#1
Alright guys, my chord playing is fine for my tastes right now. However, my soloing is just getting on my nerves. I honestly don't think I've progressed one iota in at least a month. Whenever I pick up the guitar and try to solo, I play the same old bluesy whatever and my ears have heard it so many times that I'm starting to think I suck terribly, and to be honest, it's beginning to chip away at my motivation. I need some sort of progress here. I'm scared that I'm going to lose my drive to keep playing.

I play in the pentatonic minor scale mainly (mainly in the first position but I periodically switch between the 2nd and 5th position sometimes). I bend the same strings and return to the root note after the bend and it sounds like the same old blues, but I'm frustrated because I can't think of anything else that sounds decent. My soling is sooo freakin robotic. What kind of exercises can I practice that will spice up my soloing? Especially to make it more hard rock sounding, because that's my preference. I like blues, but rock is what I want to play. I have NOT learned arpeggio theory yet. Do you think that is the key to my stale solos? Or is there anything else you guys can recommend?
#2
you MUST learn theory. It will unlock everything.
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#3
Try something other than a pentatonic minor scale. If you can just have fun while doing it instead of trying to write a solo, I find it will keep you playing until you can actually start making solos with a good rhythm to them.
#4
You dont "need" to learn theory but, it will be helpful. Most of the theory you learn, pretty much goes to shit when your actually playing . I learned a ton of theory but i forget it all when im playing lol. I dont know about anyone else, but thats just me It depends if you are talking about improv or just writing a solo. If you want to write a solo, listen to a lot of different solos that you like and get the feel of it. After you listen to a bunch of em, try to mabdy copy a phrase but change stuff up so it kind of becomes your own. When you do this, do NOT look at tabs or anything. Just use your ear and it will build up ur inner ear. Then once you have a bunch of your own cool solo licks, you can start using them when you improv and your ear will get better so you can make more stuff up on the spot.
#5
yeh i have had (and still have) the same problem, need to learn some more scales and theory to expand your knowledge, dont always land on the root note, think about using the notes of the chords of the rythym when soloing, it'll sounds much more melodic.

study and play some of your favourite solos and you pick up techniques those guitarists use. also stop worrying and play for fun!
#6
Try learning other scales. The major and minor scales are something you should definitely learn and once you know those you can throw in the pentatonic scale while doing those scales. After you know the major and minor, try learning about the modes which will help you expand your soloing a lot more.
Just start with major and minor, then you'll see an inprovement.

Also, don't be afraid to try something different; doing the same thing over and over again is only limiting your creativity and ruining the joy of playing music.
Have fun learning!
#7
Thanks for the help guys. I was a bit unclear in my first post though, because it was late at night and I was tired.

I already know the major scale AND plenty of other music theory. When I said I hadn't learned arpeggio theory yet, I meant I hadn't learned arpeggio theory yet, lol. I understand stuff like intervals and scale structures, etc.

Try something other than a pentatonic minor scale. If you can just have fun while doing it instead of trying to write a solo, I find it will keep you playing until you can actually start making solos with a good rhythm to them.


Perhaps I was unclear in my first post. I am trying to learn to solo good with the pentatonic minor scale specifically. I'm not concerned with the major scale atm because I'm going for a classic hard rock vibe in my playing (but like I said, I always seem to get a blues vibe).

You dont "need" to learn theory but, it will be helpful. Most of the theory you learn, pretty much goes to shit when your actually playing . I learned a ton of theory but i forget it all when im playing lol. I dont know about anyone else, but thats just me It depends if you are talking about improv or just writing a solo. If you want to write a solo, listen to a lot of different solos that you like and get the feel of it. After you listen to a bunch of em, try to mabdy copy a phrase but change stuff up so it kind of becomes your own. When you do this, do NOT look at tabs or anything. Just use your ear and it will build up ur inner ear. Then once you have a bunch of your own cool solo licks, you can start using them when you improv and your ear will get better so you can make more stuff up on the spot.


So, listen to my favorite guitarists and try to write my own solo based on their licks? And with enough of this, I should begin to instinctively use these licks in my own improv? Did I get the gist of what you're saying?

dont always land on the root note, think about using the notes of the chords of the rythym when soloing, it'll sounds much more melodic.


So you DO recommend arpeggio theory as a cure for my dilemma?

also stop worrying and play for fun!


Hey man, trust me, I love guitar and I have a blast with it. But it's just kinda hit me in the past few days that I'm playing the same old same old almost instinctively and suddenly a lot of the fun got sucked out.
#8
All the theory in the world won't stop you sounding stale, you'll just end up sound stale but using different notes.

The real key to a good solo is phrasing and it's also just about the only real difference between a blues and a rock solo; in terms of 99% of blues and rock the note choice is exactly the same (minor pentatonic, b5, major 6, blues b3 - 3 bends) but rock players tend to want to play a little faster, use more aggressive pick attack, different vibrato and all that stuff.

The only real advice that will help you break out of this rut is to stop playing for a little while and listen to as much different music as you can. By that I don't just mean put it on in the background when you wash the dishes or whatever, I mean really listen. Listen for things like vibrato, attack, the way the phrase the notes and the general way they play. Then you can start to pick and choose elements you like and start to work on incorporating them in to your own playing, thus making you sound less bluesy and more rocky. Hopefully without running to the top of a mountain and shouting "DRAAAAAAGOOOOOO!".

Cookies for anyone who gets the reference.
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#9
Quote by dcdossett65
you MUST learn theory. It will unlock everything.

