A combination of creativity and structure lies at the core of the guitar. While the playing style may change based on the genre in question, fundamentally a guitar lends both soul and structure to a song. Most rock songs in particular become famous for their guitar solos which require an amazing amount of skill, personality, and creativity to come out well.

Now, call it familiarity or call it contempt, many of us do not like listening to the music that we make just (like we do not like eating the food we have cooked ourselves). While that may partly account for why your guitar solo does not sound good to you, there may be more to it than that. Do any of the below sound familiar to you?

Playing to Impress and not Playing to Express

Many of us are prone to this fallacy; in fact it is not restricted to kids in school and college consciously playing to impress. Even experienced guitarists can fall prey to this tendency. What playing to impress often does is that it pushed us beyond our skill levels which generally means playing too fast or getting too technical and hence missing out on the soulfulness of the music.

man playing the guitar on a bus
Image Courtesy of YouTube

Neither of these does much for the tone of the solos. Instead it becomes frenzied, strained, fast playing that merely runs through a bunch of notes up and down.

Make no mistake about it, pushing yourself beyond your skill limits is marvelous provided it is done during jamming and practice. Not so much when rehearsing for performances or during a performance. It requires amazing skill to play fast, but even more to play quality tones at speed. Speed automatically comes with experience and practice.

Weak Melody or Tune

Whatever be the genre or type of song, melody is the king for most of the songs. The lead guitar forms the melody section along with the vocals and other instruments like the piano. Hence one cannot emphasize enough how much melody is vital for solos on the guitar.

side view of a man playing guitar
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

If you take genres like rock, pop and blues, you would often find that the guitar drives the melodic progression of the song. Your playing may be skilful but if the melody is not appealing, the solo is not going to sound good. On the other hand, you can see how many songs have been released with a very basic riff and simple solo section which have gone on to become fabulous hits. Melody matters.

Insufficient Practice

Playing a solo is among the most difficult things that a musician can be called upon to do. If you want to master solos, you absolutely need to spend extra time outside the band’s jamming time practicing. Going in and proposing a solo section to the band or trying out a new solo for the first time on the day of the performance could be a recipe for a disaster.

Unrealistically High Goals

There is nothing wrong for aiming too high but at times, it could be a mental block in your being able to play excellent solos. Yes, the guitarist from Metallica did come up with something awesome and so did Axl Rose. But those guys who came up with these fresh sounding, brilliant solos have been playing for around 25 years.

man playing the guitar
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Simple and familiar-sounding patterns may not be bad for solos at all. In fact, if you take several alternative and country bands, solos are often fairly simple and familiar, yet still sound amazing. The lesson to be learned is, it is not necessarily about playing something radically new; the secret to a fabulous solo may well lie in playing a familiar pattern and taking the tune into a somewhat different direction with some of the notes. Sometimes, that is all you need to play a prolific solo.

Not Using Effects Properly

With the popularity of electronic and electro-infused music today, a vast range of effects can be applied on top of your electric guitar to produced enhanced and modified tones. Sometimes these work well and sometimes they do not.

If you think you have a marvelous thing going with the pattern you are playing and the basic tune you have established, and the solo is still not that enticing, check the effects that you are employing. It may well be that the amount of distortion or saturation you are using is not quite right. Experimenting without the effects will soon tell you if the effect is not working very well.

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5 essential skills to play a great guitar solo

guitar solos 1Hey guys and welcome back to our Guitar Soloing lesson series. In the first lesson you have learnt some basic left and right hands exercises. In today’s lesson we’re going to start delving a little deeper into the art of guitar soloing, so I hope you’ve been practicing hard!

Before we start off with Part 2 of the series, I’d like to take a minute to talk about what I believe are the five cornerstones of learning to play great guitar solos:

1 – Your physical playing ability
Let’s keep it real; you could know a thousand different scales, a few dozen arpeggio patterns and a whole bunch of cool techniques, but they won’t mean jack shit if you don’t have the actual physical playing ability to incorporate them into your solos. This is why it’s important that you incorporate a daily practice routine that focuses on developing your finger strength, dexterity and speed of both your fretting hand and your strumming hand. Via Fa Chords


How To Play Amazing Guitar Solos By Studying Vocal Techniques Of King Diamond – Part 1

guitar solos 2One of the best ways to learn how to play killer guitar solos is to study the vocal techniques and phrasing of great singers. Most guitarists never do this and instead focus only on playing fast, learning new guitar licks or playing mindlessly through memorized scale patterns. By giving your guitar solos a vocal-like quality, you will develop a great soloing technique for adding tons of emotion into your playing.

One of the most underrated, great metal singers is King Diamond. Whether or not you are a fan of metal music (or of Kind Diamond’s music specifically), you can learn MASSIVE amounts of valuable information from him to improve your guitar solos. Via Tom Hess


How To Play Guitar Solos For Beginners

guitar solos 3Guitar solos often sound really impressive. But there’s no need to be intimidated. Playing single notes can actually be easier than playing chords and riffs.

For example, Kurt Cobain isnt considered the most skilled guitarist in the world. He was certainly able to express himself in the way he wanted to , but didnt necessarily aspire to extreme technical proficiency. Despite that, he still played solos.

So let’s talk about how to play a guitar solo, even if you’re a beginner. Via Music Industry How To