Guitar Rock Improvisation Thoughts, Tricks, Concepts and Techniques, 12th Episode.

Guitar Rock Improvisation Thoughts, Tricks, Concepts and Techniques, 12th Episode.

If you have found the time to diligently practice all the topics discussed in previous weeks, you should see a significant difference in your soloing compared to 12-13 weeks ago.

Here’s a recap of all the things we covered so far.

Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 1
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 2
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 3
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 4
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 5
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 6
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 7
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 8
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 9
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 10
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 11

You think you can handle more?
Are you ready for more?

If so… here we go.

Try to play a whole solo with only 3 or 4 notes: BB King style.

There is tremendous power in limiting yourself to playing a whole solo with only 3 or 4 notes.
Limiting yourself to only a couple of notes, makes you have to focus on different ways to keep it interesting.
As an exercise: you get a lot out of this and you learn a hell of lot from the experience.

This btw, is not something that would work in the more technical or shredding improvisation styles.
This technique is reserved for the blues, blues rock, blues influenced rock and hard rock, and the classic rock genres.

Playing interval fingerings (i.e. 3rds) melodically

By nature that you are using a chosen interval (i.e. 3rds, or 4ths, etc.) as the building block to create a solo from, this will automatically change your phrasing a great deal.
It will lead to different kinds of melody lines than you’d come up with if you were to use a pentatonic or 7-note scale as the frame work to build your solo from.

The concept explained:

  1. Play the intervals melodically. In other words: you separate the 2 notes so it sounds like a melody instead of like a harmony.
  2. Move linearly/horizontally through the scale.
  3. You can also choose to move vertically over the 6 strings instead horizontally over the same 2 strings.
  4. Important: be random in the string order. Make sure not to be predictable or repetitive in regards to the order in which you pick the strings, so it doesn’t sound like “low note, high note, low note, high note, low note, etc… ).
  5. You get added richness if you add open strings to this.

Sometimes it’s tricky to understand verbal explanations.
It might be much easier to understand how this works, when you see it at work in a video.

Scroll down for the video.

List of things you can do to make a solo more expressive:

A similar listing has already been covered in the past in a blog.
Here it is.
Boost Your Rock Guitar Soloing Power

This above blog explains many of the tolls listed below in greater detail.
The reason why I wanted to add this list here, is to remind you of this very important mantra I keep repeating:

“It’s not about which notes you play, it’s about how you play them.”

The more you implement all the tools from the below list, the more expressive your solos are going to sound.

  1. Dynamics
  2. Pinch harmonics
  3. Mutes, muted hits
  4. Palm mute
  5. Legato
  6. Tap notes
  7. Pluck notes with fingers
  8. Pick on different string locations. (closer to bridge, closer to the neck)
  9. Slides from far below
  10. Slides from the scale note below
  11. Slides from far above
  12. Slides from the scale note above
  13. Wide bends
  14. Bends from the note below
  15. Pre bend
  16. Release
  17. Hammer ons
  18. Pull offs
  19. Thrill
  20. Harmonics
  21. Pick tapping
  22. Tremolo picking
  23. Micro bends
  24. Pick scratches
  25. Tapped harmonics
  26. Oblique bends
  27. Unison bends
  28. Whammy bar
  29. Press strings behind the nut
  30. Vibrato


I know this installment is a bit shorter than usual.
However: if you would spend only 2min per item on the above list of expression tools, you’d be spending an hour of practice only on that.
You probably should: given that they can make a solo sound so much better when applied.

Hit me up anytime if you have any questions.
We got some good stuff coming up in the last episode next week.

Keep me informed on your progress. You can hit me up in the comments section below.
If you like this blog: give it a rating and feel free to also give me any feedback.
I believe everything can always be improved. I’d gladly implement your suggestions and ideas in this blog or the next.

Be on the look out for more blogs about everything guitar, music, songwriting and music education.

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