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> Performing Solos
Im here to succe...
post Feb 16 2012, 12:01 AM
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Hi guys, wondered if you could give me some advice on "soloing"..

Ive been practising alot of techniques regarding speed and working on moving up and down the pentatonic scales to improve my speed.. (to a metronome)

But the problem is that i tend to run out of ideas, when improvising in solo's it starts off well and then i just get lost and end up frustrated//
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Todd Simpson
post Feb 16 2012, 12:27 AM
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QUOTE (Im here to succeed @ Feb 15 2012, 06:01 PM) *
Hi guys, wondered if you could give me some advice on "soloing"..

Ive been practising alot of techniques regarding speed and working on moving up and down the pentatonic scales to improve my speed.. (to a metronome)

But the problem is that i tend to run out of ideas, when improvising in solo's it starts off well and then i just get lost and end up frustrated//

Take heart smile.gif This actually happens to nearly everyone at some point. When you are first learning your licks, at some point, you might run out. The good news is, if you understand the underlying scale, you can essentially make up licks as you go using bends, slides, multi string bends, pedal tone/point, scale inversions, etc. Essentially you'll learn various ways to attack a scale and learn how to integrate notes that are not in a given scale (fun microtones) to add depth to your pentatonics. Gabriel (A veritable GOD of pentatonic shred, had a KILLER less on this last idea that was so good I was forced to steal his chops! They RAWKED) Here is a link to that lesson.

Note how he adds the blues note in and also ads a few notes not typically played in the scale that still work and give your fingers more places to go.

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Pentatonic-Shred-Licks/

Also, you can use open strings to turn a pentatonic scale in to a "Three Notes Per String" type of scale making it easier to shred and play smoothly without pause. Here is a lesson I did on that very topic.

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/wiki/inde...%9D_-_Lesson_53


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Sinisa Cekic
post Feb 16 2012, 12:32 AM
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Do not worry, this is a common problem when playing improvisation smile.gif . The solution is very simple and productive - listen to songs with a pentatonic solos, everything that you sounds an interesting and you can take it off - do it ,and adapt it to your abilities wink.gif


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Im here to succe...
post Feb 16 2012, 12:50 AM
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Cool, well thanks very much for that guys.. Todd. with regards to the pentatonic shred lesson youve posted, it is difficulty 7 which is well out of my reach.
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SirJamsalot
post Feb 16 2012, 01:21 AM
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Something you can never get enough of is practicing your licks to a backing track. When you learn a lick, it's not enough to just have it locked in your memory/motor muscles. You need musical context in which to apply it.

Try this. Get your hands on a bunch of backing tracks, and make it part of your daily routine to play to them. Warm up, then spend 1/2 hour just jamming - loop a track and make that track "the track of the day" and try to come up with a melody line - make it your song, so to speak. Then start adding the licks you learn into that song - start by doing them in different octacaves to preserve the patterns for simplicity. This will help you jump to spots. When you've feel somewhat comfortable doing that, then try the same lick in the same key, but in another mode. So when your backing track's chord progression changes, adjust to it with the same pattern, different mode. Then you can start altering that same lick by introducing passing notes.

Your goal is that over time, you'll be able to jump comfortable between positions for that lick. Then introduce a new and alternate between them. Pretty soon, you'll end up an arsenal of licks for that backing track that you can apply to other songs with a different chord progression because you know the sound it makes smile.gif

Your vocabulary will grow the more you put it to practice.

Another thing worthy of trying is to think of your licks not as individual notes, but a complete "sound". As you get used to playing against a backing track, you'll want to express yourself with a certain sound, and the lick that makes that sound should come out. If the lick doesn't make that sound, you'll want to create a lick that does and save it for later use, practicing it per the above smile.gif

That's what I try to do anyways. I often feel that if I would just put my own ideas to practice consistently I'd be much better than I am now, but, it's a slow process now matter what- patience yields increase.

Keep jammin!
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The Uncreator
post Feb 16 2012, 03:46 AM
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I don't think anyone can teach improvisation. A person can only show you a set of paths that take different routes, yet they all arrive at the same place. You pick one and go with it.

The only intersecting points in these paths is time and music.

Time - Steady practice over long periods, its not a skill thats easily visible in its development for most.

Music - bigger vocabulary = bigger set of ideas to pool from, learn styles regardless of whether or not you play them (just make sure you enjoy what your learning, dont learn some jazz if you dont like it!). I know a good bit of jazz licks, but am a poor jazz player, yet I still take those licks and ideas without even knowing it.
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derper
post Feb 16 2012, 09:06 AM
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Although I love all of the suggestions so far, and totally agree with them, I want to answer this in a totally different way. I want to suggest an exercise that combines some of the best tips I've gotten, that helped me keep my solo ideas on track. These tips differ in the sense that they aren't focusing on knowledge or learning scales and patterns. Always keep learning, but these tips are meant to be used with what you already know....kind of like a "fail safe", go-to method to help get a solo back on track when you start getting lost.

