How do you get a solo from a song you love sounding like the record? You make think its just practice practice practice but you'd be surprised!
When it comes to solo's a common issue is you can get one part sounding ok, but every time you try to play further you get stuck or there is a long pause between parts of the solo that you have learnt. To smooth out a solo and play like the guys you love to listen to you are gunna have to change the way you learn them. I have 2 tips for this;
Lets look at the 3 S's today.
1st S: Slow
When learning a solo you have to look at it as just that, learning! Think about learning to drive, would you jump straight onto the motorway without first learning to go around a parking lot? or up and down the driveway? When learning solos we have to tackle them the same as we would learning to drive.
Our brains learn the things we do. Not what we intend to, what we actually do. If you are making mistakes time and time again your brain will be learning those mistakes. Slow down, give yourself time, give yourself a break! the guitarist you are trying to play like has probably been playing for much longer than you or has been doing it for a job!
So, slow down! avoid mistakes when going slow or when you try to go fast you'll crash! Going slow helps with the next part...
2nd S: Smooth
So you are going at a speed where your mind can keep up with everything. Or are you? Here's a test. Can you play the section without pausing? If you have to pause, you have to play slower.
If you rush sections, your brain learns to rush and pause, rush and pause. It doesn't matter how fast you can play one part, If you have to pause before the next part it wont sound right.
If you can go slow enough that you can play smooth enough you will find you can learn the solo much much quicker.
Now these 2 S's will get you far, youll be able to play ever so slightly faster each time you play the solo. But have you ever felt your grip tightening on the strings so much your whole hand cramps up? How does your favourite guitarist play? with this last S
3rd S: Soft
"Soft? that doesnt sound like rock or metal! Every note should be slammed out!"
Its true though, every guitarist has to learn to play with just enough force to make the sound clear.
Try this, touch a fretting finger to a string, dont hold down, just touch. Then start picking. You should be making a muted sound. Now, slowly push your finger down while picking the string. stop pushing once you hear a nice clear note. How hard is that compared to what you normally do? Chances are itll feel like nothing at all!
And that is the key to playing fast! watch the solo guitarist playing. Do their fingers or hands look tense? not at all!(surprising when you think how many people they are playing in front of!) In fact, it looks like the solo is easy for them!
Play soft, Play Slow, Play Smooth. Put it all together and you will play and sound so much better!
'till next time,