#2
I actually like it a lot for the first 45 seconds, but then it just got a bit repetitive. Also it is pretty predictable as to where you are gonna go, like high here, or low there and such. Also the you do a lot of back and forth notes throughout, and gets a bit repetitive as well. And, the style of which you play is the same throughout the solo too. If you are gonna do a longer solo, than change up the speed at which you play the notes and stuff.

Some of the bends i really liked, they were spot on. But then with others it just wasn't right and kind made me cringe.

Throughout it is not bad for a first solo, just watch your bends.
LittleMartin
Last edited by LittleMartin549 at Jun 14, 2016,
#3
Well that's an awful nice guitar to get started on (or is that a stock photo?)

Goods:
Solid rhythm/tempo
Right notes at the right time
Phrasing

Bads:
Too much overdrive
Fast passages are rough
Rhythmically repetitive

There were a couple of sour notes in there, but I'm sure you heard them when they came out. Your phrasing is good, but you don't have to land on the downbeat every single time. As your technique improves it will be a lot easier to add emotion and interest to the rhythms and sort of weave your way through the beats. The overdrive was also a bit much, but you played pretty cleanly with it.

You did a great job nailing those dominants (E7 in this track). Hitting the right notes at the climax of the chord progression is really key to making effective melodies. Effective note choice with the chords is what stood out to me the most.

Things you can work on: I'd roll back the drive so you can accent effectively. Sometimes you really want to hear when a note should pop and when it should whisper. You can also practice leaving some space. Decide when the note should end and let it go out gracefully, rather than holding it until you decide on what to play next.

Overall, I'd say keep doing whatever you're doing, it sounds really good for a first shot at recording a solo.
Last edited by cdgraves at May 24, 2016,
#4
Definitely a good start if this was your first solo.

1:07 was very nice.

I think you played maybe a bit too many notes in the beginning. If you don't have many fast licks, you want to start slowly so that you can keep it more interesting and add more notes later. If you run out of licks in the beginning of the solo, the rest of the solo will sound kind of pointless.

So just start with long notes. Maybe even add some breaks.

Another thing is chord tones. What you played worked fine most of the time. But when you play over E7, you may not want to land on an A or a G. (That's because E7 is E G# B D and you usually want to avoid emphasizing notes that are a half step away from chord tones. Both A and G are a half step away from G#.) Well, G is fine if you resolve it down (like G-F-E), and A is also fine if you treat it as a suspension and resolve it to a G#. But those are notes that you don't really want to emphasize over E7 because they sound dissonant. So pay attention to that. I'm not saying those are notes you shouldn't play. I'm just saying those are notes that you want to know how to use.
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#5
I agree that for a first solo, this is really pretty good. Consider the following as being hypercritical!

Good:
1. Following chord tones, mostly good;
2. Reasonable mix of long-short note durations - nothing too twiddly-fast (attempting to show off technique beyond your level of invention).
3. Phrasing (not brilliant, but good).
4. specifically: nice phrase at 1:23, sustained well over the next 4 chords.

Bad:
1. Tone. Too much distortion/sustain/reverb. Easy to use that sort of thing as a crutch. ("OK, this is not a very interesting note, but listen to how long I can make it last!" )
2. Too much focus on roots (to begin with). I like the fact you use neighbour tones (resolving down to the root from the 2nd), but it's still a little repetitive and dull.
3. Timing. A lot of notes, clearly intended to be on the beat, are fractionally ahead. At a slow(ish) tempo like this, and under "red-light syndrome" (recording nerves) it's easy to rush, and actually you don't do too badly. (I tend to make similar mistakes myself, and I've been doing this sort of thing for decades!) It's a very subtle thing, but is part of what marks this out as an amateur effort; it's a sign you need more metronome practice.
4. Intonation. A lot of notes are out of tune (flat), and it's hard to see why, because most are in tune. (Bending too sharp is a common beginner error, but these flat notes don't seem to be bent from the one below.)
5. Specifically: At 0:47 on the E7 chord you play a C which is flat (or a B which is too sharp) - followed by a D which is even flatter (nearer to C#). The C would be a bad note anyway on this chord, at least when held for that long. The C on the following Am chord is also flat (and yet the following A is in tune).
1:03: G natural on the E7 (in tune). Not necessarily a bad note (a jazz #9), but maybe a little risky at this level.
1:07: soaring up to the A for the F chord works well, but then the E below is badly flat, as is the following C (again). The E is flat again on the C chord (1:11), although it could count as a blue note there. (On the F chord it's too sharp to be the blue Eb.) But then it resolves to the flat C again. Ouch!
1:15; D chord, and a note which seems to be bent from A (or Bb?) and ends up midway between B and C. Ouch again. There is a valid blue note around there, but it's nearer to C. (The A chord tone you resolve it to is in tune.)
1:37: the nice phrase I mentioned above works it way up to a climax on the E root - but it's flat!
1:51: here you play a low G and A on the E7 chord - but oddly it seems to sound OK, no idea why! Maybe because the G# in the chord is not too audible.
1:57: a seriously sour note (Bb on Am chord), clearly a mistake, as I'm sure you spotted as soon as you played it, which one can tell from the swift adjustment down to G# and back to A. (hehe, almost works as a jazz "enclosure" )

