Discover the Best Way to Practice Guitar Soloing

Do you have a comprehensive guitar soloing practice routine? Most guitar students don't. The Blues scale and Minor Pentatonic scale are often the "go to" scales for students of guitar soloing. And, these scales tend to hardly ever become expanded for the average guitar player. If this sounds like you, there's a way to fix this. And, the solution is fun, as well as easy to apply...

This is going to be an incredibly helpful lesson because I’m going to show you how to practice soloing when chords show up that have nothing to do with the harmony.

Most players never try this without being pushed into it by a music teacher. And, that's too bad because it's one of the best ways to practice getting better at soloing.


When a musician has to play over a chord that is not in the key it’s called, playing over chords that are “Non-Diatonic.” Most guitar players rarely do this. For most guitarists, "Diatonic" soloing is the only style of soloing that they'll do.

And, while "Non-Diatonic" soloing may not occur within every chord progression, it does occur often enough that you’ll need to have a game plan in the works to be able to play something that sounds decent in these non-diatonic soloing situations.

When most guitar players encounter non-diatonic situations for the first time, it can be incredibly confusing. And, the reason for the confusion is generally that most guitar players are missing this type of practice in their "at home" study routine. So, unfortunately they are lost. Without training in this area, a player just wouldn't naturally know what to do.

The practice time that most guitarists typically spend on playing and improvising guitar solos (at least for most students of guitar), seems to revolve around either using the, “Blues” scale ideas, or using straight-ahead, “Minor Pentatonic.”

While this is certainly alright, it obviously doesn’t cover a lot of other musical situations. And, that is why it is important to break the Diatonic "Blues and Pentatonic" scale /key habit.

This can be done by building unique guitar soloing practice routines that encompass both the full 7-tone scale structures, along with some type of modal example.

This approach is more or less the best way to stretch yourself as a soloist. Plus, this work will help prepare you for playing solos over ideas that present, "Non-Diatonic," (also sometimes called “Non-Functioning"), harmonic situations.

I've created an example progression that does this exact type of situation. The chord changes in my example are all going to be made up of basic chord types that can be found from within the key signature of, “A Natural Minor.”

However, I’ve slipped in a non-diatonic chord across these chord changes, by way of a chord that offers the color of Dorian Mode. So, before we dig into the progression, first, let’s check out some theory on this topic.



In the above harmony examples, you'll notice that aside from the "F#" tone, the two keys are almost identical. Almost all of the chords are shared and the chord qualities are nearly the same as well. However, one chord jumps out as being very distinguished. That chord is the fourth step chord of, "D."

In the, "A Natural" harmony, that "D" chord is "Minor." However, in the harmony of, "Dorian" mode, the "D" chord's harmony changes over to, "D Major."

Below is my example progression that applies this color shift from off of that fourth degree "D" chord. learn to play the progression.


You probably noticed the color shift that occurred in the 6th and in the 8th measures. That’s when the sound of the “D Major” chord enters into the harmony of my example progression.

You probably also noticed how earlier on in the progression there was a “D Minor” chord used in the 3rd measure. That was the dead giveaway…

How can both a “D Major” and a “D Minor” chord exist within the same key’s chord progression? It doesn’t make harmonic sense.

As you saw in our theory examples, the correct chord for the harmony within the key of “A Minor,” should be, “D Minor.”

We’ll have to use a mode to be able to solo over the appearance of the “D Major” chord. And, as we’d discussed earlier, that mode is the mode of, “A Dorian.” 

Now you’ve got a better idea for why the chord of “D Major” is unique within our practice progression. And, through my theory explanation you’ve come to realize that the way we can get some nice soloing going on with that unique out of place “D Major” chord, is to cover it with “A Dorian” Mode.

Now that you’re gaining a better understanding for how to cover non-diatonic chords – let’s get you an example guitar solo so that you can try playing some melodic ideas that apply the use of “Dorian Modes” raised sixth tone (which is “F#” in this case).

Dorian is the way you can play over the unique color of that “D Major” chord…


Hey guys, as always, thanks for joining me, if you liked this lesson, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube, (and remember to hit that bell when you subscribe so that you’ll never miss any of my lesson uploads)…

Until next time, take care and we'll catch up again on the next lesson. Bye for now!

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The courses have been designed so as to help you learn to identify where you're at, and what's required to get you up to that next level of guitar playing, in a very organized step-by-step way, that simply makes sense.

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