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Help starting solo's - House of the Rising Sun

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Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 9
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This question is probably harder to explain in words than the solution, so bear with me!

I've reached the stage where I can now 'successfully' play most open chords, have a good knowledge of scales and speed at playing most scales, pentatonic, major, dorian etc and am just coming to terms with barre chords. Like a think a lot of other beginners I'm amassing a fair range of riffs, runs or licks - call them what you will. My progress has been steady and guitar noise has been a major help - can't praise the site enough. However I have a small problem.

I can read tab and now want to start building solos of my own. So taking House of the rising sun as a starting point with the familiar chord run of Am, C, D, F, Am etc. I can play notes from the A minor pentatonic scale and C major which all sound OK and fit in nicely but they seem to lack feeling. I've read soloing takes time to develop a feel, personality, individuality etc, and I guess that will come. But for now should I stick closely to the melody, do you look to signpost chord changes by playing the relevant notes, when starting to work out solos do you base them on other 'runs' that you're already familiar with? I know this is a bit of a wide question but I'll be grateful for any points in the right direction.

Also has anyone got a tab for a solo for HOTRS?


Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 358

I played a version of this song that pretty much stayed within the Am scale but used a few sweet, slow bends that gave it a nice feel. I'm sure there are many other things you can do, but I just kept it simple.

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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5345

I find that the pentatonic blues scale works well with this song. You might try finding a midi file of HOTRS to practice over, you can find tons of them on the net.--the dog

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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2811

Yeah, Am pentatonic works great. To add feeling, bends are a good tool, as well as vibrato. Vibrato is essential to add feeling to a solo.

Sticking with the melody line isn't a bad idea. But, you don't want to JUST play that, try changing it a little, keeping the basic theme of it, but making it your own. If the melody goes from the 5th fret to the 7th, BEND from the 5th fret to the 7th, or SLIDE. This is a good way to develop your instics a little when it comes to soloing. Eventually you'll move past this, and you'll make up your own melody lines.