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Unread 06-02-2013, 02:25 PM   #1
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Creating a solo: Where to start?

Hey all, I'm creating a rendition of "In Christ Alone" for my church, and I'm having musician's block with creating a solo. So, I want to know where you guys start when coming up with a thought out solo.

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Unread 06-02-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
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I always wing mine--I do have some thought to where I'll start, and sort of where I'll end.

Sometimes I'll do a variation on the melody line--which is probably a good idea here.

Just play the melody line over & over & do different things--bends, trills, substitute notes etc.
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Unread 06-02-2013, 08:21 PM   #3
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For me it can be different things, sometimes I start with notes of whatever chord I'm playing, or maybe a lick or musical phrase I've had in my head. I try to emphasize the notes in the chords that are going by, so you can hear the chord tones in the solo. Also, to quote an old bluegrass group I used to help at church, "We play by letter, it's called "let 'er fly!" Sometimes it's just winging it and seeing what you can think of in the moment. Most of the time for me it's a mix of conscious musical decisions and instinctive ones that very each time. Become familiar with your scale intervals and intervals over chords. Not just consciously, but listen to them and practice playing along. Your subconscious musical choices will start to take over with experience.

Another thing is to diversify your phrasing, make some phrases faster and some more melodic and flowing. The contrast will make your solo more interesting. Greg Howe talks about that a bunch. If you very your phrasing by putting contrast in different elements you get interesting phrases.

For some examples... here's a solo from a rock/country-ish song off my solo project. The link should skip straight to the solo. That solo was came from about 5 mins of practice and then an improvised first take. The improv 1st take is what I liked best.
Redemption (Speak Softly) - David Joshua - Home Studio Sessions - YouTube

Here's another example off of my solo project. This one is a bit more of a rock solo. It was an improvised first take as well. There's a sloppy release on one bend, but it was the most musical solo out of the recording session.
Let Your Fire Fall - David Joshua (Studio Sessions) - YouTube

One more example... just because. This one was not first take because I had one lick that I was still figuring out where in the solo to put it at.
Phase 90 '74 Reissue (Pro Demo) - YouTube
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Unread 06-03-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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Since it is a slower song, start off by playing the melody and expound on it as you go, then, like LC7R said, highlight the notes you hear in the chord changes.
That's what I would do, if I had time to prepare a solo.
Off the cuff it would be a Pentatonic based melody like riff or maybe a violin/cello type of solo, with volume swells...
YMMV...
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Unread 06-19-2013, 08:36 AM   #5
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I know this post is a bit old; and r3vo, you may already have your solo ironed out, but here are some ideas you may find useful.

I like to start solos with already established lines...here is an example of a line I use in a lot of my solos that I start.

e--------------------------------------
b--------------------------------------
g-------5-7p5-7b9~br7p5~~~--
d---/7---------------------------------
a--------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------

This particular line is taken from the first pentatonic position in Amin. You can use the regular Major scale or continue using pentatonic. You could possibly continue this first section like this.

*I use the "g" notation as a grace note, meaning hammer on immediately after plucking the string*

e---|----------8------8g10-8------8------------------------------
b---|---8/10----10------------10-8g10-8----8----8__~~~--
g---|--------------------------------------------9-7g9-7g9~~~--
d---|-----------------------------------------------------------------
a---|-----------------------------------------------------------------
E---|-----------------------------------------------------------------

Usually these lines just come from experience and playing a lot. Other than incorporating part of these lines or the whole; it just comes down to your creativity, bro. I hope you or someone else finds this helpful. Happy playing!
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Unread 06-26-2013, 11:05 AM   #6
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Here are some more licks that you can add to a solo.

This first lick is a common rock lick played by the likes of Angus Young, Jimmy Page, Slash, and many many other professional musicians.

Ex1:

e--------5-------------5---------|
b-----------8p5----------8p5--|
g--7b9----------7b9-----------| Repeat
d----------------------------------|
a----------------------------------|
E----------------------------------|

Here is a variant of Ex1.

Ex2:

e--5------------------------------5-------------------------------|
b-----8p5-------5h8p5-----------8p5-------5h8p5---------|
g-----------7b9-----------7b9-----------7b9-----------7b9--| Repeat
d-------------------------------------------------------------------|
a-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E-------------------------------------------------------------------|

Here is a harmony you can play over a major chord. This lick is played over a C Maj.
(*I use the "g" notation as a grace note, meaning hammer on immediately after plucking the string*)

Ex3:

e---8------8-------------------------|
b---8g10-8--8-------------8------|
g---------------7h9p7------7h9--|
d-------------------------10---------|
a-------------------------------------|
E-------------------------------------|

Here is a shred lick that I love to use a lot. I tailored this from a widely used Randy Rhoads lick.
(The asterisk around the space above the tablature denotes repeating that section as much as you want before ending on the 9th fret, on the g-string.)

Ex4:
___________________________________________________________*|----------------|*___________________
e-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8-10b12r10p8---------|
b----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8-10b12r10p8-10----------------------10~--|
g-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------5-7-5----5-7-------------------------------------------------------|
d------------------------------------------------------------------5-7-5----5-7----------7------------------------------------------------------------|
a--3----------3---------3----------3---------3-5/7-5----5-7---------7------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
E-----5-3-5----5-3-5----5-3-5----5-3-5------------8----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Hopefully these licks give you more ideas to incorporate into your solos.
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Last edited by Guitarbite1985; 06-27-2013 at 06:18 AM.
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Unread 07-18-2013, 08:59 AM   #7
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Here are some more examples that you can play with too. This is an example line using C and Em together. I could use this line if I'm playing a rhythm part by myself to give it more flair instead of a boring C chord or Em chord.

