Add Melodic Strength with Space

Space is one of the areas lacking in many a guitarists solos. By adding longer pauses and sustain upon notes of your melody lines, you'll give the listener more time to react and appreciate the chord tones...

Being able to add highlights within your phrasing is critical to enhancing your sound as a soloist. All it takes in the early stage is analyzing how you target into the resolution of each phrase.

Once you can develop a system for locking into strong tones the next step is working on how to offer greater length of time upon those critical notes. 

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Adding greater time (through sustain), will not only enhance your melodic passages, it will also be able to offer listeners a whole new dimension to appreciate the different colors of your melodic lines.


When most guitar players are learning how to use scales, they apply too much effort into ripping through the scale phrases. Whether that is done through licks, or just shredding across the scale's notes, very little effort is placed upon letting notes ring or adding space.

Thinking like other instrumentalists (such as horn players) can help bend the guitarists ear and drive them more in the direction of adding space, (the Roland GR-55 is awesome for this, it can make your guitar sound like dozens of different brass and woodwind instruments). 

However a guitar player works toward this approach of space, the addition of more musical /rhythmic space is an art-form unto itself. The more that a guitarist thinks about it, the better they'll become at phrasing their lines with greater sustain and space.

Spend some time working on the example melody from the video. It is TAB'd out for you below. Record the chord changes on a looper pedal, or in your favorite DAW, and develop the entire melody.

click the above image to enlarge full-screen

The solos that you create can be augmented greatly through note sustain of crucial chord tones. Plus, with the simple addition of more melodic space, your melodies will act in much stronger ways to connect with the listener.

At first spend time analyzing chord tones, (the Digitech Jamman is great for this). Once you've determined key center, use the key signature of the song to comprehend the notes found in each chord. Use 3rd's and 5th's to start, but pay attention to where the use of the root will also operate strongly in your lines.

Often times, if a player will work toward composing song parts, the melodies will flow better. If the melodies seem too be moving too quickly, slow down. Pay more attention to various notes that could act to sustain well. Over time, your guitar technique will work very well to build your phrasing and to organize melodic parts that ring nicely with the chord tones.

This guitar soloing topic is certainly one that is based upon chord tone targeting. However, the emphasis here is focused on both note sustain, along with how notes can ring across measures to support the backing harmony.

Once the chord tones and the principles of note sustain are developed, you'll be able to locate strong tones and use them as longer duration highlights. This will work to help any melody you compose more strongly support the backing harmony in the best ways possible.



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