Jon Bishop

In another ex­clu­sive fea­ture looks at var­i­ous easy ways to su­per­charge your solo­ing and add more in­ter­est to your lead work. Read on...

Guitar Techniques - - Play: Soloing -

For this ar­ti­cle we aim to iden­tify some tech­niques and solo­ing con­cepts that can be eas­ily in­cor­po­rated into your per­sonal bag of tricks. It’s all well and good know­ing ev­ery scale and mode un­der the sun, but if we can’t ar­tic­u­late th­ese in a way that gives our play­ing feel, soul, or per­son­al­ity, then our abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively will be all but sti­fled.

We have 20, four-bar ex­am­ples to study. Th­ese are split into two tracks, each with 10 ex­am­ples. Each ex­am­ple is four bars long and then there is a two-bar drum break to al­low you time to pre­pare for the next ex­am­ple. As an added ex­tra there is a full-on, 34-bar jam solo to learn, again with a cor­re­spond­ing back­ing track. The jam solo will help you to con­tex­tu­alise what we have worked on, and give you a chance to use them as a ba­sis for cre­at­ing your own ideas.

All the ex­am­ples are played over a funky C7 back­ing track. To add some in­ter­est the back­ing track also uses the chords of F7 and G7. Many of you will feel at home here, as C7, F7 and G7 are of course the three chords of a Dom­i­nant 7 blues in C.

There are sev­eral scales you can use when solo­ing over the back­ing track. C Ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic con­tains the notes C, D, E, G and A and sounds great when used over the C7 chord. C Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic con­tains the notes C,Eb,F,G,Bb; this also sounds good when played over the C7 but it can also be made to fit the F7 and G7 chords. Some of the ideas use F Ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic over the F7 chord, and G Ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic over the G7. Ev­ery­thing has been no­tated with a C Ma­jor key sig­na­ture so you can clearly see the var­i­ous note choices, plus chord and scale re­la­tion­ships.

The main fo­cus of this fea­ture is to work on ar­tic­u­la­tions and em­bel­lish­ments, but it’s good to be mind­ful of us­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate Ma­jor and Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic scales in just the right places to fit the un­der­ly­ing chords. Some of the many ways we can add in­ter­est to notes and phrases can be di­vided into the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories:

String bend­ing, slid­ing into notes, a va­ri­ety of pick­ing tech­niques in­clud­ing fin­gers, flat pick and hy­brid (pick and fin­gers).

Fin­ger vi­brato and whammy bar vi­brato. whammy bar ma­nip­u­la­tion in­clud­ing bot­tle­neck em­u­la­tion and ‘vo­cal’ phras­ing.

Ham­mer-ons and pull-offs in­clud­ing le­gato phras­ing. Fin­ger tap­ping us­ing both fret­ting and pick­ing hands and of course one of the most im­por­tant as­pects of all, rhythm.

Each of the 20 ex­am­ples has been de­signed to high­light a key tech­nique or ar­tic­u­la­tion type. Some of th­ese ex­am­ples are in the style of fa­mous play­ers that helped to progress lead gui­tar play­ing to where it is to­day.

If you are work­ing on a new tech­nique or con­cept it is well worth tak­ing your time and start­ing slowly. Rush­ing for­ward is almost al­ways a false econ­omy in the long run.

All three tracks have the demon­stra­tion solo muted on the GT audio so you can play along. It would be chal­leng­ing to learn all 20 ex­am­ples and the jam track note for note, but that’s not the ob­ject of this ex­er­cise: the idea is to pro­vide you with con­cepts that you can eas­ily bolt on to your ex­ist­ing reper­toire (although there are some great licks here worth pil­fer­ing), and pro­vide your play­ing with an ex­cit­ing shot in the arm.

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