The "T" is the timing used for this line. Each number indicates a beat, in 4/4 time. If you would like a video for clarification let me know.
The "g" indicates a grace note meaning to hammer on immediately after string is plucked.

T---1--2--/-3-\------4----------1-----&--2-3-4
e---------------------------------------------0--------|
b---1--1-------------------------------------0--------|
g---0--0--0g2-0----------0---------------0--------|
d---2--2-----------2-0h2----2------------2--------|
a---3--3--------------------------0h2-----2---------|
E-----------------------------------------0--0---------|

When playing the line between beats 3 and 1 (beginning of next measure) keep your fingers in the C shape and just use your middle finger. This will let the chord ring while the line is being played. If the chord ring is undesireable you can mute the chord with your picking hand and then play the line.

Here is a more advanced example using a chord progression of G-D-A

T---1-2-3----------4----------1-2-3--e-&-a-4-e-&-a-1-2-3-e--&-a-4--&--------a-------1-2-3-4
e------3-3----------------3-------2-3p2--------------------------------------------------------------3---------|
b------3-3g5-3----------3h5---3--------3----------3--------2-2h3----3-2----------------------3---------|
g---0-0----------4-4h5----------2----------2p0--------------2-2-------2-2--4p2p0------------0--------|
d---0-0-------------------------0--------------------4----------2-2h4----4-2------------4p2p0--0---------|
a---x--x-------------------------------------------------------0----------------------------------------x----------|
E---3-3-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3---------|

If you would like more clarity on these lines let me know (via message through profile, email is not updated) and I'll put a video together.
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Unread 01-14-2014, 10:24 AM   #8
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I typically wing mine on stage, also. A good way to do it is, find the pentatonic scale in the key the song is in, and then keep trying different stuff during practice. Eventually, I just find what I play. Sometimes on stage, I'll even just wing it completely. Like, in my head, "I'm feeling a lead here!" And I'll just play. Luckily I'm at the point where I know the fretboard, so it doesn't sound like I am just hitting random notes.
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Unread 01-16-2014, 05:33 PM   #9
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Rhythm is the most important aspect to a good solo. You can't alter the rhythm of the song to fit the notes you want to play. If the whole song uses a triplet feeling then so must your solo.
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Unread 01-18-2014, 10:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gospelbluesman View Post
Rhythm is the most important aspect to a good solo. You can't alter the rhythm of the song to fit the notes you want to play. If the whole song uses a triplet feeling then so must your solo.
While this is a good general rule, it can be broken if done properly--remember there is such a thing as rhythmic counterpoint
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Unread 01-18-2014, 08:59 PM   #11
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Yes, I should have said most of the time that the rhythm already established should be maintained. It is the safer route to go. The difficult question is just what do you mean by counter rhythm and how do you do it properly?
What i am not saying is that you can't included rhythmic variation based on any rhythmic themes already introduced or being led to. Then you get into concepts like counter melody too.
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Unread 01-25-2014, 02:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gospelbluesman View Post
Yes, I should have said most of the time that the rhythm already established should be maintained. It is the safer route to go. The difficult question is just what do you mean by counter rhythm and how do you do it properly?
What i am not saying is that you can't included rhythmic variation based on any rhythmic themes already introduced or being led to. Then you get into concepts like counter melody too.
Sure, I'm just looking at it from the perspective of--it's music--so there are general rules that have come from what most people find appealing, and that makes sense.

But it also makes sense that we can break those rules.
But normally it's better when the rules are broken because it works better in that case to break the rules (or make new which has also happened)

In the case of the rhythm example it sounds better if one either follows the rules or breaks them knowingly, as opposed to breaking them due to incompetence.
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Unread 01-30-2014, 08:26 AM   #13
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When your " breaking the rules " in order for it to sound good you actual need to follow rules. It may be you just don't know the rule your following, other than it sounds good. There is nothing wrong with that "sound good" approach either.
Glen Kaiser, has no idea of why or what he is playing, but he is still an awesome guitar player.

We could use jazz music as an example where it sometimes sounds like no rules are being followed. However, it just the rules are actually more complex or at least different.

To use an ungodly example, Frank Zappa, actually is using some Jazz concepts forced into a rock cotexted. Sometimes it works and sometimes it sound awful.
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Unread 01-31-2014, 01:28 AM   #14
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At some point those rules you refer to were not the rules--until somebody broke some other rules, and then that rule breaking became the new rules--that's how the cycle of musical creativity & stagnation works.

So learn the rules and then just play--or to use that same ungodly example, in the words of Frank Zappa-Shut up and play yer guitar.
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Unread 01-31-2014, 07:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r3vo1ution1991 View Post
Hey all, I'm creating a rendition of "In Christ Alone" for my church, and I'm having musician's block with creating a solo. So, I want to know where you guys start when coming up with a thought out solo.
If it's an established song like "In Christ Alone", I start with the melody and the underlying chords. Figure that they already work in the context of the song, so why not use them as a foundation?
From there I'll add in a mix of whatever is musically fitting and musically interesting with the end goal of playing something that compliments the song and doesn't take away from it.

If you're familiar with the worship tune "More Love, More Power", here's a version that I did a few years back w/ my old worship team out in Cali.
For the solo I simply built upon the theme of the lyric melody and then went off from there.
More Love, More Power - By Faith, circa 2003
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