#1
For anyone that does lead guitar solo covers for either rock bands or artists does the cover have to be exactly the same (e.g. guitar effects, notes on presice timing, no accidental open picking) or can you improvise your own skill to make it sound good. Ive been playing guitar for a year and I really wanna be a lead guitar player. But I don't want people to think that I'm ignorant cuz I don't know all the guitar techniques or im not listening to certain guitarists and doing covers of them. Any thoughts.
#2
I have been playing in cover bands for 40 years. I don't play the solos on the songs as they are recorded note-to-note. Mostly because I personally find that boring as a player and also too time consuming for a bar band/cover band situation. I do try to play my solos in a style like the original so I like to stay true to the syle. The only time I ever played note-for-note solos like the record was when I was first learning to play leads. I had to follow the original because I didn't have enough experience to make up my own. Those experiences of learning the original leads let me see how chords fit into certain scales and patterns. It was very useful and did help me immensely. Now I just play my own leads on cover songs in a way that I think just fits the song.  Unless you are in a tribute band where everything is expected to be note-for-note perfect you can do your own leads. Just make sure the songs you pick to play live have solos that are not way above your abilities so you don't look like you avoided the original solo mostly because you are not able to play at that level right now.  

When I was learning to skydive (no tandem skydiving back then) I didn't start my first few jumps at 5,000 feet, they started at 1,500 feet on a static line that opened my parachute automatically and immediately Each jump got progressively higher as I got more experience. When you are learning to play lead/solo guitar I suggest starting with the basics. Very old school, very simple  stuff. No Steve Vai, no Eric Johnson, Guthrie Govan or other advanced players. Learn simple leads that you can you figure out yourself. This will also train your ears. Start simple.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 25, 2017,
#3
The effectiveness and appeal of a lead guitarist playing cover tunes is all about musical judgement, a big part of which is deciding how to characterize the solo of a well known song. You must take a couple things into consideration...

- if you are in a tribute band your purpose is to present a musical illusion to the audience that lets them easily slide into imagining they are hearing and seeing the original, so not only the music, but the period correct instruments, costumes, and even the "look", mannerisms, and behavior of the band members are all employed to present the most vivid and convincing experience possible.
So for tribute bands, solos are very likely to be completely worked out to sound as close as possible to the originals, including all the corresponding stage craft.

- for general cover bands, you have to decide. Some songs' solos lend themselves more to being produced as closely as possible, whereas others really just need to be "in the same style". The thing is to decide "correctly" how close to the original the solo needs to be for best results. Most historic solos have a "profile" of dynamic interest or focus - there are certain parts of the solo that are important to the character of the song, and other parts that are less critical. For all the songs on which you play solos, you should know what these peak dynamic parts are in order to preserve the feel of the song.

For example, if you listen to the solo in Mississippi Queen, it is a series of phrases that goes through two laps of an overall cycle, the first lap has a certain level of intensity, the second lap takes it up a notch during which there is a peak moment in the shape of the profile where a high note is bent repeatedly nine times in a row and then held for a moment. Everyone that knows this song knows that distinctive peak part of the lead solo... however close or far from the original solo phrases you decide to play, you would want to incorporate those high bent notes.

Same principle applies to songs like Sunshine of Your Love, Taking Care of Business, and countless others... you need to be familiar with the profile or "landscape" of the solo, recognize the peaks that characterize the solo's distinct support for the feel of the song, and include however much of the original solo is needed to preserve the song's feel - you do this from the top down, including the peaks first, then any supporting lessor peaks needed, etc.

- there are countless tunes where the solo profile or landscape does not have any memorable distinct peaks, more of a background harmonic coloring without any outstanding ups or downs. These solos may often be played "in the style of" and be totally convincing and supportive of the original tune.

- depending on your skill and judgement, there are lots of cover tunes that lend themselves to being soloed with little or no regard to the original solo - one may either "mark up" the original solo to a more advanced or sophisticated version, or abandon the original altogether and create a completely new solo that may or more likely may not be "in the style of" the original. This may be more enjoyable to the band than the audience, so be aware of when and if it works.
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#4
Quote by Rickholly74
The only time I ever played note-for-note solos like the record was when I was first learning to play leads. I had to follow the original because I didn't have enough experience to make up my own. Those experiences of learning the original leads let me see how chords fit into certain scales and patterns. It was very useful and did help me immensely. Now I just play my own leads on cover songs in a way that I think just fits the song.  Unless you are in a tribute band where everything is expected to be note-for-note perfect you can do your own leads. Just make sure the songs you pick to play live have solos that are not way above your abilities so you don't look like you avoided the original solo mostly because you are not able to play at that level right now.  

This. It is beneficial to learn the original solos. If you know how the original solo is played, then it's much easier to come up with something in a similar style.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#5
I only memorize leads if they're really signature parts and not stupid long. Something like the "Don't Stop Believing" solo is essential to memorize. But the last half of the third guitar solo in "Sweet Home Alabama"? Not so much.

