Easy Guitar Solos

Playing lead guitar and learning some easy guitar solos isn’t all about impressing your friends.

It’s also a lot to do with what you learn about the solo: the phrasing, the emphasis on certain notes, where some notes fall on the beat and anchor the phrase and the resolution or open endedness of each phrase leading to the next or back to the song.

When you learn all of this stuff from the hardest working musicians who ever lived you’re getting a glimpse into how they approach music and how they get their ideas into such a polished and instant recognizable piece of music.

For most of us, when we set out to learn the guitar there’s no such thing as easy guitar solos, as soon as you try to replicate your favorite guitarist you soon realize how ridiculously hard it really is, but does it come as a surprise? It shouldn’t…

We hear about Jimi Hendrix and how when he could finally afford a guitar he slept with it every night for fear of it being stolen, he practiced virtually all day every day, he played with bands constantly, and here we are beating ourselves up because we can’t replicate his solo after trying for a couple of hours in front of a computer… give me a break!

However, not all lead guitarist make their solos complex, in fact many use just a small palette of notes and manage to put so much emotion behind each one and phrase them in such a way that they can elicit those raw emotions from the listener (us) that leave hairs standing on end.

It’s this category of “easy guitar solos” that I want you to focus on for the time being.

The Easy Guitar Solos You’re Going to Learn

Guns n Roses – Sweet Child ‘o’ Mine
Cream – Sunshine of Your Love
Led Zeppelin – Tangerine
Pink Floyd – Mother
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
Alice in Chains – Man in the Box
Green Day – Holiday
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Beatles – Let it be

Quite an expansive list, yeah?

Well I don’t expect you to learn all of those over this weekend, but I need to cover enough so you can choose at least 2 or 3 that really speak to you that you will be motivated to actually learn.

Breaking Down the Easy Guitar Solos

So how do you actually learn to play guitar solos? There’s a few points we need to touch on: Listening and appreciation, Notes and timing, Phrasing and expression, Guitar Tone and effects, Backing Tracks and Tools.

Let’s kick off with

Listening to and Appreciating the Guitar Solo

Plan on listening to the solo you’d like to learn, a lot… like at least 15 times before you start learning it and then many more times that when you start to recreate it. You’re listening for the energy of the solo, and the message it’s trying to convey.

It might sound silly saying that a solo actually conveys a message, but when was the last time you listened to your favorite guitar solo and DIDN’T feel like it was speaking to you? No doubt it gave you a new way of looking at things, floods of images, thoughts and ideas raced through your mind and overall you were left with a feeling… it’s that feeling I want you to connect with, you’re going to need it whenever you practice a guitar solo or play it in front of others.

It’s not enough to mechanically recreate a solo, any piece of midi software is capable of that, you need to feel it, you need to understand what it means and be able to convey that again when you play it.

With iTunes you can probably find a high quality recording for each of these songs for about 99c and if you choose to focus on only 2 or 3 this weekend then it will make for a very cheap but rewarding project.

Notes and timing

Tabs are great, don’t get me wrong, I primarily teach my students songs, solos, warm-ups and practice techniques using hand written tabs – but, they will never teach you the timing for the piece.

This is where you need to read along with the solo as you listen to it, break the tab down (I’ll give you links in a jiff) into sections so you know where the notes belong.

And with each recording potentially differing from the recording the tab was written for you may end up with notes that don’t fit, or you might hear extra notes you don’t have tab for – this is something we’ll have to live with for the time being, and it’s not until you start playing the piece, slowly, that you can really fit the tab to the notes you’re hearing.

Here are a list of links to tabs from Ultimate Guitar, I choose them because they have a super active community of people all working together to improve on each others tabs. Always check to see if there’s a new version for each song and choose the one that fits the best to the recording you’re working with.

Guns n Roses – Sweet Child ‘o’ Mine
Cream – Sunshine of Your Love
Led Zeppelin – Tangerine
Pink Floyd – Mother
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
Alice in Chains – Man in the Box
Green Day – Holiday
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Beatles – Let it be

Guitar Solo Phrasing and Expression

This fits in and follows on from timing quite well. The phrasing of a guitar solo are the little “licks” used throughout the piece, you’ll find that oftentimes small pieces are reused in different positions in the piece, there are rests between these licks and that is what makes up the phrasing of the piece.

This is super important when it comes to picking up a guitar at someones house and playing out the guitar solo without any backing tracks or metronome, you may not get the timing perfect but if you understand the phrasing 99% of people will recognize and appreciate it. It also gives you some room for artistic interpretation by leaving longer dramatic gaps and adding your own expression to certain notes.

Which of course leads nicely into how the guitarist is expressing each note in the solo. Is it being plucked hard or soft, how much time does the note ring out for, is it palm muted, is it an important note that resolves a small run?

