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Soloing basics

http://www.acorduri.go.ro
A few notes before we start.
If you have not mastered the art of note bending, slides, pull-offs and
hammer-ons, you will probably have a difficult time with some of the topics
discussed here. But read on anyway.
I happen to have a personal disdain for the pentatonic scale. So while I will
not dissuade anyone from using it nor dispute its usefulness, I will not be
discussing it here.
Let's say that your makeshift band is jammin' on a simple three chord warm up
progression, Dm-C-Bb-C.
It's your turn to solo and what are you going to do?
Based on the chord progression, we'll pick D minor as our soloing key of
choice.
I have always had luck memorizing a particular pattern and moving it around
depending on the key. Here is the one that I use most and can use in any key
major or minor. Here it is in our Dm position:
Pattern 1
E---l---l---l---l-x-l-x-l---l-x-l---l-r-l
B---l---l---l---l-x-l-R-l---l-x-l---l---l
G---l---l---l---l-x-l---l-r-l---l---l---l
D---l---l---l---l-x-l---l-x-l-x-l---l---l
A---l---l---l---l-r-l---l-x-l-R-l---l---l
E---l---l---l---l-x-l-x-l---l-x-l---l---l
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The RR'sS represent the root of the major key (F) and the Rr'sS represent the
root in the minor key (D).
Technically I suppose you could call this an F major scale in phrygian mode
(beginning on the third, A). But I really don't. It's just a particular set of
finger placements that are comfortable and reliable for soloing. Since when I
solo I will be stressing the notes of the major and minor, the A phrygian is
just a coincidence.
OK. Now we've got a scale to use. Notice that this scale contains all the
notes of the chords being played. Like so:
D minor scale
Dm chord
C chord
Bb chord

D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C
D-F-A
C-E-G
Bb-D-F

Now when we solo (which you will remember is supposed to be a story within a
story, not just a bunch of licks) we can really play any note in the scale and
it will fit. It won't always sound good, but it will fit in some way.
Here are two more positions of the same scale.
Pattern 2
(F major scale)
E---l---l-x-l---l-x-l-x-l---l---l---l---l
B---l---l-r-l---l-x-l-R-l---l---l---l---l

G---l-x-l-x-l---l-x-l---l---l---l---l---l
D---l-x-l-R-l---l-x-l---l---l---l---l---l
A-x-l---l-x-l---l-r-l---l---l---l---l---l
E-R-l---l-x-l---l-x-l---l---l---l---l---l
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Pattern 3
(D minor scale)
E---l---l---l(x)l---l-x-l-R-l---l-x-l---l
B---l---l---l(x)l-x-l---l-x-l---l-r-l---l
G---l---l---l-R-l---l-x-l---l-x-l---l---l
D---l---l---l-x-l---l-r-l---l-x-l---l---l
A---l---l---l-x-l---l-x-l-x-l---l---l---l
E---l---l---l-r-l---l-x-l-R-l---l---l---l
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
(x) alternative fingerings to use if you want to stay in one position.
Notice that this is the D minor scale and that the D minor pentatonic scale is
contained within this scale. Where did you think the pentatonic it came from?
If you link patterns 1, 2 and 3 together starting with the F on the E string
1st fret (pattern 2) you can move up and down the fretboard all the way to the
24th fret (if you have one) without leaving the patterns. Like this: (In TAB
form)
E------------------------------------8-10-12--l
B---------------------------5-6-8/10----------l
G-------------------2/3-5-7-------------------l
D-------------2-3-5---------------------------l
A-------1-3-5---------------------------------l
E-1-3-5---------------------------------------l
E-13-12-10----------------------------13-15-17/18-l
B----------13-11-10----------13-15-17-------------l
G-------------------10-12-14----------------------l
D-------------------------------------------------l
A-------------------------------------------------l
E-------------------------------------------------l
E--20-18-17----------------------------18-20-22/24l
B-----------20-18-17----------18-20-22------------l
G--------------------19-17-19---------------------l
D-------------------------------------------------l
A-------------------------------------------------l
E-------------------------------------------------l
Try playing this slowly and smoothly hammering-on each ascending note,
pulling-off each descending note, and sliding where notated. Stop at 20 if
you don't have the upper frets, or if you get tired.
Now, the nice thing about remembering patterns is that the pattern works for
any key; just change the position. Pattern 1 above starts on the third of the
major scale. (remember it's only a pattern, not a phrygian scale). So the
starting points on the low E string that I remember are:
C
D
E
F
G
A

major/A minor
major/B minor
major/C# minor
major/D minor
major/E minor
major/F# minor

open
2nd fret
4th fret
5th fret (as above)
7th fret
9th fret

We can find a few licks within each pattern that we can use to augment our
solos. Like these:
Dm
E-----5-6-8-6-5---5-------l-8-----5--8-----5-8-10-l
B----6---------8-6--8-6-5-l--6---6----6---6-------l
G---7---------------------l---5-7------5-7--------l
D-------------------------l-----------------------l
A-------------------------l-----------------------l
E-------------------------l-----------------------l
E---------------------------5---5-6-5-6-8-6-8/10--l
B----------5--5-6-5-6-8-6-8---8-------------------l
G----7-5-7--7-------------------------------------l
D-------------------------------------------------l
A-------------------------------------------------l
E-------------------------------------------------l
Also notice as we put the patterns together and complete the major scale up
the neck that the chords for the tune we're playing become available for
licks. Like this:
Dm
E-5--------13-10-----l
B--6-------------10--l
G---7----------------l
D----7---------------l
A-----5--------------l
E--------------------l
C
E-8--------15-12-----l
B--8-------------13--l
G---9----------------l
D----10--------------l
A-----10-------------l
E-------8------------l
Bb
E-10-------13-10-----l
B--11------------11--l
G---10---------------l
D-----8--------------l
A--------------------l
E--------------------l
We can use these triads in our solos to really accentuate the chords and
pull-off the triads in kind of a "Hotel California" "Sultans of Swing" solo
kind of thing.
Find a pattern that you like and that feels comfortable for your fingers and
playing style. Then play it a thousand times. Have a friend play the chords
over and over and try it out. Or play along with a tune in each key.