Composing Solos

Okay people, it's great to practise scales and patterns and know all the theory in the world, but you have to be able to put it to practical use. So here, I've composed some short leads to show you a few different ways of writing leads. This one is played over a moderate rock groove.

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Ultimate Guitar
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Okay people, it's great to practise scales and patterns and know all the theory in the world, but you have to be able to put it to practical use. So here, I've composed some short leads to show you a few different ways of writing leads. This one is played over a moderate rock groove. This first one is in A pentatonic minor. You can hear it with the rhythm accompaniment in the midi. It's played at 155 bpm. The chords played by the rhythm guitar are in brackets above the TAB. PH = Pinch Harmonic
Fig1:
(A5)                        (E5)                                  (C5)
-------------------------------|-------------------10\8---------------
--------13--12--10------12--10-|--------------------------------------
12-h14-------------12----------|-12--14-12-0-12-14------12-10-9-------
-------------------------------|--------------------------------12--10
-------------------------------|--------------------------------------
-------------------------------|--------------------------------------

                          (E5)                                   (A5)
-PH------15----------13---------|-12--------------------------------12
-13--13------13--13------13-b15-|--------------------------------13---
--------------------------------|-----------------------------12------
--------------------------------|--------------------------14---------
--------------------------------|-------------------------------------
--------------------------------|-------------------------------------

                                           (E5)
-12-------------------12-17-12----------12-17-12-|
----13-------------13----------13----13----------|
-------12-------12----------------14-------------|
----------14-14----------------------------------|
-------------------------------------------------|
-------------------------------------------------|

                                         (C5)
-tr(t19p13)-tr(t17p12)p0-12--------------{---3--}-|
----------------------------12--{---3--}-12h13h15-|
--------------------------------12h14h16----------|
--------------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------------------|

                             (E5)
---------------------------------|------------------------|
-13--12--13------13------13------|------------------------|
-------------12------10----------|------------------------|
-----------------------------12--|-14---------------------|
---------------------------------|------------------------|
---------------------------------|------------------------|
Bar 1: This bar is a very straightforward melody in A melodic minor which allows the 'groove' to start implanting itself in the listener's mind as there's not much going on lead-wise. You generally shouldn't "go off" with a lead until the groove has had enough time to fix itself in the listener's mind; this time will be longer for grooves that are longer and more complex. Bar 2: This bar, to an extent, contradicts what I just said, as it is probably the trickiest and most complex lick in the whole lead! But, it does still work as I haven't gone outside the scale, and the speed is not sustained over a long period. It's a short, sharp, lick to grab the listener's attention momentarily and reassure them that I haven't fallen asleep. The reason it sounds complex is the wide interval leaps, with the use of the string skip and the open G string in a lick reasonably high on the neck. Bar 3: After Bar 2, I really needed to bring it back down a notch with another simple melody, finishing on the E in the next bar. Bar 4: This is just the sustained E note. The bar does include the beginning of the next phrase but as it really belongs as a lead-in to the next bar, I'll analyse it in the next bar. Bar 5: Now, it's just about time I jacked up the intensity properly, since the groove should be established in the listener's head by now. This lick is something like what an Yngwie Malmsteen or a Michael Angelo would play (although they'd play it faster; I didn't want to make this too tricky), its a Am7 arpeggio which I personally would play with sweep picking. It's all 16th notes; keep them even. Bar 6: This tapped trill is a classic 80's move which sounds kind of cool here. It's technincally 32nd notes, but don't worry about rhythm too much, just trill as fast as you can. The last 6 notes are another remnant from the 80's, legato speed triplets. It's a real Nuno Bettencourt/Joe Satriani type lick which comes in handy a lot; everyone should master their speed triplets, picked and hammered/pulled, they're useful and not tough. Bar 7: This is a simple pedal point lick to drop back the intensity again after the last two bars. Again, this is a Malmsteen type idea, but I slowed it down considerably from what he would play. But the slow speed sounds effective here, and it leads into the last bar well. Bar 8: The end. In a longer solo, say 12, 16, 24 bars, I'd pick up the intensity again after this bar, but this little fragment does the job of demonstrating the importance of contrasting intensities in a guitar solo, so I didn't think I needed to take it further.

