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Soloing


DAS44

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This thread was brought about by a certain member's post, probably trolling but I thought it was fit for a discussion. Now I don't for a second take said post seriously. The crux of the quote was that a lead guitarist can solo whenever the fxck he/she wants. Or something of the sort, this thread really isn't about that.

 

First off, solos are nothing without taste, you can go faster than all hell, and I won't give half a damn unless you make the best of the notes. It seems with many young guitarists I meet these days (in real life), that in their minds more notes means more skill. Couldn't be further from the truth (yes yes it's been said but let me finish damnit, I may have something new to add!). While this may be fancy 'n all, he does not use the notes, he just flashes them out and lets them fade off into the next screaming thing (not always the case of course, he does slow down but it seems to me as one whole solo sometimes). A "song" like that tends to bore me within 10 seconds, I'm not saying it doesn't require skill, never that. What I am saying is that, take, say

and give it a good listen. He is capable of faster, obviously so, but he milks the notes, he holds them, makes them shimmer and gleam, and most of all he uses the right ones. When I say the right ones, I mean, he's not just going up and down a scale faster than fxck, he's using chord shapes to form them, with knowledge of the song going bye (something I myself am trying to get better at). At around 2:25 is when I find his brilliance really comes about, moving from the slow, building on it like a wave gaining speed, ready to break. He moves from deeper, more mellow notes, to a shock of higher, keening cleans, therein lies the brilliance, it surprises you, shocks you from the calm of the back and forces you to listen. It's something new in the song, something brilliant in it.

 

Now, no I am not a soloing god. But what strikes me the most is when someone, uses all of the fretboard, and hits the right note at the right time. Recently I've been recording simple, 12 bar blues backing tracks, and using 4 times through, to build upon it, soak it in, and get a feel for the territory. When the time comes for a solo, I pull off the last of my softer, slower, notes (or I try to) and use those higher on the fretboard in an attempt to pull off what Stevie, and so many other's can do so well. It's a lot easier for me to play a screaming solo for a minute than it is to play something tasteful. But hey the speed drains the fun for me.

 

you need to be able to lay under the vocals, and then come forward and blow the crowd away.

 

I'm just ranting, but any or your opinions (agreeing, disagreeing, whatever) are appreciated.

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EVERY part played has to add something to the song. I've had a lead guitar player step out altogether because he felt there was nothing he could add... or that needed adding... to the song.

 

 

Just an opinion.

 

eusa_whistle.gif

 

 

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Yeah, "Taste" is critical...solo, and arrangements...IMHO. Speed,

if it realy works, or adds something needed...fine. But, I'm in the

"less is more," camp, regarding notes played, generally. There are

Always exceptions.

I remember one (live) version of EC's "Wonderful Tonight," that had

a single bend/note, high on the fretboard, coming out of the last verse.

He just held it there, for a time...and it raised goose bumps and a

lump in my throat, with the emotion it implied/imparted. BB King,

does that too, with some of his well placed, 1 or 2 note accents.

There are many other examples, but those two came to mind, immediately.

Jeff Beck, for another one!

 

And, as always, to me...the solo must fit, enhance, the song. Not the

player's ego.

 

CB

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First, does speed equal skill? Yes.

 

I mean, it definitely takes skill to play scales fast and fluid. The problem is, beginners seem to think that the listener is interested in his skill level. They don't get that there's a song to be played and that the listener wants to hear the song, not watch the guitarist be b!tchen.

 

Now, for my pet peeve, which DAS hit on in the opening statement. Overplaying during the Vocals. That goes for the Drummer as well as the Guitarist (sometimes bass players get a little out of control but that's not that usual, bass players are usually pretty reserved, otherwise they'd have taken up the guitar or drums). Nothing bothers me more than busy guitar or bashing drums drowning out the vocals, or if the singer is fighting to get on top of the mix.

 

It's a hard, Jagged Little Pill for us musicians to swallow, but the average listener is listening to the lyrics and the singer, so get the heck out of the sonic way and let that singer entertain those people. Then all of your solos and leads will really stand out.

 

Here's a little insight into how I roll, First two or three songs in the first set are singer showcases. "Brass in Pocket" sort of stuff. Then I lay into them with some Blues or "Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo" type thing. Then we get into the Zeppelin and Deep Purple stuff that's heavy on Drums and Bass as well as Guitar and Vocal, by the second set the audience knows what we're capable of and they just shower us with Compliments like "You Guys are Great!", not "Your Guitar player od Bass Player is Really Good."

 

The point of that is, my entire performance (leads, solos, rhythms, breaks, et al) is geared towards making the Band look good, if the drummer and bass player are on the same page you'll have a good performance. Nothing looses the crowd faster than a band whose members are competing for the spotlight.

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Actually my theory is that a group of musicians with mediocre talent and skill who somehow become "one," are a lot better band than an assemblage of exceptional talent who play as individuals.

 

In that sorta concept I'm not sure that just a cupla notes kinda along lines of a song's melody ain't more than enough for a "solo."

 

Yeah, BB comes to mind as an exceptionally talented picker... but I note too that he's playing "with" whatever band is backing him up, too, not "at" them. And that's why, to me, he sounds even better than he is, and he's awesome regardless.

 

m

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I always felt like David Gilmour was the master of playing just what needs to be there. Almost every solo he plays you can sing. I have never heard him play fast but I have also never heard him play a bad note or something that sounds like it shouldn't be there.

