How do I solo? A simple beginning guide

This, as a question, could have nearly an infinite amount of answers, as a solo, can, and should be, an expression of yourself. Let’s start from the beginning. What is it you are soloing over? As with everything in life you should start simply and then get more adventurous as you become more proficient. So let’s start really simply. 1 chord. For simplicities sake I’m choosing A minor as the chord.
Do you know which notes constitute an A minor?
If not then that is your first problem, how can you know what to play over an A minor if you don’t know which notes will work?
Luckily for you I’m nice and I’m going to tell you. A minor consists of 3 notes, A C E. That’s ace, no really it’s is ace!

A minor is being played, now you could play an A, C or ,E over it, or combinations of all three. 3 notes that are safe and you could play some really cool things with just those. It’s all about the phrasing and timing of those notes.
You know those wise old sages from the Far East who hardly ever speak, and when the do it is minimal and insightful. Well you can do that with soloing. You don’t need a million notes, easy for me to say I know, but sometimes the best solo is just very simple and heartfelt. Always bear that in mind.

So we have 3 excellent notes, we could of course play these in a variety of octaves. Just shifting octaves can give a nice sense of movement. Do you know what an octave is? Please say yes.  NO? OK an Octave is where the notes have the same name but have moved up where they now sound the same but higher. Example 5th fret low E string and 7th Fret D. Both are A notes but are an octave apart. Listen to the difference. Just for good measure, try the 10th fret of the B string.  That is also an A, but 2 Octaves higher than the original A we started with. Can you hear it?

3 Notes, all strong all correct, what do we do with them?  Well you can play them in a variety of orders, repeat a note numerous times, play 2 together.  All of these require the magic ingredient. Phrasing.  You need to phrase the notes.

So how do you do that? Well that is going to be another lesson, but for now just try playing the notes over the A minor chord and hearing how they sound against it.  What we are doing is taking your first couple of steps into the big bad world of guitar solos, lets not run before you can even stand up.

Report back shortly for the next instalment.



~ by Geoff Lea Guitar on September 20, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: