Guitar Soloing - A Concept For Begginers

Soloing is more than just a couple of scales. Here are some examples.

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As I learned, every guitarrist passes through a phase of accomplishment. A phase where we are confused about our soloing. Soloing is more than just a couple of scales, and patterns. Soloing is just like paintings, as well you can also make the guitar talk, you can make her cry, and make everyone around cry. I play the guitar, 'cause it's a way of expressing my feelings, my thoughts, my anger, my entire being. But as the begginer I am, the truth is that I don't know everything about a guitar. I believe that art doesn't come only from techniques and gear. I believe that art doesn't exist without that spark called: creativity. I don't think I need to learn all about musical theory so I can play a guitar, I really don't. The concept of a great guitarrist for most people is Ynguie Malmsteem. I also believe he is great, but not an example to follow. Hendrix was awesome too, but I also think I wouldn't like to be exactly like him. I think that we have too much techniques, but we are really poor talking about creativity, feeling, and personality. There are too many fast guitarrist in this world, tons of people who can play Van Halen's Eruption solo, I know a couple of persons who can play Malmsteem stuff too. I can't. But, why do we need people who can play everyone's stuff??? We need musicians, we need innovators. Not CD players. Do you think you must know all the modal scales??? All the modal scales in every key?? Memorize them?? It's not essential but it is really useful. You must not learn all of them, but you should have a clear concept about them, I mean, at least you should know they exist and know they might be useful sometime. The main concept of this lesson is that: nobody, I mean nobody in this world is going to give you what god didn't: creativity. John Lennon didn't have to be a full speed guitarrist to turn the world upside down. He was only a great composer. I'll give you a couple of examples of great minds: David Gilmour (from Pink Floyd), Carlos Santana (from Santana), Eric Clapton, Silvio Rodriguez (You might not have heard of him, he's Cuban). Can you imagine what can you do with just one Scale??? I am going to give you an example, the Harmonic Minor Scale and the Pentatonic minor, both are awesome and unique scales. Gary Moore used the Harmonic minor scale for blues sound, in the song 'I still got the Blues', Carlos Santana gave it a "latino" sound at 'Maria Maria', Walter Giardino used it as a barroc sound at 'Preludio Obsesivo'. The unforgetable solo on 'Confortably Numb' by David Gilmour was only a B pentatonic Minor, and he used a D pentatonic minor for 'Another Brick in The Wall part II'... Clapton was called god in London. I mean, there are awesome minds, which only need 5 notes in order to make a great solo, just like Hendrix, or Stevie Ray Vaughan. It's not about the scale. It's about the feeling you give to it. If you don't improve your soloing with a bend, a puff-off, etc.. your solo may still sound like a scale. So what can you do in order to play a good solo?? First of all, you must know the key of the song.. in order to do sound okay. Mostly the key of a song is the first note you start playing on it. Example, you have this combination of chords: ' E- G A E- ' Easy right? Then the key of the melody would be the E-. Now that you know the solo key, the sound of the solo will depend on the scale you use for playing it. Probably Malmsteem would chose an E harmonic minor scale.. maybe Vaughan would chose an E pentatonic Minor. It depends on you now. I really don't belive you must know everything about modal theory, but you should try to learn some of it. To play a good guitar solo: - Be inspired, and be creative enough to make such a sublime thing. - Know the key of the song. - Be sure about the sound you want to get, I mean, rock, metal, etc, etc. - Chose the scale for it. (Pentatonic, Aeloian, Harmonic Minor, Major, Minor.. etc) - Play it. Note: If you would learn theory, you would know about mixing modes, etc.. but the only thing I know is that you can mix scales, that's easy, you can turn the melody of the solo, by changing the scale, but not the key.. I know that there are key changes while soloing, like they do in jazz, but how?? I don't really know. Examples: A piece of 'Confortably Numb' Solo. (David Gilmour) Key: B(-) Scale: Pentatonic Minor. Check out how you can use the first pentatonic minor pattern... that's all about.. creativity.
|---------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------|
|--7--9--9>(11)vvvvvv--9>(11)>9>7---7--9--9--7-------7vvvvvvv---|
|---------------------------------9-------------9--9------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------|

|-------------------------------------------10------------------------------|
|--------10------10--12--12>(15)>12>10--12----------------------------------|
|---/11------11---------------------------------------7--9--9>(10)>9>7------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------9vvvv|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
A piece of 'Young Loust' Solo. (David Gilmour) Key: E(-) Scale: Pentatonic Minor As I said before: Creativity.
