The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
How to solo like this? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 6 days ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
How to solo like this?

I've never been a big lead (guitar) player but really want to be able to play lead in the style in this song (the solo in particular):

YouTube

I understand the basics of this genre pretty well - circular I-IV-V type progressions, plenty of 3rd and 6th intervals but I'm not so sure about playing that lead style well (I can do it to a point, but I wouldn't say I do it well!).

Any ideas/tips gratefully received.

What kind of scales?

What kind of sequences (for phrasing)?

Techniques?

Anything else?

Thanks in advance.
Old 4 days ago
  #3
I had written a little about the lead/main guitar in this yesterday but something happened and it didn't get posted.

What little I could offer is that his highlife type style is clearly heavy on short multi-stop figures and embellished chord/partial chord playing, although I recall some linear melodic lead in one section, as well.

You might want to take a look at this several minute vid from someone who's clearly been studying various highlife styles. I wouldn't say he's got a firm, mature grasp on the style -- but sometimes it's easier to pull things apart a little when they aren't glued together so well. (To stretch a metaphor, hopefully not past the breaking point.)

I would (for now) largely ignore his sometimes focused, sometimes noodly, sometimes awkward (but always speedy ) lead bits and pay attention to his multi-stop work, as that is more the signature of the example in your OP. If you look at his use of 'partial' chords and two and three finger chord blocks as used as moving figures, you should be able to get some insight into what is going on in the original track.

Old 3 days ago
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I had written a little about the lead/main guitar in this yesterday but something happened and it didn't get posted.

What little I could offer is that his highlife type style is clearly heavy on short multi-stop figures and embellished chord/partial chord playing, although I recall some linear melodic lead in one section, as well.

You might want to take a look at this several minute vid from someone who's clearly been studying various highlife styles. I wouldn't say he's got a firm, mature grasp on the style -- but sometimes it's easier to pull things apart a little when they aren't glued together so well. (To stretch a metaphor, hopefully not past the breaking point.)

I would (for now) largely ignore his sometimes focused, sometimes noodly, sometimes awkward (but always speedy ) lead bits and pay attention to his multi-stop work, as that is more the signature of the example in your OP. If you look at his use of 'partial' chords and two and three finger chord blocks as used as moving figures, you should be able to get some insight into what is going on in the original track.

Many thanks for this. I should have said that I'm very familiar with (in particular) East African styles as I played lead guitar in a rhumba/soukous type band many years ago. However, the riffs I would play then were very circular and deliberately repetitive and there was no call for more 'traditional' soloing (as in the video).

And soloing isn't something I've done much when playing other styles, as it's never really been my thing, but I've been listening to some old East African music and this track jumped out and I'd love to improve my phrasing etc.

When playing over a I-IV-V type progression, I'll simply play the corresponding major scale. For example, if its C, F, G, I'll play in Cmajor. I'll also stray in and out of Am and add the odd passing note (and flattened 5th etc.), but I wouldn't know where to start with the things like the mixolidian mode (which I've been told will give me the vibe I'm looking for...?).

I guess I understand that Am is the aeolian mode (Am being the relative minor of C), and so (kind of) know how to apply that (although usually as a minor pentatonic, very occasionally). I also know that the mixolidian mode corresponds with the V chord, but have no idea how to 'apply' it.

And what about major pentatonic? How on earth do people incorporate those?

What I really want to know is if I play over a I-IV-V type progression in C (C, F, G) would I play in and out of C major (ionian), and G mixolidian (with the occasional A minor type stuff)...or would I play the C mixolidian scale???
Old 3 days ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MartieFuncum View Post
Many thanks for this. I should have said that I'm very familiar with (in particular) East African styles as I played lead guitar in a rhumba/soukous type band many years ago. However, the riffs I would play then were very circular and deliberately repetitive and there was no call for more 'traditional' soloing (as in the video).

And soloing isn't something I've done much when playing other styles, as it's never really been my thing, but I've been listening to some old East African music and this track jumped out and I'd love to improve my phrasing etc.

