Effective Soloing Techniques

This is the follow up of my previous lesson, Before 'Shredding'. You've all seen and heard some crazy solos where the guitarist is using techniques that look and sound out of this world. This lesson is going to teach you some of those, so you can sound, look and feel great while soloing. The lesson includes Basic and more advanced Tapping and Basic and more advanced Sweeping.

18
I must apologise in advance for the large amount of writing, but I promise every word is worth reading. I must stress to everyone who wishes to take these techniques seriously, and as stated many a time during my last lesson.
|----------------------------|
|----ACCURACY THEN SPEED!----|
|--Not The Other Way Around--|
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Tapping

The first technique I'm going to tell you about is something you've probably all head about and seen, and thought "I've gotta learn to do that." First I'll show you the basic tapping exercise (You won't need a pick for this). Put your first finger on fret 5 of the 'e' string and your third or forth finger on fret 8, it is your choice which finger goes on fret seven, if your little finger is strong enough use that, if not use your third finger. Use your first finger of your right hand on the 12th fret of the same string. (This technique requires you to pull off and hammer on. If you are not sure what these two are then I suggest you find out before continuing with this lesson.)
e|---12p8p5---|
B|------------|
G|------------|
D|------------|
A|------------|
E|------------|
It doesn't look like much but that's where tapping for most guitarists start. Play that 8 times at a speed you are comfortable with, then gradually, at your own pace, start to speed up. At first it will sound a bit dodgy but stick with it, it'll be worth it in the end. When you feel you have gotten that pretty good you can try this, which is not much harder at all, it literally involves adding one more note in. You may have to use your little finger for this, unless you have a wide stretch with your left hand. Keep your 1st finger of your left hand on fret 5 and your little finger on fret 8, but this time put your 3rd finger on fret 7, and do the exercise as shown below.
e|----12p8p7p5----|
B|----------------|
G|----------------|
D|----------------|
A|----------------|
E|----------------|
The next step is not adding in any more notes you'll be glad to hear. But this time you add in some hammer ons.
e|--12p8p7p5h7h8--|
B|----------------|
G|----------------|
D|----------------|
A|----------------|
E|----------------|
There you have the basics of tapping, the first technique. Getting tapping into a solo can be a tricky business which is why some guitarists use tapping for an entire solo or for a large portion of the solo eg. The Trooper by Iron Maiden. Do not think that it is only at this fret you can tap like this, I am going to give you the frets which work well with each other for this tapping pattern. The '|' separates the positions. Do not mistake it for a '1'. e|-8p4p1-|-9p5p2-|-10p6p3-|-11p7p4-|-12p8p5-|-13p9p6-|-14p10p7-|-15p11p8-| Remember: these Positions Can Be Used On Every String, They Are Not Restricted To The E String. For those of you who may be more advanced or anyone who wants a bit more of an interesting pattern here is another tapping exercise. It is taken from the intro to 'Roses For The Dead' by Funeral for a Friend. It doesn't matter if you are not a fan because the into to this song is an amazing example of tapping. All notes on the 12th and 11th fret are tapped with the right hand, all other notes are tapped with the left hand.
e|------------------------------------------
B|--------------------------12--------------
G|-----12-----11-------------------11/12----
D|---9------9------9-12---9------9----------
A|-7------7------7------7------7------------
E|------------------------------------------

e|------------------------------------------
B|--------------------------12--------------
G|-----12-----11-------------------11/12----
D|---9------9------9-12---9------9----------
A|-7------7------7------7------7------------
E|------------------------------------------

e|------------------------------------------
B|--------------------------12--------------
G|-----12-----11-------------------11/12----
D|---5------5------5-12---5------5----------
A|-3------3------3------3------3------------
E|------------------------------------------ 

e|------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------12--------------|
G|-----12-----11-------------------11/12----|
D|---7------7------7-12---7------7----------|
A|-5------5------5------5------5------------|
E|------------------------------------------|
And that brings us to the end of the first Soloing Technique. It's a lengthy section but it's worth it. Experiment with it.

