#1
I've been playing about 4 years now. I had a teacher for 3 of those years. Then, I moved to a place where there were no guitar teachers nearby. I seem to have hit a plateau in terms of technical skill.

My band only plays covers. When I sit down to play by myself, I usually just f*ck around with things i've come up with (mainly rhythm stuff) and entertain myself. Coming up with my own material used to be a big hurdle but i passed it.

The thing is, I still can't do soloing. The hardest solo I can play is the one in Statutory Ape by The Black Dahlia Murder. And that's been the same for about a year and a half. When i sit and try to solo I just fall into the same up/down scale runs and it sounds generic so I eventually just get bored and stop.

Any tips?
1997 Ibanez RG550 w/ EMG 81 bridge - C standard
PEAVEY 6505
Mesa Rectifier slant 4x12
#2
There's a couple of different questions here so I'll take them one at a time:

Firstly the problem of not technically getting any better. This is down to your practice not being good enough. You need to make sure that when you practice your technique is perfect (relaxed, small motions) and to do that you need to slow down to the point at which you can really actually control what you're doing. This will likely be too slow for a metronome. If you do that enough your technique will gradually get better when you play as you continue practicing.

The other problem is your soloing sounding stale and running over the same old licks time and time again. This is a lack of thought while you're playing. You're running over the same old stuff because you're not thinking about what you're playing; you need to be mindful of what's going on in the music and try to think of interesting ideas to go with that. This is really hard to do on the fly though so a good way to practice this would be to take a backing track and just sing a lead over it. Record it if you can (if you have any modern laptop, tablet or phone you can do this) and when you're got that, transcribe it to the guitar. Do this enough and the process will get faster and faster to the point where you won't need to record it. Eventually, after many years, you'll get to the point at which you can play ideas as you think of them which is where you're aiming to get to.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#3
It would help if you had goals. Is there anything slightly out of your skill level that you want to learn? If so, pick it apart and learn it to pull yourself to the next level. If not, find something new to learn that you really like and can't play yet.

If you're really interested in getting better at guitar, you could always venture into a different genre of music. Do you only or mostly play heavy stuff like BDM? If so, try learning some crazy ass jazz progressions or give fingerpicking a chance. Maybe some slow blues to work on your bends and vibrato?

Here, have some fingerpickin goodness:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzzCFlMTZGU
#5
Hi BoneAndDream!

In my opinion, rock soloing involves three skills: scale movement, licks, and melodic phrasing.

Scale Movement - This involves knowing your scales and how to get around them. Memorizing the fingerings in different positions, and practicing playing up and down them. It also means being able to play through the scale using different sequential patterns and different rhythms. When soloing, your scale is your form of transportation. When you want to get from one place to another, you hop on your scale. You want to be flexible in being able to implement different ways of getting around that scale. Caution: Avoid scale-based wandering!

Licks - These are short melodic ideas. You can create your own, or just take ones you like from other solos. Your licks are your vocabulary, so being "well-read" (i.e. having learned a lot of licks that you like) will allow you to say more. Often licks are just short 3 to 8 note long ideas that are repeated to build tension and excitement. Other times, they just show up once in the flow of the solo. Check out "Sultans of Swing" by the Dire Straits for a ton of awesome guitar licks.

Melodic Phrasing - In language we speak in phrases. These are relatively complete ideas that can somewhat stand on their own. When we speak, we stop to breathe between phrases/sentences. Approach your soloing the same way and you'll have a much more melodic and mature sound. Don't be afraid to leave space and breathe. The other side of this idea is that you want your phrases to mean something. Which involves paying attention to the sound and character of each note you choose. Practice singing along as you solo, and listen carefully to the notes you choose.

Just some thoughts...Hope this helps!
#6
Quote by innertom
do you do any structured practice, or do you just **** around?


depends, what counts as structured practice?
1997 Ibanez RG550 w/ EMG 81 bridge - C standard
PEAVEY 6505
Mesa Rectifier slant 4x12