#1
What would be the best things to practice in order to play solo's, and lead parts of rock songs effectively?

I hear people saying things like "practice scales", "learn song you like", "practice different techniques (hammer ons, pull offs, slides, etc", "learn music theory".

Is there anything more I should be practicing or should all this be enough.

Also what music theory do I need to learn for guitar?

Thanks.
#2
I would say blues leads first because it helps with melody, but I guess it depends on what kind of sound you are going for. Creating flowing rhythmic melodies is the hardest part about solo'n, not usually finding what notes to play (this is the simpler part).

Most of the great solo writers probably all had a good natural sense of melody already, but I think a lot of people have that, I think what made the difference was that most of them started off with slower blues stuff and then progressed it as an influence. I think without the blues, you are going to sound non-melodic in custom stuff.

It will come naturally to you after playing several bluesy pentatonic licks that you can just speed them up and alter rhythms slightly.

The reason I think blues leads are best to learn from, is because you can learn them easier than super fast stuff, and you can play stuff at the correct speed fairly quickly, instead of slowing it down to 1/4 or 1/2 speed and then trying to speed it up. Hence, blues stuff can be sped up naturally whenever you get good enough at your fingers remembering certain patterns.

Practicing scales is ok, but it might make you sound like a robot. Riffs are more important than scales, 2nd stage is riff adaptation, third stage IMO is scales (Well you should know most of the box shapes automatically anyways).

I don't think in scales, I think in terms of melodies, note progressions, and rhythmic harmonizing. However, if you just want to make fillers to freestyle improvisation over someone elses playing, then that is different, but at that point you kind of have to know almost everything...

Playing over backing tracks is the key to learning how to create custom solos.
Last edited by coderguy at Aug 29, 2014,
#3
Playing blues-like lines really helps for melodic solos. Adding a flat 3rd and flat 7th and releasing to a natural note to the major scale of the song you are in gives that to you. A good example is "Jetpacks Was Yes" by Periphery

If you want a darker line, the minor scale fits that. "Scream Aim Fire" by BFMV is an example.

Scales are kinda guidelines for you to understand how the notes fit in the song, and what notes you can hit without adding accidentals. So staying within the scale to the degree that the song allows you is essential for a good solo.

If you want to add a solo to a song with vocals in it, it might help to learn the vocal melody before you start soloing, and base your solo off of the melody. That way your solo blends in with the song, instead of just being a bunch of random riffs transposed to key.

It also helps to build a riff/lick/line/whatever repertoire- a mental stockpile of all the lines you've learned. So learn the solos to the songs you like and pick out the individual lines. Then, when you need them, all you have to do is transpose your licks to key and play them.

If you need some technique exercises, work with a few things, like:

-Scale shapes, progressively getting faster and faster
-Bendy-licks, a la "Stairway to Heaven" solo
-Tapping, a la "Eruption"
-Fast melodic stuff (if you like Djent) a la "Hybrid Earth" solo by ERRA
-Arpeggios/Sweeping, which both are just the notes of a chord, played in chromatic
sequence, separately (I would suggest "Arpeggios from Hell" but lol.)

Lastly, play along with a backing track, either one found online or one made yourself. The stock backing tracks on youtube kinda stink, so try to find one that is ripped from a song you know. Know the chords of the backing track, then start soloing along to it. You'll start creating your own licks.
Last edited by Will Lane at Aug 30, 2014,
#4
Quote by ls2014
What would be the best things to practice in order to play solo's, and lead parts of rock songs effectively?

I hear people saying things like "practice scales", "learn song you like", "practice different techniques (hammer ons, pull offs, slides, etc", "learn music theory".

Is there anything more I should be practicing or should all this be enough.

Also what music theory do I need to learn for guitar?

Thanks.


Start with blues and learn solos by ear.
#5
Best way to improve lead guitar is to start playing lead guitar. It's really that simple. If you're not practising the technique you're not improving.