I know some scales, the root notes, their relative minors, etc. But what do I do with them? When I solo, I just hit random notes. It doesn't sound like crap because they're in the scale but it doesn't sound good. What do I do with this? Do you guys just know tons of licks and just implement one, then another one, and so forth? I need some help, I feel I have the tools but don't know how to use them.
Few words you need to learn by heart: Feeling and Groove. Use your imagination
You do what you feel. You're definitely not getting it if you're not into it. Playing guitar is almost a spiritual thing; you really have to get into it. This is how people invent styles and riffs.
Quote by capt_dammit
kaervek...you rock

Quote by guitardude34875
the genre of metal is like an apple, I prefer just the apple, not the applecore
Yeah, you can just a play a solo using the right scale to the right chords, but its gotta feel right. If you start shredding in a bluesy song, it might be in the right scale, but it would sound like crap coz it doesn't feel right. Well i guess it all depends. Good luck anyway, it takes time, listen to a lot of guitarists like Jeff Beck, and Eric Johnson, etc.
Quote by Half_Full

My Gear:
-Epiphone Les Paul Standard plus -honeyburst with Duncan Jb/59
-Crate gt65
-Boss ME-50
Future gear:
-Vox AC30 cc2
I'll do my best to explain...

Soloing is a combination of three things: Theory, Licks you've aquired, and pure raw feeling.

You know your theory, now you need to learn licks that go with the scales you've learned. Start learning solos from songs you like, and figure out how they apply to some scale and learn how they were written, then take individual licks from songs you learn and make them your own. Add your own style to the licks to give it feeling, and don't worry too much about playing a specific scale. There are times when following is scale isn't the only thing you can do, and sometimes the best thing you can do is play outside of the scale a little.
Originally posted by Gopher636
sure, sure, all that works. but in bed, he'll make you a level 3 goblin-wh*re and he'll be a level 90 sexmaster, equipped with mystical leather whips and handcuffs of Merlin.
I really had the same problem for a long time. Knowing alot of licks and putting them in can only take you so far. Just kinda go with it. Don't think "Okay, I've been playing alot of long notes, so I better do something fast". Do what ever you're confortable with. There are really no expectations if you're playing an original song. The first thing that comes to mind with a really really easy slow solo is the Zeppelin song Tangerine. The solo is something like 10 notes, but it still sounds good with the song. This just goes to show that slow and steady wins the... umm... battle of the bands... or something XD
El Gearo:

Fender '69 Reissue Mustang
Fender American Standard P-Bass

Fender Blues Junior
One of the things you need to do is look at what other artists do. If you can look at a tab of a solo and pick out what scale they are playing then take that into perspective. One good song to look at is All to Myself by Tantric. It has a fairly easy scale that they use for the solo. One other thing you need to do is to realize that you aren't just limited to a 4 or 5 fret limit with a solo. You can use the scale on say 2 strings starting at the 1st fret through the 4th fret and then what you can do is find the 8th of the note that you end on and start on another string with that note and using the same scale. Its pretty easy once you have someone show you how to do it. The only thing you need to work on is your speed once you have the solo thing figured out. Especially if you want to utilize a large portion of the neck.
Another thing you need to try is playing some lead and recording it. Just do a little repettative strumming in whatever key you want and then just play it back to yourself. While that is playing just start doing one of the scales you know in that same key. You dont have to mix it up just listen to how they go together. Then once you get the feel for it, mix it up some. Put a little rhythm in with your scale. Hit a note more than once, hammer on and pull off, strum two strings while playing that scale on both of those strings at the same time. Just mess around with it like that for a while and soon you will be able to pick out what sounds good and you can even take a lead out of a song you like and put your own little solo in over it. The possibilities are endless.
an important thing, along with getting the feeling, the soul, the groove, etc. in there is also to thinkg about rhythm. what are the notes that are being played under you? thinkg about what you are playing over and hit a note in the chord you are playing over. a good solo to learn is hotel california. they dont stick to EVERYHING in b minor, they also include notes that belond to the chords in the rhythm guitar, whether its the root note, the 3rd, the 5th, or any other added note that a chord might have. but this is just on top of what everyone else said, they all have good points, i just felt that this should be added too.
I think another thing to keep in mind is not to be afraid of rests and long notes, when i initially started improvising and soloing i found i was never not playing notes that were reasonably fast. However, as i listened to more great guitarists (like David Gilmour, Clapton, Hendrix etc.) I found that a large part of their solos would be modular in style, ie at points they would be playing a lot but other times they may rest or sustain one or two notes for a long time.
Bones, sinking like stones.
You need practice improvising with other people. See if you can get anyone to play rythm guitar with you.. With practice, you almost develop licks you like to use over and over again. Try not to jump from scale to scale too fast, take time getting very comfortable with each one before you go to the next
And that is more then just memorizing it
Articulation is a word that should be mentioned in this thread. Improvisation (different than soloing) is a much more complex thing than notes. Rhythms, articulation, tone quality, feel, as well as note choice are key components to making a good improv solo. And sure, keeping licks in your sleeve is fine.
For once a thread with fairly decent advice!

I would only add 1 thing to what's already been mentioned.

You said you "know" a bunch of scales. Really, you're just beginning to
know them. Having all the positions under your fingers and going straight up and
down is only a small first step.

Once you've taken that step it's time to start practicing a number of different things
over the scales -- like braids, going up and down in intervals, triads, arpeggios,
patterns that cross finger positions.... any number of things. The ways you can
do it are unlimited.

The first benefit is:
This kind of practice trains your fingers to move in all kinds of different ways.
You probably wouldn't even think of some of these while soloing and if you
did, you'd likely make a mistake because it's outside your finger training.

The second benefit is:
You start seeing the scales in new ways. You see more connections going from
1 finger position to another. You won't get "lost" so easily. You'll be using the
whole neck more.

The third benefit is:
Making up stuff on the spot will become much easier. Your fingers are trained to
move in a lot of different ways. Conciously and sunconciously you will "hear"
different ways you can use the scale because you have gone through the
exercises of moving around scales in different ways.