Soloing..

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by hedegaardo1, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. hedegaardo1

    hedegaardo1 Tele-Meister

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    Hi guys :)

    I've been doing a lot of improvising/soloing lately.. but know I kinda stuck..

    I know all of the pentatonics ect.. mostly I play stuff like Red Hot Chili Peppers / John Frusciante and some funk.. atm my playing is more like melodic but I would like to get more into the classic rock soloes ect... any good advices? :)
     
  2. Mike Bruce

    Mike Bruce Friend of Leo's

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    Get a teacher who can address your issues. This doesn't necessarily mean regular weekly lessons, you could do some infrequent lessons when you need them. Usually with soloing it's a matter of key/fretboard understanding, chord progression recognition, phrasing ability, articulation devices (hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, slurs, bends, dynamics, etc), timing, rhythm, tone, and knowing how they all interact.

    Get a teacher who can address your issues.

    Mike Bruce
     
  3. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    what's the et cetera? it will help me to know what you really know.

    pentatonics are actually pretty versatile, and good to know. but they can also lead to some boxed in type playing. so if you're feeling that's the case...here's a list of ten things you can do to spice up your lead playing. i cannot and will not take credit for all of these exercise, but i have used all of them personally or with students, and they work.

    1. record yourself "singing" a solo over the changes to the tune. go back and learn what you sang

    2. try taking a lead over the tune on only one string. then two non-adjacent strings.

    3. play the changes...so when the chord changes, you change. you can start with pentatonics even, major and minor (so over an Am chord, play A minor pentatonic. over an F major, play F major pentatonic.) try to keep your lines as seamless as possible--stay in one general area and use different positions of the pentatonic scales, don't jump all over the neck for each switch.

    didn't know those pentatonics as good as you thought, right? nobody does :D

    4. learn arpeggios for major7, minor7, dominant and half diminished chords. no, not three octave frank gambale sweep picking stuff, just focus on the notes that are in the chords you are playing and forget about scales for a bit. solo playing notes that are part of the chord that's backing you up.

    5. while you're at it, learn the hell out of the fretboard so you can find those chords anywhere. learn how to spell 'em out (so an A is A, C# and E, not "ring finger on the seventh fret etc.") once you learn that, #4 is just like connecting the dots!

    6. "write" a solo to a song, note for note. see #1 for ideas. then write two more. then practice interchanging ideas from each on the fly, interspersed with more pure improvisational choices.

    7. buy miles davis' "kind of blue" if you don't own it, and learn his first trunpet solo on "so what" note for note, even if you don't like jazz. that solo is a master class on what lead playing should be. use your ears to figure it out--no cheating looking for a transcription.

    if you really hate jazz, gilmour's solo on "time" or knopfler's on "sultans of swing" are also immpeccably crafted, IMHO. but nobody did it like miles.

    8. hand your guitar to a friend, have them tune 3 strings a tone or semitone out, and then take your guitar back and solo. bye bye box patterns! hello learning to trust your ear.

    9. sit down at a piano and plunk out a melody over the chord changes. or any instrument that you don't really know how to play. chances are your ideas will be more simple and melodic.

    10. attempt a solo by taking one note (only one) over each chord change and do something cool with it. (bend up to it, shake it for the whole duration of the chord, slide out of it quickly, whatever, just no straight notes) then try two. then four.

    10.5 have fun!
     
  4. emu!

    emu! Poster Extraordinaire

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    You got some really great info from some really geat musicians here. If you are like me when I was 17 (assuming that's you're real age), I was just happy wailing away in the minor pentatonic during the classic rock songs. Actually when I was 17, those songs where current rock.:oops: You also have to remember that those guys that played those songs years ago where probably not into perfection as much as you seem to be. (most were probably high). My suggestion then is to turn up the distortion knob, find the pentatonic box, and start bending strings like all hell. :D
     
  5. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I have a deepening respect for pentatonics. They are more expressive and versatile than they are given credit for being. The reason they seem boring is because they are played boringly by beginners. They are not boring in the hands of Albert King and SRV, two players I've been listening to a lot in the past week. They both do an interesting thing. In the C blues of C Eb F G Bb, instead of playing the descending pattern of notes: C Bb G F Eb C, they will put in a leap, then step in the opposite direction (a leap is when you jump over one of the notes in the series). For example: C Bb G F C Eb. This can be done where, instead of a leap from F to C and step up to Eb, you can leap down from C to G then step up to Bb. If you find these moves cause you to stumble, then maybe you haven't mastered the expressive potential of the pentatonic.

    When I am sounding like I'm in a rut playing the blues, this is one of the first things I look for. Like many players, I tend to go in one direction by step too much. Leap-step is my motto of the week.
     
  6. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I'm reading a book about Coltraine at the moment. In it there is mention of him being a very pentatonic player... as he moved out of bebop and into the free jazz thing. I don't know enough to realize what scales that bad boy is using. He's so far beyond my abilities right now. So to read that was an interesting insight and made me smile.

    I've been a pentatonic player for years, but recently been expanding the notes I use... realizing that the use of passing tones, focusing on chordal tones and switching between major and minor within the pentatonics really helps my playing a lot.

    Now, I've read Jazztele's post I have a whole new load of stuff to keep me busy! I like the leap thing too. It's been something I've tried to work on for years!


    Oh, oh, oh, I can add this... Instead of playing all pentatonic minor, try playing major over some major changes. That'll throw a wrench into your thought process! When I first started doing this, it threw me out of my usual patterned playing and also it sounded like I was playing outside. I wasn't of course, but it really threw my ears for a loop and took me a while to settle in!
     
