How To Easily Play Killer Guitar Solos Using Tension Created By Half Steps
Do your guitar solos lack the musical expression and feeling that you wish they had?
It's actually very easy to quickly make your guitar solos sound dramatic, expressive and intense just like the ones played by pro players.
So, what is the secret?
It's all in the half steps.
Emphasizing the half steps within the scale you are using makes your guitar solos come alive with musical expression. All you need to do is learn how to build and release tension with them.
Don't worry, it's very easy.
Start playing great guitar solos today by using these killer licks to build and release the natural tension in half steps:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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Now you know how to use half steps to make your guitar solos sound much more expressive than before.
There is a lot more to playing killer solos though!
Use these tips to play guitar solos great every time you pick up your instrument:
How To Play Fast, High-Quality Lead Guitar Solos
1. Use neck pick up when you play notes that are higher up on the fretboard. This means flip the pickup selector up.
This makes your tone more smooth.
Use the bridge pick up for rhythm guitar/ playing in the lower pitch range, but it makes higher notes sound thin.
2. Keep your rhythmic timing tight (during guitar solos and all areas of your playing).
Guitarists often (unknowingly) play notes on the beat some of the time but ahead of the beat at other times. This can have the effect of ruinging your guitar solos.
Here is what to do:
Pay close attention to your timing when you play. Split your awareness between playing the notes correctly and anticipating when the next beat of the metronome occurs. Use recording software if you have it to see and hear your mistakes more clearly.
3. Don’t worry about chromatic exercises.
These common exercises quickly become mindless since they have very little musical application besides being finger exercises. You rarely have to play extended chromatic licks like this in actual music, so it doesn't make much sense to practice them often.
Instead, work on things that actually have good transferability to music and other aspects of your musical skills. An example would be developing your picking technique by practicing scales (this helps you learn two skills at once, but it is possible to combine many more skills into a single exercise).
4. Focus on clean muting technique.
To keep your guitar solos clean, use the index finger of the fretting hand to mute the strings immediately above the one you are playing. For example, if you are playing the low E string, have the index finger covering the A and D string to prevent them from creating sloppy noises.
How To Become A Much More Creative Guitarist
Being creative while playing guitar solos is not just for people who are naturally talented... anyone can become a creative player.
You just have to learn how to practice creativity and do so consistently.
The following are a few exercises to help you develop musical creativity so your guitar solos sound great:
Guitar Solo Creativity Exercise #1:
Step 1 - Choose a guitar solo lick you are already familiar with (or quickly think of one yourself).
Step 2 – Play through the lick until you are able to easily perform it without making many mistakes.
Step 3 – Keep playing this lick while changing HOW you play the notes by using things like bends, vibrato or legato to develop your phrasing. Make sure to only change how you play the notes, not the notes themselves. Do this for several minutes.
This exercise helps you think more creatively in the moment rather than hoping to randomly come across good sounding notes.
Guitar Solo Creativity Exercise #2:
Step 1 - Think of a rhythm comprised of no more than 5 notes (clap it with your hands or write it down if you need to).
Step 2 – Improvise a guitar solo lick using the note rhythms you chose. Use any notes you like, but keep playing the same rhythm for several repetitions.
This exercise focuses more on the notes you choose to help you create guitar solo phrases more easily.
Guitar Solo Creativity Exercise #3:
Step 1 – Think of or improvise a short guitar solo lick of 5 notes.
Step 2 – Play through this lick several times until you can play it easily.
Step 3 – Repeat this lick several times while changing the rhythm of the notes every time you repeat it. Do this for a couple of minutes straight.
This exercise challenges your ability to play with different note rhythms in the moment.
As you understand now, all of these exercises help you improve a single area of your guitar playing. When you invest time into practicing them, you are able to play a lot more creatively.
How To Move Across The Fretboard More Easily During Guitar Solos
Ever feel like your solos and you end up wandering around the fretboard hoping to find the right notes?
Try this out:
Visualize what scale shape you are going to move into before you even begin moving your fingers into position to play its notes.
Practice using scale shapes that begin in closeby positions at first.
For example, work on improvising a guitar solo lick using a 3 note per string E minor scale beginning on the 12th fret of the E string. Stay within one octave and improvise for a minute or two. Next, do the same, only by using the F# Dorian scale shape . This contains all the notes of E minor, but starts on fret 14.
After this, spend a few minutes mixing both patterns together.
Use this concept to spread out over the entire fretboard over time. Try different approaches as you expand your fretboard visualization such as beginning on different strings, moving between modes of different parent scales or adding arpeggio patterns into your scales.
Here are some reviews from my students who took lessons and applied some of these same ideas from this page into their lead guitar playing:
Now you know how to play better guitar solos... it's time to raise all your overall guitar skills to the next level. How? Find out by getting started with internet guitar lessons.