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> How Do I Learn To Play A Good Solo?
Guido Bungenstoc...
post Feb 23 2014, 04:51 PM
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This is a common question that I heard so many times during my guitar teaching period(teaching for almost 20 years now) and I thought this might be interesting for you too.

The truth is, there is NO ONE BIG ANSWER!!! Sorry about this, haha.
Because first of all it's always a matter of taste. But there are some important points that could help you to make it possible.

Let me know about YOUR thoughts! ;-)

I paste and copy here from my Facebook wall. Sorry, I'm a lazy guy... cool.gif
QUOTE
A nice student from Belgium asked me for some hints to learn playing a "good" solo. I decided to share this with you. Remember this is only MY point of view, there are many other ways

1. Melodic lines
A good melodic line(or lick) is something you always have to keep in mind and has to be present in your solo. Only learn SHORT simple lines(from guitar players, singers, sax players. etc) and remember these for a life time, it's like short sentences like "How are you?", "thx, Im feeling good", "how about you?" etc. etc. You never forgot this too, right? . A simple line can sound just awesome if you phrase it with different techniques like vibrato, bending, slide. etc. experiment with all these techniques to produce a bunch of different sounds. Combine your new line together with other lines you already know and experiment with it.

2. Music theory
Learn the music theory, it's just a musical language to communicate with another musicians. So, isn't that great and fun to learn a new language?

3. Transcribing
Transcribe whole solos, songs, riffs whatever is interesting for you. First try to imitate the style as close as you can get and then experiment with your own style to make it more personal.

4. Rhythm & Groove
Once you learnt a new melodic line experiment with different rhythms, for example move them to another positions in a bar or add a shuffle to it. etc

5. Harmonies
Take your lick and play it over various chords(or chord progressions) and remember what happens with your lick and how the chord can paint a new colour. Move your phrase in the diatonic(remember the sound of different intervals) or just change the key(from major to minor, Altered etc) Learning the Modes(in Minor, Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor etc.) is always very helpful to enter new music territory.

6. Try & error
Combine your new licks with your favorite stuff and place them in a musical situation(like Jam track, jam session with REAL musicians, on a gig etc.) and add them to your own vocabulary. Listen to yourself and also learn from your mistakes to make it better the next time!

7. Open minded
All music styles can give you something to learn from. Sometimes it takes time to understand the new music you have just discovered. But it's always worth it.


This post has been edited by Guido Bungenstock: Feb 23 2014, 05:00 PM


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wollace03
post Feb 23 2014, 07:28 PM
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thanxs for the posting...

you just tackled one of my main questions....



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Jouve
post Feb 23 2014, 07:36 PM
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Nice post Guido! Looks like a nice manifesto for me smile.gif
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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Feb 23 2014, 07:39 PM
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Thx guys! For me it worked over the years like the golden rules. But as i said just my point of you ;-)

This post has been edited by Guido Bungenstock: Feb 23 2014, 07:40 PM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 23 2014, 07:47 PM
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Excellent post Guido. You listed here an excellent guide that can be applied to creating solos but that are very connected to my way of composing full songs, even with vocals. Do you usually apply these things for songs?

We could add "Chord combinations" , also as the short sentences in the melodic lines item and Structures and Arrangements as extra items and we would have the ultimate composition secrets. smile.gif


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DeGroot
post Feb 23 2014, 08:02 PM
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A lot of great points you make here! I will save this to read over again.

Lately I've been trying to approach a solo by not having my guitar in my hands. Perhaps a vocal line I can hum or sing and then translate it to guitar later on. It is often the kind of lines I would not have come up with with a guitar in my hands.

Another thing I always try to remind myself is that its not always the most technical solo that makes it good. Playing less or not at all for a moment to let a solo breath can have a good impact. I generally enjoy solos more when they connect with the song or the emotion of that moment.


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Feb 23 2014, 08:15 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Feb 23 2014, 07:47 PM) *
Excellent post Guido. You listed here an excellent guide that can be applied to creating solos but that are very connected to my way of composing full songs, even with vocals. Do you usually apply these things for songs?

