Putting together solos is not easy for a lot of people, and the conventional teaching (“just use your scales”) doesn’t always make sense when you’re just starting out. In this, the first of a series of articles, we take a listen to the differences in tonal color between the major scale and the major pentatonic.
Turning Scales Into Solos
How do you turn a guitar scale into a guitar solo? This series of lessons will show you how to take scales you already know and create cool sounding solos. Even if you’re not into soloing, these lessons will give you some helpful advice on choosing the right sound for a particular song.
There’s a very simple reason a lot of solos sound more like someone playing scales rather than solos and it all comes down to how you practice. Learn how to solo by learning how to practice soloing.
In our latest lesson in this series, we look at a basic rock progression and examine the choices we can make in terms of scales for soloing. Plus we get a look at the Mixolydian mode as well as discovering a new use for the Dorian.
Before moving onward with modes, it’s important to grasp the concept of “target” notes as well as to understand that a target note doesn’t have to be a part of the chord in a chord progression. Here we’ll look at how single notes can used to create far more interesting solos than simply using “safe” notes.
Knowing a single major scale opens the world of modal soloing to you, if you know how to read the signs. We’ll take a look at how to recognize when to use the Dorian scale, and also take a moment or two to compare and contrast it with the minor pentatonic scale.
It only takes a single note to change the minor pentatonic scale into the “blues scale.” And what a world of difference that one note can make! As in the previous lessons in this series, we’ll provide you with MP3 sound files in order to help you create your own solos.
Last time out we sampled the different flavors the major and minor pentatonic scales offered us as tools for soloing over blues progressions. While each had its owns merits, we can create an even more tasteful (not to mention useful) solo when we combine the major scale with the blue note elements of its own minor pentatonic. Come listen!
While it’s vital to use a chord progression to help you decide on a scale, knowing the style or feel of both a song and a scale is just as important. This lesson focuses on the minor pentatonic scale and why it is used so much for blues (and other genres) in major keys.
After spending our last lesson looking at all the notes in a scale, this time we’re going to just look at a few. One of the best things you can do to get going as a soloist is to minimize the number of notes you use in a solo. Focusing on one, two, three or four notes will help you on both rhythm and phrasing, which make a solo a lot more interesting than just stringing as many notes together as fast as you can.