Learning The Art Of Soloing

Soloing is actually easy if you know your scales.

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Ultimate Guitar
12
The only thing you really need to know about soloing is that if you know your scales you compose a solo to just about anything if you wanted to. So here are the scales starting from fret 1 and ending at the 12th fret. Ascending & Descending and I'll show what fingers to use for different notes as well Guitar Legend * = palm mute h = hammer on p = pull off r = release b = bend / = slide up \ = slide down + = harmonic {+} = artificial harmonic i = index finger m = middle = finger r = ring finger p = pinky finger
Fret 1
e|---------------------1-4-4-1---------------------|
B|-----------------1-4---------4-1-----------------|
G|-------------1-3-----------------3-1-------------|
D|---------1-3-------------------------3-1---------|
A|-----1-3---------------------------------3-1-----|
E|-1-4-----------------------------------------4-1-|
So here's how you play the scale above. Finger formation
e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|---------------------2-5-5-2---------------------|
B|-----------------2-5---------5-2-----------------|
G|-------------2-4-----------------4-2-------------|
D|---------2-4-------------------------4-2---------|
A|-----2-4---------------------------------4-2-----|
E|-2-5-----------------------------------------5-2-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|---------------------3-6-6-3---------------------|
B|-----------------3-6---------6-3-----------------|
G|-------------3-5-----------------5-3-------------|
D|---------3-5-------------------------5-3---------|
A|-----3-5---------------------------------5-3-----|
E|-3-6-----------------------------------------6-3-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|---------------------4-7-7-4---------------------|
B|-----------------4-7---------7-4-----------------|
G|-------------4-6-----------------6-3-------------|
D|---------4-6-------------------------6-4---------|
A|-----4-6---------------------------------6-4-----|
E|-4-7-----------------------------------------7-4-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|---------------------5-8-8-5---------------------|
B|-----------------5-8---------8-5-----------------|
G|-------------5-7-----------------7-5-------------|
D|---------5-7-------------------------7-5---------|
A|-----5-7---------------------------------7-5-----|
E|-5-8-----------------------------------------8-5-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|---------------------6-9-9-6---------------------|
B|-----------------6-9---------9-6-----------------|
G|-------------6-8-----------------8-6-------------|
D|---------6-8-------------------------8-6---------|
A|-----6-8---------------------------------8-6-----|
E|-6-9-----------------------------------------9-6-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|


e|-----------------------7-10-10-7-----------------------|
B|------------------7-10-----------10-7------------------|
G|--------------7-9---------------------9-7--------------|
D|----------7-9-----------------------------9-7----------|
A|------7-9-------------------------------------9-7------|
E|-7-10---------------------------------------------10-7-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|---------------------------8-11-11-8--------------------------|
B|----------------------8-11-----------11-8---------------------|
G|----------------8-10----------------------10-8----------------|
D|-----------8-10--------------------------------10-8-----------|
A|------8-10------------------------------------------10-8------|
E|-8-11----------------------------------------------------11-8-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|--------------------------9-12-12-9---------------------------|
B|---------------------9-12-----------12-9----------------------|
G|----------------9-11---------------------11-9-----------------|
D|-----------9-11-------------------------------11--9-----------|
A|------9-11------------------------------------------11-9------|
E|-9-12----------------------------------------------------12-9-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|-------------------------------10-13-13-10-------------------------------|
B|-------------------------10-13-------------13-10-------------------------|
G|-------------------10-12-------------------------12-10-------------------|
D|-------------10-12-------------------------------------12-10-------------|
A|-------10-12-------------------------------------------------12-10-------|
E|-10-13-------------------------------------------------------------13-10-|

e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|-------------------------------11-14-14-11-------------------------------|
B|-------------------------11-14-------------14-11-------------------------|
G|-------------------11-13-------------------------13-11-------------------|
D|-------------11-13-------------------------------------13-11-------------|
A|-------11-13-------------------------------------------------13-11-------|
E|-11-14-------------------------------------------------------------14-11-|


e|---------------------i-p-p-i---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p---------p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-----------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r-------------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r---------------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-----------------------------------------p-i-|