THX Gabriel,
You're right. My "golden rules" work for me in other musical situations as well. For example, when I compose a song I try to see the whole picture and not only just the guitar solo of course. That's just small piece that I gonna add at the very end and sometimes there isn't a place for that, and that's absolutely fine for me too. I always want to have the connection between The chords progressions, the groove, the melody, the mood etc. etc. AND finally the other musicians. And that's one of the biggest point here, specially young guitar players sometimes can act like egoists and their playing seem very isolated from the rest of the song or the other musicians, and I'm missing the strong connection here, in my opinion. But that's one of the hardest lesson to learn, playing with other musicians in a live situation or recording, specially while jamming.
But yeah, I usually apply these things for songs too. ;-)

QUOTE
We could add "Chord combinations" , also as the short sentences in the melodic lines item and Structures and Arrangements as extra items and we would have the ultimate composition secrets. smile.gif

That's right!! At the end, it's all about music. But I choosed this question "How Do I Learn To Play A Good Solo?" because I heard this so many times. But you could call it also " how do I get a better musician?" and finally we would come to the same conclusion. ;-)


QUOTE (DeGroot @ Feb 23 2014, 08:02 PM) *
A lot of great points you make here! I will save this to read over again.

THX a lot!!!

QUOTE
Lately I've been trying to approach a solo by not having my guitar in my hands. Perhaps a vocal line I can hum or sing and then translate it to guitar later on. It is often the kind of lines I would not have come up with with a guitar in my hands.

Another thing I always try to remind myself is that its not always the most technical solo that makes it good. Playing less or not at all for a moment to let a solo breath can have a good impact. I generally enjoy solos more when they connect with the song or the emotion of that moment.


You nailed it!!! ;-)

This post has been edited by Guido Bungenstock: Feb 23 2014, 08:22 PM


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Hajduk
post Feb 23 2014, 08:17 PM
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Thank you Guido, really good advice there smile.gif


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Feb 23 2014, 08:20 PM
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QUOTE (Hajduk @ Feb 23 2014, 08:17 PM) *
Thank you Guido, really good advice there smile.gif

Thank you, Hajduk!!


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Feb 23 2014, 08:29 PM
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Golden words.... advices that always should be kept in mind!!!



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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 23 2014, 08:35 PM
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QUOTE (Guido Bungenstock @ Feb 23 2014, 04:15 PM) *
THX Gabriel,
You're right. My "golden rules" work for me in other musical situations as well. For example, when I compose a song I try to see the whole picture and not only just the guitar solo of course. That's just small piece that I gonna add at the very end and sometimes there isn't a place for that, and that's absolutely fine for me too. I always want to have the connection between The chords progressions, the groove, the melody, the mood etc. etc. AND finally the other musicians. And that's one of the biggest point here, specially young guitar players sometimes can act like egoists and their playing seem very isolated from the rest of the song or the other musicians, and I'm missing the strong connection here, in my opinion. But that's one of the hardest lesson to learn, playing with other musicians in a live situation or recording, specially while jamming.
But yeah, I usually apply these things for songs too. ;-)



"Listening", something so simple but that many young musicians and drummers forget to do when they are rehearsing or even arranging a song. Listening the idea as a listened, not as the player, listening the whole thing. I find a bit more difficult to listen the whole thing when I'm arranging or composing a song in the rehearsal room with the whole band. That's why I like to record and then listen to the recording to see how everything fits together.


EDIT: I didn't mean that "drummers" aren't musicians haha, but I knew many experienced drummers that still don't listen to the other members of the band and that play for themselves instead of for the song.

This post has been edited by Gabriel Leopardi: Feb 23 2014, 08:35 PM


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Feb 23 2014, 08:42 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Feb 23 2014, 08:35 PM) *
"Listening", something so simple but that many young musicians and drummers forget to do when they are rehearsing or even arranging a song. Listening the idea as a listened, not as the player, listening the whole thing. I find a bit more difficult to listen the whole thing when I'm arranging or composing a song in the rehearsal room with the whole band. That's why I like to record and then listen to the recording to see how everything fits together.

As long as you found YOUR way, it's perfect! ;-)
You're right, it's difficult to hear as a listener and not as a player sometimes and then beeing objective is even more difficult.


QUOTE
EDIT: I didn't mean that "drummers" aren't musicians haha, but I knew many experienced drummers that still don't listen to the other members of the band and that play for themselves instead of for the song.

