Perfecting your soloing

by Littlewing (Nov 02, 2008)

Hey everyone, Littlewing here! Today were going to talk about how you can improve your technique mentally and physically while soloing.

First, were going to tackle the physicality. As many of you know, soloing is a very deep subject. Guitar players such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani have brought soloing to the next level. But before they did that they spent hours most likely perfecting there Picking and Legato. First things first. The most important thing that you can do for your picking hand is to relax it. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!! Many guitar players have developed tendonitis from having a very tight picking hand and this can be extremely painful. This is the first step for developing good technique. Now for the left hand. Very important: Have a light touch when playing. Over the years, I have seen many players that have a great right hand technique but have such a hard touch with the left hand that it causes the string to actually go sharp. Also, always keep your 4 fingers curved like a claw(Never play with the fleshy padded parts of your fingers. Now pick up your guitar and practice these three exercises until you can play it at least at a tempo of 120:

Eventually, you will build up speed with this exercise, and you will be able apply it to most scales most scales that you learn.

Now that we have that out of the way, we are going to proceed to a lovely little technique that we call the bend. This might just be the most important technique in any guitar players arsenal and it has been used EXTREMELY effectively.

When bending, always bend with the tips of your fingers.

I found these on a website and I find them to be extremely effective when learning how to bend:

Pick - Bend - Release - Mute
This combination gives you a note that rises and then falls.

Pick - Bend - Mute - Release
This combination gives you a note that rises, but doesn't fall.

Bend - Pick - Release - Mute
This combination gives you a falling note.

Bend - Pick - Bend - Mute - Release
This combination gives you a note that falls and then rises again.

Now we will go on to the finger vibrato. A vibrato is a very expressive technique that gives the guitar a very vocal like sound to it. In my opinion, there is no "right way" to do a vibrato. Each player develops his/ her's vibrato in there own way. To execute a vibrato, smoothly turn your wrist side to side while wiggling your finger up and down.(Forgive me for my crappy description.)

Another thing you should know by trade is the slide. Yes, I should not have to explain to you how to do that.

The last important technique that we will learn is known as Legato (or to you wankers, Hammer ons and pull offs). Legato has been taken to great lengths by players such as Joe Satriani. To "hammer-on" a note play a note and quickly place one of your other fingers on another note. A pull-off is a little more difficult because you have to recite the bible while doing it :). No seriously folks, a pull off is basically the opposite of a hammer on which is when you play a note and you quickly "pull-off" to a different note below it.

There are many more techniques then this but those are not ABSOLUTELY necessary for creating a good soloing.

Now we will deal with the mental technique. Now I am not talking about technicality. I am talking about having a sense of passion and phrasing in your soloing. Technicality will be explained in one of my upcoming lessons.

You might be thinking "Phrasing, what the hell is that? Like, a sentence?". And the answer is YES! A musical sentence. Soloing is not about playing fast and showing off. It is about creating interesting musical lines that bring out the fire in your soul. Now showing off is OK, but don't over do it or else it will bore everyone to tears.

The way I developed my sense of phrasing was by taking sentences, and expressing it onto the guitar. For example "I am very angry". You might be thinking "So, what do I do now?". Well what I would do was, I would have a harder pick attack and maybe be more aggressive. See how it works? Now take a sentence such as "I love you". Now you would play a melodic gentle melody and soften your pick attack. This sounds cheesy doesn't it? I know it does. That�s what I said when I first started to do this. But believe me, in 10 years of playing, it helps your playing IMMENSELY!

Hopefully, this lesson has had some effect on whoever reads this, so until next time � Littlewing