Tag Archives for " soloing "

7 Ways To Use Octaves In Your Solos

The octave is the most perfect musical harmony, because the second note is exactly the same as the first, only higher or lower in pitch. This means the two notes mesh perfectly together. This unique sound is one that deserves to be used in your playing, and the great news is that it isn’t super hard to do.

When I play bass, I use octaves all the time because it’s an easy way to add some extra spice to a bass line without influencing the character of the overall chord being produced by the band, as would happen for instance, if I played a 3rd or a 5th in that same place. Sometimes you’re looking for a bit more activity in your bass line, but you still have to play it safe, so… octaves!

But this lesson is about the guitar. We’re going to look at 3 octave patterns, 3 ways to play those, and 1 way to use octaves as an approach to moving around your fretboard.

All the examples in the video are from A pentatonic minor, which I perhaps should have made more clear.

Here’s a big takeaway: once you have the pattern locked in, practice by moving through your scale (any scale – doesn’t have to be pentatonic).

Some of the sounds you get from octaves immediately make you think of jazz music, but the reality is, you’ll find octaves used in all music, everywhere. So, learn the patterns and get to work applying them to your own music!

If you need help understanding your fretboard better, I recommend my Guitar Scale Patterns course.

Fish versus Guitar Player

mahi-mahiI’m not much of a fisherman, but last winter I was in Mexico for a week snatching a little R&R, and while there, somehow I found myself out on a boat, pulling in a nice Mahi-Mahi.

Today when I heard about this huge tuna that actually capsized the boat of the guy fishing for it, I remembered my own experience with a tuna… a tiny little guy, about 18 inches long.

Haha, not exactly the capsizing variety!

The above picture shows one of the Mahi-Mahi I got – not the little tuna! It was a great trip though, because although I didn’t know the first thing about how to catch a fish, the guys on board did pretty much all the technical stuff for me, and then turned the rod over to me once they had something on the other end.

If they’d have left it up to me, I’m sure we’d STILL be out there, trawling around wondering where all the fish were!

As a matter of fact, the way I fish reminds me a little of how some people play guitar.

Like this one kid I knew, growing up.

We’d jam together, and he always steadfastly refused to learn a guitar scale.

Instead, he figured he could do it all by ear – essentially, just tossing his line in wherever he wanted, figuring that something would always come up.

Well, he did somehow get by, but the problem was, he caught a lot of old boots and bad notes in the process.

With a little direction (ie in the form of a scale pattern) he would have progressed MUCH more quickly, and had a far higher success rate, in terms of picking notes that actually sounded good.

Learn the 3 Essential Guitar Scale Patterns here

I’m forever grateful for that experience with him, because an object lesson like that is invaluable.

Especially when you can learn it from someone else, and don’t have to go through it yourself.

So – learn from my friend’s mistakes, and learn how to use guitar scales while you’re soloing – your playing will really improve because of it.

Learn the 3 Essential Guitar Scale Patterns here.

Beginner guitar soloist nails it

fender-stratLast week I was at a year end concert for a bunch of local guitar students, and it was fun to listen to how they played.

One particular fellow, in his mid-50’s or so, had clearly wanted to play lead guitar for many years, but had only recently had the opportunity.

Well, that night he got a solo. He sat there up on stage, cool as a cucumber, and played his first solo in front of a live audience of a couple hundred people.

His solo was pretty slow, with nothing really super amazing in it, but – he didn’t play any wrong notes!

That’s because he used the pentatonic scale – and it reminded me that even beginner players can have a blast soloing when that scale is used.

Simply learn the scale pattern, then try to pick out a melody from the notes in the pattern.

Or, play whatever floats your boat!

A great way to practice soloing is to use jam tracks…

And you’ll find a sweet collection of 30 high quality tracks right here.

It may seem crazy, but using jam tracks like this as a “practice” tool (I put that in quotes, because really it feels a lot more like having fun than practice!) really has a big and noticeable affect on your playing.

