It's a myth that you must play lightning fast on guitar in order to create guitar solos that grab the interest of others. Fact is, you can play totally killer guitar solos without being able to play shred guitar techniques of any kind.
In order to do this, you will need to create guitar phrases that surprise your listeners by presenting them with unexpected musical ideas. Don't worry this is not as difficult as it may seem and there are tons of creative approaches that you can use to do this in your guitar solos. For the rest of this article, I will show you an effective step by step approach to creating attention-grabbing guitar solos.
Before I continue, it is CRUCIAL that you watch the lead guitar soloing video below to hear the detailed explanation behind this guitar soloing idea. When I say it is crucial, I mean it - If you do not do this first, you will not get the maximum benefit from the information in the rest of this article. Once you have watched this video, continue reading and I will guide you through the step by step process that will help you create totally killer guitar solos.
Okay, assuming you have already watched the video above, you are ready to continue reading this article. Follow these steps to write guitar solos with phrasing that "demands" the attention of your listeners:
Step Number One:
Begin by writing a guitar phrase in common time (4/4) that uses one of the following choices: a group of eighth notes or a group of sixteenth notes. The phrase should be a repeating pattern that can be easily played over and over (starting over every 8 or 16 notes), so it's important to use the same note values here. After making your selection, play the phrase you created over a backing track. Here is a 4/4 percussion backing track that I have provided for your convenience. Play your melody over this track now.
Keep in mind that you are not creating an entire guitar phrase here. The musical idea you have created only lasts for two beats total. In addition, I recommend that you use the same guitar phrasing style from the video in the link above to make your idea really stick out. Alternatively, you can repeat each note in your guitar phrase twice as in the example below:
(this is just an example, you are welcome to think of your own ideas as well)
Step Number Two:
Play the short guitar phrase you created over the 4/4 percussion backing track and repeat it many times. This step is important because:
A. Repeating the guitar phrase several times creates a reoccurring pattern. This has the effect of establishing a strong expectation in the mind of your listeners that the pattern will "keep going".
B. It helps make the next step even more surprising and powerful.
Step Number Three:
Now you are going to surprise the listener with a totally unexpected twist to your guitar phrase. You are going to create a "three against four" feel as I explained and played for you in the video I linked you to at the beginning of this article. A very basic method for doing this is changing your phrase by removing some notes so it can fit into a time signature with three beats to a measure. At the same time you will continue repeating it over the 4/4 backing track. Compare the tablature below to the one above to see an example of how this can be done:
Pay close attention to the fact that the rhythm of the notes remains unchanged (as you noticed in the video). By following this example, the music will play in 4/4 while your shorter guitar phrase will play against it beginning again on a different pulse than the music itself. This creates a sense of strong musical tension that will be unavoidable to anyone who listens to your guitar solo. This will absolutely DEMAND their attention!
Step Number Four:
After enough repetitions, your shorter guitar phrase will match up with the downbeat of the 4/4 backing track (since you didn't change the note rhythms). Next you can choose to do any of the following:
A. Maintain the three against four feeling by playing the shorter guitar phrase again.
B. Start over by playing your original guitar phrase from step one.
C. Start over by creating a new guitar solo phrase.
Notice: Although playing guitar in this manner will certainly create unexpected results for your listeners (in a good way), if you play the same idea over many times it will create new expectations for them. In other words, you must "balance" the process of introducing new ideas and "developing" them in order to keep your playing interesting for your audience. The longer you repeat an idea, the less "novel" it feels to the listener (even if it is a really cool idea).
Also, you are not limited to using the idea of three against four only in lead guitar phrasing situations. You can also go through the steps above to use this idea for creating new rhythm guitar riffs. There are countless ways to creatively integrate this idea into your music and many more basic examples than I can get into in a single article.
Now that you have learned the unique guitar phrasing approach discussed in this article, apply it into your guitar solos to unlock endless musical possibilities for your guitar playing!
Get effective guitar solo tips to help you improve your guitar phrasing skills.
About The Author:
Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and the guitar player for the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He gives instruction to guitar players from all over the world in his effective online guitar lessons. Visit his web site to get free guitar player resources and to read more guitar improvement articles.