#1
Hello All,
So I was playing around on guitar today, and I just started wondering, what exactly is a good solo? What makes for it? Is it one thing you have to build up separately? Or is it combinations of overall knowledge and expertise? So I've thought about it and wanted to hear your opinions on the matter. I've been playing guitar for 9 years, and I know my way around the fretboard. I was primarily a blues player but I have branched out significantly over the past few years, and I learned to incorporate a lot of different styles into my playing. But the one thing I use the most when it comes to my soloing is the same thing I learned while playing the blues. Emotion.

I've narrowed it down to what I'd say is 4 "essentials" for making a good solo on a song. In no particular order, I think it's a combination of 1. Emotion-How expressive you can be on guitar through your playing, showmanship, etc. 2. Phrasing-taking the time to choose exactly what note to hit or sustain, how to structure your solo, matching the melody of the overall song. 3.Technique-Obviously, the longer you've been playing and the more you've learned, the more you'll have in your"bag of tricks" to choose from. and 4. Tone-The perfect eq balance, effect, and guitar/amp combo.

So, which do you think is the most important? What ones do you excel at, or need work on? Are there any other factors you think are needed for a good solo? Share your thoughts UG Community!
#3
This is frighteningly accurate

"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

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#5
Imo, what makes a good solo is simply that it complements the music well. The timing and melody for it, and all the nuances that go along with feel match the music well, complement it nicely, and is kind of unexpected. Not strange, still kind of familiar feeling, but interesting and fresh.

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules or guidelines to get that. Just like what makes a pair of shoes/boots nice depends on what else you're wearing.

That's why to me, music, is more about listening and reacting to that, than doing anything, if you know what I mean.
#6
I think your summary is good - it is a combination of various things, all important. I suppose that "musicality" is the key, the ability to string notes together in a way that appeals to the subconscious. I wonder if it is innate in some people, and to what extent it can be learned. I certainly lack it. You can hear it in all genres, including non-western ones.

A technique that is common but I think is truly awful is self-indulgent high speed twiddling. Many good soloists can certainly to it - flamenco, Latin and some of the early blues-jazz (eg Lonnie Johnson) - are just a few genres that came to mind. However they only use it for occasional flourishes to create tension and interest, and simply to show that they can do it - the bravura technique.
#7
The trick to making a good guitar solo is not to make a good guitar solo but rather to trick listeners into thinking that you have made a good guitar solos. There are many techniques to do this. Cajundaddy pointed out the jazz way to do it, so I will explain how rock musicians do it.

1. Bending notes - chances are you will play mostly wrong notes. By bending, you can try and make a wrong note sound right. There are 9 komas per semitone, giving you about 18-27 pitches per bend. One of them has to sound good.

2. Repetition - when you play something wrong, play it again to make it sound like you meant it. This will make your playing seem less random than it is. To sound extra convincing, try modulating, ie playing the incorrect lick several times in different keys.

3. Filters - be it wah, an LPF with an LFO, phaser, flanger, etc, the audience can't tell that you made a (many) wrong note(s) if they either can't hear any of them or are too distracted by whooshing sounds.

4. Shred - similarly to bends and filters, playing a bunch of notes really fast guarantees that some notes will be right while guaranteeing that the audience won't be able to distinguish individual notes, especially when run through a filter type pedal.

5. Whammy - dive bombs and other sounds made with a tremolo bar or whammy pedal sound too cool for the listeners to care that what you are doing is unmusical and irrelevant to the song.

6. Diminished 7ths - playing diminished 7ths works similar to whammying if you don't have a whammy bar (whammying without a whammy bar is too advanced to do effectively since it's a Slash/Buckethead level technique). The trick is to play maybe 8 notes (running up and down the 5 notes in the arpeggio) and then modulate. Chromatic modulation makes it easier to vaguely remember your place.

7. Delay - long delay works similar to a filter but makes you sound cool and spacey. Set all the levels fairly high but not all the way. 70% is good enough.