  7. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I totally agree with you LarryF.

    When I think of pentatonic scales I don't just think of your basic maj/min pents that we all know. To me pentatonic means any assembleage of 5 notes to form a scale.

    To that end I highly recommend a book that was titled "Power Pentatonics" by Erik Halbig. The book/cd now has a different title but I can't remember what it is now called.

    Here it is:
    [​IMG]


    He has some very good exercises for getting out of the box with your basic major and minor pents.

    But the real payoff wth this book for me is that he lays out 12 different pentatoncs that sound great and work over min7b5, lydian, lydian dominant, altered dom, dom7b9 etc. as well as non typical pents that work over unaltered maj and minor chords.

    Gerry Bergonzi also has a real good book on the subject of pentatonics of various descriptions.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I should add that I can add extra notes to the C blues (C Eb F G Bb) as follows:

    D is a passing note between C and Eb. It sounds fresh and safe.
    E is, of course, the major 3rd, which I use as such. But I also use it to connect chromatically between Eb and F.
    F# or Gb, is that nasty blues note. Also used as a chromatic filler between F and G.
    A is the sweet, sophisticated note. Also used as a filler between G and Bb.
    B, I mainly use as a chromatic filler between Bb and C.

    As you can see, I am focusing on the pentatonic as my source scale, with other notes playing embellishing roles to those. Also, if you take that collection of notes I just listed, it contains C major, F major, and Bb major as subsets. Maybe some people would rather call these by their mode names based on C: ionian, mixolydian, dorian. I'm definitely not thinking of these modes when I play; I focus on the penta and its embellishments.
     
  9. TxTeleMan

    TxTeleMan Tele-Afflicted

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    Lots of good advice here. I'll add my $0.02 worth.

    1. Roy Buchanan said that he learned each chord in each position, and then learned to play the scale for that chord in that position.
    2. This is very general, but rock and blues players tend to use patterns, and country and jazz players tend to play around the chords.
    3. Most famous classic rock solos do not follow the melody of the song. Some, like Ron Wood's Maggie Mae or Eric Clapton's Something use a pattern, but many of them create a new melody or play around the chords. The idea of singing a lead melody and then learning to play it is a good one... you might surprise yourself.
    4. Look at some solos on youtube. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) by The Band has a good closeup of Robbie Robertson playing a standard Am pentatonic over an interesting chord progression (Am///G7///Bb/F/C///Am///F///Dm///E7///--Am/Bb/C/FG--). Solo starts at the 3:36 mark. Very simple, yet very effective, and easy to play along with. Learn someone else's solo to see 'how they did it' so that you can do your own.
     
  10. elmerbumpkin

    elmerbumpkin Tele-Meister

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  11. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    i think one of us should ressurect that "other uses of pentatonics" thread from a little while back. used in some interesting ways, they can be very hip...
     
  12. smoke

    smoke Tele-Meister

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    Not to be the police, but that should read:

    John Coltrane (not coltraine)

    and

    Jerry Bergonzi (not gerry)

    Scales are exactly what you make of them. You get back what you put in. Players have made their names from these seemingly simple tools. Woody Shaw, McCoy Tyner, late period John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Eric Johnson, early John McLaughlin, etc all use five note scales as a major part of their sound. You (we) live in a time of unprecedented access to information. You can buy perfect transcriptions of just about any major soloist, instructions methods on any topic imaginable, free information on youtube, trufire, etc. Seek and you shall find. There are no shortcuts. You, guitar, metronome, time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  13. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I really gotta slow down when I type... Thanks. :oops:
     
  14. smoke

    smoke Tele-Meister

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    Anyone who reads a book on Trane is a friend for life.
     
  15. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    And you guys thought I was "direct and to the point".

    +1000 Smoke. It's so easy to get info these days. That's why so many young guys and gals can totally kick a** - at least theoretically and technically. Musical ideas always take a long time to develop but today there's really no excuse to not at least have access to the tools.
     
  16. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    that might, with your permission, replace the segovia quote as my signature!
     
  17. smoke

    smoke Tele-Meister

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    I am sorry if I seemed rude. I am fairly hard on my playing because I know my frustration will drive me forward. I do apologize. We are all in different spots. Honest self-evaluation may not be part of everyone's bag. Knowledge of the tremendous resources might not be common knowledge.

    I should add that transcribing just a single phrase pays off tenfold when moved through various keys and positions.

    Gotta practice.
     
  18. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    No offense taken on my part. I hate missing things like misspelling the grewat man's name!

    An interesting thing in reading this book has been the discussion of playing changes, making the changes, etc. all on an instrument that you can only play one note at a time on. It's made me think more and more about the advantage of guitar.

    Speaking of more than one not eat a time... Another thing to think about trying... play an entire solo with doublestops... thirds, fifths, sixths, octaves... All fun things to try... or even just for a couple of the changes, make these moves with chromatic movements in between.

    I don't do enough of these...
     
  19. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    Rude ... Bah! not even. Keep it coming.
     
  20. hedegaardo1

    hedegaardo1 Tele-Meister

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    GOSH!!! I didn't expect sooo many replies since the first reply :D .. hehe thx alot.. here's a lot of new things I gotta try out!

    and yes, I'm 17 years old :) Tomorrow I'm going to Austria on skiing vacation so I'm not able to try all these incredible exercises atm :(

    I've attended at a teacher for about 10 years now.. He is great but I thought that some advices from people like you - from different places all around the world - would bring me something new that I couldn't obtain elsewhere!

    and btw. I now kinda every boxes of the Minor pentatonic, especially the D minor pentatonic... some dorian.. but I'm not really into the Major scales yet..
     
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