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How to Play Harmonics On Guitar (Guitar Harmonics)

In this guitar lesson, Colin will teach you how to play harmonics on your guitar. If you don’t know what guitar harmonics sound like, then play the video, and you’ll find out. One song that I always think of regarding harmonics is Summer Song by Joe Satriani. He uses them a fair bit in the beginning part, although if you listen closely you’ll find harmonics being used in all different genres and all different styles of music.

The most common places to find harmonics on your guitar are the 5th, 7th, and 12th frets, as well as the octaves of those (ie 17th, 19th, and 24th frets).

Harmonics work best on amplified electric guitars, however you can make them work on an acoustic as well, it’s just harder to hear them as the amplification really helps on the electric. Using distortion further amplifies their sound as well. This is one of those handy guitar techniques it is nice to have at your disposal, it can add some extra spice in certain situations, although you certainly don’t want to use it all the time. A little spice is nice… to much and you get accused of being a bad cook! 🙂

Ok, grab your guitar, and let’s learn how to play some guitar harmonic!

Guitar Harmonics:

Watch on Youtube

How To Break The “I Can’t Solo” Curse

“I just CAN’T SOLO!!”

Man, the guy was frustrated. He’d tried all kinds of things in order to learn how to solo.

He’d learned the pentatonic minor scale (a GREAT start by the way) but he couldn’t figure out how to make his solo sound like anything BUT the scale.

He’d tried copying solos verbatim (ie ‘covers’) but that wasn’t doing it for him either.

He was still having a really hard time unlocking whatever it was that held him back.

I felt bad for him, because I’ve seen a number of people stuck in this conundrum.

There seems to be a mental block on the creative drive, and it needs to be smashed somehow.

My advice to him? He’d gone in a little deep, and was starting to get tunnel vision over his failures, so I instead I recommended he learn some simple guitar riffs that worked with the pentatonic scale he knew.

Sometimes seeing how the riffs relate to the scale, and then hearing how arranging those notes in different ways can sound so cool can really crank up the creative juices.

It seemed to with him, anyways.

Speaking of learning new riffs, Steve Stine’s course 96 Rock Licks is an awesome collection.

You can find it here

Another common problem is that other guys have learned a few riffs, but have used them so much,over and over again, that they’ve fallen into a creativity rut as a result.

It’s not so much that they can’t solo, it’s that every time they do solo, it sounds just like the last time.

In those cases, oftentimes learning a new riff and hearing the sound of it as you play it can break the funk.

I’ve had it before where I learned just one new lick and it made such a difference.

Steve’s course has not one, not ten, not fifty, but ninety-six great riffs taught in great detail so you can capture every nuance of each one.

Break the “I Can’t Solo” curse with these licks.

If you’re really struggling with the soloing, learn just one new lick today and see if that doesn’t help…

I bet it does.

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Using Octaves in Guitar Solos

Adding the octave, or perfect 8th interval onto some of your licks can really add a totally new flavor to your guitar solos.

If you’d like to learn more about intervals and the scales, checkout my Guitar Scale Patterns course.

In this lesson, Colin demonstrates how you can use the octaves all over the fretboard. The general rule for finding the octave is to go down 2 strings and up 2 frets… however you have to be careful, because if you’re crossing the 2nd string (B) you’ll need to add one more fret onto that pattern for it to work correctly. Colin talks about this in the lesson.

The hardest part about getting this riff down correctly is learning to mute the string in between the two notes you’re playing. In general, I like to rest my index finger lightly on that in between string to cut down on any noise it produces. It’s worth practicing a bit just to make sure you can get a clean interval while you’re strumming.

Alternatively of course, simply finger pick both notes together, or one after the other, and avoid the problem entirely.

You can find many more guitar lessons by Colin Daniel at RiffNinja.com.

Using Guitar Octaves In Your Solo:

Watch the Guitar Octaves lesson on Youtube