Take a scale and backing track that you are very comfortable with, and can enjoy. Probably something pentatonic based, and depending on your skill level possibly something that can incorporate major and minor (I love Stephane's "John Scofield Lesson" backing track) but that's not necessary. Something enjoyable and easy for you.

Now this time while soloing over the backing track, your main focus is to break the solo up a bit. Since you said you're "running out of ideas" at some point, this could REALLY help if done correctly. Try incorporating some of these techniques, one at a time. If you practice this occasionally, and mix them up in between the "breaks" in your solo, it can eventually become second nature. Also, by "breaks", I mean to give your solo the occasional bit of "breathing room" like a sax. Perhaps do it every "X" amount of measures, or mix it up depending on the feel of your solo.

Ok, here are the things you want to do after the break in your solo for this exercise:

1. Practice changing positions after the break. For example, play high up on the 12th-14th fret position if playing Am pentatonic, and after the break move down to an open A position to give your solo a drastic contrast on your tone. Your phrasing may also change accordingly, BUT you can also experiment with playing the same riff/melody in the different position or octave.

2. Mix it up with different rhythm patterns. Are you playing kind of fast and getting lost on a solo? Take that "break", and come back much slower. Play a long note, and slow down the phrasing and picking for a more relaxed feel. OR, you can play the same arpeggio/riff or melody line in a solo, but mix up the rhythm on the notes!! That can sound super cool, and you're literally playing the same notes/riff, but just mixing up the timing on the notes.

3. "Play the melody" - Chet Atkins
Really though, I'm not sure if I've ever gotten a better tip in my life. No, I didn't hear it from Chet himself. But if the song your playing has any vocals or melody line, you can always use it to get back on track during a solo.

Once again, try and practice each of these separately, then perhaps mix them in one after another while soloing over a familiar backing track.

Hope this helps!!



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Cosmin Lupu
post Feb 16 2012, 10:07 AM
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hey mate!

the music is actually in you biggrin.gif why don't you try the following:

- take a backing track, ANY really!
- put your guitar down
- play the backing track and try to SING melodies against the track - ANYTHING is allowed as long as it sounds good and melodic with the track
- don't criticize yourself for not coming up with a super difficult phrase from the very beginning wink.gif
- transpose your lines on the guitar and play them against the track

Things WILL COME but remember, the music is IN YOU, NOT IN THE GUITAR smile.gif you should be able to invent things and use the guitar to express them wink.gif

Try this and let me know how it goes biggrin.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Feb 16 2012, 12:35 PM
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Great advice in here !

I still run out of ideas every time I improvise over anything. I don't do enough of it.

All the advice I would suggest is in these posts somewhere.. so pick a couple of tips that appeal to you the most and try those for some time. Then maybe incorporate some of the other suggestions too.

I do suggest starting with just a couple of extra ideas though because if you don't narrow your focus, you can end up being a headless chicken.. all scattered and don't know where to start ! We talked about that in a thread here

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...mp;#entry569745

P.S. One thing I've noticed over the years is that your guitar playing is directly influenced by the techniques you've been practising. If you only practice alternate picking runs, then it can be hard to do anything else when it's time to just 'play'. The same thing would occur if you've just been practising only sweeping or tapping. If I've just been working on techniques, then my melodic abilities take a nose dive and I feel like I suck !

QUOTE (Im here to succeed @ Feb 15 2012, 11:50 PM) *
Cool, well thanks very much for that guys.. Todd. with regards to the pentatonic shred lesson youve posted, it is difficulty 7 which is well out of my reach.


Ah, this is something Im always trying to tell members on here.. don't worry about the overall difficulty. It only refers to the end result at the highest speed. If you take the lesson down to a different speed, the difficulty level also drops accordingly. Also, you don't have to learn the whole thing. I'm always encouraging people to take bits and pieces from lessons and make it work for them. You can still practice and play those licks at any speed smile.gif

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Feb 16 2012, 12:33 PM


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Im here to succe...
post Feb 16 2012, 01:39 PM
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Great response so far guys, I've got alot i can take on to improve..
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 16 2012, 11:40 PM
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My approach is similar to Cosmin's when I'm creating a solo and I notice that nothing cool appears after some improvisations. When I sing over the backing track I compose melodies that sound good for me and that wouldn't appear just playing the scales over the backing. Also I use to check my favourite players playing over those type of tracks and learn some licks to add to my playing and making variations. Learning songs, licks and melodies is always great to have a wide vocabulary when you want to improvise.


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