Instant Guitar Solos [with Chord Sandwiches]

Playing a guitar solo, even the most simple of guitar solo, can kind of be an issue for a lot of guitarists. Maybe it's a lack of scale knowledge, maybe they think that the learning curve of soloing is extremely complex taking years to master...

The reality is that becoming a great soloist will take awhile and there will be a lot to learn along the way. But, if you want to be able to play a simple solo, in a relatively short period of time, and learn a collection of notes that will work all the time - every time... There is a fun and easy playing approach that will help to quickly build solos, and for fun we'll call it, "chord sandwiches."

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The idea of the "Chord Sandwich" involves taking the tonic (also called the "ONE Chord") of the key that you're in, and you just use it as a 7th quality chord shape to base your simple guitar solo around.

For example, if I was in the key of "E major" and I wanted to play a solo in that key, all I'd have to do is simply learn the shape of an "E maj7" chord and base my solo around those notes. That chord shape becomes my "Chord Sandwich" and it automatically gives me all of the perfect tones required for performing my guitar solo. 

My guitar solo will be in the key of "E major." And, that means I need to know the shape of an "E Maj7" chord pattern. Now, luckily this is a super easy to learn shape, here's how the shape looks on the fingerboard...


With our "Chord Sandwich" shape, we've got a nice juicy group of notes to chew on that'll sound fantastic no matter where we play them and no matter when we play them. Here's an example of the chord sandwich idea in action over a basic, "E Major," chord progression...


Next, we'll do something really simple. We'll add the Octave of the root, into the chord sandwich. Think of it like adding a piece of lettuce or a slice of tomato... and that extra topping is going to give the sandwich a little more juice. It's an easy tone to add in and it's going to allow us one more note to play against those other chord tones when we make up our solos. So, let's jam a solo again, with that additional note of the octave as a new topping.



Next let's add in some more toppings to our sandwich. How about adding in some pickles or some roasted peppers? How about some cucumbers, shredded carrots or some mushrooms? Well, maybe not, but we can start with a great extra musical topping, the chord extension of a 9th.

The 9th extension is a great chord extension that'll really jazz up the tasty licks we'll create with our chord sandwich, it's basically going to give our sandwich a little more zing. The 9th is located one whole step above the root of the chord. And, you'll for sure want to remember to include the 9th's upper register octave as well. Okay, so let's jam another solo now, with this new 9th topping added to our chord sandwich...


Okay, we're really making progress with this sandwich idea now... But, let's take things a little further yet... Think of how good a sandwich is when you really go all out and add some extra mayo, roasted garlic, parmesan cheese and mustard, maybe some black peppers...

Well, I've got the extra musical topping for you and it's the 13th extension. And, here's where you can add it in. It's located a whole-step back from the 7th chord tone...


Now, we've really got a killer sandwich going here. We've got the 7th chord, that additional octave... we've got that 9th added and we've got the 13th as well. This is fantastic. So, jam-out one last time using everything. All the sandwich toppings...

I hope you had fun with this lesson - I also hope you learned a few fun ideas (and sorry if I made you a bit hungry from all that sandwich talk).

This method is a great way to hit excellent notes when you're playing any simple solo. All it takes is the 7th chord quality of the progression. And, keep in mind that all of this works exactly the same when you're in minor keys as well.



Thanks for joining me, If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at creativeguitarstudio.com and sign up your FREE lifetime membership...

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