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> Composing Solos, how do you do it?
wollace03
post Aug 31 2012, 11:55 AM
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Hi!

everytime when we write songs and it comes to the solo spots I sit at home wondering what to play. I always end up playing the same stuff and I often get the feeling, that I just play the solo so that there is a solo in that songs. This has a lot to do with my limitations when it comes to playing but also that I somehow have no concept of how to create "killer solos".
I really like great solos that often are not very difficult but put the notes on the right places and sound amazing.
so, my question is:
how do you create solos? do you just put together some licks and see where it leads you, or do you jam over the given backing track until you find good licks?
Or do you have a melody or a complete idea of the solo that you then try do play on the guitar? do you think that there should at least be on short passage that really shows your skills (and helps you move forward when praticing it).
I guess everyone of us wants to play that killer solos when it comes to playing a solo....


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Max Sokolov
post Aug 31 2012, 12:16 PM
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For me, it's a process that combines singing and using\modifying licks I already know.
I think, that the key is to sing - that will help you to get out of "guitar licks jail" smile.gif


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wollace03
post Aug 31 2012, 12:35 PM
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QUOTE (Max Sokolov @ Aug 31 2012, 01:16 PM) *
For me, it's a process that combines singing and using\modifying licks I already know.
I think, that the key is to sing - that will help you to get out of "guitar licks jail" smile.gif


do you try to compose and then sing or hum the solo you wanna play before applying it to the guitar?


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 31 2012, 01:42 PM
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QUOTE (wollace03 @ Aug 31 2012, 11:55 AM) *
how do you create solos? do you just put together some licks and see where it leads you, or do you jam over the given backing track until you find good licks?
Or do you have a melody or a complete idea of the solo that you then try do play on the guitar? do you think that there should at least be on short passage that really shows your skills (and helps you move forward when praticing it).
I guess everyone of us wants to play that killer solos when it comes to playing a solo....


Hi ! I would say that for me it's mostly the second approach. I'll hum some ideas in my head and then try to translate them onto guitar. When I've got a few licks in place I'll see where they flow onto next..

In a lot of case, creating a solo is like getting a few basic chunks in place like a beginning, middle and end.. and then joining the dots together in a nice, flowing transition smile.gif


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Max Sokolov
post Aug 31 2012, 10:19 PM
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QUOTE (wollace03 @ Aug 31 2012, 11:35 AM) *
do you try to compose and then sing or hum the solo you wanna play before applying it to the guitar?

Right! Of course, not the whole solo in one take smile.gif


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thefireball
post Aug 31 2012, 11:45 PM
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I feel the same thing, wollace03. I'm exactly in your place. My problem is don't have any melodies that come to my head. Not really. And any leads that do come to my head - they are WAY out of my league for now...Like: Jeff Loomis style.


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The Uncreator
post Sep 1 2012, 12:03 AM
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Most of mine are just polished improvisations. I just play, I dont think about a melody or the key, I never use theory or anything, I just play what I feel should be played.
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Socky42
post Sep 1 2012, 12:39 AM
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I just improvise over the rhythm or whatever, then i keep adding and changing till it sounds good.


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MonkeyDAthos
post Sep 1 2012, 03:05 AM
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QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Sep 1 2012, 12:03 AM) *
Most of mine are just polished improvisations. I just play, I dont think about a melody or the key, I never use theory or anything, I just play what I feel should be played.


i actually do the same when i am composing something, for some reason i feel like i am cheating xD


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Amir Razmara
post Sep 1 2012, 04:38 AM
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QUOTE (wollace03 @ Aug 31 2012, 10:55 AM) *
Hi!

everytime when we write songs and it comes to the solo spots I sit at home wondering what to play. I always end up playing the same stuff and I often get the feeling, that I just play the solo so that there is a solo in that songs. This has a lot to do with my limitations when it comes to playing but also that I somehow have no concept of how to create "killer solos".
I really like great solos that often are not very difficult but put the notes on the right places and sound amazing.
so, my question is:
how do you create solos? do you just put together some licks and see where it leads you, or do you jam over the given backing track until you find good licks?
Or do you have a melody or a complete idea of the solo that you then try do play on the guitar? do you think that there should at least be on short passage that really shows your skills (and helps you move forward when praticing it).
I guess everyone of us wants to play that killer solos when it comes to playing a solo....


Hi There I would like through my own 2 cents in the pot if I may...
I have provided a link to few famous paintings, why don't you go there look at them now !!!

http://www.mostinterestingfacts.com/art/to...world-ever.html

The difference between a painting & a piece of music is painting exists withing a certain space and music within time..other words music is the art in time. when you stand in front of a painting you can look at the whole thing and appreciate all the details, but for music you have to allow time to pass because the details are happening in the moment, a complicated way to answer your question may be, but in short I would suggest you record your music/solos and listen back to the whole thing and see what is missing, I imagine the master painters did the same thing as they began with the empty canvas and kept adding all the details :-))

http://www.mostinterestingfacts.com/art/to...world-ever.html
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wollace03
post Sep 1 2012, 08:29 AM
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so jamming, recording, listening - adjusting, jamming, recording and so on could be a proper way.....
and learning millions of licks so that I can play differnt things when jamming.


but I will try to compose a solo in my head first and then try to play it on guitar...

fireball, feels good to hear, that I am not the only one who feels uninspired and unable to come up with blazing solos...


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 1 2012, 11:36 AM
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QUOTE (wollace03 @ Sep 1 2012, 08:29 AM) *
and learning millions of licks so that I can play differnt things when jamming.


