Soloing Archives - Riff Ninja Academy

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Soloing Application: Can’t Find My Way Home (2/2)

This is the second of a two-lesson series where we’re looking at a song called Can’t Find My Way Home, by Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton. In part 1, we learned the rhythm and chord progression.

In this lesson, part 2, we’re going to look at a solo you can play over this progression. Be sure to practice this with the jam track!

You can download the jam track here.

Here’s the tab for the solo:

Soloing Application: Can’t Find My Way Home (1/2)

This is the first of a two-lesson series where we’re looking at a song called Can’t Find My Way Home, by Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton. In part 1, we’re going to learn the rhythm, because you should always be very familiar with the chord progression before you solo over it. When you’re finished this lesson, head over to part 2 for the solo.

You can download the jam track here.

The track is in the key of D, and you can see the progression and picking patterns below.

Start Soloing (4/7) – More Riffs

In this series, we’re going to learn about creating solos. In part 1, we covered the progression for Ain’t No Sunshine that we’re working with. In part 2, we started working with two different scale patterns over the jam track. In part 3 we learned three very generic, usable riffs that you can twist in many, many different directions.

In this lesson, we’re going to add some more riffs to keep building our repertoire!

 

 

Soloing Application: Stir It Up

In this lesson we’re going to learn an eight-bar solo for the song Stir It Up. Here’s the jam track. The progression is eight bars long, and looks like this:

A | A | D | E
A | A | D | E

Because we’re in the key of A major, we’ll be soloing in the relative minor which is F# minor. We’ll be using all those great scales you’ve learned in previous lessons; the pentatonic minor, the diatonic minor, and the three position climb.

Here’s the tab for the riffs we’ll be learning – each bar contains a separate riff:

Start Soloing (3/7) – The Riffs

In this series, we’re going to learn about creating solos. In part 1, we covered the progression for Ain’t No Sunshine that we’re working with. In part 2, we started working with two different scale patterns over the jam track.

In this lesson, we’re going to learn three riffs which come out of the scales we’re working with, which we’ll begin to use as a basis for our improvising.

 

 

Start Soloing (2/7) – The Scales

In this series, we’re going to learn about creating solos. In part 1, we covered the progression for Ain’t No Sunshine that we’re working with. In this one, we’re looking at the scales we’ll be using over that progression. If you’ve been following the School lessons in order, you should already be familiar with the scales presented in this lesson. We’re using the pentatonic minor, and the three position climb. If these patterns are totally fresh to you, it would be best if you go back and review those previous lessons first.

These scale patterns provide the notes you need to improvise a solo! So the first step is to become really comfortable using just the scale in the context of the jam track – listen to yourself as you play and take note of how each note sounds with the track.

 

 

Start Soloing (1/7) – The Progression

In this series, we’re going to learn about creating solos. We’re going to start by learning the progression we’ll be working with. It’s inspired by Ain’t No Sunshine. Before we even get to the main course of this series (improvising a solo), it’s great practice to first play rhythm along with the jam track until you get very comfortable with it. Try playing the chords in different positions, work with it a bit until the progression feels very comfortable. You’ll find this really pays off when it comes time to solo over it.

The first part of the progression is two bars, and goes like this:

Am       Em   G  | Am

The second part goes like this:

Em7   |   Dm7

Soloing Application: Waiting on the World to Change (2/2)

This is the second in a two-part series where we’re learning an eight-bar solo you can play over John Mayer’s tune Waiting on the World to Change. You can download the jam track here. It’s in the key of B minor, and the progression is a pretty simple one, it’s four bars and has these changes:
D   Bm |  G   D
A   Bm |  G   D

In case you missed it, you can find part 1 here.

Here’s the tab we’ll be working with:

Riff 1:

Riff 2:

Riff 3:

Riff 4:

Riff 5:

Riff 6:

 

 

Soloing Application: Waiting on the World to Change (1/2)

In this two-part series we’re going to learn a solo you can play over John Mayer’s tune Waiting on the World to Change. You can download a copy of the jam track here. It’s in the key of B minor, and the progression is a pretty simple one, it’s four bars and has these changes:
D   Bm |  G   D
A   Bm |  G   D

When you’re finished this lesson, checkout part 2.

