Single Biggest Frustration With Guitar Soloing...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by JonasTamas, May 23, 2019.

  1. JonasTamas

    JonasTamas TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    22
    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    Location:
    Europe
    Hi all, a happy Fender owner here (I have Strats too and I simply love Telecasters, especially black/white color combinations), I'm new at this forum.

    I have been playing over 20 years now and I love soloing/improvising. I've started to create YouTube videos about soloing, and I'd like to ask for advice about what soloing topics to cover.
    (The videos will be about giving free soloing advice on YouTube and I don't have anything to sell with my post. So my intention is only getting advice and info on soloing challenges.)

    If you could take just a minute and tell me what is the single biggest challenge that you’re struggling with in your guitar soloing right now… I’ll be able to use that information to gear my upcoming videos toward the topics you specifically want to know more about.

    Thanks! :)
     
    Treadplatedual likes this.
  2. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    18,449
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tamworth, 'straya.
    Breaking out of the pentatonic scale.
     
  3. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,740
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Winchester, VA
    Being relaxed enough on stage to not flub notes. It's easy to play killer solos in private when nobody is watching. In front of people there is the inclination to be too careful, resulting in either very conservative playing (not taking chances) and/or flubbed notes.
     
  4. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    Making the solo work for the song instead of just showcasing your chops.

    You can do both, but the former is more important than the latter for most songs.
     
    joealso, tomkatf, Wildcard_35 and 2 others like this.
  5. JonasTamas

    JonasTamas TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    22
    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    Location:
    Europe
    That's one of my favorite topics! If we take the A minor pentatonic scale at fret 5, I recommend using the 7th fret of the high E string and the 6th fret of the B string. Those are 2 notes from the A minor diatonic scale (A B C D E F G), and they add color to the solo. The first one is a kind of open vibe, the second one has to be handled with care, because it is like a ton of chili - you want to use it in small portions.

    I can relate to it! Shooting guitar videos had a similar effect on me. It goes away with more "mileage", at least in my case it did.


    A great point! I also tend to play slower and slower year after year, and focus on "delivering" a note with care and embellishments instead of throwing in yet another arpeggio.




    Thanks for the answers guys, very helpful, keep'em coming!
     
    ftbtx and tomkatf like this.
  6. Rich724

    Rich724 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    240
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Linden, MI
    To play a cohesive solo that isn't just a bag of licks, where each line builds on the last, like a story. I recently saw a blues band where the guitar player took a solo and played well worn licks, one after the other and it did nothing for me. I work hard not to be that guy.
     
  7. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    583
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2017
    Location:
    Indiana
    Well, #1 is that I'm not a very good guitar player. This seems to be a problem whether I'm soloing, playing rhythm, or just noodling.

    If I had to pick a #2, it's being preoccupied with technicalities and not letting the phrasing and expression happen. Think "polar opposite of David Gilmour" and you get the picture. I've learned some of his solos note for note, and although it's not all that hard to play the same notes, it's freaking impossible to get anywhere near his flow and phrasing. If I could download one guitar talent, that would be it.
     
  8. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,820
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    @alathIN hit really close to home for me.

    I sometimes learn solos note for note. I sometimes practice my pentatonics. I still have not "bridged that gap" to come up with stuff on my own.

    I have my guitars in my home office where I work from home. I will pick up a guitar and play a few riffs. No thinking, no analysis, just a few bars of music being played. Easy, plink-plink, done, with results. However - it is a bad habit.

    Later at night, I (sometimes) put on a backing track and try to play something over if. This is where I go into analysis paralysis. I think "key of C, so I can play C, Eb, F, G, oh wait, this is blues, so I can use Gb on occasion, but if change position on the fretboard, wait, wait, that note is, lemme think, oh yeah, that would be a Bb, that works, then I can...". It's exhausting. I was taking lessons a bit ago, any my teacher used to "yell at me" saying "OMG! Quit thinking and just play!" He was kidding me - sort of - but he had a point. I tend to lose phrasing and flow doing analysis.

    I know what would cure that - practice. Learn the pentatonics. Learn some solos I like. Understand the relationship, and come up with something of my own.

    That "something of my own" has been tough as well. Maybe I need to pay more attention to what others have done? I've had trouble crossing that gap, as guitar is often a break from technical and large company BS I do all day long - and hence the riff approach: "Look - I actually accomplished something!" then move on.

    So, what is my point? I don't really know. That gap has been my challenge for years; I so want to be able to cross over it.

    Wait - do you know what would help? Practice. Let me carve out some time, wait, my consulting client needs a large project done in the next two weeks...

    Repeat from the top.
     
