One of the most fulfilling abilities to have as a guitarist is the ability to play highly expressive guitar solos. However, most guitar players have a very hard time coming up with creative and fresh ideas to add into their guitar soloing style. At one point or another, almost everyone experiences the frustration of recycling the same guitar solo material fhrom all the solos that you have listened to previously.
Believe it or not, this problem has less to do with the actual notes you choose and more to do with the general process you use to construct your guitar solos. The common method of creating solos among guitar players goes something like this: You begin your solo by listening to the chords or riffs that you are supposed to play over, and then improvise some melodies until something feels right. This process continues until you finish your solo. Does that sound familiar?
Although you can come up with some cool guitar solos by using this approach, the problem you will often run into is that your guitar licks will often sound very similar to those of your favorite guitar players (as well as your own past guitar solos). This is the result of using the identical guitar solo framework to what the majority of guitar players use.
I’d like to further illustrate my point above with an example of a popular guitar player by the name of Yngwie Malmsteen. Yngwie has a career spanning several decades, which he has built on his reputation as an incredible lead guitar player. I bring this up to point out that he is an example of a guitarist who frequently uses the exact same approach to his guitar solos. I am not saying this in order to criticize him (in fact I love his guitar playing myself), but rather to point out what I have observed. The fact is, Yngwie is very content with his guitar playing, and his approach to creating music obviously works for him. However, if you find yourself frequently unhappy with the way your guitar solos sound similar to one another then a change needs to be made.
So what is a good way to solve this issue? One method that I have found to work with great success is this: You are going to make your guitar soloing center around a melody sung by your favorite singer. There are several ways to use this idea on guitar but, for this article, I’m going to focus on one way, and show it to you on video as well.
Step 1: Select a great vocal melody from any song by your favorite singer.
Step 2: Using your guitar, play the melody you’ve selected. Spend some time to really understand how the vocal melody works. Articulate the specific style that the singer uses as closely as you can (don’t simply ‘play the same pitches’).
Step 3: Once you can play the melody in a very articulate manner, pick out the notes which seem to be the strongest points of the melody. Write these notes down in some form.
Step 4: Get rid of the extra pitches, that is all the notes except the ones you identified in the previous step.
Step 5: Write a guitar solo based around the notes you picked in Step 3 and elaborate on them by using other guitar playing techniques and phrases that you know.
To see a demonstration of how to do this, watch this free guitar lesson on learning to create melodic guitar solos.
…Oh, and I should also mention that I flew in Fabio Lione (singer for Rhapsody Of Fire) from Europe just so he could provide incredible vocals in my master class for guitar solos. You can see a short sample of this in the above video.
When you practice soloing by using the information in this article, you will start to develop some seriously melodic, not to mention creative, guitar solos. By harnessing the power of your favorite singer’s vocals in your guitar playing, you can stop making guitar solos that sound like every other solo, and start making highly unique guitar passages that really stand out.