Lead Guitar: Soloing on One String

Learn how to perform a guitar solo using only one string...

Ultimate Guitar
Guitar players can get too involved with playing scale patterns vertically and neglect spending their study time thinking about playing scales in a more horizontal manner. In this lesson, I will discuss how to approach playing guitar solos to the "horizontal extreme" by discussing scale use and application along just one single guitar string.

Too many guitarists get hooked on playing only within the common "box shape" patterns. When a more linear (horizontal) approach is introduced, a shift in the way scales and solos both end up being perceived (and how they sound) will occur. Enjoy the lesson...

Why Learn Scales on Just One String?

Learning to take advantage of the unique sounds of playing a scale along one guitar string (horizontally) can open up some pretty cool ideas for your lead playing. The lateral motion, slides, bending ideas and phrasing concepts will be quite unique. Plus, this approach will force players to start thinking about how their scales look along the length of the neck on a single-string, (something that is foreign to a lot of guitarists).

Breaking Away From Box-Patterns

Breaking away from the all too common "in-position" box patterns is a huge part of why this "single-string" approach is so valuable. It will also have a by-product of introducing players to a number of unique sounds within their solos. The technical effects produced with single-string; slides, bends, and interval leaps (when applied to only one string) will generate a very different musical direction for a guitar players leads /improvisations.

The Guitar Is Designed for This

The guitar offers us the ability to play vertically and horizontally, but very few students of the instrument spend much of their study time learning to play solos in a linear way. Since the strings of the guitar are strung horizontal, it is natural for us to perceive the neck very horizontally. By limiting the way we practice playing our leads, (placing more emphasis upon horizontal scale layout), we can wind-up with a fresh perspective to our scale patterns and this will help us to form new musical sounds when we perform our guitar solos.

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About the Author:
Andrew Wasson is a 1992 Graduate of Hollywood California's Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T.). He has operated his Canadian Music School, Creative Guitar Studio, for the last 20+ years teaching thousands of guitarists. You can learn more at his official website.

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