When playing over a I-IV-V type progression, I'll simply play the corresponding major scale. For example, if its C, F, G, I'll play in Cmajor. I'll also stray in and out of Am and add the odd passing note (and flattened 5th etc.), but I wouldn't know where to start with the things like the mixolidian mode (which I've been told will give me the vibe I'm looking for...?).

I guess I understand that Am is the aeolian mode (Am being the relative minor of C), and so (kind of) know how to apply that (although usually as a minor pentatonic, very occasionally). I also know that the mixolidian mode corresponds with the V chord, but have no idea how to 'apply' it.

And what about major pentatonic? How on earth do people incorporate those?

What I really want to know is if I play over a I-IV-V type progression in C (C, F, G) would I play in and out of C major (ionian), and G mixolidian (with the occasional A minor type stuff)...or would I play the C mixolidian scale???
You might want to pick up a decent book on harmony and theory and learn all the modes, chords, and most important, how to derive scales from chords.

In a simple I, IV, V progression (C, F, G) there's not a whole lot of room if you're to stay idiomatic - but you can outline the chords as arpeggios, and build passing sequences as two note 6th's and 3rds doing diatonic runs with chromatic passing tones - which is what the guitarist in your clip is doing in the first 30 seconds or so I listened to.

More advanced soloing for this progression would include playing chromatics to connect from chord to chord, and to add "tensions" (though I'd go mostly benign tensions for this, mostly 9ths and natural 13ths (6ths) - so you could add the d in a c major arpeggio, g in a f major, and a in the g major. Sliding a 9th into a 3rd, or 6th down to a 5th is very idiomatic of this style (on piano, some refer to it as the "snoopy style", named after the pianist Vince Guaraldi who scored the old Peanuts cartoons).

Once you learn modes and chord scales, you'd play cool stuff that could get you fired - like arpeggiating a G major triad over the C, a C major triad over the F, and if you wanted to go "out", a Bb minor pentatonic over the G (for a G7 altered sound) :-)

Back to basics, though: you'd most likely play major pentatonics for the root of each chord: C penta, F penta, and G penta.

a minor pentatonic is also c major pentatonic - same notes except one starts on c and one starts on a. G mixolydian would be the scale commonly thought of as belonging to the V chord (G, or G7); if you were to play all the notes from G to G in the key of C major: g,a,b,c,d,e,f,g (jazz players would add an f# between the f and the g to get a chromatic passing tone) you'd arrive at G mixolydian. So see? Mixolydian is simply a major scale with the 7th flatted - it's easiest to see it as the scale that begins on the 5th of the major scale (though it's actually more flexible than that).

I'd stay away from C mixolydian for this progression as the flat 7th (Bb) would pull you into the key of F major - because the V7 to I relationship is so strong to western ears. Remember, C mixo is the V of F, so you'd play from C to C using notes in the F major scale, hence the Bb.

Studying modes would give you all the answers you need, there are only seven diatonic modes, and once you know them, you won't forget them. Hint, if you can play a major scale, you've already won half the battle

It takes a few years to become adept at all this, but for an improvisor, it provides years of fun while pursuing different solutions and strategies for how to play through chord changes - it's what makes players like Pat Metheny and Keith Jarrett sound like the geniuses they are.
Old 3 days ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Many thanks sharp11

Is there any book/course you could recommend that will help me understand this?

I'm very familiar with 3rds and 6ths and partial chords etc. (especially the African two finger style popularised by Jean Bosco Mwenda, Franco, Mose Fan Fan etc.). If you go to 18.00 in this clip it's shows Remmy Ongala an Orchestra Super Matimila, who I've loved for years. (I got to know Remmy a little in the 90s and he and the band gave me an absolutely priceless guitar lesson once where they formed a circle - with me in the middle - and the way their guitars ricoched off each other was the closest thing to musical heaven I've ever heard!)

YouTube

I also really like this type of thing, especially the intro...