|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------15-15-15-15---15---15-----------|
|--------------------------2-2-2ahb~-----------14br-14br-14br-12------|
|-----------5b-7-7-7b-5~-----------------------------------------14~\-|
|-------5-7-----------------------------------------------------------|
|-3h5/7---------------------------------------------------------------|

|--------12-12--12-12--12-12-12-12-12-12--------15b----|
|-12/15--15b----15b----15b---15b---15b--15br-12--------|
|------------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------------|

|-----------------------------------------|
|-15br-15p12------------------------------|
|------------14br~--12-14-14b-14-14ahbr---|
|-----------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------|
Don't worry if you aren't the fastest guitarrist on the world, David wasn't too but he was a piece of the key, that moved a whole generation (Pink Floyd), and he had what others didn't: Creativity. You see?? You only need 5 notes, to make immortal solos, like last ones. You can also see immortal intros, which were made with only one note.. like this one, I bet you have heard it.
     D  C 
|--------------15----14-----|--------------15----14-----| 
|-----15--------------------|-----15--------------------| 
|:-------14-12----14----14-:|:-------14-12----14----14-:| 
|--12-----------------------|--14-----------------------| 
|---------------------------|---------------------------| 
|---------------------------|---------------------------| 

     G                           D 
|--------------15----14-----|--------------15----14-----| 
|-----15--------------------|-----15--------------------| 
|:-12----14-12----14----14-:|:-------14-12----14----14-:| 
|---------------------------|--12-----------------------| 
|---------------------------|---------------------------| 
|---------------------------|---------------------------|
It's the intro of Guns N' Roses' 'Sweet Child O' mine' It was made over a D major chord. Easy to play, but I bet no one of you would come out with something as great as this. Harmonic Minor isn't only used by Malmsteem or Tolkki, Santana used it on 'Maria Maria' A piece of 'Maria Maria' by Carlos Santana on an A Harmonic Minor (chorus).
|-12-----12-13-12-------------12-----12-17-12-------------12--12-----|
|------------------13------13------------------13------13 --15-------|
|-----------------------14--------------------------14---------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------| 

|--12-13-12-------------12--12-12--12-12-12--12-12-12-------|
|------------13------13-----13-13--13-13-13--13-13-13-15----|
|-----------------14-------------------------------------14-|
|-----------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------|
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205 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    sential
    i like where you are going with this, but for me, i'm such a musical theory idiot, i dont even know what harmonic and pentatonic mean. Like I dont understand how you look at (or hear) something and say oh, that's pentatonic or hamonic, in the key of "d" or whatever. Could you somehow break it down a little more...
    axylrosealonzo
    i feel you bro... what is this harmonic or pentatonic scale thingy.. could you explain it further more ?
    ohdarn323
    "For beginners" my ass, I'm not even a beginner and I don't understand half this lol.
    MiNDspiN
    very nice lesson...Pentatonic mean 5 notes guys...Penta = 5. Harmonic..well i dont have a clue.
    stinkykuch
    i think its a little hard for beginners but its a pretty good lesson all-in-all but dont put the > sign in any of your tabs no one know what that means but you ..(2.5 out of 5)
    Stonefalcon
    Part One I will start by saying that I've started to learn the electric guitar for about half-a-year now and consider myself as an 'intermediate' (ie. neither beginner nor pro). I'm in my very late adolescence (yeah I know it's a VERY old age to start to learn the guitar!) but, considering that I've played the piano and flute early, it wasn't difficult for me to take up the 6-stringed instrument. I feel this was a rather good lesson (in my case, a good read instead of a "lesson" in fact!). You see Ramiro, the problem with your article (I've put the word problem into inverted commas as it isn't 'really' a problem in itself) is that your article is NEITHER meant for real beginners NOR... for advanced players! While the first won't understand much, the latter already know too well everything what you've written (and that includes me....). Funnily enough, your article cannot please both parties! If the article was meant for beginners, it had to be much much more basic (yeah, it might seem foolish but it would have been more instructive to SHOW the pentatonic, minor scales and and how they are constructed actually!!!). Other things u could add: what notes are removed from the major/minor scales to make pentatonic, blues; the difference between natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor; an example of AT LEAST ONE MODE!! (coz it may be again foolish to say so, but IF YOU DON'T SHOW people the actual thing they don't understand! It might seem stupid but nobody knows that 1+1=2 before he/she has been told it's like that in the first place!). Yeah you're right: minor scales are gloomier, more emotive scales (like classical music is mostly harmonic minor...couldn't you have put this in your article? lol) After much thought, I think (..yeah it's only after much thought that I think...kinda funny) that your article DOESN'T AT ALL reflect the title "Guitar Soloing - A Concept For Begginers", not even "Guitar Soloing"! Your message is about the "feel in doing solos" or something like that... Many readers, I'm sure were deceived due to this wrong title! Ain't I right, thugs? Yeah, I truly understand you getting pissed off with UG editing your post (I would have been really outraged at this were this to be my article!!!) and conceive also the fact that you wanted to write what YOU felt on soloing by famous guitarists like Gilmour etc. I feel it is problem of titling...not more than that.
