds and it sounds decent. but I fail extremely bad when it comes to making the solo really go to a new height if you know what I mean. take these solos. sweet child o mine
floods
cemetery gates
the unforgiven
I love how they all are sort of pregressive in that they build up and they really escalate. almost like they are changing key but im not sure if they are. is there a way these solos are written that makes them unique? I feel like if my riff is in E minor and I stay in E minor for too long. it gets boring.ive heard people say you can use the relative major but wouldn't that be G major? and if so those are the exact same notes


well, they have more than just a riff in a loop to feed off of, like the dynamics of the other players, the structure of the song/section. They also have alot more experience playing solos than you do.
#9
They also have alot more experience playing solos than you do.
im not quite sure if you said that cause you honestly thought I didn't know, or was stating the complete obvious to be a total a** about it
#10
Vocabulary. Learn solos you like. You will internalize them a lot better if you learn them by ear as well. If this isn't quite getting the result you want, learn more of the theory behind it to help you rationalize what you're hearing.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#11
Ultimately, to write a solo you first have to write a melody. Create a soaring melody that builds first, and then turn that melody into a solo.

Let's look at the SCOM solos, starting with the short first one that begins at 1:30.

Notice how you can sing this solo? It doesn't go that far, but it's got a strong, simple melodic hook. It only lasts about fifteen seconds.

Then at 2:30, notice how he starts with the same melodic idea. This time the solo lasts twice as long, and he develops the idea more - taking the solo more places.

He basically plays three "verses" of this solo. One the first time, two the second time. Really dig in, use your ear, and explore how he develops the idea. I know this isn't the big flashy solo, but the big flashy solo is built on his ability to play and manipulate a melody. You can't write the big flashy later solo unless you can write these two shorter ones.

So now let's go to the third solo, the big one. What I want you to do is listen for the ideas from the first two solos, and see how they've been changed in this solo. This is NOT a stand alone solo. If you learn all three solos by ear, you'll really notice how the melody of the earlier solo really really informs this solo.

First notice how there are still two 15-second verses which start the solo. Again, the melody has developed and evolved, but the DNA of that same melodic line is still there. That descending lick which is the first clear phrase of the first solo shows up here in a variety of modified forms.

After 30 seconds of the solo - at about 4:07 - there's a highly technical ascending riff, but then listen! It's that same melody again! We're in a new register (probably a new key, but I haven't broken it down, so it may just be that the riff's relationship to the underlying chords has changed) but can you still hear the melody?

And he's STILL playing little 15-second verses. Can you hear how a new one starts at about 4:22? Compare the first phrase of the new solo verse at 4:22 with the first phrase of the first solo verse at 1:30 - do you hear how it's based on the same motif, just with more notes and flair?

It all starts with the ability to come up with a melody.

The outro solo (starts at about 5:10) isn't built on the same motif - it's more playing off of the lyrical melody, so it's a different thing?
#12
Quote by HotspurJr
Ultimately, to write a solo you first have to write a melody. Create a soaring melody that builds first, and then turn that melody into a solo.

Let's look at the SCOM solos, starting with the short first one that begins at 1:30.

Notice how you can sing this solo? It doesn't go that far, but it's got a strong, simple melodic hook. It only lasts about fifteen seconds.

Then at 2:30, notice how he starts with the same melodic idea. This time the solo lasts twice as long, and he develops the idea more - taking the solo more places.

He basically plays three "verses" of this solo. One the first time, two the second time. Really dig in, use your ear, and explore how he develops the idea. I know this isn't the big flashy solo, but the big flashy solo is built on his ability to play and manipulate a melody. You can't write the big flashy later solo unless you can write these two shorter ones.

So now let's go to the third solo, the big one. What I want you to do is listen for the ideas from the first two solos, and see how they've been changed in this solo. This is NOT a stand alone solo. If you learn all three solos by ear, you'll really notice how the melody of the earlier solo really really informs this solo.

First notice how there are still two 15-second verses which start the solo. Again, the melody has developed and evolved, but the DNA of that same melodic line is still there. That descending lick which is the first clear phrase of the first solo shows up here in a variety of modified forms.

After 30 seconds of the solo - at about 4:07 - there's a highly technical ascending riff, but then listen! It's that same melody again! We're in a new register (probably a new key, but I haven't broken it down, so it may just be that the riff's relationship to the underlying chords has changed) but can you still hear the melody?

And he's STILL playing little 15-second verses. Can you hear how a new one starts at about 4:22? Compare the first phrase of the new solo verse at 4:22 with the first phrase of the first solo verse at 1:30 - do you hear how it's based on the same motif, just with more notes and flair?

It all starts with the ability to come up with a melody.

The outro solo (starts at about 5:10) isn't built on the same motif - it's more playing off of the lyrical melody, so it's a different thing?

that's the thing! I can hear all the stuff you said but I just don't feel like I can come up with stuff like that! haha. I have this feeling whenever I play guitar its just horrid. I hate the way I sound, play, write. everything about me. even songs that i cover. take a simple song. enter sandman. I love that song. its catchy and has a great riff. then ill play along to it. it will sound just like the record. but I feel like it sucks cause IM playing it. even though I can play it just like the record. its not a tough song. do you see what I mean? basically. I feel everything I do on guitar is utter horse sh*t. it really beats me down. I don't know if im good or not. and its starting to affect my mentality towards guitar and writing stuff
#13
Well, you just opened a whole different can of worms. I can't help you with your issues of self-worth, your sense of being a good musician, or whatever.

Your original posts reveal a certain amount of ignorance. For example, that you don't seem to understand the difference between Em and G major because they're the same notes. I also wonder how good your ear is. This stuff you learn "just like the record" - are you learning it by ear, or are you using tabs/youtube videos/whatever to figure it out?

Reading your original post, you say you can write a good 15 second solo, well ... so do that. Look at the SCOM solos again. Turn your good 15-second solo into a good 30-second solo the same way Slash turns the 1:30 solo into the 2:30 solo. Can you do that?

Does your 15-second solo have a strong melody, or is it just some noodling that sounds nice? Can you sing it and have it still sound like something?

(I suspect the later is the problem - if I had to guess I'd guess that your ear isn't that great, and that you're not really writing a strong theme in your 15 second solo. But if you don't have a strong theme, then of course you can't write a good longer solo. It has no foundation.)

So long as your ear isn't that good, you'll struggle to write a compelling thematic hook for your solo. Trying to disguise that fact by hitting the chord tones, changing keys, or moving to a different position on the neck won't fool anyone. Slash is so respected BECAUSE he grounds his work in strong, thematic melodies. That's the foundation.

Question: how long would it take you to figure out a melody that you already know by heart - I dunno, say, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," on the guitar?
#14
well im not sure if I do, but ive had 1 guitar teacher tell me I have a great ear, also have had numerous others tell me what. like I said, I honestly don't know if I do. but I can hear songs and it will usually take me about 30 second to 1 minute to figure out the riff. depending on the riff of course. I heard a cello piece on a car commercial one time and I loved it so much I you tubed the commercial and played it. took me about 3-5 minutes. idk if that's long or short. but I thought it was cool haha
#15
Okay, that sounds like your ear is decent, at least. Great. Keep working at it by transcribing solos and learning them, by ear.

So now back to the previous question: does your good 15-second solo have a strong melody?
#16
The thing is, no matter how good your ear is, it can still be ten times better. Honestly, the more you work at it the better it will get. There are no shortcuts.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea