Does anyone else have more trouble learning to play solos from memory than anything else? I can do the basics of the Paranoid solo and that's about it. It's not that I physically am incapable of playing the solo, it's just remembering the damn thing. I can't even imagine how poorly I would go with something more complicated. Does anyone have advice that can help me get solos down to memory?
after you practice them for a while you should remember. repitition should drill them into memory. i do know what you mean as i often can't remember how to play the solos from my own songs
I've been doing it since 1972 or so. The first two I learned were stairway To Heaven and Clapton's Bell Bottom Blues.

Not much different than memorizing the chord progressions. I've just finished memorizing guitar parts to two Gerry Rafferty songs, Baker Street and Right Down the Line, and transposed sax and keyboard parts in Baker Street to guitar. I don't have time to switch to sax so I decided to do everything on guitar.

First thing is to listen to it as many times as necessary until I can hear the song on my head, especially the guitar parts. Then start working on it a little at a time, adding to it as I go until I can play the entire lead.

Just a few I've memorized over the years, and some of these I'm playing right now with the band I'm in -

Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
Witchy Woman - Eagles
Life in the Fast Lane - Eagles
Stairway to Heaven
Statesboro blues - Allman Bros
Rocking Down the Highway - Doobie Brothers
South City Midnight Lady - Doobie Brothers (most of it I improvise a little)
Another Park Another Sunday - Doobies
Baker Street, Right Down the Line - Gerry Rafferty
Tush - ZZ Top
Ramblin Man - Allman Brothers
Dark Eyed Cajun Woman - Doobies
Black Water - Doobies, violin part. Can't completely duplicate it, very close though
Dust in the Wind - Kansas ditto, violin part
You Wreck Me - Tom Petty
Rocky Mountain Way -Joe Walsh (slide and guitar leads except for talk box)

All done the same way. Listen to it a lot, I Have to have it in my head. Then go over it little by little until I have it down. Sultans of Swing too me around 2 months on a classical (yes nylon strings) guitar. If I play it onstage now I have to practice it for a week before we put it on our song list, it's on the list right now, we've played in onstage 5 or 6 times so far I think.

In some cases you'll have to slow things down some, I don't do too many fast leads, but at times I've had to figure it out just a few notes at a time, then add that to what I've already worked on.

Lots of practice...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...

First off: Dammit UG! You got me. I completely forgot it was April Fools. I was almost ready to report this as spam or something. Nearly identical username, same avatar, all posted within 30 minutes. Seemed a little suspicious.


In response to the original question, there are three main things that I think help with this. It helps a lot if you can hear the song in your head. Hearing the solo not only helps with what notes are coming, but also with timing to some extent. Next, just practice it over and over until it becomes muscle memory. You don't have to think about what to play, your hands just instinctively know what to do. And also, having a good grasp of music theory can help. Songs don't have to strictly follow a scale, and especially in solos there may be some notes that don't necessarily fit. But if you know what key you're playing in, then even if you forget what notes to play, you can always just make something up in that key and try to make it work.
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im the complete opposite, i can remember solos easier then the rhythm sections of songs.

if your having trouble remembering solos, try singing out loud the notes to the solo. if you can sing along to the solo as you play it will make it alot easier.

also break the solo down into separate phrases/segments and practice each one. seperatly and just slowly piece them together

you can slow the speed of a mp3 of any song with audacity and cut out only the solo part of the mp3 of the song and play along with that. will be alot easier since you slowed it down.
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Originally Posted by Shirate
The guitar, the only beautiful female that looks better with the top ON haha

I only ever bother learning music that I really like, so I'm usually familiar with the song already.

I feel that is the first and most important step to remembering a solo. The next step would be associating it with shapes and concepts. I'm not referring to the scale shapes (although sometimes they do happen to be the same in certain passages), but to how a group of notes look like if they were all played at the same time, just like what you would see on the fretboard in Guitar Pro.

Then it's all just repeating it (and enjoying the fact you're playing along to the backing track or the studio recording) again and again.
All good pieces of advise so far:

Slow down the track. Take the tempo to 1/2 speed and practice practice practice.

Singing the solo. You don't have to be a "singer" for this. Just sing the different parts along to the record that you want to learn. You have to get it in your head.

Take the solo 4-5 notes (a phrase) at a time. Play them forwards and backwards. Then spend time on linking them together, overlap the end of one phrase and the beginning of the next.

Know the chord changes where you are playing. One of the devices I use is to know which tones of the scale or chord I am playing against. This helps me remember when there's something like a modulation I n the solo. For example, knowing that a solo starts on the 3rd of the key we're in helps me remember where to start. It also becomes useful when you have to transpose a song or go from electric to acoustic and you run out of reachable frets.