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October 25, 2020
Ken's Corner: 12 Steps to Copping a Solo and Beyond PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 16:26
kenv.jpgBy Ken Volpe - Guitar Jam Daily
Many guitarists want to learn and play famous guitar solos from the greats. It can be a frustrating and daunting task to say the least. Here are 12 steps to give you some guidance:

1. Pick a solo that is within your current abilities. If it is the first solo that you are ever learning, pick an easy one. As time goes on you can graduate to more challenging solos.

2. Once you have selected a solo to learn, sit down without your guitar and listen to it 5 or 6 times in a row.

3. Organize your materials. Try to obtain an accurate written version of the solo in standard notation or in tablature. In addition, have the exact recording that the notation or tablature corresponds to.

4. Plan out your fingerings and fret position for each section of the solo. Try not to jump positions too much.

5. Focus on one section at a time. If the solo is 16 bars then master 4 bars each day. Review each previous days part, then work on your new part.

6. Learn each part at a slower tempo and build it up. Once you get the solo up to speed then play along with the recording.

7. Try to pick most of the notes at first. Once you can do that, go back and add in the appropriate hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, etc.

8. Sing each part without your guitar. Then sing and play the guitar part simultaneously. Then replay it with just your guitar. This will really help to develop your ear.

9. Close your eyes and visualize your hands playing each part of the neck. This will improve your ability to memorize musical passages.

10. Stay on track, don’t start another solo before this one is completed. Don’t start jamming on your own ideas until you have mastered the solo. Many guitarists are notorious for fretboard attention deficit disorder.

11. Set a specific date as your goal to finish learning the solo. Once you have done that, play it each day thereafter until it is in you or as they say, “Till you own it.”

12. After you have mastered the solo, start applying it to your own solos. Take a specific part from the solo that you like and play it up and down the neck. Also, try varying the rhythm or the pattern of notes.

If you are diligent in following these 12 steps it will pay off. Discipline is an art unto itself. Baby steps will one day become giant leaps.

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