Soloing Basics



Let's talk about playing a guitar solo.


The first thing you have to realise about guitar solos, is that they are built as a series of short melodies, called phrases. These phrases are usually divided by short silences. Together these phrases form the whole solo, much like sentences together can form a story.


The Basics of a guitar solo


Good soloing is much like talking. You speak a sentence, and then you pause for a breath. Or two. Then the next sentence, again a pause, and so on. The guitar permits us to play non-stop, without any silences, but that is very tiring to listen to and also not very interesting.


If you want to learn an existing solo that you like from TAB, the first thing to do is listen to the solo, while looking at the TAB, and see if you can make out the various phrases.


It's not really doable to play a solo from TAB without knowing the solo and having identified how it's phrased.


How to play 'Dani California' - Red Hot Chili Peppers from TAB

Let's look at a nice, Hendrix-y guitar solo, the solo in 'Dani California' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you look at the tab, you can see that we've put red lines where one phrase ends and the next one begins.


guitarhow dani california soloing youtube

The way to know that a phrase has ended, is that it's either followed by a short silence, or there is a big position jump from one part of the guitar neck to another part.

So if you are learning a new solo from TAB, mark where the phrases end. Then, you can learn the solo PHRASE BY PHRASE.

This makes learning a solo much easier than if you would take on the TAB as a whole, which can be really discouraging if it's a long a difficult solo.


First, focus on the rhythm of the phrase. TAB doesn't have rhythms written in, so you have to listen to the phrase and imitate the rhythm. The first phrase in 'Dani California' consists of four notes, listen for the rhythm and play the phrase while imitating the rhythm. Once you can make it sound like the phrase in the recording, you can move on to the next phrase.


Refer to the How to Read TAB article if you can not yet read TAB.


Take care!


Guitarhow soloing basics - dani california rhcp solo