Tips For Guitarists: Even More Soloing Secrets

This is another lesson I'm posting on how to add some spice to your guitar solos as the last one seemed to go down quite well. Need to know why your solos just don't sound like the solos on records, or how you can get your solos to sound 'not so clique', or just want a new lick to practice? I'll do my best to help.

Ultimate Guitar
I'm going to start from tip number six as I got up to number 5 last time, but I hope this isn't going to confuse anyone. I'm putting this note here so that there's slightly less wrong with this lesson. Tip no. 6: Fretboard Mobility One of the most often repeated mistakes that guitarists can make sometimes happens when they stay in one position on the fretboard too long. You see, each string has different overtones to each note played on it, as the thickness of the strings varies so too does the tone produced. However that is not the main problem being addressed in this tip; it's what happens when you play notes continually over the same group of frets. It's like choosing your diet. Too much sweet stuff and you'll be sick of it pretty quickly(with no offense to his fans, I'll use Eddie van Halen as an example. Don't get me wrong, 'eruption' was brilliant, but it's been a long silent time since then from him in my opinion), too much blandness and you soon become bored(for example Eric Clapton). The tricky part is finding the right balance. As a guitarist it's important for you not to become stuck in one frame of mind, so looking at guitarists who use a wide variety of techniques is a good starting point(Joe Satriani, Guthrie Govan, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert, Steve Morse, and the guitarist's guitarist himself Jeff Beck who plays everything from heavy metal to techno-funk). The whole point of this variation is like choosing a wider pallet of paints to use for a piece of art. You may not use all of them, and you'll almost certainly have some left over at the end of the day, but at least you had all that you needed. Tab key:- --4-- = pluck the string shown while fretting the string on the fret numbered --h6- = hammer-on your finger onto the string on the fret numbered, doesn't require the string to be plucked --p2- = pull-off you finger from the string shown to sound a note while fretting the string on the fret numbered -8b9- = luck the string shown while fretting the string on the fret numbered, then bend the string until the note sounded becomes the same as the note sounded on the fret shown to the right of the b. E.g., 8b9 means pluck the string while fretting the string on the 8th fret, then bend the string one semitone/one fret higher in pitch. -8b9r8- = same a regular bend but allow string to return to regular position on fret numbered; think of b as meaning bend, and r as meaning relax --t12- = tap on the fret numbered firmly with one of the fingers in your plucking hand -t9r5- = tap on the fret numbered firmly with one of the fingers in your plucking hand then release your finger from the string either by simply pulling it off or twanging it, but fret the string on the fret numbered to sound that note after the finger tapping the string has been removed -mb7- = bend the string slightly after plucking the string number shown, but don't bend it so that raises the note in pitch by a fret. / = Slide finger(s)up the fretboard to the fret shown \ = Slide finger(s)down the fretboard to the fret shown --9v- = use vibrato by wavering the string up and down by bending it to get a sort of wavy sound
This is a very basic lick in minor pentatonic in E. It should sound relatively like a solo but still feel like it's missing something. I'm nowhere near a fantastic guitarist so please bear with me if these licks don't suit your playing style
This mini-solo should feel more like a solo as there is more movement along the fretboard. This is kind of what I'm trying to say with this tip. If you want to get the audience's attention with a solo, you need to give them more to be interested in, rather than doing the same thing endlessly. I'm not going to force you to do anything you don't want to though, and all these tips are tips, not rules. Tip no. 7: Plucking-hand muting One of the problems I've seen many players have is that they can't figure out how to mute notes successfully so that they can still hear the note but it's slightly muffled; metal players will recognize this as a sort of 'chug' sound. Look closely at where your hand is muting the strings. If it's too far away from the bridge(where your strings are sort of nailed onto the body. It will look like a metal bar from most guitars near where you're plucking the strings) you will completely silence the note. Keep your hand on the strings and slowly move it back until you hear the sound you're after. his may be slightly harder for guitars with tremolo systems on them. Tip no. 8: Octave plucking This is a technique that is scarcely used but is there for those who want to use it. It's a technique that mimics the effect generated by octave pedals by sounding the same note in two different octaves.
This is an example of this technique in a lick. Keep in mind that this will almost certainly require fingerpicking or hybrid picking to be pulled off correctly. It's definitely good practice for people looking into that style of playing. Breaking up the monotony of a solo with this would be how I would use this, as it's hard to work this technique into a riff, usually. Tip no. 9: Making Chords Into A Solo This isn't impossible. Find some chords that you think fit pretty well into a solo, and then see where they should go. This is an excellent way of making a solo sound thicker, and if you want an example of how this is used look into Jimi Hendrix playing All along the watchtower. There's a funk guitar bit right in the middle of the solo, but because of where it is it still fits. Blurring the line between rhythm and lead isn't a bad idea, but it strongly enforces the melody of the song. What this means is that if you're playing something with a strong melody like 'all along the watchtower', it will sound good. However if you're playing something much more riff-based like 'blackened' or 'the thing that should not be' by Metallica, it probably won't work. It's more reluctant to fit into songs with more notes in their riffs as then all the notes in the chords have to be in the scales or modes that you're playing in. It's a tough theory to crack as it's soloing and chords blurred into one, but look for lessons on it and It is a very good trick to have in your pocket. That's all the tips I have for now, but feel free to let me know about any problems you have with your playing that I can help out with. Take care guys and girls.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Frank Stone
    I have to translate this note, before got it right! It's too hard. Plz some one say it again use only Russian characters. ))
    when i read this one name comes to mind. almost all of his 60 some solos. all strecth from 12-19 and he hardly ever moves his hand. kirk hammett. it gets old.
    Yeah I get what you mean. His guitar teacher Joe Satriani always varies what he plays, even if it's a song using almost the exact same scales and the same key he'll make the solos sound different. But hey that's just my opinion. One technique I should go into at some point would be multi-finger tapping. Personally I like to get ideas from everywhere so that I have a clear view of which ones don't work.