Video: How To Begin Playing A Guitar Solo That Sounds Impressive
Does this sound familiar?:
You begin playing a guitar solo and you start to get lost on the fretboard, make mistakes or otherwise play phrases that just don't seem to go anywhere.
This is very frustrating!
You aren't the only one.
Many guitarists struggle playing guitar solos and experience these same issues.
Good news is, this problem is easily fixed.
How do you do it? The secret is to make just a few notes sound really good until you are able to control your soloing better and play entire solos of good notes.
Check out this video to learn how to begin playing guitar solos that sound great:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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Now you know how to begin playing a guitar solo that sounds much more expressive without needing a lot of notes to do it.
Here are some more tips to help you integrate these concepts into your playing to get started playing guitar solos that sound even better:
Tip #1. While playing notes higher on the fretboard, use the neck pick up by switching the the pickup selector all the way to the top position. This gives these notes a smooth tone.
While playing on the lower area of the fretboard, use the bridge pickup. Using the neck pickup in these areas can have the unwanted effect of creating a muddy tone.
Tip #2. Make playing with excellent timing a priority. Playing with tight timing is commonly underestimated by lead guitarists, but it is critical when you want begin to play a guitar solo that sounds as good as the ones by the pros.
How do you get better at rhythmic timing?
Play a simple phrase with just a few notes at a time (as you saw in the video) while playing at a slow-moderate tempo with a metronome.
Start by using simple rhythms that you can time up easily - such as straight eighth notes.
Then split up your focus between playing the notes and being prepared for when the next beat of the metronome. Make it your goal to play perfectly on beat each time a note falls on a click of the metronome. This should eventually cause the note to disappear behind the click.
Tip #3. Make your guitar practice as focused as possible. It's common for guitarists to use generic chromatic licks or other exercises to improve their lead guitar playing during practice.
You rarely use these licks in real music!
Instead, use your practice for playing items that actually can be applied into music and are in-line with your specific guitar playing goals.
Tip #4. Use muting technique properly to keep your guitar solos clean. Most guitarists only use palm muting, but this isn't the most efficient way to play clean.
Instead, use your picking hand thumb to mute any notes below (in pitch) the string you are playing.
Then use the index finger of the fretting hand to mute the strings that are above the string you are playing.
Tip #5. Learn to visualize the fretboard to stop getting lost when you begin playing a guitar solo. Learning how to visualize the fretboard is crucial for playing guitar solos that flow seamlessly and create a musical journey for the listener.
Focus on getting better at visualizing the scale shape you are moving into before you begin moving your guitar solo in that direction.
To make this easier at first, work on using scale shapes that are in nearby positions.
The first octave of the A minor scale beginning on fret 5 of the low E string and the first octave of the A minor scale beginning on the 7th fret (also know as B Locrian). These two scale positions use the same notes and are close together making them easier to navigate at first.
Tip #6. Start taking lessons with a guitar teacher instead of learning how to play guitar solos by yourself.
It's frustrating when you want to become a better guitarist and play awesome solos like the pros - but have no idea where to begin in order to do these things.
This makes the process of learning to begin playing guitar solos seem hard and demotivating rather than exciting - like it should be.
This is very important for helping you make tons of progress, because a great guitar teacher is reliable at getting you to understand where you are going wrong, improve any poor playing habits and get new ideas that you may not have discovered if you learned everything all by yourself.
I have given instruction for many years to thousands of guitarists worldwide and am very proud of the help I have been able to give them.
This is what my students say about taking lessons and how it changed their musical lives:
“I found Tom Hess on the net through articles, and I read quite a few of those before I went to Tom’s website. Even though I’m not a metal player at all, and Tom is obviously a metal player, I could still see that his ideas and way of teaching could really benefit me. So I pretty much signed up for online guitar lessons with Tom straight away once I’d gone through the website, and it’s just been a real eye opener with the way he teaches…”
... the integration of concepts that he’ll give you and having a really structured strategy… not just week to week lessons, but things that - you can see from one lesson to the next - really develop and continue to work on your technique and your theory and aural skills and those types of things. So I’d played a long time… 20 years before I really caught onto Tom, and I’d had a lot of lessons, and I’d taught and played but I can really see improvements in my technique, sweeping, and picking which weren’t strong parts of my playing.
