When it comes to music, there are many and different analysis and school of thoughts.
Scales are believed by many professionals as well as many masters of the craft as the best approach to soloing. I believe and accept the approach as it had worked for even myself to a certain extent but over the years, I discovered as a young player i get too involved, overwhelmed and engrossed with the practice of scales, licks, modes etc, While paying less attention to musicality of soloing.
I actually knew how to play quiet some scales, but the problem was where and how do i use these scales? I struggled with this until my perspective about soloing changed from learning scales to understanding chords as well as some other important tips that I will share with us.
Scales, modes, licks and the likes are meaningless if not used to make music. In essence, I’m pointing out the fact that solo is an art while scales, modes, licks etc are some of the spices that gives more beauty to the art.
Today, I’m gonna narrow down the analysis I’d love to title the art of soloing down to give a better insight to aspiring improvisers or solo guitarists rather than the general believe that knowing a thousand scales, licks etc is a guarantee to becoming a wonderful solo guitarist.
Below are the insightful steps to look into:
1. Understand your chords & the notes that constitute your chords.
2. Understand your time signature.
3. It’s a must to know or able to anticipate what chord is coming next.
4. understanding notes that blend or rather go more fluently than another.
How does the above makes a good solo?
1.As a solo guitarist, we play notes, I mean a lot of notes.
What do we play these notes to?
Obviously we play our numerous notes to an underlying chord. Therefore understanding the notes that makes up a chord will surely make us know the notes that are to be emphasized than others, as well as notes that are not of the chord but compliment the chord. E.g: taking the key of C as the root, A (La) note will always complement the C (Do) note even if one isn’t present in the chord._
2. It’s a must to understand time signature as a solo guitarist because knowing when a particular chord’s time is elapsing is really important because every good solo should be a continuation and not segmented. Therefore understanding the time each chord lasts for will make such continual solo composition possible.
3. Anticipating or rather know what chord is coming next is really and extremely important. This is so because knowing what chord is coming next will make the soloist have the mind of linking the chord he’s presently on to the coming chord in a very well composed musical way.
4. There are notes that blends with each other than some others. Understanding intervals will assist in knowing such notes. Let’s say we’re to take a solo over the Dmin triad chord…This is a 3 note chord, but when soloing, we need more than just these 3 notes to make a great solo.
What are the notes that blends better than others in this chord?
A little anticipation of chord extension will be of help here. The above chord is Dmin chord: D F A I.e Re Fa La… If we add a C note I.e Do to this chord, it will give us a new chord with more note, but still of the same family. Further addition of an E note I.e Mi to the chord gives another type of chord but still from the same family etc. These newly added notes are notes that can be blended with our initial chord even while taking a solo and won’t make us sound away from musicality.
NOTE: I am not objecting the learning of scales, modes, licks etc. I’m only opening our eyes to the perspective that the likes of scales, modes, licks should come in after fully understanding the art of solo concept. Understanding that solo isn’t made out of scales but from chords is the reality of being a great solo guitarist. Scales, modes etc are only spices to add flavor to solos.
I hope you’d find the article very helpful. Feel free to drop your comments and questions