+1

start thinking about the notes you're playing rather than the actions you're performing. Also start using your ears - the reason your soloing is boring and samey is because all you're focussing on is the mechanics of it all, you're not actually paying attention to the sound you're making.
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#10
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr

The only real advice that will help you break out of this rut is to stop playing for a little while and listen to as much different music as you can. By that I don't just mean put it on in the background when you wash the dishes or whatever, I mean really listen. Listen for things like vibrato, attack, the way the phrase the notes and the general way they play. Then you can start to pick and choose elements you like and start to work on incorporating them in to your own playing, thus making you sound less bluesy and more rocky. Hopefully without running to the top of a mountain and shouting "DRAAAAAAGOOOOOO!".

Cookies for anyone who gets the reference.


haha. Im a real American. I got it

Really, the best advice I can give, other than "theory theory scales appegios blah" is to listen to less blues influenced music. Listen to some prog rock, funk, classical. Listen to Hip Hop. I dont know.
What goes in will come out, unless you completly immerse yourself in theory, or youre Little Richard. Expand your influence.
#11
Quote by PenFighter19
haha. Im a real American. I got it

Really, the best advice I can give, other than "theory theory scales appegios blah" is to listen to less blues influenced music. Listen to some prog rock, funk, classical. Listen to Hip Hop. I dont know.
What goes in will come out, unless you completly immerse yourself in theory, or youre Little Richard. Expand your influence.


Well, I listen to Led Zeppelin all the freakin time now. I used to listen to Hendrix more, but I loaned that CD out, and I've been on a Zeppelin craze here lately.
#13
Quote by Sample246
Well, I listen to Led Zeppelin all the freakin time now. I used to listen to Hendrix more, but I loaned that CD out, and I've been on a Zeppelin craze here lately.

A good thing to do is read up on the artists and bands you like, particularly the guitarists and find out what actually influenced them. You'll get a better understanding of their music and you'll discover lots of new music that way.
Actually called Mark!

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#14
Quote by Sample246
Well, I listen to Led Zeppelin all the freakin time now. I used to listen to Hendrix more, but I loaned that CD out, and I've been on a Zeppelin craze here lately.


Therein lies the problem then; Hendrix and Page are both, in essence, blues guitarists so you're listening to nothing but blues soloing. Get more, different, music and really listen to it; you'll pick up stylistic things if you listen so you won't sound so stale any more.
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#15
Quote by XTheAlchemistX
He not lying.


Ok guys, I appreciate the help, but this is the last time I'm gonna say it. I already know theory. So telling me to learn something I already know doesn't help. Again, I appreciate the your concern, but that's not really helping me.


Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Therein lies the problem then; Hendrix and Page are both, in essence, blues guitarists so you're listening to nothing but blues soloing. Get more, different, music and really listen to it; you'll pick up stylistic things if you listen so you won't sound so stale any more.


But wouldn't Jimmy Page be considered a rock guitarist?
#16
Quote by Sample246

But wouldn't Jimmy Page be considered a rock guitarist?


I'd say he's also a gateway drug to both metal and blues.
#17
Quote by Sample246
But wouldn't Jimmy Page be considered a rock guitarist?


Possibly but only just, his style is SO heavily rooted in blues it would be hard to tell the two apart if you put them next to each other. Based on the songs he played in you could also call him a folk guitarist.
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#18
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Possibly but only just, his style is SO heavily rooted in blues it would be hard to tell the two apart if you put them next to each other.


Same thing with the Rolling Stones.
#19
Quote by eminentgonz
Same thing with the Rolling Stones.


Exactly; they're all blues guitarists really, they're just playing in rock bands. It's like if I was to play something like Red House; I'd still be a wanky shred metal guitarist, just playing a blues song.
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#20
I suggest experimental music, a la The Mars Volta, King Crimson, Opeth, Camel, Rush, you name it.. . . By the way, Omar from the mars volta doesn't know theory, and he's amazingly awesome despite not knowing any theory. . . . doesn't even have to be rock though. . . old jazz guys do some crazy mad sweeps and stuff.
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#21
Quote by Sample246
Ok guys, I appreciate the help, but this is the last time I'm gonna say it. I already know theory. So telling me to learn something I already know doesn't help. Again, I appreciate the your concern, but that's not really helping me.

I'm not convinced you do - certainly the way you described your soloing here...

"I play in the pentatonic minor scale mainly (mainly in the first position but I periodically switch between the 2nd and 5th position sometimes). I bend the same strings and return to the root note after the bend and it sounds like the same old blues, but I'm frustrated because I can't think of anything else that sounds decent"

...kind of implies you don't actually understand much theory at all - there's not a single mention of notes, intervals or the way you interact with your backing chords. Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but it could be that your "brick wall" is partly due to the fact that you don't fully understand some of the stuff you believe yourself to have learned - either that our you're not using what you've learned correctly.

Either way, a big part of the problem is the fact that you're approaching soloing purely in a physical sense...that much alone can be gleaned from the original post. Stop thinking so much about where your hands are going and the actions you're performing and instead focus on thinking about and listening to the sounds you're actually making....think musically, not mechanically.
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Sep 30, 2008,
#22
Steven, I agree. Knowing theory, basic theory, and learning elements of Jazz fusion, classical, and such are completly different. Stylistically that is.. . Also, you can know a lot of theory, but not know how exactly to apply it to your playing style. . . And I don't know if you came out and said it, but positional playing is a brick wall.
Quote by paranoid joker

Metal, should kick you in the nuts, after you catch it messing around with your girlfriend.
and then make a sandwhich in your house and walk out.


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