Do you always come up with the same stuff when you’re improvising and soloing on the guitar?
That no matter how much you try to come up with something new, all your solos sound more or less the same?
You’re in good company.
Many guitar players have faced this issue during their learning process.
Some are not bothered by this, but if you are, the following suggestions will help you find the cause why your guitar solos all seem to sound the same, and fix it.
1. You use the same process to write your solos.
In the same way not all songwriters use the same process to write songs, not all guitarists use the same process to compose a solo.
For instance my most commonly used process is to first decide which scale I’m going to use for the solo. Then I’ll come up with a short motif, which I will develop in different forms and variations.
If I wanted to come up with something that deviates from “my kind of solos” I could use a different process to write the solo.
Such as listening to a backing track for the solo, start playing the arpeggios to the chords and develop melodies from there.
2. You use the same scales
Though I rarely change the process I use to compose solos, there are other factors I change when coming up with solos.
One of them is the scales I use.
Every time you learn a new scale, or the same scale in a different position, compose a solo using that scale.
This will not only help you learn the scale as you really should, but also get out of the rut of always coming up with the same kind of guitar solos.
Always make sure that the scale that you’re using fits with the harmony of the song.
3. You use the same rhythmic patterns
Using the same scale, or position of the same scale, is a limiting factor, but not the only one.
Are you always using the same few rhythms in your solos?
Do you make good use of rhythmic elements such as ties and dots, rests, triplets and all the possible subdivisions of the beat?
Learning all the different rhythmic components and thinking of these options while coming up with solos, will help you come up with ideas you didn’t have before.
4. You only listen to one genre of music
Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, the late Randy Rhoads, is know not only for his musical greatness, but also for his innovation.
Being the classically trained guitarist who fell in love with Rock music, Rhoads borrowed a lot from the classical guitar and incorporated it in Heavy Metal.
Randy Rhoads not only inspired future great guitar players, but the roots of the sub-genre Neo-classical Heavy Metal, are found it his playing.
You don’t need to learn the classical guitar to start coming up with more original solos, however learning from different genres will help you get new perspectives.
For instance though I’m mostly a Heavy Metal guitar player, I listen regularly to Blues, Funk, Classical music and even some Jazz, always looking for new ideas I can incorporate in my playing.
5. You only listen to guitar players
Since the nuances of playing their instrument are different, musicians who play different instruments view the composition process differently.
A cool way to come up with innovative ideas is to listen attentively, and then imitate on the guitar, music played on other instruments – such as the flute, the violin and above all, the human voice.
Playing like say, a singer, will help you think like a singer.
This will not only help improve your phrasing and other aspects of your guitar playing, but also give you ideas you’re unlikely going to get from other guitar players.
If you’re fed up of recycling the same solos, choose just one of the items mentioned in this lesson and and incorporate it in the first solo you compose.
Write a solo in a new scale, insert new rhythmic components, or transcribe a singer’s melody before composing.
These small shifts in perspective, and enough practice in putting them into use, will help you come up with guitar solos that are significantly different to the ones you always come up with.
Robert Callus is a guitar player, a songwriter and a blogger from Malta. Find more articles like this on http://www.learnguitarmalta.com