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What is soloing? Episode 2

Discussion in 'MyMusic Forum' started by Omar, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Omar

    Omar Most Inquisitive Junior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    744
    Aug 9, 2017
    Marbella, Spain
    It has been almost two months since I started "What is soloing?", so here is episode 2.

    I would like to thank all of those who have provided me with advice and guidance. I really wish to thank them all by name but the list is endless. :)

    Ever since I started the thread, I have been practicing Major scale in five positions (CAGED) and triads. I have become more confident whenever I improvise over a backing track in C or G. I got to know the fretboard much better than before and I can easily find the note(s) I want. I'm happy of my progress so far.

    However, I still feel incomplete. I lack of creativity. Knowing all positions and notes on fretboard aren't enough. It is like having a bunch of LEGO stones but missing instruction booklet to build something meaningful.

    I don't know how to create a question and an answer, a call and response. When I play 1,3,5 over a chord, I don't find it pleasing. I'm unable to link between chords correctly, I just play random notes from within the scale.

    Here is the latest improv over C major: http://www.strat-talk.com/threads/jam-65-–-bb-king-style-in-c.456901/page-2#post-2999872 It is supposed to be in B.B. King style or at least close to it. I call it a mess :D I'm not being hard on myself, but let's face the truth. Knowing my mistakes is part of the solution.

    TL;DR what is next step? How to create musical phrases out of a scale?

    Thank you in advance.

    Omar
     

  2. mjark

    mjark Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 15, 2015
    Maryland
    By using time.
     
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  3. Omar

    Omar Most Inquisitive Junior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    744
    Aug 9, 2017
    Marbella, Spain
    Thank you, Mark :) Of course, it takes time, however, I assume there is a starting point. Are there any specific exercises I should do, rather than going through scales up and down?
     

  4. mjark

    mjark Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 15, 2015
    Maryland
    Maybe you misunderstand, time being division of the beat. You are trying, I can see that but you must listen to guitarists you like and explore how they phrase. Meaningful Blues is not something most people can learn quickly, so yes the temporal aspect also applies. The Lego example is good. Go one unit at a time. Play C Eb and bend up to G, (from F) play it descending as well until it starts to sound musical.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  5. conehead

    conehead Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    304
    Apr 12, 2017
    way out there
    If you want to play an idiomatic genre like blues, you're going to need to listen to a LOT of it, and imitate your favorite players before you find your own voice. In order to be a compelling soloist, you have to use your technical knowledge to confidently say what you want to say with your playing, and in order to do that you need to know what it is you want to say first.
    There a re a lot of contemporary players who sidestep all this and approach blues as a vehicle for playing a bunch of scales, they're usually the same ones saying blues is "simple" and "easy" to play. They also sound like someone speaking a foreign language with a heavy accent to me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  6. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    US
    I think this feeling never totally goes away. Get used to it...and leverage it to propel you forward :).

    I think now is a good point to work on phrasing. Phrasing isn't just what notes you choose, it's how you play them. Vibrato, dynamics, legato techniques (bends and slides).

    I find a very useful exercise to be to try limiting yourself to a handful of notes...3, maybe 4. You could also work with a phrase or lick you find pleasing. Play the notes in different orders. Emphasize them differently. Mix up the timing and rhythm.

    If you pick apart many solos, melodies, and even songs...there is a LOT of repetition. When we learn all of these fancy shapes and positions all over the neck, we feel the need to use it all. You don't have to.

    Take a simple solo like the one from Wonderful Tonight. Work on trying to play it as expressively as you can and perhaps mixing it up a bit.

    I'm sure you will get many many many suggestions here. This is what worked for me and played a large part in getting from where you are now to where I am today.
     
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  7. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Many good elements in your improvising. A lot of things will just sort themselves out as you continue to practice and play. Your technique has to be able to do the things you think. Repetition until when you can hit a note hard and stinging when you want, bend crazy or bend softly, vibrato when and where you want it. As the technique comes along, you can more easily express yourself.

    With respect to blues, it is one of the styles most closely based on vocal phrasing. Make the guitar talk. Base your phrasing on singing, speaking, yelling, crying. Even if you just pick a handful of notes, make it talk, make your guitar sing a little song within the song.
     

  8. heltershelton

    heltershelton ROCKIN FOREVER Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    none of us can teach you how to be creative. this is the part you must find within yourself.
    the only way to do it is to practice all the time. listen to music you like and try to play that way.
    there is no set formula. if there was we would all sound the same.
    the music is in there....you just gotta find it.
     

