Songwriting Basics 1 (Solo)

Animated Songwriting Basics 1 (Solo) tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This is from the Jamzone where we take a general look at adding solos when songwriting.

In this example, I've chosen the verse from Songwriting Basics 1 to do a solo over. You may do something different, or choose a different part of the tune, but for me - this would be the best place.

Notice that now it sounds a bit more like a song now. Remember that a song is a 'whole'. It is a sum of many parts. There will be other instruments playing, various chord progressions, and tempo changes - to name a few. The lead doesn't have to be a dominant factor in the song. But it can be used extremely successfully in communicating to your listeners.

All we had originally was drums and a rhythm guitar. By adding a solo, we have a voice. The lead guitar is the voice of the soloist. You can do things in a solo that you cannot do with your voice, and vice versa. We're only using one part of the song here, but see how much it has been transformed by adding a little lead guitar.

A good recommendation when songwriting is to 'reach into' your song and pull out the emotions within. Listen to the chords you intend to solo over. Try and get a feel from them, and then work out a solo that brings the right feeling out of those chords. Also, there may be vocals in your song. If they are sad, then try and make the music reflect that. Go for slower licks, use more bends and blue notes, emphasize the minor third notes more, etc. Use major scales for happy music, or dabble with modes to get different flavour. See other Jamzone articles for more on those specifics.

The verse chord progression here is slow, and has a kind of reflective feel (to me at least). This is mainly because it uses A minor and E minor chords so much. Here I 'reach into' that feeling to come up with a solo in order to emphasize it. To do this I use the A minor scale. This scale works well with all the underlying chords.

If you have your own chord progressions and are considering making songs from them, then record them and try this method for yourself. It will help if you know something about your chords and scales, but you can also try and imagine the music in your head first, and then find the notes on the guitar. Most solo guitarists use both techniques together when writing. It's a lot of trial and error at first, but like anything, the more you do it the better you will get!

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