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How You Can Easily Create Killer Guitar Solo Licks While Improvising

To improvise amazing guitar solo phrases, you’ll need to create ideas that: -Integrate perfectly with every other idea in your guitar solo -Accurately represent the ideas/emotions you want to ...

To improvise amazing guitar solo phrases, you’ll need to create ideas that:

-Integrate perfectly with every other idea in your guitar solo

-Accurately represent the ideas/emotions you want to express

A lot of guitarists in the world struggle with improvising because they focus on playing fast instead of creating great phrases… Their fingers move so fast that they don’t have enough time to focus on the next idea they want to play. This makes it a struggle to think creatively while soloing, and the music ends up sounding worse as a result.

The following video demonstrates this issue and how it is solved:

Here is something that most guitar players don’t know about:

Getting better at improvising has nothing to do with thinking faster. Instead, it’s about:

  1. Giving yourself additional time to think while you solo. (This can be done while playing fast too)
  2. Minimize the amount of things you have to think about. This makes it so you can make better musical choices while expressing yourself how you want.

These tips help improve improvisation skills:

Guitar Improvising Tip One. Get Ready For Success

Don’t wait until the last moment to think about what to play next. Many guitar players do this and it causes them to struggle to play creatively/make great musical choices. You need more time to think about what to play next. Do this earlier.

For instance: If you come up with a short lick that is only eight notes in length (Lick 1), don’t try to think of what you should play next (in Lick 2) during note seven or eight. Instead, begin thinking about what to play next during the very beginning of the phrase (in lick 1)

Play the first phrase with your fingers while focusing on what should come next with your brain.

Watch the video at 1:04. This shows you how to prepare for success before improvising.

Guitar Improvising Tip Two. Get More Value From Each Phrase

A lot of guitarists play a phrase one time and then immediately move onto something else. They repeat this approach throughout the entire solo. This is very challenging for your brain. It also makes playing guitar with a lot of emotion very difficult.

Here is what to do instead: Make tons of variations of every guitar lick you improvise. This increases the amount of time you have to think about the next lick, helps you play each guitar lick with much better phrasing possible and forces you to play with more creativity.

Here are ways to come up with improvisations in your guitar phrasing:

-Repeat the same phrase over and over while using different rhythms, but keeping the pitch of the notes the same.

-Repeat the phrase over and over but change only the pitch, keeping the rhythm the same.

-Change the rhythm a little each time you repeat a phrase.

-Use vibrato in at least 3 or 4 different ways.

-Use techniques such as slides, pull-offs or tapping to add variety to your phrases.

-Use scale sequencing to make the phrases you play more musical and creative.

This video demonstration shows how to create expressive variations of any guitar lick.

Guitar Improvising Tip Three. Take-In The Backing Track Before Playing

Before you begin improvising over a backing track, let it play for a few moments. This will help you because:

  1. You get a good feel for how fast the chords of the song/track are changing, which chords are being used and how the music feels in general. This gets you ready so you can make good musical choices during your improvisation.
  2. The listener generally wants to hear a little bit of the backing track too before the solo begins.

This is a basic tip, but it will help you improvise much better.

Guitar Improvising Tip Four. Utilize Silence

Need more time to think about what should come next in your solo? Simply allow for a few seconds of silence to pass between your licks. That’s right. Just stop playing entirely for a few moments.

Guitar solos are not made up of notes 100% of the time. To improvise well, you need to use a sense of balance. This applies to consonance/dissonance, tension/release/ loud/soft, sound/no sound, etc. This is what will help you express different emotions and get your listeners to connect with your playing.

The reason silence is so powerful is that your listener expects to hear something... but when they don’t, they are surprised. This generates a lot of musical tension for you to release.

Learn a lot more about building tons of musical tension in your guitar solos.

Warning: This approach can be easily overused (rendering it ineffective), so make sure that you do not insert too much silence by using good general balance in your phrasing.

Guitar Improvising Tip Five. Know How To Practice To Become A Better Improviser

To get better at improvising, you need to practice it... not just solo mindlessly over backing tracks.

To do this, come up with particular goals that you want to achieve with your practice time. The goals you choose will be based on your personal lead guitar playing skill level. An excellent guitar teacher helps you pinpoint any issues in your playing so you can achieve your musical goals and improvise at a high level.

For example, these are various improvising goals:

-Practice improvising while using positions 3, 4 and 5 of the Melodic minor scale.

-Create 40 variations from a single guitar phrase within a 5-minute period while soloing over a backing track. (This also involves adapting particular notes of the phrase over each chord in the backing track.)

-Work on beginning and ending the notes of your phrases on consonant notes (these are notes within the chord you are playing over).

-Master a particular type of non-chord tone and create guitar licks using it. (Example: appoggiaturas.)

Your improvising goals have to be specific if you want to get better. You have to know when you’ve reached your goal. The more specific you can be about your goalFree Articles, the faster you will progress.

This no cost eBook shows you how to play expressive guitar licks.

Use the tips I’ve discussed here to quickly improve your lead guitar playing and reach your improvising goals.

This free lead guitar playing eGuide helps you play guitar with fire and emotion.

Source: Free Articles from


About The Author:
Tom Hess is a professional musician, composer, and highly successful guitar instructor who trains and mentors guitarists with online guitar tuition. Visit to get free guitar playing tips, guitar playing resources, mini courses and more guitar playing articles.

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