Using Open Notes in Guitar Solos

If you look at your scales, and actually dissect them to see what notes are in each scale, you’ll see that in many keys, some of the notes you’re playing are also available to you as open notes.

This lesson is more to open you up to the idea than it is to show you in close up detail what my fingers are doing (no closeups today). So once you can get the general idea of plucking an open string, then one of the notes from the scale you’re in, then you’re pretty much set to go nuts and try this out on your own.

One of the coolest things about this soloing technique is that you can use it to sound like a much faster player than you actually are. You can pull this one out of your bag of tricks and make it sound like you’re really shredding, but in reality you’re only moving around between a couple notes. Pretty slick eh?

As with all improvising, there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do this – as long as you’re using the right notes!

Two excellent places to start with this soloing technique are in the A minor scale and the E minor scale, as in both scales you can use all the open notes (talking about the diatonic scales here). Once you’re comfortable doing this, more on and start looking at other scales, like B minor and C# minor and see how you can use the same technique in there. Hint: you won’t necessarily be able to use all the strings anymore!

Video Problems? Watch directly on YouTube

Leave a Reply 8 comments

Keith - September 20, 2010 Reply

Cheers for that Jonathan, gives me something more to play around with- Thanks for all your tips.

James H. - October 10, 2010 Reply

tried to watch it but it froze up at 2:13, don’t know why. went to youtube site and it did it again.

colin steele - October 14, 2010 Reply

I really struggle with solos so this is really useful

marco - April 29, 2011 Reply

you rock dude!!!!!!!!!!!!

Justin - July 11, 2011 Reply

Sweet lesson! Gives me some excellent ideas that lend to more shredding and more string breakage:)

Thanx so much for the lessons and tips.

matt - July 29, 2011 Reply

Mic your voice, its hard to hear you. Especially when you play your example/lesson on the guitar.

bill - June 5, 2012 Reply

thanks, what a great idea…..

Douglas - October 4, 2014 Reply

real cool lesson

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