This is How I Learned to Play My BEST Guitar Solos (3 Levels)

If you want to get better at playing guitar solos and you want to do it fast, you are going to need to learn how to do a few things that are especially important to your success...






Playing a guitar solo isn't easy. In fact, it tends to be one of the areas that’s most difficult for people to be able to make sense of. Learning to solo is something that’s difficult to show students and students who are training at home also find that it’s difficult to comprehend how playing a solo actually works. 




Guitar players absolutely need pre-learned licks and lines. These are guitar lines that get taken from a players favorite songs and guitar solos. These lines are very important because they will act as springboard ideas to help players invent new licks and new ways of playing melodic ideas along and across the fingerboard. 

The guitar soloist also needs to get a handle on how to use a couple of smaller size scale layouts in different areas of the neck. Most guitar players tend to learn large "in-position" scales, however, this approach is often confusing for them to understand how to apply those large shapes and how to make them can work effectively. This is why smaller scale shapes are the way to go in the beginning for minimizing scale confusion.

Finally, the guitar player needs to practice applying a melody in more than one fret-board area. Once a melody has been established, that melody needs to be reorganized elsewhere on the neck. The focus for the second "complimentary melody," needs to be on dynamics, rhythm, and resolution tones.

How I learned this, and now when I teach soloing, I move through a system that’s based upon the idea in that there are three levels to learning to play guitar solos, and in this video, we’re going to cover all of them. 


NOTE: watch this lessons video right through till the end because I’ll apply all of the ideas into a simple guitar solo that you can learn to play at home! 


Let’s get started with learning our first level of soloing…


Our first stage of soloing has to do with developing awareness for pre-learned licks and lines. Every guitar player who can play a solo easily has spent time developing pre-learned licks and guitar lines from their favorite players and songs. 


The biggest benefit coming out of this work is the higher level of awareness a student gets for the fingerboard. Once we have good fingerboard awareness, (as a soloist), we have places to go when we start to play those very first notes of the solo. 


To accomplish this skill one of my first teachers always stressed learning small scales in two separate areas of the neck (so that I could jump back and forth with two different soloing perspectives for better line building). 


Once you learn this simple trick, and you start to apply it, you’re going to quickly discover the edge it gives you for being able to solo easier with more melodic ideas.

Let’s have a closer look at how you can get started with this on the guitar.


Regional Scale Shape No. 1:
Build pre-awareness of the solo area using not one, but two fret-board regions:

We are going to use the key of “E Minor” and apply it across two regions of the neck with an upper-string group of mid-region notes. 

Here’s the first (of two shapes), that we’ll study. It uses notes that are located in the 4th and 5th positions of the neck.




As you can tell, there’s just enough notes here to play a few licks, but not enough to get you into trouble. What we want to avoid is having too many options across too many strings. This is important because, too many options and choices can often leave the soloist confused due to, "note choice overload."


Regional Scale Shape No. 2:
Next, let’s jump over to another region of the neck (the 9th and 10th positions), so that we can have another collection of notes from this same key…



This new collection of notes allows us to branch out to a new region plus gain access to new geometrical shapes across the strings. This will go a long way to help with building lines that relate extremely well to the ideas that we would have started to establish back in the previous region of the neck.


Coming up next, I’m going to go over how to create licks between the two regions and then I’ll demonstrate all of this stuff by playing a short solo between both fret-board areas. 

But first - here’s a really important message about a promotion I’ve got right now for all of my viewers here on YouTube…




I wanted to take a minute to let you know, that if you want to learn even more about scales and theory I have a great offer for you.

With any donation over $5, or any merchandise purchase from my Tee-Spring store, I’ll send you free copies of THREE of my most popular digital handouts.

One is called, “Harmonized Arpeggio Drills” (it’ll train you on developing your diatonic arpeggios).

Another one is my “Barre Chord” Handout which includes a page showing all the key signatures along with a chord progression that applies barre chords.

Plus, you’ll get my Notation Pack! It has 8 pages of important guitar worksheets for notating anything related to; music charts, guitar chord diagrams, and TAB.

As a BONUS, (from my "Over 40 and Still Can't Play a Scale" video), I'll also throw in a breakdown of all of the chords that are diatonic to the "F Major" scale.

As an EXTRA BONUS for my Phrygian Dominant video, I'll also throw in a breakdown featuring all of the chords that are diatonic to the Phrygian Dominant scale.

Just send me an email off of the contact page of to let me know about either your donation or your Merchandise purchase and I’ll email you those digital handouts within 24 hrs.   





Creating "starting lines," based off of pre-learned musical ideas.


Starting lines are extremely important because they help establish the initial direction of the guitar solo. Next, I'd like to have you study with me on how to play an example of a starting line. 


NOTE: The example below is based off of our lower region note layout from out of the key of “E Minor.”


If we expand upon the initial idea (shown above) by shifting over to the secondary fret-board area, and we maintain the same (or close to the same), rhythm plus if we also experiment with adding dynamics, plus we select new notes for our resolution of the lines, we are going start building some great ideas for a really solid guitar solos. 


Below an example of how this could work from off of the notes of our initial guitar lick, but re-organized in the second soloing position of the neck… 



Creating "secondary lines," that are based off of our initial musical idea.


Our last soloing level will be based around making a return back to the initial fret-board area and we will create a new melodic line that’s based off of another pre-learned idea. Here’s an example lick that you can start with… 


Secondary melodic line: 






Finally, to wrap this up we’ll expand upon the secondary idea by shifting over to the other fret-board region with the secondary lick we just played. 



Just like with the first lick we played, we’ll use this lick and work at maintaining the same (or as close to the same), rhythm. 


Plus, remember that its important to be sure to experiment with dynamics as well as, selecting optional notes for the resolution of the line. Here’s an example of how this could work from off of the notes of our 2nd guitar lick. 



In wrapping up, I’m going to put this 3-level guitar solo strategy to the test by using the work we've done in these two fret-board regions to play an improvised solo. 


Remember, that the idea here; is to use limited notes but, play them across two separate fret-board areas. 


It’s a, “less is more,” strategy that’s based upon the differences in fingerboard geometrical patterns as well as, how we approach rhythm, and how we use dynamics! Check it out. 


Guitar Solo Example:

Once again, I’d love for you to get a copy of my Handout Collection eBook. As I said earlier, there’s a ton of great information in here and we’re adding more to it every month. The latest addition (Vol. 3) has a number of great ideas for soloing. 


There’s a position based note exercise, a Mixolydian scale section, and a really cool section on playing melodies with the Diminished scale. 


The handout collection eBook is available with any Donation over $5.00 or with any purchase made over at the Creative Guitar Studio Teespring store


Visit Creative Guitar to help support the project. OR, check out our Teespring Products in the Console underneath our YouTube videos. 




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