In general, a little too much adherence to the A minor pentatonic scale. It's what causes you to use those G notes (and even A) on the E7 chord. It works well on the bridge section (F chord, 1:23), because those notes suddenly work as very nice chord tones, suggesting C major pentatonic. 6 to 5 on the F chord, 3 to 5 and 6 to 5 on the C chord, then b7 and 5 on the Dm. So that nice phrase of yours could be have been a lucky accident!
If it was quite deliberate: good, but why not similar nice ideas elsewhere?
If it was a lucky hit: learn from it, understand why it worked. (Basically, chord tones other than roots, and use of 6ths on the two majors.)

As I say, that's all being hypercritical - especially the timing issue. (The effect of rushing the tempo is very slight, and not all the way through by any means.) cdgraves's point about landing on the downbeat all the time is maybe a more useful criticisim. It's very common among beginner improvisers to treat the time very "4-square": starting and/or ending phrases at the same place in the bar, making phrases much the same length.
Repetition is good, but the idea is to set up a simple idea, and then develop it. You could even use more repetition, such as playing the same phrase over different chords seeing how it works.
You had some good ideas - there's a good melodic instinct in your phrasing, you seem to know how to find chord tones (mostly, or was it just lucky accident?) and your rhythm is mostly solid.

Tips:
1. Watch your intonation. If bending, be sure what note you're aiming for. Chord tone? or blue note?
2. Notch back the distortion, so you can be more creative with touch, tone and dynamic variety.
3. Vary the length of your phrases more. Start them (and end them) in different places. Use space more creatively. (You leave a lengthy breathing space after 2:10, but use more short spaces of different lengths between other phrases.)
4. Be much more sure about chord tones, so you can target them with more confidence. It's not always about chord tones, however, and you often accented non-chord tones effectively. But was that accidental, or intentional?
5. Listen back to your solo, and understand what every note is doing relative to the chord (if you didn't know that already). Work out why a note sounded good, or why it sounded bad. Don't leave it to chance - not until you're more confident and experienced.
6. In general, treat a solo like you're giving a public speech. You need to move your audience, and you need to convince them why your topic matters - why they should be listening! You need to be totally on top of your subject (the chord sequence), and you need a good grasp of suitable vocabulary (intervals, licks, riffs, motifs, phrases - ie what each of those mean musically ). But you also need tricks such as dynamics, tone and timing, breathing space. Using distortion at that level is like hectoring the crowd in a dull monotone - even if your subject is interesting, people are not going to be drawn in. You don't need a lot of fancy words, if you use them effectively. (For example, good public speakers will use repetition, but in a way that drives home a point, not a way that's boring.)
Last edited by jongtr at May 24, 2016,
#6
On an only tangentially related note, since everyone's talking tone...

There's some serious 'sag' happening. The tone might not be entirely your fault. What are you using for OD and how high are your pickups?

Now, if sag appeals to you (as it does to some of us), carry on.

+100 to JonG and his "beginner phrasing guide" he just wrote.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#7
good work, dude

something i'd add would be an emphasis on accents. because the backing track has a really strong "pulse" you have a great opportunity to emphasize or contrast those pulses with double stops, your own chords, and staccato.

another thing to note is that you have a section where you hold back and don't play for a minute, which is a great touch, but you should use that sort of silence a bit more liberally. think of your playing as if you were a singer. ebbing and flowing in and out of the rest of the instrumentation helps you maintain your role as the focus even more than if you were to play the whole time - it maintains suspense and interest.

when i was humming around to it, you made a lot of phrasing choices that i would have made/wanted to hear, which isn't something i get to say much around here, so good stuff.

yeah the tone is problematic but it doesn't sound so much like a finger issue as your settings/equipment so it's hard to diss you on that
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#8
Praise from Hail is praise indeed. Put it in a frame and hang it on your wall.
#9
It sounds very familiar! I can't place it, but I'm sure it's just the backing track & key/scale. The most impressive part is how you played this entire solo whilst hovering just above the strings and fret board.