    metallicman
    I thought the article was "inspiring" but other than a few solos to practice on like sweet child o'mine i didn't really find much that helped me. What i find useful is just practising solos until u know it by heart but i what i would like to know is how guitarists move their fingers so fast without thinking what note comes next. The article was alright though, maybe just abit more detail could have made it better, but good job man anywayz!
    playerwannabe
    I'll tell you my idea's on this subject of metallicmans question. You have to be able to hear the next note before you use it so you will go to the right one. "What the **** does that mean?" I read an article recently that said Vai and Satriani hear what the next note will sound like a split second before the get to it. They only way to do this is to know what goes together and what does not. So like all the pro's say, learn where the A note is everywhere on the fretboard and then learn where the others are, Then you can learn what notes make up what key and what chords fit in each key (This is the 'T' word Theory), then where the guitar string becomes the heart string is knowing when to use what (bends, slides, hammer on - pull offs etc...) It's this part that makes a scale musical just look at the tab for Santana's Europa most of this is on the first 3 strings I think it's the key of C so if you use the Pentatonic shapes the C-A-G-E-D shapes as shown in several articles here and place these shapes over the notes for the C scale on the first 3 strings using bends, slides etc.. you might come up with some near beer version of this instrumental. I personally believe that you really need to be creative, i've been playing a long time never tried to learn any theory until the last 6 months or so and have learned a lot of theory but I can't put a solo together to save my life but damn it I'll keep trying in hopes that one day shit just unlocks for me and out of my finger tips flows something that any of my guitar heros would sit down and listen 2 and say "Dude that shit was smooth, I think I might need some more practice" (Wife smacks the back of my head and screams wake up loser, you need to shovel the driveway and pick up dog shit) Oh shit I had that dream again, sorry.
    alguitbox
    tanx a mil u must of spent a lot of time on dis i jus cant find out how to solo (i no about keys nd all dat)but i cnt make d rhythm go wiv song rhythm
    hendrix_4ever
    gd article i think u shud try learning some hendrix, the solos in his songs really help develop your guitar playing
    Alejandro Pena
    hey!!!!! i'm a guitar player ...i studied 2 years in college, went to new york to learn from the people playing...i've been played for 15 years...i know harmonic , pentatonic, scales changes...etc.etc.....but that's same conclucion i got!!!!!....music is so simple but hard at the same time. this article is very helpful but i must add....sure you can be creative and play an awesome solo with just one scale!!...thas for sure!! but first you have to know it preeeeety, preeeetive well, in order to be creative and get some tools..... p.d. i think know a scale just one!!! even one key!!!! is the F**** hardest thing i know..... peace thanks!!!!!
    BlueTails
    good article for those of you who keep yakking about "just make stuff up"...leave the lesson forum these are for technique, let the guy talk about his scale exercises or what not. and "sweet child of mine" is a great intro, i love the music virtuoso who was explaining why its overrated...send me ur brilliance
    rdbronce
    To every one: My name is Ramiro, I am from Bolivia (South america), i am the one who wrote this article. First of all, SORRY, i am really sorry about my english, i KNOW it's not the best, but i actually try to do it somehow understandable. I appreciate the comments you did on my work, thanks to everybody, what really pisses me off, is that the article is not complete, indeed, UG team has the right to change whatever they may not like in the article, that's why, as i can see, my name isn't figuring out, instead, it says that UG team wrote it, i cannot believe it. There are so many things missing, i hope you can contact me anytime you want: sick_floyd@hotmail.com or rdbronce@yahoo.es Thanks everyone who participated on this, but let me correct some things. What i tried to say in this article, is that, music is THE WAY OF EXPRESSION, the way each person faces reality and comunicates it. What really bothers me is the some really dumb comments like 'SephirothRaiku' just take a look at your comment, your opinion is just redundant. Okay look, practice is the key of perfection, indeed, if there is some style you want to play, first of all, you gotta know the basic techniques that the genre involves, like pentatonic scales sound more bluesy than others, right?? Then, practice the scale, learn it, that's the point, if you control the scale perfectly, you'll discover that by the time you may want to compose a solo, things are going to come just easily, actually things are going to come naturally, let the flow, pick up the sound you want and let it flow. Making music is not as hard as many people think, it's just a little bit of creativity and inspiration, both make a powerful combination. This comment seems stupid to me: '7 note solo' like Muse. Okay, the deal there, is that I DON'T CARE about it, LOOK, what did that solo needed? I CAN BET MY SOUL, that the solo was made on a SCALE right? Anyway even a chromatic scale could have been used right? (LOL)The fact is that SCALES sound DIFFERENT from each other, that's where you found the SOUND, MAJOR SCALEs sound happier that MINOR SCALES, and stuff like that, every scale someway it's own personality, combining the, and complex harmonizing is something you just need to study. SephirothRaiku, it seems Muse guys paid you to write some stuff right? Okay guys, actually i feel really pissed off, about all the things UG team took out from my article, actually this is an inspirational comment, if you think this is bullshit, just don't read it, and please, don't make any foolish comments 'cause you make some people get confused. By the way, when i talked about sweet child o'mine solo, and i said 'would you come out with something as great as that'? I just don't get why so many people got pissed off, it's like that comment really affected them, actually if i would have a lil bit self steem, i would say: YES, I ACTUALLY CAN COME OUT WITH SOMETHING MUCH GREATER THAN THAT. That would be a seriously optimistic coment, but anyway, i actually don't care, just don't bother yourself if you are going to come out with your 'I feel like shit' comments cause you don't want any effort to play somehow good, i actually don't care about a 3 note solo, a full distortion solo, i was talking about the way to make one, the rest just depends on you, just don't blame me about the shitty music you hear, or the lazy music spirit you have. To the ones who liked this article THANKS AGAIN, i really feel pissed of, and, sorry about my english again. Sincerely yours. Ramiro sick_floyd@hotmail.com rdbronce@yahoo.es
    Barbapapa
    please can you put a sample sound on the scales that your talking about cozi cant follow the tabs without its real sound.
    W4T3V3R
    OMG what a load of bull shit at the start, everyone like that should throw em selves of a building, you people all the same " oh i express myself thru guitar oh oh oh!" say what you feel idiot, nobody cares how you play as long as it rocks!
    jhammer939
    Wow!!!!! What an awesome lesson in guitar and life. Thanks. Keep the articles coming..
    Stonefalcon
    Part One I will start by saying that I've started to learn the electric guitar for about half-a-year now and consider myself as an 'intermediate' (ie. neither beginner or pro). I'm in my very late adolescence (yeah I know it's VERY old to start to learn the guitar!) considering that I've played the piano and flute early, it wasn't difficult for me to take up the 6-stringed instrument. I feel this was a good lesson (in my case, a good read instead of a "lesson" in fact!). You see Ramiro, the problem with your article (I've put the word problem into inverted commas as it isn't 'really' a problem in itself) is that your article is NEITHER meant for real beginners NOR... for advanced players! While the first won't understand much, the latter already know too well everything what you've written (and that includes me....). Funnily enough, your article cannot please both parties! If the article was meant for beginners, it had to be much much more basic (yeah, it might seem foolish but it would have been more instructive to SHOW the pentatonic, minor scales and and how they are constructed actually!!!). Other things like: what notes are removed from the major/minor scales to make pentatonic, blues; the difference between natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor; an example of AT LEAST ONE MODE!! (coz it may be again foolish to say so, but IF YOU DON'T SHOW people the actual thing they don't ubderstand! It might seem stupid but nobody knows that 1+1=2 before he/she has been told it's like that in the first place!). Yeah you're right: minor scales are gloomier, more emotive scales (like classical music is mostly harmonic minor...couldn't you have put this in your article? lol) After much thought, I think (..yeah it's only after much thought that I think...kinda funny) that your article DOESN'T AT ALL reflect the title "Guitar Soloing - A Concept For Begginers", not even "Guitar Soloing"! Your message is about the "feel in doing solos" or something like that... Many readers, I'm sure were deceived due to this wrong title! Ain't I right, thugs? Yeah, I truly understand you getting pissed off with UG editing your post (I would have been really outraged at this were this to be my article!!!) and also the fact that you wanted to write what YOU felt on soloing by famous guitarists like Gilmour etc. I feel it is problem of titling...not more than that.
    Strummin4him
    tom_delonge: gud column. but it cud of been in a bit more detale becuz some of us are advansed soloists. but a good aricle
    it made me laugh to see him call himself advanced.