Guitar Tone and Effects

When I learn or create a new guitar solo I’ll often play it both on the acoustic and electric guitar. I have a Takemine D series acoustic which has amazing tone right off the bat and a Made in the USA Fender Telecaster with that distinguished “bluesy” tone. I do this for two reasons, so I can hear the tone differences between my two guitars and the guitar being used in the solo, and also to build finger strength and muscle memory on the acoustic so that it becomes easier when I move to the electric.

In addition to the inherent tone of the guitar you’ll also want to consider what strings you are using. The two key points here are tone and flexibility.

Generally speaking the thicker the strings the richer and stronger the tone, and on the flip side, the thinner strings are often more flexible and easier to play. So, it’s an age old trade off, you can’t have it both ways.

If you need to tune down for a solo (which I don’t recommend to beginner guitarsits) then you’ll need a thicker gauge to keep the clarity and tone coming through.

With the effects for recreating the guitar solo you’ll either be using a software program like Guitar Rig which often has presets available for famous guitarists/songs, or a all-in-one guitar effects unit which also often comes with presets you can use right away, or effect pedals that you’ll need to manually adjust or even the effects section on your amp.

To get the basic sound right should be easy enough with any of these setups, although if you only have one guitar pedal you might find some of these setups tricky.

The effects used for these easy guitar solos:

Guns n Roses – Sweet Child ‘o’ Mine

Set your guitar to the pickup closest to the neck, add in overdrive and a bunch of reverb.

Cream/Eric Clapton – Sunshine of Your Love

This is a new sound pioneered by Eric Clapton called the “woman tone”, you can recreate it by turning the tone control knob all the way down for your pickup closest to the neck, turn up the bass on your amp and run it through a half-cocked wah pedal.

Led Zeppelin – Tangerine

Some simple distortion will get you there, I think it was originally played through a FuzzBox, if you don’t have a FuzzBox or something that gives it that … well, fuzzy sound, try turning down the mids on your outputs.

Pink Floyd – Mother

This one is going to be hard to recreate, they used so much post-production to control the sound of the guitars that it’s going to be impossible to get it spot-on, however, set your sustain to about 2/3, a bit of delay using the bridge pickup, it’s also run through an Electric Mistress… which I’m trying to find more details for you.

Metallica – Nothing Else Matters

Play with your distortion knob here, cut out the mids… not completely… and add some reverb over top

Alice in Chains – Man in the Box

This is going to be a little harder to recreate, it used a talk box which takes the shape of your mouth to modify the sound of your guitar. If you really want to go down this path, check out the How to Build a Talk Box at SynthTopia for next weekends project… pretty freakn cool if you ask me!

… I’ll update for the other solos as I get more time to fiddle with my equipment.

Backing Tracks and Tools

Obviously the first thing you should be doing is playing along to the actual song, so you can match the timing. But once you’ve mastered the solo, you can play it in your sleep while your guitar is downstairs using some sort of Jedi mind control, well, then you’re ready to play it over a backing track.

Probably the best source of free backing tracks is GuitarBackingTrack.com

[Backing Tracks]
Guns n Roses – Sweet Child ‘o’ Mine
Cream – Sunshine of Your Love
Led Zeppelin – Tangerine
Pink Floyd – Mother
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
Alice in Chains – Man in the Box
Green Day – Holiday
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Beatles – Let it be

Featured Product Spotlight

I’ve chosen this product to promote here because it’s targeting something that’s hard to learn by yourself… speed. Sure practice can help and I can give you some simple techniques but I can’t recreate something as complete as this course.

Hopefully by now you’ve realized that learning how to play lead guitar does take real practice, so you wont be put off by the fact you need to spend about 20 minutes a day over the next 2 weeks to get the most out of this course… the great thing is that these techniques will help in ALL areas of your playing, not just playing lead guitar.

Get some real techniques for learning any song, warming up, improve the tone of your guitar (we touched on this briefly before), build strength and agility in both your picking and fretting hands, play more efficiently (this is a biggie!), how to get the phrasing right for the lead parts you’ll be playing, master the timing, sweep picking and a bunch more.

There’s a bunch of bonuses available which you get for free if you decide to order the course. Including some good tools, jamming tracks and probably the most important of all… Full Email Support!!

How many people offer their personal support these days? Most of the time you login and buy a product with no mention of support… so this gets some serious points just for that.

Now I need to mention that IF you decide this course is for you (and lets face it, not everyone wants to master lead guitar) AND you order after visiting the site through my link below, well, I’ll be given a little slice of the price. Hopefully it’s enough to cover the coffee needed to write my next article, but when the full price is only $20 I have my doubts :)

Link to More Information on Guitar Burning Speed

Comments

Post your comment

Your name

Your e-mail address

Your URL (website) address
Your comment

© Copyright Instant Guitarist 2011. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

Wordpress website designed by