The guitar solo is the one place within a song where you can let your mind run wild.
While you don’t want to go to an extreme and play a bluegrass solo over a heavy metal song, or even get lost within your soloing, you do want to use your imagination to create guitar licks and runs to make your solo interesting.
In this article, we will discuss how to use creativity productively and think out of the box when guitar soloing.
The first thing you need to do before approaching a guitar solo is to look at the underlying progression. Study the chords that you will be playing over. They will give you the bounds in which you can use your creativity.
While you can add chromatic notes, at first it is best to simply work off of the scale itself. This is because too much freedom can be a bit of a hindrance when learning to write a guitar solo. While you want to feel free, it is more important to learn to play to the song itself than it is to feel like a creative genius.
If you are playing a legato lick, use your mind to expand it. You can always find the notes with your finger later. If they wind up being too difficult, that’s okay; practice.
If the technique in your mind when translated to guitar involves sweeping or some other technique that you aren’t very good with, work on it. Don’t throw out your ideas because they are too hard; work on making them easier by practicing them. Always be sure to use a metronome in order to develop a proper rhythm.
Open notes and harmonics can go a long way. If you have ever heard the song Wasted Years by Iron Maiden, you are familiar with one of the most famous open note riffs of all time. Licks like that can be used within a solo.
As far as harmonics are concerned, listen to any Van Halen song and you will hear Eddie Van Halen make use of harmonics, both natural and pinched. In his famous Eruption solo, Eddie Van Halen plays most of the notes in the licks as pinched harmonics.
Try experimenting with new ways of approaching your solos. If you always play fast, try playing something slower. Try writing a melody or a harmony that flows well and is consistent throughout. If you always play slow, break off the chains and let yourself loose.
While you don’t need to break world records for guitar speed, try playing noticeably faster than you usually play. Use a metronome to ensure that you are playing at the proper tempo throughout.
In the end, the best way to use your creativity in your guitar soloing is to practice. Take some time each practice to work on new ideas. Never discard a possibility; keep your mind open. Work on playing outside of the box, approaching melodies from the outside in. Have fun with your playing, work hard, and good luck.
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