e|-------------------------------12-15-15-12-------------------------------|
B|-------------------------12-15-------------15-12-------------------------|
G|-------------------12-14-------------------------14-12-------------------|
D|-------------12-14-------------------------------------14-12-------------|
A|-------12-14-------------------------------------------------14-12-------|
E|-12-15-------------------------------------------------------------15-12-|

finger formation
e|---------------------i-p---------------------|
B|-----------------i-p-----p-i-----------------|
G|-------------i-r-------------r-i-------------|
D|---------i-r---------------------r-i---------|
A|-----i-r-----------------------------r-i-----|
E|-i-p-------------------------------------p-i-|
Now there are other scales to which require you to use the same 4 fingers. Just in different ways and I'm going to show how to do this but this time I'm only going to do up the firt 3 frets.
e|-----------------------------2-3-5-5-3-2-----------------------------|
B|-----------------------2-3-5-------------5-3-2-----------------------|
G|-----------------1-2-4-------------------------4-2-1-----------------|
D|-------------2-4-------------------------------------4-2-------------|
A|-------2-4-5---------------------------------------------5-4-2-------|
E|-2-4-5---------------------------------------------------------5-4-2-|

finger formation
e|-----------------------------i-m-p-p-m-i-----------------------------|
B|-----------------------i-m-p-------------p-m-i-----------------------|
G|-----------------i-m-p-------------------------p-m-i-----------------|
D|-------------i-r-------------------------------------r-i-------------|
A|-------i-r-p---------------------------------------------p-r-i-------|
E|-i-r-p---------------------------------------------------------p-r-i-|

e|-----------------------------3-4-6-6-4-3-----------------------------|
B|-----------------------3-4-6-------------6-4-3-----------------------|
G|-----------------2-3-5-------------------------5-3-2-----------------|
D|-------------3-5-------------------------------------5-3-------------|
A|-------3-5-6---------------------------------------------6-5-3-------|
E|-3-5-6---------------------------------------------------------6-5-3-|

finger formation
e|-----------------------------i-m-p-p-m-i-----------------------------|
B|-----------------------i-m-p-------------p-m-i-----------------------|
G|-----------------i-m-p-------------------------p-m-i-----------------|
D|-------------i-r-------------------------------------r-i-------------|
A|-------i-r-p---------------------------------------------p-r-i-------|
E|-i-r-p---------------------------------------------------------p-r-i-|

e|-----------------------------4-5-7-7-5-4-----------------------------|
B|-----------------------4-5-7-------------7-5-4-----------------------|
G|-----------------3-4-6-------------------------6-4-3-----------------|
D|-------------4-6-------------------------------------6-4-------------|
A|-------4-6-7---------------------------------------------7-6-4-------|
E|-4-6-7---------------------------------------------------------7-6-4-|

finger formation
e|-----------------------------i-m-p-p-m-i-----------------------------|
B|-----------------------i-m-p-------------p-m-i-----------------------|
G|-----------------i-m-p-------------------------p-m-i-----------------|
D|-------------i-r-------------------------------------r-i-------------|
A|-------i-r-p---------------------------------------------p-r-i-------|
E|-i-r-p---------------------------------------------------------p-r-i-|
And I've only just got enough time to show you how to solo with these two kids of scales and I'm only going to do one example of a solo for both kinds of scales because of the time that I just don't got ok.
Solo 1 (scale Kind 1) (play both parts of this solo twice)
e|----------------------------|---------8-5---5----------|
B|----------------------------|-------------8----8-5--8b-|
G|----------------------------|-----5-7---------------8b-|
D|---------5---------------7b-|-5-7----------------------|
A|-----5-7---7-5-7--5-7-5--7b-|--------------------------|
E|-5-8------------------------|--------------------------|

Solo 2 (scale kind 2)
e|------------------------------------------------------|
B|-6b-6b-4~----4h6-6p4\3-3h4p3--------------------------|
G|-----------------------------5~----3-5p3-5/7-7\5-3-5~-|
D|------------------------------------------------------|
A|------------------------------------------------------|
E|------------------------------------------------------|

e|----------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------------------|
G|-3-5p3-5/7-7\5-3-5~----3-5p3---3------------3-------|
D|-----------------------------5----53-5~-535---53-5~-|
A|----------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------|
                               * *  **    *** * ** 

e|-------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------------------|
D|-5p3-5h6-5p3---5p3-5h6-5p3-----------------------------|
A|-------------6-------------6~----5/8--6--6\5-5/6\5r3---|
E|-----------------------------------------------------6-|
Hope you enjoy and good luck I hope you really get something out of this lesson and I honestly mean that.