Nobody will blame you for memorizing stuff that the audience doesn't notice... unless you play it poorly. Once you've pleased your audience, memorizing extra stuff is a matter of your own learning.
#6
PlusPaul

This.

Also it depends on what kind of band you're in and why you're doing a cover. For example, there are cover bands that cover a wide variety of popular or well known songs in a particular genre or style that is vastly different than the style the songs were originally arranged in. So you could have a jazz or bluegrass band that covers pop and rock songs. In this case, it would probably not be appropriate to play the solo as originally recorded and so you would have to come up with a solo that fits in with the style of music you are actually playing. In this case, the same concept of keeping the most memorable and recognizable parts intact may still apply, but even then you might still make small stylistic changes.
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#7
 I agree with all the above. Basically it depends on the song. There are some songs I play the solo note-for-note on because it is a major part of the song and most of the audience can practically sing that solo at least mentally because it an integral part of that song. Off the top of head one example is the solo in Steely Dan's "Riki Don't Loose That Number". It's a major part of the song. Another would be a song like "Hotel California" which just wouldn't be the same if someone just jammed on the solo. Yes, some songs have signature leads and some don't.  
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 26, 2017,
#8
theogonia777 Yeah, there are "original" cover bands too - bands that play popular songs in their own style.

One band that comes to my mind is Steve 'n' Seagulls that play bluegrass versions of popular songs. And if you want to play in a band like this, there's really no need to worry about playing the guitar solo note for note, because the whole arrangement will be totally different (and most of the time guitar solo is one of the least important parts of the song - maybe your band decides that they want to have a saxophone solo instead of a guitar solo, or maybe even no solo at all).





Another obvious example of "original" cover bands is a lot of jazz bands. Sure, many jazz bands also play their own songs, but it's very common to play "jazz standards". Also, a lot of legendary jazz artists made jazz versions out of popular songs. Check out "My Favorite Things" by John Coltrane for example - it sounds pretty different from the original "Sound of Music" version.





Then there are bands like Van Halen that played mostly original songs, but also played a couple of cover songs. Check out their version of "You're No Good" - it's pretty different from the original version.





But yeah, if you join a "cover band", it usually means a party/wedding band and you are usually expected to sound pretty close to the original version. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to play everything note for note. I think if you are going to be the lead guitarist of such band, you should know what "playing in a similar style" means. And this is what you should do - not necessarily play everything note for note, but play your solos in a similar style as the original and most likely nobody will even notice a difference. It's also important to be able to figure out which parts of the solo are the more memorable parts that you are expected to play exactly like on the record and which parts you can change. These "memorable parts" are most of the time the more melodic parts of solos. And sometimes this means playing the whole solo note for note (a good example would be the second/main solo of "Welcome to the Jungle").
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#9
Yes, you have to learn every solo in every version of Freebird ever recorded, especially the extended 
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#10
Quote by MaggaraMarine




why does this have more views than hayseed dixie, who'd been doing that for like 15 years before they came along? there is no justice

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#11
Hail I would guess it's because they know how to use Youtube. But yeah, I remember when I heard about Steve'n'Seagulls, I was thinking about the same thing - I didn't see how what they were doing was anything new.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#12
I see where everyone is getting at here. There are very important factors in a solo. But I'm not in a cover band or tribute band. I wanna start an completely new band with original content. But if I ever wanna do a cover with my band, I would wanna learn the guitars, note by note, and beat by beat. But if I find certain sections of the solo difficult, could I have like my own improvisation.
#13
Quote by braydo678
I see where everyone is getting at here. There are very important factors in a solo. But I'm not in a cover band or tribute band. I wanna start an completely new band with original content. But if I ever wanna do a cover with my band, I would wanna learn the guitars, note by note, and beat by beat. But if I find certain sections of the solo difficult, could I have like my own improvisation.

If it's a mainly original band and you decide to do a cover, then you can do whatever you like. Actually, in that case I would suggest trying to make the cover song sound as close to your own style as possible. What's the point of covering a song if you are just going to play it like the original version? Who would want to listen to your cover if it sounds exactly like the original version? You need to remember that people come to see original bands and cover bands for a different reason. People that go to an original band's gig want to listen to that particular band. People that go to a cover band's gig just want to hear hit songs and don't care much about the band itself. Original and cover bands have way different purposes. Original bands are about expressing yourself whereas cover bands are about entertaining the audience.

I would suggest listening to how other bands play covers (listen to the examples in my previous post). The whole point of covering a song in an original band is to add your own twist to it. And in this case playing the guitar solo note for note is not important at all. As I said, there are no rules. If you cover a song, you can do anything you like with it. Actually, I appreciate original bands playing covers a lot more if the band does something new with the song. You can even decide not to play a guitar solo - you don't need to follow the original song structure. Be creative with your covers, so that they aren't just filler songs that you play because you don't have enough original material or because your own songs suck.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jul 26, 2017,
#14
There is a band that started back in the 80's called Big Daddy that do current songs as 50's style songs. 



Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 26, 2017,