    JonasTamas likes this.
  9. basher

    basher Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,527
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I actually like my soloing, but I'd really like to build my instincts for playing more melodically. I need to put more effort into studying other people's solos (which is something I've always been flaky about) and simplifying my playing.
     
  10. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    544
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    Somerset, UK, Europe
    Hi Jonas, and welcome :)
    I don't really get this, sounds like rules to apply, which depends very much on the musical context.
    Why not play the second one repeatedly ? Depends what effect you're after.
    To me music is not built from blocks; if you're being creative and improvising rather than reproducing someone else's solo then you play what you want. Notes from outside the scale are fine. A perfectly place 'wrong' note can make all the difference. Melodic progression is more important. There are great one or two-note solo's, and great mixolydian workouts.
    What we need is more advice on how to play and sound like you.
     
  11. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    2,232
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    This was a big issue for me that I was never able to resolve playing rock. It requires a change in thinking that I was never able to do until I started playing country. Pentatonic scales are too limited for country soloing. I broke free from the pentatonic mold when I started playing solos off the chords. Doing that forces you to learn major and minor seven note scales and where notes not part of the root scale fit the chord. This would probably take more than a short video to present but I believe it can help rockers chained to a pentatonic blues scale break free.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    allthatjazz, Rich724 and JonasTamas like this.
  12. JonasTamas

    JonasTamas TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    22
    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    Location:
    Europe

    Thank you for telling me about trying to come up with stuff on your own. Do you play over backing tracks in different styles/keys/tempos/moods? For me this was the big breakthrough. I bought Total Guitar magazine's 12 backing tracks more than decade ago. All of them in a different subgenre from slow blues to uptempo punk rock, and all in between. Keys ranging from 4b to 5#. For half a year, I was improvising 1-2 hours almost each day over them. And somehow, it clicked. I got to know these tracks so well that my own melody segments started to see the light.


    About analysis... the left/right hemisphere balance is the key IMO. One still has to play from "inside", freely and with their instinct, but in the background there has to be the theory foundation. Just like a background app on a device. This combination of "feeling" and "knowing" has resulted great rewards for my soloing.
     
    JL_LI likes this.
  13. JonasTamas

    JonasTamas TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    22
    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    Location:
    Europe

    Thank you Norris! :)

    And yes, the context of the music is all-important. I guess when breaking out of pentatonic it's good to learn some new basic rules about the scale degree moods. And of course we can break these rules after we already understand the fundaments. I love breaking music theory rules, but it gives me a stable feeling that I do it deliberately.


    Your last sentence is the key - unleashing our unique music which is our essence. I strive to do that. It's a neverending journey.
     
  14. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    15,815
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2003
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I struggle with making the perfect face when hitting high notes. It seems to be compounded when using a wah pedal, cause I’m also trying to remember to make my mouth just right.
     
  15. JonasTamas

    JonasTamas TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    22
    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    Location:
    Europe
    This is a weak point for me too... I'm simply not good at it.
     
    TheGoodTexan likes this.
  16. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    1,469
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Tell a story with your solo. Give it a start, a middle, and an end.

    In fact, stop calling it a solo. You're making music with every note you choose.
     
    joealso, tomkatf, JL_LI and 1 other person like this.
  17. JonasTamas

    JonasTamas TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    22
    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    Location:
    Europe
    I think you are at a good place! :)

    By simplifying, what do you mean exactly? Playing less notes with more meaning, or repeating motifs more instead of playing a new one?
     
  18. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,156
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    In space with Ziggy
    My dilemma is in choosing what pants to wear when soloing, go with the more comfortable loose fitting pants or tight revealing ones?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    mrmousey likes this.
  19. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,820
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    Usually I use a blues type backtrack in G, A, or E. Unfortunately, I still don't have my pentatonic scales down well enough to just move around on the neck, so evens switching positions takes some thought.

    I know, I know, practice practice practice, which takes away from "guitar as a work escape", but if I got a lot better, it would be a better escape. It's just - getting there...
     
  20. mrmousey

    mrmousey Tele-Meister

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    392
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Location:
    Largo, Fl
    Trying to decide which direction to go with a particular song.
    Should I fingerpick, hybrid pick or flatpick ?
    Clean tone or distortion ?
    How much distortion ?
    Treble, mid or bassy tonality ?
    Where to start frequency wise, low strings ,middle or high ?
    ETC, ETC, ETC .......
    Of course when you're in the middle of a solo, dealing with the decision process can distract you from playing your best.
    Over time, this all gets worked out as I see what works for each particular song, but it's an ongoing process .......
     
    Wildcard_35 likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.