 

 

Andy

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Much wisdom in the aforesaid.....

 

It's a great area for discussion

 

A few personal points.....

 

There are 'cover' solos which can be played note for note because they are perfect to start with

 

A good band has synergy....

 

Accents and connection with the drummer are important

 

Tone and dynamics are the icing on the cake.....

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Actually my theory is that a group of musicians with mediocre talent and skill who somehow become "one," are a lot better band than an assemblage of exceptional talent who play as individuals.

 

m

 

Milo, this analogy is one I use when discussing English football and their failure on the international stage - in that in the past at world cup tournaments especially, the team is chosen as an ensemble of virtuoso players who in the right context in their club are brilliant, yet when all put in a supposed unbeatable national team, just don't gel well and fall flat on their face!

 

I use The Beatles as an example when talking to football pundits saying that they are an example (albeit a musical one) that as individual instrumentalists they were not in the conventional sense 'great instrumentalist,' yet as an ensemble ie The Beatles, they were exceptional!

 

Matt

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Matt your Beatles comment is right on. They were not "showoffs" in a sense when it came to their instruments but if you dissect their parts ( bass lines, rhythm chording, lead solos, percussion) what you have is perfect and in many cases brilliantly essential to that song.

 

I also find how Dave Gilmour comes up with his solos very fascinating. He improvises over the almost completed track. Recording different licks and phrasings and then listens to everything and picks the best bits splicing them together to make up a solo. If you listen to him with that in mind you can hear the different stages or segments of his solos.

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Matt your Beatles comment is right on. They were not "showoffs" in a sense when it came to their instruments but if you dissect their parts ( bass lines, rhythm chording, lead solos, percussion) what you have is perfect and in many cases brilliantly essential to that song.

 

I also find how Dave Gilmour comes up with his solos very fascinating. He improvises over the almost completed track. Recording different licks and phrasings and then listens to everything and picks the best bits splicing them together to make up a solo. If you listen to him with that in mind you can hear the different stages or segments of his solos.

 

Dave Gilmour is someone I always reply to the question "why doesn't he play faster?" with "because he doesn't need to"

 

He can express himself completely through his guitar!

 

Matt

 

 

 

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Great read. I read a quote from Gilmour that said he could not play fast and good so he played slowly well.

 

A lead guitar during the vocal part of a song should act as a back up singer, accenting the singers performance and supporting where needed. When the instrumental part comes, he needs to close the last verses and set the listener up for the final verses. Lots of different styles of music but even and instrumental song needs to tell a story to the listener and not just blast notes to their ears.

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Good, good thread..........I agree with the general direction: a simple solo is far better than one that is more directed at showing the picker's speed than his soul. For me, the solo should express something musically without words. Too many soloists seem to think that noise at blinding speed is what "solo" means.

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I wish I could play fast on guitar, I just didn't / don't have enough discipline to sit and play scales to get the technique right. I really appreciate players that can scale up and down the neck, while having a great meter. I know that some will say "that type of playing has no feeling." But maybe that's just the way certain players that play fast feel about the instrument.

 

On trumpet I can wiz through 32nd and 64th notes, but that's because I studied privately for many many years and half of the lessons were scales/arpeggios/theory, and the other half was improv, armature and breath support. Though lessons can be tedious, I sure did learn tons about theory

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I do the opposite.... I use the vocal line as my initial launch pad when I enter a lead solo passage. If the track doesn't have vocals, I do a make-shift vocal line using the bass line as a referance point within verse for the launching pad.... I did this when laying down a lead solo for ShredAstaire's track.

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I don't want to be in a position of dissing "speed" on a guitar neck, but on the other hand, frankly I have yet to have a definition of such "speed" I can agree with. How about Segovia or a batch of Flamenco players? How many notes did Chet play in a given length of time or, for that matter, Knopfler?

 

I have nothing against folks playing styles I don't particularly care for in ways that aren't what I do, though. I think there's a time in life when one finds that sorta thing most attractive, though.

 

I recall listening to a violinist friend of my Dad's who became a friend of mine many years later as she played flight of the bumblebee and I was floored watching her fingers on the strings. Perhaps I was 15 at the time. Rock of the era with "speed" - we're talking the late 50s and early 60s also was something I found attractive.

 

Now? I tend more to listen to phrasing that can have a lotta notes or very few, depending on the piece or style.

 

And Matt, right on about the Beatles as a perfect f'rexample. They played together, not at each other it seems. When that feeling left them is when I've a hunch they decided to break up. After all, by that point none needed worry much about their next meal and working together was obviously less than a priority.

 

m

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I do the opposite.... I use the vocal line as my initial launch pad when I enter a lead solo passage. If the track doesn't have vocals, I do a make-shift vocal line using the bass line as a referance point within verse for the launching pad.... I did this when laying down a lead solo for ShredAstaire's track.

 

I wasn't necessarily talking the lead passage thats different. I mean during the lead vocal. I play a counter melody over top as a classical string player might. Just a different approach I guess.

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I wasn't necessarily talking the lead passage thats different. I mean during the lead vocal. I play a counter melody over top as a classical string player might. Just a different approach I guess.

 

I play too loud to be counter melody to a vocalist vocal line [biggrin] ... When I play a solo, I have to make sure I'm heard [scared]

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