Here’s the tab we’ll be working with:

Riff 1:

Riff 2:

 

Using Scales To Follow A Chord Progression

This lesson is on how to use scales to follow a chord progression. This is a more advanced technique, because as we’ve covered many times before, when you’re just getting started soloing, by all means just stick in ONE scale; there is no need to be constantly shifting around. However, once you’re more comfortable with your scales, and you’re looking for a little extra challenge, this is a good direction to explore.

Using Triads in Soloing

Triads are very useful in many different situations. You’ve learned about the theory already, (right??) so now we’ll take a look at how you can apply triads to your soloing in a practical sense.

Inverted Thirds: 2nd and 4th Strings

Before you dive into inverted thirds, it will be necessary to know your scale intervals and also how chords are built on the notes of the scale. To make things easier – i.e. no sharps or flats – we’ll begin with inverted thirds in the key of C major.

Using Octaves with the Diatonic Minor Scale

Bringing octaves into your phrasing can really add some extra weight to your solos – it is especially effective in jazz and blues styles, but it is a technique that is found in most guitar genres. Here we will be applying octaves to the diatonic minor scale.

Using Inverted Thirds In Your Solos

Using inverted thirds in your soloing is a fairly advanced topic, so please make sure you’ve gone through the other lessons on intervals prior to this one.

Inverted thirds are used fairly commonly – once you know what they are, you’ll start recognizing them being used, because they sound so good!

Phrasing Guitar Solos

This lesson deals with phrasing your solos, adding dynamics just like you would if you were speaking a sentence to someone. No one (interesting anyways!) speaks in monotone, without speeding up from time to time, adding slight pauses, choosing different words or putting emphasis in different places right? Just as those are all great ways to add character to your voice, using similar techniques will really help your guitar solos sound more natural and interesting.

Another great place to start before hitting this lesson is the Essential Techniques series. That will teach you some of the tools Colin references in this lesson like hammer ons, pull offs, sliding, string stretching, vibrato and more.

Settle in – this one is nearly 50 minutes, but you can come back to it if you need to.

Using the Major 7th in Scales

This lesson on using the Major 7th in scales and soloing is really the second part of the lesson on Major 7th Chords.

If you haven’t watched that yet, we recommend reviewing that first to really make the most of this lesson.

Improving Your Improvising

Some of you have been asking questions about how to go about improving your improvising, and / or soloing. This lesson is a direct response to that, although to really get to the heart of this, you need to spend some time going through the Essential Guitar Techniques lessons – all of which will teach you different ways to add flavor to your solos.

It’s very common for players to struggle with making their solo sound more like a solo, and less like a scale, and it is important to realize that achieving this is as much about “feeling” where the notes are and where you want them to go as it is about logically deciding. For that reason, this is a bit of a tricky topic to teach, especially when we’re not in the same room together, so grab your guitar and settle in, because this lesson is a good long one that is really going to get at the heart of this issue.

As usual, any remaining questions are welcome in the comments section below.

Essential Techniques: Vibrato

This guitar lesson is all about vibrato, and how you can use that technique in your guitar solos. Learning to play a good vibrato will really help make your guitar playing more expressive. BB King is an example of one player who has a great vibrato; in fact, BB King patterned his guitar solos after how a voice would actually sing the same part, and if you listen closely to a person singing, you’ll hear the vibrato is a key element.

Artist Spotlight: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Alright you blues players – grab your guitars, plug ’em in, and crank your amp up LOUD!

In this 40 minute spotlight on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s playing styles you’ll not only learn some licks, but you’ll learn some of what made his sound unique.

This lesson is in Eb, so you really ought to tune everything down a half step if you want to play along.

This lesson should definitely give you something to chew on… let us know in the comments below!

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