Guitar solos – These two words can stir up great emotions among all guitarists. From hair-raising, face melting rock solos to the cool technical ones in jazz, guitar solos can convey a range of feelings and emotions. Creating amazing solos is one of the most difficult arts, not just for guitar but for any instrument. Before you can go about creating your own wonderful solos, there are a range of topics and methods to be studied carefully. At the World Music Conservatory, we believe in teaching our students not just through lessons but also with practical applications in songs. So here we have compiled a list of songs that will be of help to all aspiring guitarists.
What is the best way to study and analyse these techniques? For the new guitarist, the best way to go about this is to learn your favourite solos! Learning these by heart is a great way to learn new techniques, get new musical ideas and observe the interplay of rhythm and lead. Though it is best to learn these pieces by ear, we know that it can difficult for newer guitarists to do this. So it might be useful to refer tabs or use softwares like Guitar Pro. Having said that, we would recommend that you try to figure things out by ear, and then use tabs to double check. It might be little difficult in the beginning but if you can work through it, then it will greatly improve your ear and having a good ear is one of the most important attributes for the serious musician.
The next question is of course which solos should I learn? We have come up with a list of 4 different solos which will benefit you greatly if you learn them all completely. We have chosen a variety of styles to help familiarise you with different musical situations. Another very important point to remember is that apart from learning the solos note by note, you should also observe how the chord and rhythm changes shape in with the solos. And how the solo plays a larger part in the whole song and completes it musically.
Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses
Slash’s guitar magic in SCOM is arguably one of the most iconic solos of all time. Though it has become a bit of cliché with guitar students, it is melodically and technically quite beautiful. The first part of the solo has a slow Phrygian lead before moving to a wah heavy second half. It will familiarise you with the use of wah pedal and also show how to shift between moods in a solo, as Slash does so beautifully. The bridge between the two parts calls for some technical work and will take some time to nail completely- totally worth the effort though!
Hotel California by The Eagles
This has a beautiful, meandering solo that matches the mood of the song perfectly and brings the musical piece to a wonderful conclusion. Laden with hooks, this solo will teach you how to make your guitar sound melodically pleasing. Technically it is not that difficult but the harmony aspects you will learn are very important. It will also teach you another very important trick for rock guitarists – how to use the pentatonic scale in a way that does not make the listener get bored of the guitar.
For the Love of God by Steve Vai
This beautiful piece of work by the master guitarist Steve Vai is probably the most technically challenging solo on the list. From its gut wrenching intro to the legato madness of the bridge, it will take a lot of effort to nail this solo completely. But when you do, you would have gained a wealth of ideas. The way the guitar flows from one piece to the next is enchantingly beautiful and it will teach you a number of ideas to apply into your own solos. Also listen carefully to the chord changes as there are many unique chords used in this song that you can add to your arsenal.
Bistro Fada by Stephane Wrembel
You might ask why a rock guitarist needs to learn a jazz song. The answer is simple – you are a MUSICIAN first. Not a rock guitarist, not a jazz guitarist, not even a guitarist. Just a MUSICIAN. And it is important for a musician to explore all genres and styles. You never know where you might find the idea that will germinate into your sound. And anyway, Stephane Wrembel is a brilliant guitarist who really creates the perfect gypsy sound in this particular piece. Learn it well, along with the chord changes and you might even find a new love for gypsy jazz
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