It is true that when you're jamming, you're able to reference licks that you have already learnt but sometimes you just manage to pull things out of the air and think 'what the hell ? How did I do that ?'

However, it's not particularly necessary to arm yourself with millions of licks in order to be able to compose. A lot of players have said that they developed their technique and licks by just trying to translate what they heard in their head onto their guitars.

So, if you want to be adept at jamming and improvisation then yes, it helps to develop lots of licks but if you want to be adept at composing which, in my opinion, is a completely different skill, then it's about spending more time allowing yourself to come up with melodies and experiment. Practise coming up with melodies in you head. The more you do it, the better you get smile.gif

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Sep 1 2012, 11:37 AM


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 1 2012, 12:48 PM
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This is a really great question. It's a really long answer that can be summed up with.

"Your solo writing, like your song writing, is a product of your experience, training and inspiration"

The more of each of those you have, the better smile.gif

As for building solo licks. Some tips.

1.) Listen to the solo section and try to hear the solo in your head before you play it. Even if you couldn't play what you hear, don't limit yourself. Hear it as wild as you like.

2.) Try to think what chops you know that sound somewhat like that solo in your head.

3.) One lick at a time. Try to find where each lick might fit. Make sure you are playing in the right key (e.g starting / ending near a root especially at first)

4.)Don't think you have to play the entire time. Leave bits out. Hold notes and use vibrato. Let it breathe.

Todd


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Will Kriski
post Sep 1 2012, 04:16 PM
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This is a large topic but great solos are usually memorable because they are melodic and have great phrasing. Try taking a small phrase (just a few notes) - a motif, and repeating it a couple times. The repeat could be not the same notes but up or down in the appropriate scale or that works over the current chord. When you repeat it you can also add to it, almost like answering the original phrase.

Great solos also have contrast - if you shred a section, then play some slower sections. If you play long phrases, play some short phrases. If you start on beat 1 a lot, try starting on other beats. If you do one thing the whole time (eg shred) it will be boring.

Observe what you like about killer solos. Do they repeat ideas? What do you like about it? Take one idea from the solo and use it in your own solos - maybe tweak it and develop it. Try writing down the solo instead of doing it on the guitar if you are caught in the same patterns.

I might think of a concept for a solo, like something I want to use in the solo. It could be an idea or technique such as double stops (Jimi Hendrix style), or a scale sound (phrygian dominant), chromaticism, chord tones, etc. You might start slow and low on the neck and then build up to a fast section high up on the neck.

If you like this solo I did you might notice how I repeated a few ideas with a little tweak here and there. I hope you find it as melodic as I did - I avoided the usual shred solo that I used to do a lot of! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnBijtMX8-0

Will

QUOTE (wollace03 @ Aug 31 2012, 10:55 AM) *
Hi!

everytime when we write songs and it comes to the solo spots I sit at home wondering what to play. I always end up playing the same stuff and I often get the feeling, that I just play the solo so that there is a solo in that songs. This has a lot to do with my limitations when it comes to playing but also that I somehow have no concept of how to create "killer solos".
I really like great solos that often are not very difficult but put the notes on the right places and sound amazing.
so, my question is:
how do you create solos? do you just put together some licks and see where it leads you, or do you jam over the given backing track until you find good licks?
Or do you have a melody or a complete idea of the solo that you then try do play on the guitar? do you think that there should at least be on short passage that really shows your skills (and helps you move forward when praticing it).
I guess everyone of us wants to play that killer solos when it comes to playing a solo....
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wollace03
post Sep 1 2012, 07:21 PM
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thanx for all the good advice!!

the main thing I found out is that you really have to compose the solo and try your best to bring the solo in your head translated to the guitar..

ben, todd and wil - thanx for the good points and good explainations

how do you decide what kind of scale, sound colour you choose?
I think one thing why I always sound the same is that I always use pentatonic or minor?
how do you decide to use harmonic minor or lydian or dorian....?


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The Uncreator
post Sep 1 2012, 07:23 PM
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Alternatively, record your solo and then add the backing track. I do it all the time. That way staying in key is no problem, and you will learn how to make more interesting backings this way as well.
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Socky42
post Sep 1 2012, 08:35 PM
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QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Sep 1 2012, 07:23 PM) *
Alternatively, record your solo and then add the backing track. I do it all the time. That way staying in key is no problem, and you will learn how to make more interesting backings this way as well.


Huh, thats an interesting, might have to give it a go someday. wink.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 2 2012, 08:36 AM
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QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Sep 1 2012, 07:23 PM) *
Alternatively, record your solo and then add the backing track. I do it all the time. That way staying in key is no problem, and you will learn how to make more interesting backings this way as well.


I've never encountered that technique either !! Weird but wonderful ! biggrin.gif


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wollace03
post Sep 2 2012, 09:53 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 2 2012, 09:36 AM) *
I've never encountered that technique either !! Weird but wonderful ! biggrin.gif


sounds interesting and I think if you tackle a problem from a new direction yu will get a lot of different solutions....


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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 3 2012, 08:00 AM
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My approach is based on singing in a LOT if not all the situations - the voice is the primary expression tool for me, because it's faster then the guitar. I mean, I sing and then transpose on the guitar and if, but only IF I want to use some exotic stuff - I take a close look at the harmonic progression and see where I have a sweet spot to implement an exotic mode maybe? 2-3 notes that bring out a cool flavor and presto! There you have it. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR VOICE AND THE MUSIC IN YOU! This is the most common mistake which along with wanting to sound and play like famous guitarists, leads to a slow but sure erasure of musical personality.


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