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How to solo like this? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 4 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 2 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 1 day 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 1 day ago
  #5
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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 12 hours 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 12 hours 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 6 hours 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 6 hours 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 6 hours ago
  #10
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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
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