#1
Ok, I know that when soloing, it is best for one to follow the chords in the song throughout the solo, ending phrases on chord tones or root notes. However, this has proven to be much more difficult for me than it sounds. I try to listen to solos by my favorite bands, mainly classic rock, and I cannot hear the solos following the chords. I try to pick it out but I can't. It just sounds like notes flowing together. It sounds good, but I can't hear the chord progression in it. I can make up some mediocre sounding solos and I'm sure they would get better if I could follow the chords properly, but I epic fail when I try to do this. Any pointers and suggestions? Thanks

p.s. I have watched the video by friedman on melodic control.
#4
Let's say you're in the key of A minor. Learn to solo just over that chord, FLUENTLY. Then add another chord, and make it a progression, D minor. Learn to make a transition on certain notes. Then add another chord, the dominant 7th, Emaj7. There you have a 12 bar blues sort of pattern. This proved very effective for me. After you get the hang of that, everything will get easier.
#5
Quote by bangoodcharlote
A lot of classic rock players don't follow the chords in the way you described.


Ok, how to they go about soloing? Most of the stuff I listen to is Boston, Clapton, Zeppelin, Floyd, Skynrd, Frampton, a little Sabbath, etc. How do those guys do it? Even if they don't follow the chords, it still sounds melodic to me.
Last edited by rockadoodle at Jun 16, 2008,
#6
Quote by rockadoodle
Ok, how to they go about soloing? Most of the stuff I listen to is Boston, Clapton, Zeppelin, Floyd, Skynrd, a little Sabbath, etc. How do those guys do it? Even if they don't follow the chords, it still sounds melodic to me.
If you've gotten past being able to play just one scale over a whole progression, I think your up to following the chords. You can control your solo's better if you follow the chords.

It's difficult, and the only suggestion I can give is practise. Sorry. No shortcuts.
#7
Ok this is an example of the kind of solos i listen to. I like a good majority of classic rock type solos.

The solo in this vid starts around 2:56. Is clapton following the chords or not?

video
#8
Just putting it out there but, have you learned the chords behind the solos your trying to improvise on?
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#9
A very effective way is to compose an outline of a hypothetical solo. First, analyze the way the notes of the chords flow from one to the next with your ears. Focus on each voice independently, and hear which one defines the sound of each chord change. Now, figure out what the strong beats of the tune are; you do this by figuring out/knowing what the time signature is. In 4/4, the strong beats are 1 and 3. In 3/4, the strong beat is 1. In 2/4, the stronger beat is 1. In 6/8, the strong beats are 1 and 2; remember that 6/8 time is like 2/4 but with a triplet feel, so what you would think are beats 1 and 4 are actually beats 1 and 2.

Start outlining your solo by figuring out what the most critical chord changes are. Start placing chord tones on strong beats at those critical moments. For instance, if you a two measure chord progression like G7-C in 4/4 time, you could realize that the most important change of note between the chords is the change from b7 in G7(F) and the 3 in C(E). You would want to hit the E on the downbeat (1) of the second measure; a common way to lead into that is to play the F on the 4th beat of the preceding measure. If the above chord progression were in the last two measures of a tune, you might want to think about playing a very definite resolution from G7 to C; in that case you might play a B on the 4 of the first measure and a C on the 1 of the second measure, as this will give the impression of complete resolution.

After you complete your outline, and know your outline melody by ABSOLUTE heart by playing it against a backing track or loop of the chord progression, start working on embellishing it. Start simply by just adding a note that leads directly into each chord tone. When you get the hang of this, make your embellishments more elaborate and start connecting the chord tones with more flowing lines. When you feel like you've gotten all you can out of your outline melody, write another one from the same progression, and repeat the process. In this way, your ears will start to really hear how chords flow from one to the next. While this is going on you should also work on improvising from scratch; you'll probably find that you'll start throwing in little ideas that you came up with using your melody. Over time, you'll find that the gap between what you can come up with on the spot and what you can compose becomes smaller.