    JB Hero
    Surf3r: Can anyone tell me what hammer and pull-off is? [POSTED: 28 June 2005 - 22:54]| Hammering on is A LOT easier to do then explain... but I'll try Put your index finger on a note ( 6th. string 12th. fret will do ) Pluck the note While the note is sounding Put your Ring finger HARD onto the string at the at the 15th. fret WITHOUT plucking the string again so that the note will jump to the higher pitch... ( I Wish I could draw TAB lol) this is hammering on going from one lower note to a higher note with only ONE pluck. Pulling off is the same thing in reverse ie. pluck the higher note in this case 6th. string 15th. fret then raising your RING finger QUICKLY so that the note jumps to the lower note 6th. string 12th. Fret...(Now YOU also wish I could draw TAB lol)...As I said it's A LOT EASIER TO DO then explain. It goes without saying you could use any finger (Or thumb if you felt that way inclined) on Any string at any fret. BTW... If you just hold the lower note and quickly hammer on and pull off with another finger WITHOUT any plucking of the string it is known as a trill and is very effective ( 'Tis also the basis of Two Handed Tapping )
    hyburn
    Finally. it has been dumbbed down to my level. thanks bro. Got any other helpful hints.please email them to me, if you got 'em andrew.roussakis@sympatico.ca
    tbonetke
    The tabs are helpful, but must we sit and listen to this persons hackneyed rant about the "true nature" of music? Though the individual probably bloats like a toad at the vast quantity of commondations you've heaped on him, it is only a cursory beginning at best. We could all use work on our guitar skills, but this person needs to pick up a book with depth, and concentrate on concise, original composition if he feels so drawn to the poetic.
    A1D3N-T4B
    hi there all. i dont really know any of this stuff yet, coz only been playing guitar for 3 days now so absalute beginner. but i am sure this stuff will come in handy when i am ready for it.
    playgtr055
    burtdawgg: i know major, minor, harmonic minor, and pentatonic scales, but i dont know how to apply them into a solo, and everything you just wrote didnt help a bit. i agree man. i can improvise with scales but it never sounds like a solo to me. ive been trying to solo for about six months and i can play other guitarists solos just not mine.
    dive-inme
    Great article, dude, but idiots like me whow dont have any ear training and i cant tell what note i am playing what key what scale more over i dont have any clue about the names of the chords either, all i play is what comes right to me what feels right to me, i think if you could please elaborate more on the basics or atleast give us the websites where we can learn more about the basics and names of the scales and chords then it will be alot more easier for us to work out and creat some solos, but i bet no one can ever creat something as awesome as slash, gilmour, hendrix, and eddie van halen, but then again i totally agree that we dont have to be like anyone of them to be a good guitarist, we dont need to be a shredder to be good. Rock on fellas.
    Surf3r
    Thanks JB hero, good job explaining it, but the day I posted the comment, I found out how to do it, thanks though! =)
    pounda
    I do agree w/ futuremetallord too, there's a lot make-up stuff in solos, but guys "stairway to heaven" it's like the less difficult song to play solos in. Tell me about improvising on something like "walk this way" or "know your enemy"...ever happened to sound like a complete ******* while you improvise this stuff? Guys we need to put into solo either heart AND brain.
    Megatron
    You make a lot of sense in what you're saying, and I understand what you mean, but I can't help feel you're putting the reader down a wee shade.....especially in the comment abnout "Sweet Child of Mine" as I believe every guitarist has the ability to create something iconic.....and many bands in their own right do- I can't remember half of the live and unsigned metal bands I've heard over the years that have come off with far more profound and enthralling intros, such as the first song from Scavenger's "Madness to our Method" with a personally iconic bass solo coupled with a crunchy intro riff much akin to someone like Jon Schaffer, only heavier and with a rawer tone. Sweet Child of mine in my opinion is an overrated song, and is only iconic because it's a pop song.....it's still on the radio and students are big into it- so you'll always hear it. It's just another song as far as I'm concerned. David Gilmour on the other hand- now that's a guy that can make a guitar, a crowd, an ice queen and the Finnish cry in equal measure every time he creates a solo.....good call on focusing on him for a while, it was very informative. Thanks, but this is not helping me, as I'm still a beginner who is looking for a "For Beginners" topic that'll teach me a few things, rather than being a little too leany towards theory. Thanks anyway, and by all means keep it up!!
    Wolf1915
    This helps a lot! Now I have some definite goals to reach, research to do and practice to complete.