YouTube

But, on the subject of soloing (in a less Africanesque cyclic style) I really like this type of stuff (solo starts at 3.30)...

YouTube

I'm very intrigued by what you say about creating tensions etc.and using more arpeggios and wondered if there was also any book/resource you could recommend to help me learn how do do that? This is something I've long since been wanting to understand but always end up getting distracted and content with what I already know (such is life!).

I'm also interested in becoming more fluid at building phrases by learning some patterns and 'sequences' - but I just don't know where to start because there's so many options/resources (I originally learned to play before the Internet, which was so much easier in some ways!)

Thanks again for your help, greatly appreciated.
Old 3 days ago
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Many thanks sharp11

Is there any book/course you could recommend that will help me understand this?

I'm very familiar with 3rds and 6ths and partial chords etc. (especially the African two finger style popularised by Jean Bosco Mwenda, Franco, Mose Fan Fan etc.). If you go to 18.00 in this clip it's shows Remmy Ongala an Orchestra Super Matimila, who I've loved for years. (I got to know Remmy a little in the 90s and he and the band gave me an absolutely priceless guitar lesson once where they formed a circle - with me in the middle - and the way their guitars ricoched off each other was the closest thing to musical heaven I've ever heard!)

YouTube

I also really like this type of thing, especially the intro...

YouTube

But, on the subject of soloing (in a less Africanesque cyclic style) I really like this type of stuff (solo starts at 3.30)...

YouTube

I'm very intrigued by what you say about creating tensions etc.and using more arpeggios and wondered if there was also any book/resource you could recommend to help me learn how do do that? This is something I've long since been wanting to understand but always end up getting distracted and content with what I already know (such is life!).

I'm also interested in becoming more fluid at building phrases by learning some patterns and 'sequences' - but I just don't know where to start because there's so many options/resources (I originally learned to play before the Internet, which was so much easier in some ways!)

Thanks again for your help, greatly appreciated.
Old 2 days ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MartieFuncum View Post
Many thanks sharp11

Is there any book/course you could recommend that will help me understand this?

I'm very familiar with 3rds and 6ths and partial chords etc. (especially the African two finger style popularised by Jean Bosco Mwenda, Franco, Mose Fan Fan etc.). If you go to 18.00 in this clip it's shows Remmy Ongala an Orchestra Super Matimila, who I've loved for years. (I got to know Remmy a little in the 90s and he and the band gave me an absolutely priceless guitar lesson once where they formed a circle - with me in the middle - and the way their guitars ricoched off each other was the closest thing to musical heaven I've ever heard!)

YouTube

I also really like this type of thing, especially the intro...

YouTube

But, on the subject of soloing (in a less Africanesque cyclic style) I really like this type of stuff (solo starts at 3.30)...

YouTube

I'm very intrigued by what you say about creating tensions etc.and using more arpeggios and wondered if there was also any book/resource you could recommend to help me learn how do do that? This is something I've long since been wanting to understand but always end up getting distracted and content with what I already know (such is life!).

I'm also interested in becoming more fluid at building phrases by learning some patterns and 'sequences' - but I just don't know where to start because there's so many options/resources (I originally learned to play before the Internet, which was so much easier in some ways!)

Thanks again for your help, greatly appreciated.
I took a quick listen to the YT clips - one more thing he's doing that's very effective, and very musical is he's targeting notes of the triads - for example, he targets the 3rd of the the I major and devises a slide, or run to get to it - up or down.

He also accentuates the V chord by hitting its third as a target, but only at certain times. The 3rd of any chord defines its basic tonality, so it's an important tone - he uses it very well in these solos.

That's the thing, a great solo is less about the chords and scales used, and more about how it's assembled into a whole - IOW, the structure of the thing. Great soloists are building solos with an awareness of the overall architecture.

Everything you mentioned is in the basic soloing here - 3rds, 6ths, arpeggiated chords, even a blue note (flat 3rd of the major scale) on that "intro" piece you singled out in this second post. For you, it's a matter of practice, practice and more practice, there's no substitute, but that should be fun!

