"I never played a overdubbed solo" for years. "It's so weird, so sterile. You feel like your outside. When you do solos live there’s a certain spirit that’s so difficult to get in overdub situations. When the band plays together, everybody interacts, and that feels much better to me. I listen to everything and cue off everyone in the band." -Allan HoldsworthOr overdub.
When I approach a guitar solo "first I learn the melody, then I learn the chords. Then I try to use substitution chords here and there that will make the tune a little more interesting. In place of Fm I would use an Ab, or in place of C7, I sometimes use a Gdim going to F" -Chet Atkins
A guitar solo "should do something, it shouldn't be there as a cosmetic, it should have some aim, take the tune somewhere."
Playing a guitar solo "just comes naturally. Sounds corny, but it's like holding a conversation. You’re just saying something through the guitar. I just try so say it as clearly as possible. There's nothing worse than a boring sermon, it's as simple as that."
"I can play a solo on record and I can't even play it afterwards. I could probably learn it parrot-fashion, but that’s completely what I'm not into. Leave that thing alone and do something else." -Jeff Beck
"For a solo, you really need to work, and think, and explore what it means to you, the possibilities and how you’re going to articulate them."
I don’t play 15 solos and then splice them, I just "hope and pray for inspiration, that’s the magical thing that gives you some sense of immortality."
I use overdubs, "you just can't do a solo in certain situations." -John McLaughlin
"If I attempt to construct a solo," I can, "but that’s the last thing I want to do as an improviser. I just want it to be. I want it to happen." -Pat Methany
My objective when soloing on the guitar is to be "like a samurai in the pacing. I really want to hit everybody, but it's got a lot to do with timing and space. The objective is to make everyone feel like they've been struck with a bolt of lightening." It's about "construction and pacing and making them wait. Make them wait for the first note of the solo, and then hit exactly the right note. It all depends on how you start the solo, if you start it wrong, you've really got no chance."
It gets tiring playing in a band where you solo constantly. "Sometimes you end up playing every lick you know before the end of the set, and then your fucked."
If I took 3 passes at a guitar solo in the studio they "would all be identical in every way, except that the high points would be in different places." -Eric Clapton
slide solos to sound like a
vocal part. Find a melody and make it say
something. It's speaking to you,
it's not just notes. Also,
you should build, start a thing and go somewhere, make a
little statement. Saxophonist Lester Young told a little story when he
played. You also want to insert a
little attitude, is it up down? happy? sad?
Hopefully you just play, you just know
these things instinctively, like driving a car. That’s when
your on it. If everyone had to think about
what they do, they wouldn't play anything. They'd end up with too many variables." -Ry Cooder
I don't work out guitar solos, "because every time I've tried to, it turns out that there's something that would fit a little better that comes naturally. My approach is just to play naturally and take takes. Figure out what it is that sounds good. If there's a way to make it better, do it."
"Most people will probably agree, your best solos come out of your first 5 to 10 takes." Often "the very first ones will be best."
"A solo should divert attention away from the repetition of the melodies, It's got to be a new section, but I like to use familiar underlying." -Steve Morse
“When your playing an instrumental it's got to start somewhere and end somewhere, and it's got to say something." -Duane Eddy
"I don't like anybody else in the studio when I'm putting on the guitar parts. I limber up for a while, then maybe do 3 solos and take the best." -Jimmy Page
When I'm building a guitar solo, first I "learn the melody of the tune if there is one. Then I construct the solo as if that were happening, and I'm either playing with it or against it. That's a loose description, because there are a lot of other factors involved." -Jerry Garcia
When I'm playing a guitar solo "I like to hit the right note. Even when you’re stretching all over the neck, it's important to know where you’re going with it andend up there." -Billy Gibbons
"I like to do a number of solos that aren't playing it safe, and then make up one good one out of all the wild bits that work. I often make up a composite track from three or four solos, and make certain I don't have any mistakes in there, because who wants to listen to mistakes for the next twenty years?"
I don't memorize my solos
for on stage,
influenced by them.
"Sometimes I've heard it so many times that I actually play solos
note for note, but not very often."
My guitar solos are "turning and turning a tune until eventually you show all of it's possible sides."
"Many guys play solos that are too long, some of the greatest jazzmen built on eight bar solos."
My playing sounds introspective because "I try to develop a solo compositionally. Also I don't really play fast, speed has never come easy for me."
It's possible to ignore the melody while improvising, "but I get bored with performers who do that. Many guy's solos sound the same. they play on the chord changes rather than improvise on the tune itself. I think it's more fun to improvise on the whole song, the melody gives you that much more to play off." -Jim Hall
"I never played an overdubbed solo" for years. "It's so weird, so sterile. You feel like your outside. When you do solos live there’s a certain spirit that’s so difficult to get in overdub situations. When the band plays together, everybody interacts, and that feels much better to me. I listen to everything and cue off everyone in the band."
I don't try to repeat my guitar solos "I just try to be spontaneous. I really get worried if my live solos sound like the ones on the records."
I don't organize runs in terms of scale or chords, "I just try to play naturally. I don't analyze, I follow my instincts. I try to hear something that makes sense, sounds reasonable, and play it."
But having said that I do try "break it down to find out what the chord structure is, if I can superimpose things like triad on top of triad. I experiment with it. There's no set way for me to play. I have to be able to see it in my minds eye."
I don't locate different groups of chords on other strings to change their impact "unless it was called for. I just try to look for interesting ways to play simple things and make them sound like they're not."
I don't think register (location on the neck) has much bearing on a solo. "the solo itself has an important bearing on it. I don't make any rules about it.
If the solo starts low,
I'll think about the
notes in that area, but I don't divide the neck up, it's all one."
I don't really work out guitar solos in advance. "Sometimes it might break down in the middle, and then you figure out which way it should go and punch it in. But generally, it's pretty rough-and-ready. I'll often play three passes, record them all, and then make something by stitching them together." -Mark Knopfler
The Cult of Personality solo "was a first take. Our producer said 'Lets do a solo tomorrow.' But I said 'I've got to do it now.' It was the funniest thing. I was really beat until he said 'The track is coming now,' and then I plugged into a musical stream of consciousness. After it was done I thought "did I do that?" I really plugged into what that song was about on that solo, and I felt really good about it." -Vernon ReidThis page expands the concepts: playing fast guitar. Go there next.