#1
Hello!

I've been getting into improvisation/composition lately with backing tracks I find on the internet. I can play quite well on a blues track, although I admit I don't have a large lick vocabulary.

However, I have a great difficulty when it comes down to rock tracks. First, I notice they are quite faster in tempo than blues or many other types of songs. I can't actually "fit" anything inside them, not only because of the tempo, but also because my rock phrasing sucks. I feel I'm playing blues on a rock track...

Is there a theory involved for rock music? Formats or things that are used to give a "rock feeling?".

I can play natural major and minor scales, and corresponding pentatonics and arpeggios all along the fretboard. If speed here matters, I can play 90bpm quarter notes on them (not much) alternate picking - also, I understand I cannot shred with this, but I also think I don't have to be a shredder to rock. My hammer ons are OK, my pull offs are terrible (this is what I'm trying to improve now). I also bend and slide a lot.

I have studied with teachers for some years. Unfortunatelly, they have always been blues/jazz musicians, and I feel my perception of other kinds of music has been neglected. Last year, I had to ask my teacher several times to start helping me with rock techniques and repertoire, but he refused, so we had to part.

I have been studying by myself, since. A teacher, NOW, is not an option, but I'll take any tips or study material you can indicate.

As guitarrists I have as an example, I'll put Angus Young (think Back in Black), Slash (think November Rain), Dave Murray (think anything by Iron Maiden, actually! The guy is amazing), Dan Donegan (think Stricken) and Alex Skolnick (think Return to Serenity).

What I have (if it matters):

A strat copy with Fender CS-69
Epiphone SG with SD 59/Jazz
Gibson LP Future Tribute with 57/57+

All thru a Mesa Boogie TA-15. A Bad Monkey for boosting and a FlashBack delay.

I really appreciate your help, my kind friends!!
#2
Rock guitar is very similar to blues, with a lot of minor pentatonic being played over a major key.

Figure out how to play some of your favourite songs and how they use those scales you already know (major/minor/pentatonic) to create their sounds. Angus Young is a great place to start as his solos don't get as fast as the other guys you listed, and he has a very bluesy sound.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
Quote by AlanHB
Rock guitar is very similar to blues, with a lot of minor pentatonic being played over a major key.

Figure out how to play some of your favourite songs and how they use those scales you already know (major/minor/pentatonic) to create their sounds. Angus Young is a great place to start as his solos don't get as fast as the other guys you listed, and he has a very bluesy sound.


Thanks for replying!

You are right! I just have the feeling that I actually play other people's solos/parts over a Backing Track... I'd really like to understand how these pieces are created.

And by now, I feel like I should actually know, so I feel a little bit stupid.
#4
YellowCatNo worries dude. You'll generally find that most guitarists use the same scales that you listed, they just choose to play different notes from those scales over certain chords/chord changes.

So basically:

(a) Learn their parts, figure out the scale/s they use in the key; and
(b) Look at the relationship between the notes they choose, and the chord being played underneath.

That way you learn each player's style and can get some ideas for your own.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#5
Quote by YellowCat
Thanks for replying!

You are right! I just have the feeling that I actually play other people's solos/parts over a Backing Track... I'd really like to understand how these pieces are created.
Standard rock soloing (like blues soloing) is normally a mix of minor pentatonic and chord tones. It differs from blues when the chords move beyond the usual blues chords, or when the mood of the song moves away from blues (eg to a more ballad vibe, or metal vibe). One other common choice in traditional rock is major pentatonic, for a gospel/soul/country sound.

In general, you can always use the chords as your guide. Find out what notes they share, and that's your scale. Any long notes in a solo will almost certainly be chord tones, as will most accented notes. Learn to play the chord sequence, in every position on the neck, and you will find your solo material sitting there under your fingers.

Basically it's AlanHB's point (b) . You don't really need point (a) unless you really want to emulate that player's style. (They'll be using the same scales as everyone else, working from chord tones same as everyone else, but probably in a different way. Same as we all speak English, but we still sound different; we probably say the same things in a different way. er, like I'm saying what AlanHB said in a different way. )

BTW, there is such a discipline as "rock theory", but you probably don't want to know... check this out: http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.04.10.4/mto.04.10.4.w_everett.html Interesting.... but will it help you solo? No!
Last edited by jongtr at Feb 1, 2017,
#6
Quote by AlanHB
YellowCatNo worries dude. You'll generally find that most guitarists use the same scales that you listed, they just choose to play different notes from those scales over certain chords/chord changes.

So basically:

(a) Learn their parts, figure out the scale/s they use in the key; and
(b) Look at the relationship between the notes they choose, and the chord being played underneath.

That way you learn each player's style and can get some ideas for your own.


Thank you! I think I should stop to actually analyze some solos.

Quote by jongtr
Standard rock soloing (like blues soloing) is normally a mix of minor pentatonic and chord tones. It differs from blues when the chords move beyond the usual blues chords, or when the mood of the song moves away from blues (eg to a more ballad vibe, or metal vibe). One other common choice in traditional rock is major pentatonic, for a gospel/soul/country sound.

In general, you can always use the chords as your guide. Find out what notes they share, and that's your scale. Any long notes in a solo will almost certainly be chord tones, as will most accented notes. Learn to play the chord sequence, in every position on the neck, and you will find your solo material sitting there under your fingers.

Basically it's AlanHB's point (b) . You don't really need point (a) unless you really want to emulate that player's style. (They'll be using the same scales as everyone else, working from chord tones same as everyone else, but probably in a different way. Same as we all speak English, but we still sound different; we probably say the same things in a different way. er, like I'm saying what AlanHB said in a different way. )

BTW, there is such a discipline as "rock theory", but you probably don't want to know... check this out: http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.04.10.4/mto.04.10.4.w_everett.html Interesting.... but will it help you solo? No!


Thanks a lot! Both of you guys gave some really solid advice.

I took a peek on the article you indicated... It is very interesting for sure... but I think I'd rather be playing! lol