The problem
I've been playing for a few years, and in my time of playing I have come across many problems. One of these problems that I faced (and still do) is making solo's, really well thought out solo's that just have a raw awesomeness that is hard to come across. Let me start out by saying that I saw someone else make a contribution thing on how to solo and that's what inspired me to write this. Keep in mind I'm only trying to help. I'm going to give some tips on how to make a solo but since I'm still learning myself you might already know some of these tips and this is basically aimed towards people just learning to solo anyways. Some things you should know in advance to create a solo:

              Some of these things aren't required but it will help you in your quest to make a great solo. Take for example a friend of mine. An awesome singer, great rythme guitarist, and song writter, but he doesn't know any scales or theory. He just goes by what sounds good and he can still make a pretty decent solo. There are plenty of lessons on this sight about sequential patterns, sweep picking, tapping, etc so I'm not going to go far into that, you should be able to investigate those on your own if you don't already know them which I highly advise.

              If you have no idea how you want the solo to sound its probably a good idea to really think about it and try to imagine what chords are being played behind it. If you can sing how you want the solo to sound, it might be a good idea to invest in a tape recorder or something that you can record how it sounds, then later figure out the notes on guitar. Keep in mind solo's do not have to be fast to be good. I know it's been said before but it's still true.

              If you still have nothing, as in, you still have no idea how you want the solo to go in your head, then you are going to have to do some experimenting. It's a good idea to record a backing track of the song you're trying to make a solo for and improvise over it while its playing. There isn't a 100% chance that you will come up with a good solo but it's a start. Once you start soloing over the rythme in your song you should maybe start getting an idea of what the solo may sound like, yet you may not as well, which in that case you should just keep trying or just not put in a solo at all. If the song just doesn't call for a solo, then leave it out.

              I'm not going to tell you how to compose your solo, thats your job to compose your own solo. But I will give some tasty examples on how you can start. You always have to think of where you are going with it. You may start out with a trill to grab the listener's attention. What next? You can do a many things after that. You could keep going fast and doing some cool licks, or you could go along with the melody of the song, or even make up a slight variation of the melody. You have many options if you know your scales, modes, etc (basic theory basically), but if not then your basically going to have to either learn theory or go by what you think sounds good. You just have to remember to be creative and know where you are going with the solo. Think one step ahead sort of like Crime Scene Investigator, only music wise.

              One thing to consider in making a solo is that it doesn't have to be all melodic or all really fast. It can be a mixture of both of those. But I'd go with how the mood of the song is ment to be. Say if there is some soft rock playing in the background I probably woudn't play some shred (mainly because I can't) because it wouldn't sound well together. Kind of obvious but I know some guitarists that all they do is shred, which isn't bad, but it is a little boring to listen to for your listener most of the time. There are exceptions. Even proffesional guitarists like John Petrucci and Steve Morse know that playing super fast isn't always called for. However, if you can do it and it sounds good, go ahead and do it.

              I haven't put in any examples and I figure just to analyse and interpret how other guitarists make solo's it would probably be a good idea if I did.

              Ex. 1

              Solo from We're Not Gonna Take it by Twisted Sister tabbed by urgey_rock

              v=vibrato V=whammy bar vibrato

              |---9-9---9-11-------11--------9(Whammy Dive)----11-9-11---9-9-9

              Seems simple enough, it goes along with the melody somewhat. It starts out by switching strings on the 9th fret to get our attention. It keeps our attention with all the vibrato's in there, but notice how he didn't go all over the fret board. He just stayed in one place basically. For this particular song he didn't have to because this how he felt the solo should be. On to the next example...

              Ex. 2

              This is the first solo in Foreclosure of a Dream by Megadeth. I was going to put in the second solo by Marty but I didn't, so oh well. Oh and this was tabbed by misc?

               Gtr. 2        hold bend-----------------------------\
              Gtr. 2              /\/\/\/\/\/\/\
                Gtr. 2
                Gtr. 2                                   let ring             (Gtr. 2 out)

              This solo is really nice I think because it doesn't start out super fast like you'd think it would if you never heard the song before. It's just a simple bend and a part where you have to tap to the 17th fret, then release. Then it does a pretty cool melodic thing where the 7th fret is held until released to the 5th fret. Just when you think its gonna stay melodic (somewhat) it goes into a pretty fast speed burst and ends on B and its octave on the D string. This solo is kinda all over the place but its not as spread out as what it could be. Sometimes you may want to go all over the fret board, and why not? That is why we have it.

              Ex. 3

              This is the solo to Styx's Renegade and it was tabbed by Aaron Meredith.


              This will take some work to get if you are trying to learn it, unless you are an expert and it doesn't take you that long to learn solo's. Anyways, this solo has a mixture between slow and fast passages. It starts off with an awesome lick, and afterwards kicks off with some melodic things. Basically throughout the whole solo, you have melody inside the fast licks, and when there isn't fast licks being played, he is making the solo melodic. If you've heard the song you would understand better.

              Let's go over what we talked about...

                            By the end of this you still may not be able to compose your own solos, but you will have an idea on how to get started hopefully. Remember that it takes time for anyone to get good at anything, so you're just gonna have to keep working at it. I really hoped this helped.
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                            i just read all of that and didn't see a single thing i didn't already know or had never thought about... might be helpful to a beginner though i guess
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                            It's been said before a hundred times, but it was worth reading.

                            Actually, it's was good. . I'll try to think of what I want before picking my guitar, from now on.


                            Has a Surf Music band