I feel like Tom has a good gauge of where you’re at as a lead guitar player and what you need, and there just seemed to be so much more stuff in the lessons week to week than what you’d ever get in an hour or so in a one on one lesson… way more. So yeah I think that and the forum. I think, I’d pay the money just for the forum. That alone would be fine… I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. So that alone is massive!
The price for the lessons, that’s nothing... nothing. You know, I think it’s, pretty cheap to be honest. I don’t mean that in a bad way, cheap. Cheap is not a good word, but I just think it’s great value… awesome value. I mean, you know, you could pay that for one-to-one lessons and you just don’t get the same results and support of the forum and the content and the strategies.
Other teachers I’ve had have been good players, and some have become good friends too. But when I’ve started lessons with Tom I’ve got something to compare that to and a lot of it is just sort of teaching songs from week to week… a lot of the lesson will be left up to you… you’ll go to your lesson and they’ll be like what do you want to do today? At the time I said, oh do this song or that song, but with Tom you start to realize that you know, there’s more to it… the goals and you know he’s sort of more in contact with what you want to be able to do as a player, because he’s asking you the questions and then setting up the strategies, so I find that really good.
Yeah I can see more results in 18 months in a lot of areas in my playing than you know 20 years. So it’s sort of, you know, would’ve been great 20 years ago to have met Tom.
Simon Candy, Melbourne, Australia
"When I came to Tom for online guitar lessons, I already had a decent overall level of technique and understood the basics of music theory pretty well. I had taken lessons with other teachers before, and went through several guitar method books that promised to teach me how to become a great lead guitar player. I learned all the materials in these books and courses and picked up some useful tips and knowledge along the way. Yet for some reason I still wasn't feeling like a musician. I struggled very much with writing my own songs, creating my own solos and pushing my guitar technique and speed to a higher level (especially sweep picking, alternate picking, and playing clean at high speeds).
When I started learning from Tom, the main thing that made him different from other teachers was that he was showing me how to excel in all aspects of my lead guitar playing by applying the skills that I already knew together with the new material that I was learning from him.
He made me aware of both strengths and weaknesses in my playing that I did not even know I had. From there he gave me the knowledge, tools and guidance to literally transform my lead guitar licks by enabling me to overcome things that were preventing me from becoming a truly creative and self-expressive guitar player. These were the kinds of things that none of my previous guitar teachers and books I studied were able to do for me.
After Tom made me aware of all the things I was missing in my guitar playing and provided me with the strategy and tools for solving them, I began to make very fast progress in all areas of my guitar playing.
I can now write my own music and can create lead guitar solos that I am happy and fulfilled with. I also have the technical skills to confidently and easily play anything that I want to express. I have overcome all of the lead guitar challenges that I struggled with before, and increased my guitar speed to virtuoso levels. More importantly, I have the knowledge and understanding of how to continually improve my lead guitar licks and musical skills to higher and higher levels to continue expressing myself with my music. Overall, I have definitely transformed in a huge way as a musician and as a person through my lessons with Tom Hess. I am grateful to him for guiding me towards becoming the guitarist I always wanted to be!"
Mike Philippov, Indiana, USA
“When I first heard about Tom Hess, I saw that he was a teacher that was very dedicated and serious about it, and that drew me in immediately. That this is a guy that has a plan, has a goal and really if you’re serious about learning guitar, this guy is equally as serious in a way. So it resonated with me straight away.”
I started out just learning by myself and as many others I got stuck. I had a few issues I wanted to get by, but when I met Tom and talked with him and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of possibilities of what lead guitar playing can be.
I feel very grateful that I found lessons from Tom since I then did what worked from the very beginning. Many guitarists I see that played way longer than I did, they have build up many bad habits. That from the very start, there was clear instruction of how to practice correctly. You build the ability for high speed and whatever you want from the very beginning and you don’t waste time doing inefficient things. So I’m very grateful that I did that, and now I really feel I am able to reach whatever level I want.
The reasons why I think I feel so motivated all the time is because I know that the thing I’m working on is relevant for me and it’s exactly the direct thing I need to get.
The forum just kicks ass. The people in the forum - it’s just like unconditional help all the time. They love to help out, and you also get very inspired by seeing someone just really getting speed really quick and then you say if he can do it, I can do it. It works on the mental side of being a guitarist and that of course that’s the most important thing. Just being around other musicians like that, is just you learn so much faster, is so much less frustration when you can see that all the people are having the same issues that you do, not anything special or anything. It’s just part of learning process, so it kicks ass.
Magnus Gautestad, Norway
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