Hello everyone

I have a somewhat limited song repertoire, and I'm starting to work on improving it. However, the songs that I know I do not know the solos for. Is that a bad thing? How beneficial is it to learn the solo?

One thing that I will sometimes do is just create a solo myself, loosely basing it off of the original one in the song. This wouldn't work for a classic solo like Back in Black or something, but for the most part, it does.

So should I be learning the solos when I learn the songs? Do many of you learn the solos or create your own?

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I pretty much only learn a solo to a song.
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Quote by George Juggles
Hello everyone

I have a somewhat limited song repertoire, and I'm starting to work on improving it. However, the songs that I know I do not know the solos for. Is that a bad thing? How beneficial is it to learn the solo?


I don't really think the solo matters at all. If anything the rhythm section is one of the most important things when it comes to learning a song.
If the solo is integral to the song, that is, the average audience member notices it's not the same when you play it, you should learn it.

Notable solos include Sweet Home Alabama, Sweet Child of Mine and Billie Jean.

It's up to you to make the call. Usually I learn about 50% of the original solos in cover bands.

However learning a solo without learning the rest of the song is pretty pointless as you can't play the song, which was the point of learning it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Last edited by AlanHB at Dec 31, 2014,
Yeah, AlanHB knows where it's at. I'm currently learning the fast bit of the solo to GnR's Mr. Brownstone, and it's f***ing impossible to decipher by ear (the wah on that solo confuses the ear like hell). And it's the only part of the song I haven't learned! Tabs I've found don't work much better, either, since everyone I've seen doing a cover is doing it differently. So maybe I'll put together something of my own making.
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I think it is good to learn other people's solos - that may help when you want to write/play your own solos. It may also make you play things that you wouldn't usually play (you kind of get away from your comfort zone - it may help if you feel like you repeat the same licks over and over again in your solos).

But if you are playing in a cover band, the solo doesn't usually matter that much. But remember that some songs have more important solos than others. For example I would say the main solo of Sweet Child O' Mine is something that you should learn to play like it was played on the album. (It's a melody the audience knows well and if you change it, it's pretty much the same as changing the singing melody.) But the "Where do we go now..." part filling is more improv. So it doesn't matter what you play over that part. Sometimes it's just certain parts of the solo that are important and the rest of it doesn't matter that much.

You may also figure this out by listening to live versions of the solo you are learning. If the guitarist always plays it similarly, I think that's the way it should be played. But if it's different almost every time, then you know that it's mostly just improv and you can change it.

And of course you can always make changes to everything you play. Nobody's there to stop you, especially if you are just playing in your bedroom. Just make your own versions of everything if you feel like it (though playing it like it was originally played has its own advantages - as I said, that way you may learn to play something that you wouldn't have thought of playing before). But if you are playing in a cover band, you should think about it. Of course learning the original solo will always work.
Quote by AlanHB
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Wow, thanks for getting help guys! Great advice!
Peavey Classic 30
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+some pedals
Learning other's solos is a useful tool and it really depends on the situation. As said earlier, some songs have signature solos that are big hooks in the song. Leave out the big hooks and you lose a major element of the song. In other situations, guys like Hendrix and SRV were very improvisational and never played a solo the same way twice. If they didn't, neither should you. Take what you need and make it your own. Just make sure that you craft something interesting and don't just wank away on riffs for 32 bars.

One of the most epic cover bands of all time was Joe Cocker, playing world stages with teams of crack musicians spanning 5 decades. They played very few original songs, covering most with their own spin and often with a lot more orchestration and background vocals. Most of the solos played were re-written to suit the groove of the band or style of the players and they rarely covered the originals note for note. These cover versions and solos were often as good or better than the original artist which is what made them such a great band to watch live. A lot of good surprises when listening to his music.

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The Letter- Joe Cocker Band
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

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