How to Play a Great Jazz or Rock Solo

Two Methods:Following Chord ChangesMelody Embellishment

Are you in a band and you're thinking about doing a great solo for your upcoming show, but are having trouble on where to start? Read on to learn how easily.

Steps

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    Get the feel for the song. If it's a jazz waltz, you would play it differently than a disco solo. if the song you want to solo to has a very set melody- read the instructions under "Melody Embellishment"- if your playing a jazz song with the chord changes indicated, you can follow either one of these instructions.

Method 1
Following Chord Changes

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    Find out the key of the song. The key is important. The internet can usually help you if you do a search, such as "what key is "Fire" by Jimmy Hendrix written in".
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    Learn the seven + blues modes. These will give you some more playability so you can improve on more songs.
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    Learn the scales that go with the song. Usually the major pentatonic works well, although in rock you would usually use the minor pentatonic.
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    Go to an open jam night. This is a great way to get into the playing scene. Lead a song or join others and you can solo now because you know that "blues in E" will usually mean play the blues progression in E. The blues progression will give you the chord changes and then you play a solo based off of those chord changes. Or...

Method 2
Melody Embellishment

Melody Embellishment means to embellish a melody. It is common in dance and other songs. Where people expect to hear a definite riff (like in "another one bites the dust" where the bass riff is the same through the whole song)

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    Memorize the main riff. This could be the melody or the harmony. In songs like "Mission Impossible," you will want to do a solo based off the recognizable bass parts instead of the high arpeggios.
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    Change the melody to make it your own. try one of these few steps
    • Fragmentation: Erase some short notes
    • Transposition: Move the notes a third, fifth or octave up or down to change the sound.
    • Rhythm: Change the rhythm by extending it, turning quarter notes to eighth notes and so on.
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    These steps and recommendations will help you create a kick-butt solo!

Tips

  • You don't need to do a million notes for a good solo.
  • Be careful when following chord changes. They can be helpful, but also harm you.

Article Info

Categories: Music Techniques