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Thread: Covering Guitar Solos

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    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Covering Guitar Solos

    How do you practice your guitar solos?

    What I do is practicing it over and over again, playing a loop and soloing over it..

    there are some songs that I really nail it, perfectly if not really really close.

    but there's just solos that I've been practicing for months, but I just cant nail it, and for example, I'm assigned to a whole day sunday service in our church, I pretty much end up getting around 50% of the solo and 50% improv.. its not that bad, but my improv needs improving as well, thats why I want to stick to covering the whole solo. and most of the time, I forget the improv I did in the first service, and end up doing different improvs for each service.

    I would like to know how you do it

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    Axeaholic Hu Duck Xing's Avatar
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    I never play anything the same way twice.
    Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end

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    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hu Duck Xing View Post
    I never play anything the same way twice.
    It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one!

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    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    Each type of solo does have its place, however. Sometimes a solo is supposed to be just the melody (with or without embellishments) and sometimes it is supposed to be something very specific and scripted. Other times that solo is completely improvised and the player has the freedom to do whatever fits the chords. The last type is the hardest for many to do and generally the most exciting to hear when it is done with skill.

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    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Blues, I am guessing that the tunes you are referring to have solos that need to be played "like the record". Two songs in my repertoire that kind of demand some level of accuracy are Hotel California and Sultans of Swing, partly because they are the two top air guitar tunes in any list I have ever seen. (Probably 90% of my repertoire is time to improvise and have fun, though.)

    So although you are playing praise music, the solos may be important to the song. So I won't discuss the merits of playing someone else's solo or creating your own.

    Regardless of which way one wants to solo, one way I have often used to learn difficult solos OR get comfortable over difficult chord changes is to slow down the music. I used to make half-speed cassette tapes in the early 80s to learn whatever wing-nut song or solo I was into at the time. When I got digital gear, I used the new toys to do the same thing, only now I could keep the music at the same pitch, rather than an octave lower.
    There is software for PCs, and apps for iphones and ipads, and probably Android devices that will slow down mp3s. You can use this when you are learning a song, and also when you are practicing it. Just slow down those loops.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. So if a solo has one phrase that is killing you, THAT is the phrase to practice over and over. First slow (try 80% of regular speed, or slower if necessary), then bring it up a notch, bit by bit.
    When you feel real good with that phrase (and any other trouble spots) try the whole solo, but again at 80% or so. After you have played the whole solo to your satisfaction several times slow, start bringing up the tempo to regular.

    I still do this when learning something. And I still do this when practicing over chord changes. At a slower pace, I can think more about being musical, than just playing fast licks my fingers already know. Once I have created a few musical phrases I like, I speed it up and see if they work at faster tempos.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

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    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hu Duck Xing View Post
    I never play anything the same way twice.
    I don't either, I have some licks I use and I play similar things sometimes, but I don't know that I could play the exact same thing again--but I prefer to wing it, within reason, I guess--whatever reason is needed, unless it isn't...
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    hI GUYS!

    Thanks for all the infos, advices and tips!

    I have been trying to improve my improvs... practicing and learning the scales, but currently im on minor and major pentatonic, especially minor pentatonic since I really love the blues.

    Anyway, the reason why I want to learn the original solo is because it just sounds sooo good to my ears and I can't make up a lick that sounds or even feels like the original, take note, Im still trying to improve on my improvs..

    I know that you are really great guitarists to begin with, but to give you an idea, this is the song I've been trying to learn.. I got it 90%, the remaining 10% is about playing the solo as CLEAN as possible, even if i I dont get it note-for-note.


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    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    I'd like DW to weigh in here but here is my opinion.

    Personally I think you are wasting your time by bothering with pentatonic scales, especially for church music. You are missing key notes would certainly be required for runs, even if the music were to be played straight. Pentatonic scales are extremely limiting. You really need to learn the major (Ionian) scale because it is the basis of all the major modes. If you love the blues, I would suggest you also learn the blues scale.

    I'd also offer up that anyone that plays any instrument and can't play a chromatic scale in 2 octaves is at a severe disadvantage.

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    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsallintheblues View Post
    hI GUYS!

    Thanks for all the infos, advices and tips!

    I have been trying to improve my improvs... practicing and learning the scales, but currently im on minor and major pentatonic, especially minor pentatonic since I really love the blues.

    Anyway, the reason why I want to learn the original solo is because it just sounds sooo good to my ears and I can't make up a lick that sounds or even feels like the original, take note, Im still trying to improve on my improvs..

    I know that you are really great guitarists to begin with, but to give you an idea, this is the song I've been trying to learn.. I got it 90%, the remaining 10% is about playing the solo as CLEAN as possible, even if i I dont get it note-for-note.

    Nice solo. The first thing that comes to mind is that you will want to make sure your hands are in the right position to get those octave notes.
    (Musical phrases and licks can often be played on more than one position on the neck...)

    And pardon me for repeating myself, but slowing down the original recording, and then your loop will enable you to play this solo in no time at all.
    Last edited by doublewah; 06-19-2015 at 06:58 PM.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  10. #10
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hu Duck Xing View Post
    I never play anything the same way twice.
    Depends on the role one wants to take as a musician.
    Xing, I have heard your playing, and you are a fine creative musician.

    If I am improvising over a 12-bar blues, I have lots of room to be creative, but I still need to stay somewhat in the blues groove, and hopefully complete my turn-around by the end of the 12th bar. I can't just start pretending I'm Frank Zappa.

    But how about a musician in an orchestra? He/she has a job to do, and that is to play the notes on the sheet of music in front of them. There may be some ornamentation on that page, but even so, how that musician embellishes the written music is where they express their creativity.
    They have a much narrower range that they can be creative with, but they still stamp their own musical voice on the piece.
    Go to Youtube and listen to 3 or 4 of the top classical musicians playing the same piece of music and you will likely hear some individuality in their recordings.

    I try to take the same approach when I am playing a solo "note-for-note". I may try to sound just like the record, or I may try to sound like "me" if I had been the guy on the record, while playing more or less the same notes. I might bend a note that was not bent, or slide a note that had been bent. I might play the solo an octave higher or lower, or I might play it with one finger, just for sh*ts and giggles.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

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