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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so I'm just wondering. This is probably a retarded question, but I never really thought of this before(I don't know how I couldn't but yea...) So when guitarists solo do they write their music note-by-note and practice it before-hand or do they build up their frame and just improvise it?

Now, I understand that all those short-but-sweet solo's are written(Crazy train, Enter sandman, whatever) and I can believe that, but on the other hand how can you memorize full-song solo's like um... For example Blue by Yngwie malmsteen. Impossible in my view.

BUT, on the other hand, how can you improvise those huge solo's? That ALSO seems impossible to me.


So that's that, i'm stuck in the middle! And one more quick thing:

When you all write your solo's(I'm sure some of you do) do you write by hand, or on software like Guitar pro 5? How should I write my solo's?

Thanks and Rock on :rockon:
 

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Well... you have to know licks in order to write / improvise solos. How does Yngwie memorize "Blue"? It's almost all pentatonic shit which he had played for years because of his Richie Blackmore influence. Before he even touched harmonic minor and invented his style, that was all he played. When you play something for years and years, it just comes natural to play it when improvising. Of course, with the aid of theory.

Improvising huge solos? Same with everything else guitar related: experience... know your theory, know a ton of your favorite licks, know how you want to connect the phrases. All from experience.

Writing is totally your own... first you've gotta' know what you want it to sound like in your head, have the knowledge to put it together on the instrument, build off a melody or rhythm, work around/from the key and/or chord progressions, etc.

Entirely depends on the tune and your style.

Take Paul Gilbert for example. When he's writing the lead over a progression he almost always outlines the chords in the progression with arpeggios or broken arpeggios... all part of his style.

Meanwhile you'll have someone like Yngwie who will probably shred harmonic minor and diminished arpeggios until there's no tomorrow, with a little pentatonic mixed in. If it's a funky or blues track he almost always stays in pentatonic but will throw in some of his favorite descending harmonic minor or sweep licks to connect to another pentatonic pattern. That's him!

Then you could have Zakk Wylde who is strictly pentatonic... so guess what he'll do? Connect some pentatonic licks (usually repetitve patterns). If it's a melodic song he'll work out a nice melody to go well with the rhythm. All staying within the pentatonic scale. That's his style.

Or Steve Vai who is a complete freak who amazes me with EVERYTHING he writes. Never know what to expect from him... easily the best guitarist in the world IMO.


That's why ear training and theory are so important... a lot of people skip right over it and just focus on learning solos. I don't get it. If you want to write what's in your head or improvise, you HAVE to do it. Yeah it can be boring, but shit... look at the results.
 

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I don't read music so all my solos are improvised or sometimes memorized. After playing for many years you develop a musical vocabulary that you can use to construct musical sentences that you can build into a musical story. If you have a command of the language, its up to your own creativity to tell a good story. You can write your stories down and read them later, you can memorize them, or you can make them up out of thin air.

Memorizing a solo is no different than memorizing 30 songs, or peoples names, or phone numbers, its....memorizing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hm... Interesting stuff! Well, I already know my theory(being that my Mom's a piano teacher!) She helps me with all that, but when it comes to rock, she can't really help. That's why I come here.

Whenever I improv. it all seems the same and that when I look at Vai, Yngwie, the shred masters, It just seems like they think so fast when they play, when I play for example:

Lick, Arpeggio, Wait and Think what to do next, Melodic line, Lick, Think, Arpeggiated riff.
Whatever.

Well thanks for the great replies.
 

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I improvise just about everything I play. I don't think I've ever played anything note for note - I don't really see the point of doing so either.

Improvising is just like talking, it just kind of spews out of you. How you feel has allot to do with what spews out.
 

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Back to Basics

The starting point for any solo should be the melody line of the song, which can be pretty simple in some styles. Start building a solo by playing the melody, note for note, then embellish between the notes. Try leaving certain notes out, or playing an octave up or down to add effect. bend up or down into the note, whatever sounds good and flows. Some artists are so good at embellishing that it is almost impossibleto find the original melody, but it should be there. I think this is what makes some guitarists stand out above others who only play a bunch of "tricks" which don't relate to the melodic structure of the song.

As you become more accomplished, you will not need to play the melody as a starting point and it will find its way into your solo naturally.
 
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