By Dylan Andrews
When you take a solo, how does it sound?
Does it sound inspirational and make people either want to cry or stand up and yell, “hell yeah!”
Or does it sounds robotic, like you’re just running up and down scales?
It is easy for solos to sound more like an exercise than an awesome- sounding solo when you’re first learning.
But there is good news!
Applying these 4 things I talk about here will instantly make you a better guitarist.
So let’s go!
Have you ever listened to a guitar player and felt like their guitar was talking? Like it was saying something?
When you take a guitar solo, it needs to sound like this. Like you are having a conversation.
Let’s say we are talking about guitars and we talk about electric, acoustic, Fender, Gibson, etc.
We are talking about guitars, but we go into variations of the topic.
It would be weird if I talked about guitars for 10 seconds, baking for 10 seconds, and then jumped to waterskiing!
The topic you are discussing needs time to develop.
This is how a lot of guitarists tend to play. They jump from one lick to another that has no relation to what they were playing before.
Here is how to fix it.
Play a simple lick; this is going to be your topic.
Then change 1 note; that is your variation.
Variations are slight deviations from the original lick. The more variations you do, the more your solo will sound like a conversation.
Other ways to create a variation is:
- Remove a note
- Change the timing
- Play only 1st half
- Play in reverse What are some ways you can come up with to change a lick? #2 Bends Bending is a way to bring your solo to life and give it energy. Without adding bending to your solos, it can sound like some speaking in a monotone voice. And no one wants to listen to that guy.
There are 2 common bends I want to talk about: 1. Ascending 2. Pre-Bend An ascending bend is just a normal bend going up. But a pre-bend is when you bend the string, and after the string is bent, you pick it. This way, you only hear the bend descending. I can sound very impactful and even sound like someone is crying out.
So pick a lick and pick not of the notes to bend, then do another and so on. Make sure each bend is in tune though, tuners can be a great way to check this.
Slides are one of the easiest ways to get your solos sounding better. There are 3 ways you can manipulate a slide
1. Direction 2. Length 3. Speed
Direction means you can either play an ascending slide or descending.
The length refers to how many frets you are sliding over. The bigger the distance, the more drastic your slides sound.
Speed refers to how fast or slow you slide.
A great way to practice this is every time you play a slide, it must be different by changing one of these 3 things.
One of my favorites is a backslide. This is where you slide to a note and then slide back to where you started. Try it out!
#4 Chord Tone Soloing
This is how you play what’s called the “money notes.” These are the notes that will sound the absolute best.
Chord tone soloing is when you play notes of the chord being played. For instance, let’s say we are soloing over the chord progression Am C.
The notes in an Am chord are A C E, and the notes in a C chord are C E G. When the Am chord is played, you want to play one of the notes within the
chord. You would also the the same for the C chord and any chord that is played.
A lot of guitar players miss this and are completely missing out. You will sound better, but your soloing will fit the music you are playing a lot better.
About The Author:
Dylan Andrews is a professional guitarist, teacher, and entrepreneur living in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Dylan has been teaching guitar for over 5 years and has helped over 100 people learn the guitar. If your looking for guitar lessons in Lawrenceville, Dylan is the person you want to see.