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.

16
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

comments policy
    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.
    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
    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!!
    kennyrocks
    woops sorry about my bad spelling just then, lol lol maybe i should go back to school keep rockin
    Fender18guitar
    uhm i've been playing guitar for a year now im getting ready for solos but none of u guys can explain what u are talking about im getting quite pissed i reall wanna solo for my band its really lame seriously UG can u please put a page of explaination of what u guys are talking about i donno know position, patters and what are scales ur not only doing it for me ur doing it for other ppl that dont understand=)
    keith Poulos
    wow, ive never posted before, so to start off my first one, ill just call everyone on this page an *****. dont ask.
    herschel
    look yeh this guyz is tryin 2 teach u sumfin and u guyz juss keep complainin man. Chill, if u think its crap then do 1 urself. Thanks...SAFE...ROCK ON
    breakdance39
    if you wanna hear real pinch harmonics listen to real guitarists like joe satriani, steve vai, and yngwie malmsteen, then you'll hear what soloing is all about
    z4twenny
    and as fer ThePartyBoy, "theres is no real way of telling someone how to write a solo"is only somewhat true, but there are quite a few "starter" guidlines that know and help to translate what you hear in yer head to what gets played on yer instrument
    z4twenny
    i'd post a lesson on solo composition but i might just get hella criticism for it..... hell i might just do it FOR the criticism....
    ThePartyBoy
    To make your own... There's no real way of telling someone how to. It's like telling someone how to make a painting up to the par of the Mona Lisa. You gotta make it your own.
    ChildOfBodom666
    thesmartguy50: th e 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.
    This lesson is called "Composing Solos"... I was thinking maybe it WAS to help you make your own? Maybe I'm mistakin, maybe I'm a fool...
    Charvy
    Composing solos is just being very creative with patterns, scales, modes and technique. I've tried to tell a few things about this topic on "Soloing in Rock" at http://www.jackwinder.nl But this is a fine lesson to help with composing too.
    Anderson4292
    Doon wrote: 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.
    i totally agree wiv u Doon - u shud play more than post. Ive only posted 1 TAB, and thats cos im 2 busy trying to learn more. Instead of trying to help every1 else, try to help urself UG Team. See y'all later guys. Oh and by the way - this lesson didnt help at all
    LarsHamfield
    This lesson is called "Composing Solos"... I was thinking maybe it WAS to help you make your own? Maybe I'm mistakin, maybe I'm a fool... Wat Are You Talking About It Tells You Wat Pattaerns To Follow And How To Keep It Solid Like A REAL SOLO Mister 666(Very Original)
    PunkMetalFreak
    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
    JCMguitar88
    wut the **** is this shit, "composing solos" its all in the feel for it, u pretty much gotta have sex with it like u would ur girl (in UGstrangers case his daddy) to write kick ass solos u cant tell some one how to write shit it happens on there own so FUCK YOU!!! UG team u dont know shit.....this didnt even help at all
    Jlambertguitar
    some one asked about a pinch harmonic? LOL... well realli u kno the note u normally pick? try squeeling it. let a tiny bit of ur thumb hit the string as u pick and u should get a squeel.. its ****in awkward at first it took me hours to start realli picking them off but then as soon as i got em goin a bit more it just got so easy.. bear in mind.. its hard to pinch harmonics from about the 12th fret onwards to 22 or 24 dependin on what guitar u have , the best squeals start around second fret high strings such as b and e or 3 fret for the lower strings such as E and a , ... i have randomly learnt how to pinch harmonic with out a plec.. dont ask how i picked it up i learnt it from droppin a plec as i went 2 squeel the note and bam it happend XD
    DASGUITArAMIGO
    wow doon your a ****in tard UG team = ultimate guitar team they posted most of the tabs on this site so yeah "they" can play they are just helping the noobs with soloing jesus ****ing christ dune your ****ing stupid
    punk Rocker 32
    um this lesson sucks,Randy died in a plane crash,and guitarness12345 i was wondering the same
    entityx
    @Jlambertguitar Wow, you really explained that well. Before you "LOL" at a beginner who is asking a legitimate question, try to consider when you still sucked (that may still apply). Idiot.
    Briar30
    Hey UG team, that was a good lesson. Keep it up. @beginners: pinch harmonics are where right after you pick a note, you very lightly touch the string with your thumb just once, really quickly. It's pretty hard to master, but when you do it right it makes a squealing sound. Try it with some distortion because it is REALLY hard to do clean. @everybody saying this lesson sucked: okay this lesson is assuming you know at least a little music theory. It's not telling you SPECIFICALLY what notes to play in a solo. No lesson can do that. But it is giving some guidelines of how your solo should act (lead in slowly, then build the intensity, etc.etc.). Just kind of use these techniques in whatever key you are playing in. So get your head out of your butt, think about that, and apply it.
    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/
    janc
    Doon wrote: 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.
    i agree wit u. i play guitar till my fingers fall off,not freakin computer keyboards u gekkass bastard
    Stephen00000
    Great entertainment reading all these replies. this UG STragnger guy sounds a right dick. Anyway who cares about modes and shit - RRRRROCK!
    dryh2o_podz11
    iknow pinch harmonic my friend show's it to me i've been practicing it for a week but my nose are starting to bleed
    Zainin
    14GreenDay wrote: 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
    Randy died in a plane crash.
    Pich Money
    The lesson is nice but without the midi playback, can't really tell how to use these simple patterns without the music in the back but very easy to pick up.
    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