Sweep Picking Or Arpeggios

Welcome to the second Technique, a technique used by the most successful shredders of all time, Michael Angelo Batio, Zakk Wylde, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Randy Rhoads, Darrel 'Dimebag' R.I.P and Slash. I know that I'm not very good at sweeping but I do know the basics and some simple patterns. Please be patient with sweeping as it is extremely difficult to get very fast at it quickly. Lets start off with 2 string sweeping.
e|-----8-12--|
B|--10-------|
G|-----------|
D|-----------|
A|-----------|
E|-----------|
Looks simple hey, well it is, and 2 string sweep picking is the easiest form of sweeping. With sweeping it is important that you remember this, when sweeping a pattern that moves downwards, as the pattern above does, then your pick should be move only down as well. But, the last note must be an up pick. It is hard to explain in writing so if you do not understand you may need to find a video on Youtube of sweep picking. For two string sweep picking you must remember, "Down, Down, Up." Practice the above until you can play it at a reasonably fast pace. When you can do that it's time to learn some other patterns and put a little solo together. Try this using the same technique.
e|-----8-12-----8-12-----10-13----10-13----7-10----7-10------8-12----8-12--|
B|--10-------10-------12-------12--------9-------9--------10------10-------|
G|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
That is great fun when you can do it quickly so keep practising and maybe try changing the order around, just have fun. 3 String Sweep Picking. Getting a little more advanced now, it isn't as easy to pick up as 2 string but practice makes perfect. There is a slightly different picking pattern for this. "Down, Down, Down, Up, Up, Up" Here is your first exercise.
e|------12-17p12------|
B|----13--------13----|
G|--14------------14--|
D|--------------------|
A|--------------------|
E|--------------------|
To make it sound right you must take your finger off the note after you have played it. Make sure that you play the 17 pulled off to the 12 it is an up stroke. Start slowly and gradually build up speed. When you can play this comfortably at a reasonably fast pace continue onto the next exercise.
e|------12-17p12----------10-15p10----------7-12p7----------10-15p10------|
B|----13--------13------11--------11------8--------8------11--------11----|
G|--14------------14--12------------12--9------------9--12------------12--|
D|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
When you can play that clearly and at a good speed, then and only then will you be ready for 5 string sweeping, so practice that until your fingers bleed. 5 String Sweep Picking. Picking Pattern, "Down, Down, Down, Down, Down, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Down".
e|------------10-15p10------------|
B|----------11--------11----------|
G|--------12------------12--------|
D|------12----------------12------|
A|-10h13--------------------13-10-|
E|--------------------------------|
There is a different technique for this, on the D and G string you must use your third finger, but for this to work you have to make sure you can hit both notes with that one finger, you need to 'roll' your finger to get it smooth. When you can do that, try this
e|------------10-15p10-----------------------12-17p12------------|
B|----------11--------11-------------------13--------13----------|
G|--------12------------12---------------14------------14--------|
D|------12----------------12-----------14----------------14------|
A|-10h13--------------------13-10-12h15--------------------15-12-|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------|
When you have that at a good fast speed keep practising until it sounds clean. Then you have sweep picking done! I'm sorry it's taken so long to get all this down, but I hope it's helped and I look forward to your feedback.

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    darkwingedangel
    You should add something about tap sweeps, though. Like this one from Dethklok's "Crush My Battle Opponent's Balls": c.|--t17h12h8-----8---| g.|-----10-10----| d*|- ----9-----| a*|-----| f.|-----| C.|-----|
    Gib-Gib-son-son
    Slash uses some basic sweeps in some of his solos, not classic sweeps that you are probably thinking of. He uses two and three string sweeps occasionally.
    JBEADAM
    hey guys, also, if you work at it for a little while, practice it on acoustic. It requires a slightly higher amount of effort and then your electric playing will be even cleaner. Good article, thanks man.
    chookiecookie
    There is a different technique for this, on the D and G string you must use your third finger, but for this to work you have to make sure you can hit both notes with that one finger, you need to 'roll' your finger to get it smooth. you're not supposed to roll your fingers it makes you sloppy and it makes you want to do it on EVERY sweep ...i remember how hard it was to break that habit -.-" never again shall i take advice like that.
    ironwolg
    take James Hetfield and Slash out of the shredder thing and put in John Petrucci and Rusty Cooley lol love Hetfield but couldnt call him a shredder for the arpeggio section, i'd reccomend talking about muting
    Gib-Gib-son-son
    9Guitarist9 wrote: This is a really good lesson, but there is no tapping in the trooper solo by iron maiden.
    There isn't tapping in the version they played, but playing the solos in the song there is opportunity to use tapping while still following the notation of the song. It is how I play it, just to make it a bit more unique.
    9Guitarist9
    This is a really good lesson, but there is no tapping in the trooper solo by iron maiden.
    Brian Bucket
    HAHAHAHA!!!!! Slash a Successful Shredder that Sweep picks, that's even funnier than Brian Regan.
    Steiger
    Hi GGss, I thought I would post this comment just to say thanks : I had read your other lesson more than a year ago and have not looked back since. Dont get me wrong, I am no shredder (yet!) but my speed and accuracy have improved tenfold and it helped me to move on from beginner to intermediate level. This is another simply explained lesson that I can easily relate to. I generally try and play "eruption"(at a slow pace) but this shows me where the best tapping per string comes to light. Thanks Again! PS, Just one question - is it possible to sweep on 6 strings or is that just banana's ?
    amiine
    that was pretty good i really like the part about sweep picking can't wait to show it off to my friends
    Gib-Gib-son-son
    Originally I had another part where I first had sweeping, and I had to change it quickly, that's why I have James Hetfield under the sweeping section, but I think he occasionally uses 3 string sweeps.
    Gib-Gib-son-son
    Cool Z wrote: I think it'd be better to bridge the gap between 3 and 5string sweeps with some 4string rather than jumping straight between them, but good licks either way.
    I'm sorry that I forgot about 4 string sweeps. You can work out 4 string sweeps from using the 5 string section. Simply do 5 string sweeps without the A string. Hope that helped.
    Cool Z
    I think it'd be better to bridge the gap between 3 and 5string sweeps with some 4string rather than jumping straight between them, but good licks either way.