  9. heltershelton

    heltershelton ROCKIN FOREVER Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    a boxer has to prepare for a fight. boxers run alot and do tons of exercises to strengthen their bodies.
    same thing with the scales and other exercises.
    I think you are over the honeymoon stage and are finding out it aint so easy. this is when most people give up. dont give up....keep on trudging and then one day something magical will happen. you will always feel this way because you will NEVER be satisfied with your playing. I hate to tell you that but its true. when you become satisfied you will cease to grow.
     

  10. yundi

    yundi Strat-Talk Member

    12
    May 4, 2017
    -
    I think that improving your lick vocabulary would help you a lot. Pick up a good licks book (something like Progressive blues guitar solos by Peter Gelling or Blues you can use by John Ganapes) and you will start to see some light.
     
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  11. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir Most Honored Senior Member

    Nov 1, 2013
    northeastern usa
    The fingers aren't supposed to be leading the way; the soul and the mind are.
    Scales aren't music, so no matter how much you practice scales, you won't automatically
    be making music with them.
    Arpeggios are closer (chord tones are always going to sound good), but you're still not quite
    there yet with those if you're only playing rigid patterns.
    Start by singing phrases, then find them on the guitar.
    Think melodically.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017

  12. davidKOS

    davidKOS Retired Performer Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    Learning all your tools like scales, chord arpeggios, licks, chops, and theory are just the basic skills needed to get in the game.

    The next part is having something musically to express. This what the other posters mean by "singing phrases, then find them on the guitar", "how to be creative. this is the part you must find within yourself" and such.

    Soloing, other than special cases, is also style dependent. What you do to sound like a good bebop soloist is by no means what you would musically do to be a good Texas blues soloist, and so on.

    So consciously listening to the style of music you want to play is essential. This means paying attention in detail, not just hanging out and partying with tunes on in the background. It means serious listening and then applying what you learn in your own way.
     

  13. mjark

    mjark Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 15, 2015
    Maryland
    Not always practical, but with guitar hand too.
     

  14. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    On the nose Mark. :D
     

  15. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    I've posted this before for you. Please pay close attention to it. Its just a 1-3-5, but LC makes it musical. Play along with it, do what he's doing. Its not difficult!

     

  16. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    I was trying to explain something similar to my buddy last night actually.

    we were having some beers and watching hockey like good canadian boys should, and of course we jammed during period breaks...

    we started talking about modes and soloing. I have a short attention span. just the way Im wired. most folks think of a few things, meanwhile I think of the universe in a span of 30 seconds. so anyways... I was trying to explain how you can intertwine different timings within one parent timing.

    the best way I could explain it was talking about the parent time as 1 dollar, and the children timing being the cents within that dollar. if your main riff equals a dollar you can do any variation within that 100 cents. 4 quarters. sure. 10 dimes. why not. 20 nickles. or hell get crazy with it. 2 dimes, a nickle, then a quarter then 2 dimes and a nickle again followed by a nickle and two dimes.

    yes. this all sounds like junk. until you hold a guitar and show the dude what a quarter looks like, and what a dime looks like in the grand scheme of the timing.

    see...

    im already off thinking of something else. Havent even really completed this thought process... but it all connects in my mind., One reason I would make a horrible guitar teacher.
     
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  17. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    Omar, this is a simple two chord I/IV vamp in C. Play only the 1-3-5 of each chord (C-E-G, F-A'-C). Mix them up both by the intervals and rhythmically. Play them an octave up or an octave down. Play them all over the fretboard, but only play the 1-3-5 for each chord.

     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017

  18. heltershelton

    heltershelton ROCKIN FOREVER Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    @Omar ......one thing that will help greatly is to improve your timing....and a good way to do that is to learn and play along with songs.
    here is a very simple song that i think EVERYONE likes. ive added the tab as well. there is no music on the tab....there is only the fingerings. a good thing to do is to put your guitar down and listen to the song while following along with the tab. do that a few times then learn the song measure by measure. then when youve got it down, play along with it from memory. it will help your timing big time. and better timing means better soloing.


    https://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/greg-kihn-band-break-up-song-tab-s28781t1
     

  19. Cerb

    Cerb Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    37
    Jan 22, 2016
    Sweden
    I'm struggling with the same thing and only recently (yes, I'm slow) did I figure out that transcribing syuff helps so.... Transcribe solos you like, this will be like using Lego's instructions to put your pieces together. When you've built a few cars, castles and Ninjago ships you'll use what you've learned to make your own drawings or to improvise your own Lego creations.
     
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  20. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    US
    Great idea!! It may seem counterintuitive, but working on your rhythm playing can help your lead playing a lot. Musicians with great timing really stand out. Learn to feel and capture the groove in your rhythm playing and it will carry over into your lead playing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017