The 3 Best Soloing /Scale Tips

Learning the text-book scales can be a great way to understand key signatures, gain technique, and better comprehend neck layout. But, when it comes to soloing and using single-note lines to create melody, sometimes you need a reality check away from what those common in position "text-book" patterns...

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In this lesson, I will be discussing 3 ways that will help you enhance using your scales... I'll be offering you some alternatives for creating solos, and different ways for improvising your guitar leads that will help you to invent and compose melodies a little easier and hopefully a little faster...


The complete 7-tone major and minor scales contain two half-step intervals that can cause melodic ideas to behave with very tight edges. You need to be aware of this, because, (for new improvisers), managing those tight half-steps can be a real challenge when attempting to produce melodic lines.

But, that's where the Pentatonic scale rides in to save the day. The Pentatonic eliminates those half-steps and allows the new improviser to come up with more melodic ideas that sound good and are hands-down much easier to invent on the guitar.

So, the first idea I have for you is what we're going to refer to as "Lateral Pentatonic Scale Layouts." The standard scale layouts (that you'll learn from most books and guitar lesson plans) operate very vertically. And, this is good from a foundational learning perspective. However, it won't serve up as many tasty licks and runs as when you lay the scale out more laterally.

Check out this example of a Pent. run functioning more along and across the neck...

Notice how this scale run I've composed for our first example travels very linear and takes advantage of several fret-board positions. You can start learning to do this very quickly if you take a moment to watch my popular YouTube lesson titled, "Guitars Most Important Pattern - The Frying Pan." That short video will help you understand how to start using the along the neck pentatonic concept in your guitar playing and it'll do it all for you, in under 10 min.

Alright, the next idea I want to introduce has to do with one of the most often overlooked areas of guitar playing, it's the application of "Interval Skips." If you truly want to watch a noted master of this guitar technique, then look no further than "Eric Johnson." His ability to skip across strings and scale tones is quite something else.

And, to give you a good idea of how this technique operates, I've composed a short melodic line that demonstrates this technique...

All of the jumps and large gaps (associated with bigger interval skips across the guitar strings) can be somewhat challenging. But, the trick to developing these is to just keep a metronome on and work at a tempo that'll allow you to accurately perform these string-skipped movements. Once the technique is there, all you'll need to do is crank up the metronome to build up your speed.

The final area I want to discuss is in the direction of "Arpeggios." Back when we began this video lesson, I brought up how valuable it is to begin your soloing studies from the Pentatonic (to avoid those edgy 1/2 steps within the full 7-tone scale). Well now, we're going to take that idea a step further by adding, "Arpeggios" to the list of ways for creating more space between notes.

Arpeggios actually go a step further, because another element to them is their ability to track chord tones perfectly. The arpeggio is the specific notes of a chord, so when using them, we actually have a way to perfectly cover chord changes within a progression. To demonstrate this, I've composed a melodic example, that applies arpeggios measure by measure - tracking a series of chord changes.

Well, I'd like to end the lesson by saying, 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 and sign up your FREE lifetime membership... when you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this lesson, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube. Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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