87 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Doon
    Fuck you have way to much ***ing time on your hands UGStranger. 20 posts in a row with no response should tell you something. Im sorry cuz i probly sound like a dick but find some time to play or something rather than sit on your computer and post and post and post until your fingers fall off.
    kirei-ryuu
    Hmmm yea i got kind of lost. It dosent actually tell us lot how you made the solo. You jsut say its in a certain scale and thats it. Maybe right more about making our own rather than playing yours.
    fatbassist
    UG stranger...why dont you go lick your spunk off those sticky porno mags u got? seems like ya have nowt better to do with your time...
    hethamulburton
    yea it was a great tutorial and it helped me to get started working on like pre- solo licks and stuff thanks
    strigoi_vii
    cookie_master there are alot of ug strangers . only the nazi needs to die. good solo by the way. maybe u can guide us in making one instead of putting your own
    stunt
    Pinch Harmonic= when u hit the string(usually high e or b but u can do it on all strings) with the pick and hold your thumb out directly behind it and hit it again but all on the same pick. So basically hit your string with the pick and the tip of your thumb. Its very hard to explain in words. It makes the guitar scream in other words, thats if u do it right. Pinch harmonic by the bridge pickup because it picks it up much better and gives a harsher sound. But every guitar is different. just find your sweet spot
    ramstormrage
    we want solos, we want solos!! teach me master grasshopper the ways to solo! more solos, more solos!!
    cffrmw
    if its too much for you to understand to bitch about it, go practice, do other lessons, and come back when you're ready to work and learn
    awkggrocker
    dude start slow what the fork r u talking about, not everyone can rip like ***ing jimmy page
    gutiariscool
    yep i agree with doon there that must be alot of time ug starnger has got wat a loser and i no i spelt my name wrong ill get over it
    NiRvanAcobain
    Hes just a moron wow i really wanna punch him in the face, he thinks he is soo cool by acting sarcastic. He can't even play he thinks everyone sucks at guitar except for him and maybe some of his friends or bands, He is just really gay.
    Drifting__Bluez
    i wanna know how to composed solos with the scales ive already learnt.... rather then learn your readymade solo.....
    Darkpsyde213
    UG Stranger's posts seem to have no purpose other than a few weak attempts at ridicule. This is a good article. I've only been playing about 11 mos. so I don't know the difficulty level of the tab, but it looks and sounds like a good place for a beginner or intermediate player to start.
    GuitaristSimon
    I liked the tutorial it teaches you but you could explain things a bit better and also help us make our own rather than giving and example like most of the other people have said good work! And UG Stranger maby if you stoped posting ridiculas messages that no body has replied to and pick up your guitar and start playign you could stop making stupid posts. Good Job to the perosn that created this example and ROCK ON
    TrappedUnderIce
    Enough bitching about UG Stranger. Good Example, but once again I would like to see how to make my own. Hence the title.
    lilstillrocks
    thaaaank you briar30. instead of wasting time commenting about how bad the lesson was, why don't you hit that pretty blue button at the top left of your page...ya, the one with the arrow pointing left...goooood jooobbbbb. stop hating. you're obviously reading this lesson bc you would like to learn, negativity is counter-productive to that. read the lesson, take what you will from it, and be on your way. And to those who think this was such a crappy lesson, look at it in a theoretical sense. Take the time to figure out what scale they're using, chord progression, etc, and how all the notes intermingle. THAT, my friends, can give you a rough basis to how to COMPOSE a solo. I know me ranting about people posting hate is kind of contradictive, but I cannot stand watching all this hate for no reason. We're all here to learn. Rock on \m/
    thesmartguy50
    the point here was NOT, i think to teach you HOW to do solos, completely from scratch; but instead was supposed to teach you a few riffs to include in your solos. Now, think about it like that, and go and play the tabs again.
    jonrak
    zack wlylde is good but he only knows how to play scales but he doesnt know how to create his own.....lol
    jonrak
    i wish yngwie malmsteen would post tutorials here , or maybe adrian smith or rhandy roads or satriani or vai or petrucci or alexi laiho or kerry king or hanneman. nice lesson james
    pink_guitarist
    i think its a good lesson, and ur bitching is really stupid... if u want pinch harmonics listen ta a zakk wylde record(BLS and some late ozzy) yull be served
    IndicaSativa
    I have always done PH's at the neck pickup.. I was told it's best from the bridge pickup but it never seems to work. I thought the person who told me was just confused.. I'll start trying it again, maybe I will get the squeal I am looking for!
    Floyd93
    Why are you guys still whining about UG Stranger? He posted all that gay crap like two years ago. LET IT GO.
    ramones417
    dude that didnt teach me shit about soloing or how to solo ive been playin guitar for 6 months ive thought my self everything includign soloing and shredding and i coudl also sit down and make a tab of ntoes in a pattern that was just the worst lesson ever
    RoGuitar
    hey...I see all this comments in all tutorials about midi files and exercise file and shit....where the heck are they? I can`t find them anywherE? WHERE`s that damn MIDI?
    fox69
    wow this was pretty good but dam that ug stranger deffinetly has 2 get a chick er sumthin
    J.J. Marconi
    You are right. I don't under stand whay people keep dissing you for this. Keep up the good work!
    zaccy
    yeah i agree. i was going to post a lesson but all of the comments you get. cmon man people are only trying to help.
    Not bad
    why arent the posted looked at by ug then removed if they are like ugstrangers? it makes your site look awful
    kennyrocks
    hey man, lol its like a classroom in here, im staying out of this one haha, i will say though ,,,foooood fight..... ahhh it dont work aswell online although now i have to clean the food from my monitor because somehow i think it was just me who heard me shoult it. lol keep rocking, you all rock!!
    14GreenDay
    PunkMetalFreak wrote: jonrak wrote: i wish yngwie malmsteen would post tutorials here , or maybe adrian smith or rhandy roads or satriani or vai or petrucci or alexi laiho or kerry king or hanneman. nice lesson james dude... hate to tell you man but randy rhoads died in an effing car crash like 18 years ago lol
    yea man, randy died, and anyways, malmsteen has an article in a magazine, ultimate guitar, that gives tips