49 comments sorted by best / new / date

    JacobCork
    Wow way to crush Ben guys. Just chill. And you really shouldn't take what he (or anyone else) says as if it were the word of God. He made some mistakes, but it's still a good guide line for basic scale shapes.
    ironwolg
    Ben Downes wrote: lol sorry guys, must of forgot scale name's pretty easy to work out tho, bassically the scale name come's from the root note, if u know what the root note is, you know what the scale name is. if you have anymore questions or comments..... let me know, you can catch me at... msn addy: rotatingfatmen@hotmail.com, myspace: www.myspace.com/dk_racer32 or email me @ catnip50009@hotmail.com thanx
    that's not completely true, you have to know what type of scale it is, if you just know the root note all you know is what letter it is, like the E scale. all that tells you is that it's some kind of scale that starts with the note E, now, E Phrygian would tell you specifically what scale it is(sorry if it sounded like i was attacking your knowledge of guitar, i wasn't, you probably know a lot more than i do anyway)
    metaldrummer101
    really helpful for a drummer! i mainly play drums and play guitar in 2 metal bands, which call for solos out of me. i can make up awesome rythm riffs, but have never known anything about soloing. now instead of randomly shredding that 9-11-12 pattern all the way down and back up, il know what im doing. thanks oodles!
    peacecat
    This was the first time using any kind of scale on the guitar, it helped me reright bits and peaces useing the laws of the scale.And now thay make sents,Thanks
    Irontallica09
    mdhoward wrote: Of course, as we get better, we find there are fewer notes that must be avoided, because we can always resolve a non-diatonic note back into the scale. It's all about tension and release, and wrong notes can add color if used rightly!
    Excellent point, I was just thinking in terms of this yesterday when I hit a dud note and then went back and hit it again on purpose because I liked the way it sounded. I think it was when I was improvising in the pentatonic minor and melodic minor scales there was a point when all four notes one after another sounded cool, 4 chromatics if you will, eg.(F,F#,G,G#). I've never used 4 notes in a row before without it sounding bad, I'm excited I think i'm improving as a player
    Shining_Yrael
    I really love all these people giving the author shit. Fuck you guys. Just by going over this a few times, I now have a great idea about how to better structure my solos, as before now I knew jack shit about scales. Thank you very much.
    0749hsv1978
    crap lesson mate its the same scale over n over again cheak out the cadge system .....
    Ben Downes
    EVERYONE CAN YOU PLZ IGNORE THIS LESSON, I SUBMITTED IT WHEN I WAS STILL IN MY FIRST YEAR OF GUITAR PLAYING, I HAVE SUBMITTED A SECOND LESSON WHICH I SUBMITTED WHEN I WAS EXPERIENCING MY 5TH YEAR OF GUITRAR PLAYING, PLZ VOTE FOR THAT ONE BECAUSE IT SHITS ALL OVER THIS ONE IN THAT THE DETAIL OF THE LESSON AND WHAT IT HAS TO OFFER IS WAY MORE BENEFICIAL TO ALOT OF GUITARIST THAT THIS ONE IS, MY SECOND LESSON IS STILL UNDERREVIEW UNTILL SUCH TIME AS ALL OF YOU DEEM IS SUITABLE TO BE ACCEPTED INTO THE ARCHIVE OR ULTIMATE GUITAR, IT IS CALLED.....
    Ben Downes
    I WANT EVERYONE OF YOU TO COMPLETELY IGNORE THIS LESSON, JUST THINK OF IT AS THO IT HAS NO EXISTENCE, CAUSE THAT'S ALL IT DESERVES, I HAVE A MUCH BETTER LESSON STILL UNDER REVIEW BY THE U-G COMMITTIE, HOW EVER, IT WILL NOT SEE THE ARCHIVE OF ULTIMATE GUITAR UNTILL YOU GUYS DEEM IT AS SUITABLE FOR THE ARCHIVE, IT'S A MUCH BETTER LESSON, CAUSE I SUBMITTED IT WHEN I REACHED 5 YEARS EXPERIENCE RATHER THAN SUBMITTING A LESSON I THOUGHT I KNEW WHAT I WAS TALKING BOUT WHEN I REACHED ONE YEAR GUITAR PLAYING, IT'S CALLED ALL NOTES ON ALL STRINGS ALL OVER THE FRET BOARD, it entails everything that the name sais it does and that is no lie, so plz vote for my second lesson people, you will benefit from that one way more, trust me, you will, so plz vote for it, thank you Benny
    killurbean
    A pull off usually involves you doing it by yourself- a release would imply that you had some assistance.
