In this post we’ll have a look at the “minimal” amount of skills necessary to actually being able to play enjoyable guitar solos.
Ok folks, my recommendation is to go to music school and learn properly how to play guitar. But, if you really don’t want to go or you can’t go to a proper music school, then here is a list of the very minimal set of skills you need to have to make it possible to play enjoyable solos.
Please Note: Before that everything will work smooth and easy, you may have to repeat the list here quite a lot of times, but, if you love guitar playing for real, then this won’t be a problem for you 😉
- Learn how to tune your guitar well, yes, this is rule number 1 to sound good!
- Learn as many stretching and warm up exercises as you can. Generally speaking, the biggest problem when you begin to play guitars, is actually capacity of controlling your left hand fingers and your right hand picking, so, usually, I recommend to learn a lot of “guitar workout” exercises and practice the few you find more effective for you even before going to rehearsal with your band or before a gig
- Learn the most important basic techniques (in this order):
- Alternate Picking
- Hammer On
- Pull Off
- String Sliding
- String Bending
- String Skipping
- Learn the most used basic scales (in all Keys and in multiple Positions):
- Major Scale (also known as Ionian Mode)
- Minor Scale (also known as Aeolian Mode)
- Major Pentatonic
- Minor Pentatonic
- Learn how to play with a metronome at multiple Tempos and, possibly, also using different Time Signatures and Subdivisions (like 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/4, 8/4 at least)
- Learn the concept of Melody, Musical Phrase, Guitar Lick and Guitar Riff and try to apply this concepts to “fragments” of the scales you have learned at point 4
- Learn how to switch between all the techniques you’ve learned so far smoothly and quickly while using your metronome. So, start playing the scales of point 4 and add the techniques you’ve learned at point 3 while using a metronome not to loose the tempo. In other words learn how to combine techniques of point 3 to execute fragments of scales of point 4 always in perfect tempo
- Learn how to play Syncopations (Rubato etc… makes your solos feel less mechanic and Robotic)
- Learn how to read a guitar tablature (many guitar licks books use tablature representation, so, by learning how to read it, you’ll be able to learn a lot of very useful and effective musical phrases to use in your solos)
- Practice a lot with jam tracks (especially at the beginning) and when you feel confident then start to practice with a band
And now… have fun and good luck! 8)