I don't like to recommend books at this level - you're probably better off seeking YT teachers like Rick Beato (stick to his simple theory stuff), and/or YT guys teaching in this particular style - which is really folk music, when you pare it down, so country, bluegrass, even simple rock stuff would get you into this arena.
Old 2 days ago
  #9
Thanks for taking up the slack, here, Sharp11! As a self-taught guitarist who plays by ear (I can analyze in retrospect but it's a lengthy process), whose melodic lead and filigree playing is driven by intuition and whose harmonic insights are often underlined by crude heurism, I'm no good at explaining this stuff.
Old 2 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Thanks for taking up the slack, here, Sharp11! As a self-taught guitarist who plays by ear (I can analyze in retrospect but it's a lengthy process), whose melodic lead and filigree playing is driven by intuition and whose harmonic insights are often underlined by crude heurism, I'm no good at explaining this stuff.
Thanks, when I manage to get off my ass (and out of the studio), I'll have an educational page up and running, can't wait to teach this stuff online. My first video is going to be an in depth musical analysis of a certain Beatles tune
Old 1 day ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Thanks Sharp11, really appreciated.

I will be sure to check out some videos by Rick Beato, and will take it from there. I also found these:

safaritv Productions - Video & Audio Post Production - London

...which look very interesting.

And thank theblue1 .

I've been fumbling around for 35 years having been largely self-taught. In some ways, my hotchpotch approach has helped give me my own voice, but there's still lots of holes I wished I'd have had the opportunity to fill when I was younger. No time like the present though, so 'practice' here I come!
Old 1 day ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MartieFuncum View Post
[...]

And thank theblue1 .

I've been fumbling around for 35 years having been largely self-taught. In some ways, my hotchpotch approach has helped give me my own voice, but there's still lots of holes I wished I'd have had the opportunity to fill when I was younger. No time like the present though, so 'practice' here I come!
I was happy to help keep the thread up where Sharp11 could see it!


Sounds like we're in similar places, though I'm probably a fair amount older -- I didn't start playing music until I was in college; I've been playing a bit more than 4 and a half decades. But someone else could have got where I am in maybe half a decade, I fear. Like you, sounds like, I've been trying to backfill my skills -- especially working on my acoustic/fingerpicking. (But feeling the urge to fire up the Strat for some new recording.)

I've been a fan of African pop/rock since the 80s (saw Sunny Ade and Fela and some others back then). These days I'm listening to a lot of West African blues -- but also listening to some of the modern Afro pop divas, Nneka, Fatoumata Diawara, Rokia Traore.
Old 1 day ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I was happy to help keep the thread up where Sharp11 could see it!


Sounds like we're in similar places, though I'm probably a fair amount older -- I didn't start playing music until I was in college; I've been playing a bit more than 4 and a half decades. But someone else could have got where I am in maybe half a decade, I fear. Like you, sounds like, I've been trying to backfill my skills -- especially working on my acoustic/fingerpicking. (But feeling the urge to fire up the Strat for some new recording.)

I've been a fan of African pop/rock since the 80s (saw Sunny Ade and Fela and some others back then). These days I'm listening to a lot of West African blues -- but also listening to some of the modern Afro pop divas, Nneka, Fatoumata Diawara, Rokia Traore.
I didn't start playing until I was 17, even though I'd first asked for a guitar aged 10 (apparently, because there were no musicians in our family, there was no good reason for me to become one!). So I had a 'troubled' start as I was actively discouraged and guilt-tripped etc., which was weird, but also made me more determimed. I've been playing 34 years now, did ok in my 20s/30s ut then family/work took over and it's been more of a hobby the past 20 yrs.

I got into the African stuff after hearing 'Nothing But Flowers' by Talking Heads (featuring Johnny Marr no less). I just got really engrossed in it after that, especially the really repetitive East African and Zimbabwean stuff (not a big fan of the 'polished' French scene), but was always one for dipping in and out of things (as some of us naturally are), so I'm a bit of a jack of all, master of none (kind of).