    LukeElliff
    joe8rulez! wrote: Jastul wrote: what's the difference between a pull of and a release?
    pull off = 4p3 or 4p0 so it brings another note into it, release speaks for itself, just let go of the string to stop ringing.
    Ben Downes
    ok to be totaly honest with you guys, this was a rush job lesson and there are loads of stuff i left out which woulda made the lesson better, if i could update this lesson i would cause to be honest with you this is my worst lesson ever
    Ben Downes
    lol sorry guys, must of forgot scale name's pretty easy to work out tho, bassically the scale name come's from the root note, if u know what the root note is, you know what the scale name is. if you have anymore questions or comments..... let me know, you can catch me at... msn addy: rotatingfatmen@hotmail.com, myspace: www.myspace.com/dk_racer32 or email me @ catnip50009@hotmail.com thanx
    mdhoward
    Ben, you never told them what the root note is. The first scale was minor pentatonic, with the root on the first note in the scale, on the low E string. It wasn't really necessary to show it at every fret... but it's good to tell beginners that the pattern or shape of the scale on the fretboard stays the same when you start it at a different fret. That's how you change keys. You can visualize the degrees of the scale on the fretboard like this: e| --1-|----|----|-b3-|---- b| --5-|----|----|-b7-|---- g| -b3-|----|--4-|----|---- d| -b7-|----|--1-|----|---- a| --4-|----|--5-|----|---- e| --1-|----|----|-b3-|---- Again, this is a moveable pattern, and the note under the 1 is the root of the scale. The flatted 3rd (b3) is what makes it minor, and it's called pentatonic because it's 5 notes out of the octave, roughly evenly spaced. If you throw in the flat-5 between the 4 and 5, that makes it a blues scale, and you'll hear how bluesy that b5 sounds. The second scale appears to be a major diatonic scale with the root at the pinky finger on the low E, but you've made an error on the high E string, which should be the same as the low E string. They are an octave apart. e| ----|--6-|----|--7-|--1-| ---- b| ----|--3-|--4-|----|--5-| ---- g| --7-|--1-|----|--2-|----| ---- d| ----|--5-|----|--5-|----| ---- a| ----|--2-|----|--3-|--4-| ---- e| ----|--6-|----|--7-|--1-| ----
    mdhoward
    Oops, my error on the major scale, which should of course have a 5 and a 6 on the D string, not a 5 and a 5. Sorry about the wrapped lines... I don't know why it wrapped there. But do note that the major scale goes like this: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (no flats), so C Major is C D E F G A B. Minor pentatonic scale goes like this: 1 b3 4 5 b7, so C minor pentatonic is C Eb F G Bb.
    mdhoward
    One more thing. Although I identified the first scale as minor pentatonic, it could also be a major pentatonic, if the root is at the second note in the scale, the pinky note on the low E. If you do that, the degrees of the scale look like this: e| --6-|----|----|--1-|---- b| --3-|----|----|--5-|---- g| --1-|----|--2-|----|---- d| --5-|----|--6-|----|---- a| --2-|----|--3-|----|---- e| --6-|----|----|--1-|---- Each major pentatonic has a "relative minor" which contains the same notes in the scale. That's why the patterns have the same shape. Hope this isn't too confusing.
    jaek1
    so does this mean that the first pattern, [CODE]Fret 1 e|-----1-4-4-1-----| B|-----1-4-----4-1-----| G|-----1-3-- ---3-1-----| D|-----1-3-----3-1-----| A|-----1-3-----3-1---- -| E|-1-4-----4-1-|[/CODE] that all these notes can be played in a solo during an F chord? or is it not possible to play on fret 1 and 3 on the A string during an F chord - because those are Bb and C scales?
    mdhoward
    I'm no authority... I'm just pitching in a few things I've learned! Jaek1, if you're calling that an F chord, then you're referring to the F minor pentatonic scale (the same pattern could be an Ab Major pentatonic scale). All 5 of those notes can be used during an F (the 1, b3, 4, 5, and b7 of the scale, or F Ab Bb C Eb), but the chord doesn't use the 4 (Bb). You want to target the 1 (F), and the 5 (C), and the b3 (Ab) which is what defines the minor. Of course, as we get better, we find there are fewer notes that must be avoided, because we can always resolve a non-diatonic note back into the scale. It's all about tension and release, and wrong notes can add color if used rightly! Now lets get our terminology straight. We're talking about an Fm scale, and while soloing over it, we're targeting the "degrees" of the scale that are used to compose the Fm chord (1 b3 5). By targeting I mean we end our phrases on those notes. Now if you meant that we are soloing in the Key of F, and the song is a I - IV - V progression, one method is to use the F scale throughout the song because the key is so dominant that it sounds good. You don't have to avoid the Bb or C notes during the I, but during the IV over the Bb chord you would definitely want to end your phrases on a Bb. Likewise, on the V over the C chord, end your phrases on a C. I'm just learning myself, so I would highly recommend Mike Dodge's lessons at http://lessons.mikedodge.com/, and also the really amazing guitar lesson forums at Harmony Central at http://lessons.mikedodge.com/,
    Jastul
    what's the difference between a pull of and a release?
    jcworkman1
    A pull off is when, for example, you have your finger on the 9th fret on the B string and another finger on the 11th fret on the same string and you "pull off" from the 11th fret. A release is when you are bending the string and release it.
    Ben Downes
    the difference between a pull and release jastul is bassically just let your finger off the fret board on what eveer not it's on at the time k, with a pull off u drag your finger off the string quickly but with a realse all you do is lift your finger off the string, make sence ? and where it sais firt MGuitar24, that's ment to be 1st, guys i stuffed this lesson up in that i forgot to add names, i am later doin a nother lesson which should be up soon, a better detailed lesson cause since i have submitted this one i have leart heeps more which i will tab for u in the next guitar lesson i do on u-g (www.ultimate-guitar.com) my msn and normal hotmail is shown in the above lesson if u want to ask me anything bout the lesson and recieve furthur detail about it, thanx guys laterz
    Ben Downes
    guys i'm in the proses of making a new lesson, a more detailed one tho, it'll have root notes mentioned and the names of what they are and there purpose, minor, major pentatonic scales, movable patterns, pre - done solo's by Daughtry and Nickelback, and lots of other understandable figures and notes, thanx guys, any questions u got for me, i have 8 years playing guitar on my ass, so i'll be able to answer ur questions the best i can rotatingfatmen@hotmail.com thanx guys
    DMguitar1
    Jastul wrote: what's the difference between a pull of and a release?
    BAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHAHAHA ill be quiet now..
    Ben Downes
    i think i told u the difference didn't i if i didn't the difference between the 2 are:.. to make a pull off sound u pull down on the string fast or slowly, which ever speed doesn't matter but u must pull down to make the pull off sound with release: all u do is lift you finger off the string and u wont get that pull off sound but when u do one u will know the difference, sticks out like a pole cat
    nameismicah
    Knowing all scales up and down the neck and be able to craft a convincing solo, are two different things. A good solo consist of melodies and musical phrases that build off of one another.Tension in a phrase can also be achieved rythmically, not just with non-diatonic notes.
    rhcp3412
    I agree with nameismicah on this. knowing a scale doesn't help you put together a good solo, because a good solo has melodies and variations of those melodies. I won't say i know anything about the guitar, but i have played music for a good 7 years. other than that, this column does help others with some scales, and it isn't really hard to figure out what the root note is, if you know the names of your strings.
    chady101
    i made a solo kinda like the frist part of the first but its not the same , but great lesson man thanks
    Iron Horse
    Yeah, scales aren't the ONLY thing you need to know to make great solos - BUT they are great tool.