Learn to Guitar Solo

If you’re like a lot of guitarists who already have their basic skills down, you’re probably ready to start learning how to play some lead, and get an ability together to be able to be able to eventually perform a full on out guitar solo... 

If you'd like to learn all about the collection of the basic skills involved with playing guitar solos, this lesson post is going to be absolutely fantastic for you.


There are a few things that you need to know about when it comes to being able to play a guitar solo. The first one is to have a decent level of left and right hand co-ordination. Good technical skills are an absolute must. The better that you are at playing notes, chords and techniques, the easier it will be to play a solo.

The second important skill is to become familiar with a number of scale patterns and make sure that you fully commit them to memory.

The third thing is to learn to be able to listen to chord movements so well that you can eventually anticipate scale tones that sound good as chord changes go by. With practice, you’ll be able to start hitting each of the best sounding scale tones over a progression with greater ease, and with greater success.

Eventually, your skills for being able to prepare for the right sounding note, (that best fits the chord of the moment within a series of chord changes), will simply become easier and easier to do.

Alright, now that you understand the basic road you need to follow to be able to perform a guitar solo, the next step is to be able to nail down a few scale patterns.

I’ve found that the Minor Scales are often (not always, but most often), the best patterns for starting players off. And, the best shapes on the fingerboard often turn out to be the scale shapes up at the higher frets.

In this lesson, we’re going to learn two shapes up at the guitars 12th position to get you started. They’re going to both be in the key of “A Minor.”

They will include the full 7-tone "A Minor" scale, and the popular 5-tone "A Minor" Pentatonic scale. Here’s what these shapes look like up off of the 5th string's 12th fret.

Key of "A" Minor Pentatonic:

Key of "A" Minor - Natural Minor:

Chord Progressions (the Secret to Soloing):
The next thing to do is to study the practical ability behind making up musical ideas using those scale shapes. Start really simple.

Just use a couple of scale shapes (start with the ones I’ve provided). Then, as the days and weeks go on, start learning more scale patterns. Eventually, over time, the whole neck will open up and playing a solo anywhere, will feel easier.

First, let’s just establish a decent chord jam, and we’ll have some fun with testing the use of the scale over the chord changes. I have a fairly common sounding key of “A Minor” chord progression for you to try out.

Be sure to spend time listening to the downloadable MP3 jam track of this riff...

Key of “A Minor” chord progression… 

Compose First - Solo Later:
It’s difficult to just start ripping out solos if you haven’t yet developed a soloing vocabulary. So, if you haven’t tried composing some melody ideas first, you’ll need to do some of that prior to ever expecting that you’d be able to solo fluently over a jam-track.

It also kind of goes without saying that learning solos by other guitar players will really help you understand how to phrase your own melodic ideas. Think of it like this, what you learn from others and what you compose on your own, will often stick with you a very long time.

Eventually, all of those solos you study, the licks that you make up (on your own); along with your scales, and melodic statements, and guitar licks - they will all come together every time you set out to solo.

They’ll spill out from under your fingers with the help of your ear guiding you along. So, to help get you started with all this, I’ve composed a solo that you can learn to play. It fits over those chord changes from the key of, “A Minor.”

Guitar Solo Example:

 click the image above for full-screen

This breakdown that I've created here, (of a starter soloing method), is only the very beginning. What you'll need to understand is that soloing is a lot of fun to practice, so what happens is the study of soloing tends to become really addictive.

When you spend a lot of time practicing solos, you learn a lot about the application of musical ideas that are floating around in your head. You get to apply the music you’d learned (that was played by others), and when you combine that (with all of your own original lead-guitar ideas), you end up blending together all of the music that’s in your head, with the knowledge of all your notes on the neck.

This constant looping of information forms a great learning combination for your musical development because with each successful solo you perform - you to start to reach a new level of musicianship. A level of musicianship which focuses almost exclusively on playing the music that you hear in your head. 

I'd like to end the discussion 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 creativeguitarstudio.com 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 that I've organized for the members of my website.And, yes there is a complete "Guitar Soloing Course" available on the site.

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



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