I got back into that again lately after discovering a Truefire course on West African guitar (although not all the styles are West African at all!), which is basic, but authentic/well put together and I've really been enjoying it.

Will keep chipping away at the solo stuff though but am also extremely keen on acoustic fingerstyle (including Jean Bosco Mwendas 'Masanga', played in the African two-finger style - but plenty of other stuff, including Bert Jansch etc.)

Like you say, so many guitars, so little time!
Old 9 hours ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Listen man what I'm about to say might get me flamed but it's the truth. Don't overthink it with theory and books, videos and this and that. It's not about thinking and theories and all of that stuff. Stop thinking. Just play. If you have a hard time with that then apply liberal doses of alcohol until your mind is numbed sufficiently. Learn the solo by ear and then play around with it, have fun. That's what it's about.
Old 5 hours ago
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyhots View Post
Listen man what I'm about to say might get me flamed but it's the truth. Don't overthink it with theory and books, videos and this and that. It's not about thinking and theories and all of that stuff. Stop thinking. Just play. If you have a hard time with that then apply liberal doses of alcohol until your mind is numbed sufficiently. Learn the solo by ear and then play around with it, have fun. That's what it's about.
Hi Jimmy, and thanks for your input. I do agree that feel and intuitive play are important, but they can only take you so far.

I had an email exchange with a colleague last week and it's worth copying and pasting a relevant section here (it's worth noting that this was not a music related conversation):

"I've noticed (and it's extremely well documented elsewhere) that increasing numbers of people are losing their capacity to 'think' (honestly, I'm not being sarcastic etc., this is a genuine concern for many). This is because certain types, especially in ‘educational’ and ‘self-help’ institutions, which are obviously hugely influencial, have been pushing the idea for many years that we need to 'feel' more and 'think' less, which is, when taken to extremes, a dangerously unbalanced ‘philosophy’ at best.

As stated, educational institutions are replete with advocates of such thinking (or lack of!), which is extremely worrying as there are increasing numbers of people unwilling and unable to negotiate/debate, or even enter into two-way discussions, for fear of hurting somebody's 'feelings' (or being 'offended' themselves).

Unfortunately, these people are also so fixed in their view (because they are literally so irrational and un-reason-able), that they have no problem whatsoever imposing them (rather than negotiating) and the moment somebody disagrees with them, their 'feelings' propel them straight into victim mode (see comments on negotiator/slave/tyrant archetypes in previous meeting notes).

This is also largely due to the fact that 'kindness' has been placed on par with 'truth' as a value and, however virtuous kindness is, when the fear of 'offending' people becomes equally (if not more, which has become the case for many) valued that truth, then we are on a very precarious trajectory indeed (for reasons I'm more than happy to discuss in detail.)

One of the reasons this is so dangerous is because the ability to 'think' is vital if we are to function effectively. And obviously, the same can be said of feeling, as the two were meant to be, and are, balanced in a truly healthy individual.

Unfortunately, many (men in particular, which is one of the causes of the current epidemic amongst men) are being pathologised (literally!) by so called 'experts' who have either perpetuated and/or bought into the nonsense of demonising/pathologising 'thinking'. As such, people who have not lost their innate ability (and right) to think critically, are being increasingly told that they 'over-think' etc.

As such, I have a legitimate concern that my emails (and all subsequent notes), rather than being viewed as rational, well 'thought' out and perfectly legitimate catalysts for negotiation, may well be seen as 'over-thinking', and somehow invalid (and subsequently worthy of nothing more than invalidation)."

Obviously, that may be a little 'heavy' in the current context (however appropriate in the original), and, as stated, it's not that I negate the importance of feel and intuitive playing (at all!). Just that people are extremely well advised to hold onto (or develop) their thinking capacity.

Food for thought?
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump