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Soloing over slow chord progressions

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Postby almann1979 » June 1st, 2012, 12:25 pm

I have a problem with my playing (well actually, lots of problems but I'll keep this to one point :D )

I seem to solo/improvise far far better over higher tempo, faster changing chord progressions. However, when the chord progression lingers too long on a chord, I struggle to make things sound, well, emotional or interesting.

I studied the purple rain solo in depth this last two weeks to try to help me, and I love it. I looked at what he did on each chord, and how he built and released tension, but can I now emulate it? No :cry:


When I play over slower chord changes, yes, I hit the target notes, and put my arpeggio's in. I make sure I hit my 9ths and 7ths etc but I still don't get the musicality I get when the tempo is upbeat. In reality what I play sounds like it fits, but is way too boring.

Like I said, on faster tempo tracks, I really like what I play. I apply the same methods to both tempo's - but it just seems to be better when the chords shift pretty quickly.

Has anybody else felt this, or do any of you have any tips, or words of wisdom that make help me play slow, emotional solo's well?

Thanks
Al
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Postby Nuno » June 1st, 2012, 12:58 pm

I don't know how to help. In fact, as my solos on fast chord progressions as my solos on slow chord progressions sound boring :D

Perhaps you should look for inspiration in songs with slow chord progressions. I mean, just listen those type of songs. Sometimes I get ideas when listening different styles.
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Postby Moonrider » June 1st, 2012, 7:32 pm

almann1979 wrote:I have a problem with my playing (well actually, lots of problems but I'll keep this to one point :D )

I seem to solo/improvise far far better over higher tempo, faster changing chord progressions. However, when the chord progression lingers too long on a chord, I struggle to make things sound, well, emotional or interesting.


1) Stop thinking of it as a "solo" and start thinking of it as a melody to play as an interlude between verses.
2) Stop trying to impress other guitar players. Simple can be CRUSHINGLY emotional. Slow down.

Couple of benchmark tunes to demo this:
Moonlight Sonata - no blinding chops here, but Beethoven was a master of simple, haunting melodies that evoke a mood or emotion

Since We've Ended as Lovers - another "simply haunting" melody written by Stevie Wonder. Again, not a technically demanding piece - it's Jeff Beck's mastery of string attack and bends to evoke the voices of the guitar that sets this tune on fire

Maggot Brain - Eddie Hazel's tour de force intro to this Funkadelics album is a mind blower, especially when you consider when it's a single, improvised take.
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Postby Cat » June 1st, 2012, 10:04 pm

Moonrider wrote: 1) Stop thinking of it as a "solo" and start thinking of it as a melody to play as an interlude between verses.
2) Stop trying to impress other guitar players. Simple can be CRUSHINGLY emotional. Slow down.


Yep...

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Postby almann1979 » June 1st, 2012, 10:59 pm

Thanks for those links moon rider! Sone fantastic music there, I will be looking into learning that Jeff beck one when the kds are in bed later.

One technique I was trying, was to just put the guitar down, and think of the melody and notes I wanted to here. The problem was, that was boring too :shock:

Maybe I'm just not a very creative person... But that won't stop me trying :D
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Postby NoteBoat » June 2nd, 2012, 1:12 am

I completely agree w/Moonrider. (Except for a small side thing - Moonlight Sonata actually contains some of the most difficult melody Beethoven ever wrote - the first movement is slow, but the third movement is reaaally fast - it uses 128th notes!)
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Postby Cat » June 2nd, 2012, 1:25 am

FYI: The sheet music for "Moolight Sonata" was accidently put up backwards on their piano, a small lamp showing behind it. John Lenon played the notations anyway with only minor variations..."She's So Heavy".

Cool...

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Postby almann1979 » June 2nd, 2012, 9:55 am

Another point that may or may not be relevant here is the chord progression itself.

Do you find that some chord progressions just seem easier to be melodic or expessive over, and if so, which type of progressions are they?

Is there a theory reason behind that, or is it simply a case of the fact we are more used to playing over popular progressions and so are better at it?
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Postby Vic Lewis VL » June 7th, 2012, 6:37 pm

I actually find it easier to play over slower backing tracks because that's how I started soloing - over slow bluesy backing tracks. Any I - IV - V progression is easy to play over.....the hard part is playing an ORIGINAL solo. We're all influenced (consciously or unconsciously) by the guitarists we listen to . You listen to BB King, you're going to be playing lots of fills, heavy on the vibrato. You listen to Paul Kossoff, it's easy to tell he was influenced by BB - fills, vibrato, lots of BIG bends, but at the same time more use of distortion and more trills. Same goes for Peter Green - easy to tell he and Koss were both influenced by BB.

At the same time, both Koss and PG developed their own style - they both carried the rhythm as well as soloing, whereas BB just played fills - I remember watching him on the U2 "Rattle And Hum" documentary saying, "I don't play chords." Whaaaat? You've been playing all those years and can't play a simple chord progression?" and thinking, well there's hope for me yet - I CAN play rhythm chords!

I'm still a very mediocre soloist....much better at rhythm guitar, so maybe I'm not the best person to be handing out advice here. I still find it easier to play a solo using a slide, whether I'm in an open tuning or standard. Having said that, playing slide guitar has given me a feel for the fretboard that sort of guides my fingers to where I want to be at the start of a solo in any key....once you know where the chords are (especially A-shaped barres, or one finger barres if you're in an open tuning) you'll know where the roots, fifths, sevenths and ninths are etc in any key, using that A-shaped barre (in standard) as a reference point.

I once did a lesson on here about the basics of using a slide in standard tuning - I'll try and find it later today (3:30 am, ready for bed) - you might find it useful. My suggestion would be, for now, buy a cheap slide and try experimenting around the D G and B strings....or even without a slide, try experimenting just one or two frets up and down from a one-finger barre across those three strings. It'll give you a whole new insight into soloing, as well as adding (warning - bad pun alert!) a whole new string to your bow.....

:D :D :D

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