8. Tapping - tap anything you want. The notes don't have to be right at all. The more fingers you use the better.

9. Muting - muting notes and playing percussive rhythms makes people believe that you have some basic sense of rhythm even if you don't.

10. More is better - the longer the solo and the more of the above techniques you use, the less likely the audience will realize that you don't know anything about music since it will appear that you know many things, especially if you combine then together.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#8
I view a solo as if you've been taken on a tour for the song and the solo is when you break into the place at night and do and see what you wanted to do during the tour- Its the same place, and there are the same elements, but you are allowed to run free for a short amount of time.
Quote by Parac
how does sound have a color?


It can also have texture and taste and weight-heavy light smooth crunchy bright muddy dark round sweet sour soft hard harsh brittle shimmering thin thick fat balanced scooped thumping silky ........
#9
A good solo adds to the overall sound and emotion of the song and the overall sentiment it was trying to convey. To begin with I always feel that it's all about the song itself, the melody, lyrics and style of the whole song. The solo should add to that overall sound and feel and not take it in another direction.

It's easier to find a bad solo than a really good one. Good solos compliment a song and you can't imagine the song without it. Bad solos just interrupt a song and seem out of place.

Roy Orbison was more than just a great singer, he was also a great songwriter and wrote or co-wrote most of his hits. There are very few Roy Orbison songs that contain no solo at all and that was by design. There's a video of Roy in the studio talking to Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers. You hear Roy say to Mike Campbell, (paraphrasing a little here) "If your going to do a solo you really have to be saying something with it that fits the song, otherwise don't do it".
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Apr 25, 2016,
#10
Quote by theogonia777
The trick to making a good guitar solo is not to make a good guitar solo but rather to trick listeners into thinking that you have made a good guitar solos. There are many techniques to do this. Cajundaddy pointed out the jazz way to do it, so I will explain how rock musicians do it.

1. Bending notes - chances are you will play mostly wrong notes. By bending, you can try and make a wrong note sound right. There are 9 komas per semitone, giving you about 18-27 pitches per bend. One of them has to sound good.

2. Repetition - when you play something wrong, play it again to make it sound like you meant it. This will make your playing seem less random than it is. To sound extra convincing, try modulating, ie playing the incorrect lick several times in different keys.

3. Filters - be it wah, an LPF with an LFO, phaser, flanger, etc, the audience can't tell that you made a (many) wrong note(s) if they either can't hear any of them or are too distracted by whooshing sounds.

4. Shred - similarly to bends and filters, playing a bunch of notes really fast guarantees that some notes will be right while guaranteeing that the audience won't be able to distinguish individual notes, especially when run through a filter type pedal.

5. Whammy - dive bombs and other sounds made with a tremolo bar or whammy pedal sound too cool for the listeners to care that what you are doing is unmusical and irrelevant to the song.

6. Diminished 7ths - playing diminished 7ths works similar to whammying if you don't have a whammy bar (whammying without a whammy bar is too advanced to do effectively since it's a Slash/Buckethead level technique). The trick is to play maybe 8 notes (running up and down the 5 notes in the arpeggio) and then modulate. Chromatic modulation makes it easier to vaguely remember your place.

7. Delay - long delay works similar to a filter but makes you sound cool and spacey. Set all the levels fairly high but not all the way. 70% is good enough.

8. Tapping - tap anything you want. The notes don't have to be right at all. The more fingers you use the better.

9. Muting - muting notes and playing percussive rhythms makes people believe that you have some basic sense of rhythm even if you don't.

10. More is better - the longer the solo and the more of the above techniques you use, the less likely the audience will realize that you don't know anything about music since it will appear that you know many things, especially if you combine then together.


#11
Quote by Rickholly74
Bad solos just interrupt a song and seem out of place.


Story of my life...
#13
So the general consensus I've seen is that everyone has their particular essential at the forefront as well. Nice. I like everything you all have contributed, because it shows that everyone does have one view overall, with elements sprinkled in. Which makes sense, seeing as how every genre has it's own focus on one over another. Now from that, why not start looking over at some of the other essentials? Branch out a bit and see if theirs' something you can take away to make your core essential that much more powerful.