Oh yeah, I heard about this too that drummers are musicians, haha. just kiddin....
But it can be difficult to find the right one sometimes not only because they are the loudest in the band. :-D

This post has been edited by Guido Bungenstock: Feb 23 2014, 08:43 PM


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klasaine
post Feb 23 2014, 10:21 PM
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I'll add ...
Listening to music in general - a lot!

It's shocking how little time so many people who also play instruments (and by extension aspire to play well) spend actually listening to music. You wanna play good music? - good solos? - listen to good music ... constantly.


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SlowFingaX
post Feb 23 2014, 11:30 PM
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Thanks Guido for these Golden rules!

Very informative post and I have to read it many times with truly focused to it.
Of course it takes some time to fully understand and master it for my kind of novice, but I'll have time and I'm not too impatient ! laugh.gif

I'm going also test that humming and singing, what DeGroot mentioned. There isn't right or wrong way to make solo, especially if
result is something great, maybe even something very unexpected (in good way of course) smile.gif





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Cosmin Lupu
post Feb 24 2014, 12:14 PM
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I have to admit that I've gone away from lead guitar in it's shreddy/guitar hero idea for some time now, because I am in a different state of mind/soul and I am listening to and writing music in accord with it smile.gif But, when I have to come up with lead lines, I usually put the guitar aside and sing over the backing track - then sort it out on the guitar and record it. I give it a listen and change a thing here and there, if I want to give it another flavor in respect to the note choice or so smile.gif

I am trying to keep it simple tongue.gif


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Feb 24 2014, 01:09 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Feb 24 2014, 12:14 PM) *
I have to admit that I've gone away from lead guitar in it's shreddy/guitar hero idea for some time now, because I am in a different state of mind/soul and I am listening to and writing music in accord with it smile.gif But, when I have to come up with lead lines, I usually put the guitar aside and sing over the backing track - then sort it out on the guitar and record it. I give it a listen and change a thing here and there, if I want to give it another flavor in respect to the note choice or so smile.gif

I often work this way too. ;-)
QUOTE
I am trying to keep it simple tongue.gif

Me too! why making it difficult if the solution can be just simple. laugh.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Feb 25 2014, 08:26 AM
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Aye, indeed Guido, but it took me A LONG time to figure this method. Before, I was just picking up the guitar and trying to play as flashy as possible - of course, nothing good came out of it and I was usually ending up thinking - man, I will NEVER be able to write some decent piece of music... laugh.gif


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Caelumamittendum
post Feb 25 2014, 08:32 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Feb 25 2014, 08:26 AM) *
Aye, indeed Guido, but it took me A LONG time to figure this method. Before, I was just picking up the guitar and trying to play as flashy as possible - of course, nothing good came out of it and I was usually ending up thinking - man, I will NEVER be able to write some decent piece of music... laugh.gif


It's a fine balance between flashy skills, fast picking and melodic playing. If you're going to just use your 200 bpm 16th note picking to play a straight 16th note solo for 2 minutes in a song, then you've probably not found the balance, but if you can utilize your technique as a creative tool to link together melodic lines, then I guess you're on the right track. Much like Guido's Lukather lesson! smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Feb 25 2014, 09:23 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Feb 25 2014, 07:32 AM) *
It's a fine balance between flashy skills, fast picking and melodic playing. If you're going to just use your 200 bpm 16th note picking to play a straight 16th note solo for 2 minutes in a song, then you've probably not found the balance, but if you can utilize your technique as a creative tool to link together melodic lines, then I guess you're on the right track. Much like Guido's Lukather lesson! smile.gif


Good point here Ben smile.gif I think I've stated this before, but I heard Richie Kotzen say this in an interview: 'I am using fast licks to get from one place to the other on the neck, stay there and play something melodic and then move on' smile.gif


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Feb 25 2014, 10:57 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Feb 25 2014, 09:23 AM) *
Good point here Ben smile.gif I think I've stated this before, but I heard Richie Kotzen say this in an interview: 'I am using fast licks to get from one place to the other on the neck, stay there and play something melodic and then move on' smile.gif

Yeah guys! You're absolutely right. It's all about music and NOT just playing technique WITHOUT using your ears & soul!:-)


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