Getting Started with Soloing
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Here’s a common question that I receive a lot.
How do you start to solo?
I hear a solo in my head but I don’t know how to put what I ‘hear’ into notes played on the strings! Is there a critical musical moment that initiates a soloing piece? Guitar players keep telling me “Keep working hard & it will all fall into place” but I just don’t know where to start.
I was about to go into my "keep working at it, it'll come in time" speech but I think I'll just get right to the practical.
Ways to Get the Creative Juices Flowing and Start Soloing.
1) Vary the Rhythms. Take a single note out of the Am pentatonic scale and instead of playing it once and moving on, try playing one single note in a variety of rhythms. Just one note with as much rhythmic variation as you can think of for the whole track length. Play it long, play it short, play long-short, or short-long, or two shorts and a long in a repeating rhythm.
Now, I realize that this is not going to be the world's greatest solo but trust me, I'm taking you somewhere with this. Think of it this way, if I gave you a canvas and one piece of charcoal to draw with, initially you might feel painfully limited, but after a while you would realize that there is a whole world of variation that is possible to create once you get acclimated to the environment.
The absence of creativity is not because you only have one color, but that you don't yet see all the things and possibilities that you can do with it. The same is true musically.
2) Vary the Octaves. Now try taking two different notes, let's say an A and a C. Now, you are allowed to play only A's and C's but you can play them in any octave in any rhythm combinations that you can think up.
Well, if you did step one, then this step will feel like the world has opened up to you musically. Be careful, don't cheat and go back to just messing around the scale. Do the exercise. Play through the whole track a few times using only A's and C's in any rhythm and octave.
3) Vary the Dynamics. Now let's add another note, so you can play only A's, C's and G's. Any octave, any rhythm, but now make some soft and some loud. Maybe one three note riff in one octave soft and then answering it with the same riff in another octave played loud and then play the same three note riff in a third octave back soft again. Play through the track a few times.
Part II of Steve Krenz's tips on soloing to come!