The reason why you're not hearing those classic rock guitarists following the changes is because of the prevalence of lick-based improvisation in those days (and these days, too). Someone could say, 'Okay, I can use the A blues scale and it'll fit,' and away they would go. There are shining examples of both approaches, and no way or reason to say which is better, but I think by learning the chord-tone approach, you have a lot more options at your fingertips, and the way that you view music will open up the other aspects of your music as well. With chord-tone soloing, you always have to be aware of the rhythm of tension and release, and by getting in the habit of analyzing every last chord, you gain a better undestanding of how music works.
known as Jeff when it really matters
#10
You don't need to hear the chord progression "in the solo", mainly because it''s not there. Just either listen to the chords being played by the rhythm guitar or follow the bassline which will be most likely implying them.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Jun 17, 2008,
#11
I actaully had to do it in a backward process
It was hit and miss until I slowed everything and study the chords
or the arpeggios as everyone suggested.

Timing plays a major factor.

So i wrote a riff over each chords....slowly,
using a whole note of the root for every measure or every chord change
Then I slowly added the other arpegios.

The maj arpeggios are within maj penta
example CDEGA.........Cmaj arpegio is CEG.lol
And so on and so forth with the min arpeggios.

The arpeggios became as hook pionts ...note for me to slide into,
hammer/pull or base a riff off of.

But also paying closer attention to the arpeggios of the proceeding
chord. I choose a note that will lead into the next phrase for the next chord.

Example while over Cmaj ...the next chord is Fmaj7
I might resolve to the note C and lead it into the A note...
Maybe even hold the C note through the chords transition.
I'll still harmonize with Fmaj7 because the arpeggios of Fmaj7 is FACE.

I can also use the E note to achive the samething.

Or may continue to do the same riff the envolves the C & E note
over Cmaj and Fmaj7.

Modes are just extension of the arpeggios.
Within each modes are the arpeggios of the corrosponding chord.
It's just in a different order.
example: extending C arpeggios CEGBDFA= 1,3,5,7,9,11,13.
Shuffling it back CDEFGABC
Last edited by Ordinary at Jun 17, 2008,
#12
go slow. make a solo like titpuente suggests and just work extremely extremely slow until your mind starts makin the appropriate connections, then you'll begin to speed up a bit and so on as you practice.
#13
In that video of Clapton that you posted, no, he's not following changes. He, and many classic rockers, just used pentatonic scales primarily, and the natural major and minor a bit here and there too. There's nothing wrong with that way of soloing, but you can be a bit more expressive if you follow the changes.
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#14
With diatonic changes (most classic rock) there's not much following to be done anyway, but follow titopuente's advice, it's basically what I would have said

But a distinction: Don't FOLLOW the chords, PLAY the chords.
#15
Quote by Page&HammettFan
In that video of Clapton that you posted, no, he's not following changes. He, and many classic rockers, just used pentatonic scales primarily, and the natural major and minor a bit here and there too. There's nothing wrong with that way of soloing, but you can be a bit more expressive if you follow the changes.

He IS following changes, he's making sure he uses the notes of the scale that work best with whichever chord he's playing over. That doesn't mean he's going to change position or even what he's playing with every chord...for example the Layla solo is in Dm, the main rhythm shifts between the chords Am, Bb and C and Dm, although the A is more implied.

The D minor scale contains the notes D E F G A Bb C

The chords contain the the following notes

Am - A C E
Bb - Bb D F
C - C E G
Dm - D F A

All those notes are in the Dm scale, the E and Bb are a bit iffy as they're the 2nd and 6th degrees of the scale, and the C to a lesser extent although it's useful for leading back to the root. The 1st, 3rd , 4th and 5th scale degrees are all very strong though, so you can happily noodle around with D F G and A without much fear of things ever sounding off. The chord progression moves fairly quickly so the tonal centre of D is very clearly established, so even if you use the less stable scale degrees or stray out of the scale the chord progression will hold it all together and lead you back to the tonic.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Jun 17, 2008,
#16
Guys thanks so much for your comments. You have been a tremendous help with this. It's starting to get clearer little by little. I guess it's true also to atleast some extent that you have to get a "feel" for the solo. I know some will argue that " omg you don't needz any feelingz to make a leet solo" I believe that feeling plays a part in it. Thanks again.
#17
Harmonic Specificity vs Harmonic Generality. "Following the chords" is basically
the first. Neither is right or wrong, they're just two broad categories your soloing
can take. You should be able to do both, but most people remain stuck in generality.

Sometimes you want to take each stair going down a staircase, sometimes you feel
like jumping, skipping, tumbling down the stairs and still land on your feet.

Best place to start with specificity is arpeggios. Take a progression and practice
"walking" only the chord tones around the neck. It doesn't have to sound great, it's
just practice. When you get more comfortable with that, there's more specific forms
the practicing can take....
#19
http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/Ordinary/music/all/play333250

As mentioned...do it over one chord then two chords.
I did this years ago when I first started phasing or learning to
write my own solos. I'm glad I have on file.lol

Start off slow then mix it up as you get the feel of the progression and beat.

If I can't do it slow then I can't do it fast.
If I can't do it over two chords...then I can't do it over 3 or 4 chords
It'll come..just be patient.
#20
for classic rock, guitarists dont typically adhere to the progression that strictly as a jazz player would. for a lot of classic rock the pentatonic is the preferred scale/pattern that players resort and feel comfortable with. while it is very important to closely follow the chords, its equally important to try and just play without thinking about them. Both methods are invaluable, one way helps the player with theory/note choices and all that while the other is much more of a free form expression. take slash for example, the "november rain" solos were constructed with the progression in mind, while solos like "dirty little thing" were just on the fly studio solos that were keep.
hope that help you with you jamming
#21
In classic rock, you can get away with simply avoiding avoid notes and not going as far as to emphasize chord tones. Classic rock is more dependent on strong melodies than showing off the harmony. I've always thought of playing the changes in jazz as sort of sonically reexplaining them to make them more understandable, which classic rock generally doesn't need as they're fairly simple.
#22
I'd like to clarify that, despite what appear to be criticisms of classic rock not following the chords, at least I rather like the genre. Classic rock songs contain memorable solos which are adored by fans and respected by guitarists; those guys must have done something right.
#23
yes i wholeheartedly agree, there are so many classic rock guitar players that i adore and their playing which has been highly influential. my goal was never to attempt to criticize, had it been, i would have been much more scathing in my response. my post was to simply offer the suggestion of carefully constructing a solo and also just going for it
#24
I didn't take any comments as criticism. I appreciate you guys clearing it up though. I love classic rock. It's my absolute favorite type of music to listen to. I can listen to a little shred every now and then and being able to shred would be really cool but it's just not my cup of tea. I want to get to a point in my playing where I can emulate the styles of my favorite classic rockers and be able to come up with some classic sounding stuff on my own. I'm just trying to do my best to learn everything I can so I can understand what I will need to do in order to accomplish my goal. Thanks for all of your help.
#25
^
Though I don't particularly care for playing really fast, it's a nice tool to have (and one that I'm still developing), so that if you ever just here something in your head that may require a bit of speed, it's not terribly difficult to express that thought. That's why, in my opinion, you develop your ear. So that you can express any musical thought that may come to mind. So when learning, it's a good idea to explore as many roads as possible, and always be a student, regardless of the situation.
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#26
ooh good thread, I am wondering, in the second solo here which starts around 4:50 :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-MLxgkiPNg

how much is he following the chord changes of the keyboard. I'm trying to get a clear picture of exactly what's going on. I'm guessing the bass and the keyboard are playing the same basic thing, but I'm not sure if he's just accentuating the strong beats along with the drums or if he's following what the keyboard is doing on those beats. I suck at figuring stuff out by ear, so please help.
#27
Quote by bangoodcharlote
I'd like to clarify that, despite what appear to be criticisms of classic rock not following the chords, at least I rather like the genre. Classic rock songs contain memorable solos which are adored by fans and respected by guitarists; those guys must have done something right.

I don't think you even need to be thinking too much in theoretical terms to "follow the chords", arguably it's enough to be aware of how the notes you're playing interact with the chords and let your ears guide you. Having some knowledge of the key you're in and the scale you're using just makes it a lot easier as you know which notes are definitely "safe" so there's less trial and error.
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