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  #1  
Old 01-02-2019, 07:10 PM
Wayne Bell Wayne Bell is offline
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Default What do you do for a solo when performing alone?

For example, do you emulate the instrumental melody using a fingerstyle or hybrid-picking technique, so you don't completely abandon the rhythm of the song?

Do you pluck individual notes, maybe occasionally filling them out with double-stops or three-note chord shapes?

If you don't have the guitar skills to dazzle your audience and want to focus on your singing, what do you do for the solos when performing alone, like at a winery or coffee house?
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:00 PM
cleanheadsteve cleanheadsteve is offline
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i play single note solos but insert chords as frequently in the solo as i can
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:48 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Bell View Post
If you don't have the guitar skills to dazzle your audience and want to focus on your singing, what do you do for the solos when performing alone, like at a winery or coffee house?
Avoid them altogether. Just keep singing, with no instrumental breaks.

Having said that, don't be too down on your "guitar skills". Remember the audience probably can't play guitar. They may well be impressed you can actually play the thing at all; as far as they are concerned you are a "Musician" (wow!). As long as you keep time, and don't make any OBVIOUS mistakes (like stopping in the middle and swearing ), they'll be OK with anything.
If you want to keep the break where the solo occurs, you could just strum through the chords. (In a wine bar or coffee house, you're mostly background to conversation anyway.) The only issue is if it's a really well known solo, that you expect the crowd will know well. You could try singing the solo!

Or you could do the other things you suggest - play what you can of the solo, while making sure the rhythm is not disturbed. Keeping time is the really critical thing: if the beat goes, that's when people notice, that's when you sound like an amateur who's still learning. Make a mistake? just keep playing, keep a straight face, probably no one will notice. (If they do, they'll probably just think "oh that must be a jazz bit....")
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:48 AM
ManyMartinMan ManyMartinMan is offline
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What Jon said. You can do an intro or finish with a little flourish if you like. I use a looper and before the bridge or lead record the melody and play lead over it. Then punch out of the loop when the lead is over. I do that selectively so it doesn't become expected or seem canned.
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:09 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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To me, the "sanctity" of the song itself dictates whether I'll play a solo or not... although I am fairly adept at soling over any sort of changes, I am NOT willing to sacrifice the groove and feel of a tune just so I can demonstrate how good I am at soloing...

Many of the tunes that I will solo over are in E or A, so I can "pedal" the low root note while I'm playing lines or double-stops, etc., and that way I can keep the feel of the tune moving, instead of having everything drop out while I stop to play a solo...

Keeping the tune moving forward is always my main criterion...
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:29 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Play the changes.

I make sure I'm never on "10" fullness wise during the melody, so the bottom doesn't drop out if I want to play a single note line.

Chord soloing is also fun.
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:57 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Yes, there are lots of things highly skilled players (more skilled than I) can do. Excellent chord melody playing is a skill I highly admire and can't do.

Partial chords, double stops, etc are easier for me to accomplish/understand and interpose.

Ditto having "bass notes" like E or A, but your song doesn't work with those open strings, consider retuning: drop D for one common example. Of course, more skilled players can do amazing fretted bass lines while keeping a melody running on higher strings.

If you can play an interesting melody, with good expression and timbre, in good rhythm, you can carry the song along even with single note lines. Harmony is wonderful, but the human musical receptors can be satisfied with only a melody line--even from the time we're a baby and someone sings a lullaby to us.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:00 PM
wguitar wguitar is offline
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Great advice so far -- I've learned a couple things. I'm an average player and primarily play chords. For the instrumental (or lead) parts I often strum through the chords using different chord voicing. For example, I might use a barre vs the open chords used throughout the song. Or, sometimes I alternate voices (open & barre) to distinguish the instrumental (lead) part from the rest of the song. You could also change your strumming pattern somewhat to create a new sound in the song. Have fun, experiment, try new things. The audience knows that I'm not Eric Clapton so don't feel like I need to be. I play Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" but only play the lead part at the very beginning of the song -- rest of the time I strum thru. For me, it's important to focus on keeping the song flowing as it should rhythmically and on the vocals. The lead parts are my challenge and something I keep working on. Strum on and enjoy! Hope this helps!
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:38 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Bell View Post
For example, do you emulate the instrumental melody using a fingerstyle or hybrid-picking technique, so you don't completely abandon the rhythm of the song?

Do you pluck individual notes, maybe occasionally filling them out with double-stops or three-note chord shapes?

If you don't have the guitar skills to dazzle your audience and want to focus on your singing, what do you do for the solos when performing alone, like at a winery or coffee house?
That is the challenge, and yes, the art, of doing covers as a solo artist. It is also what makes it interesting and fun.

As a finger picker I can usually incorporate elements of the signature riff or melody into what I’m playing. Single notes? Never. I do the Wonderful Tonight riff with double stops punctuated by the surrounding chords, same thing with Ventura Highway. While I seldom do note-for-note anything, the piano break from Christopher Cross’ Sailing was something that I made a special effort to cover on guitar. Looper? Only for sound check.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:20 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Hi,
I seem to have developed a method of bringing the melody out of the chord shapes.

Below is a fair example of how it works for me.

See the short break after the second verse.



Now - things can change when I'm playing with my trio - so now look at this version where I play more single notes because I have the bass and mando supporting me :

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  #11  
Old 01-05-2019, 12:12 AM
rmoretti49 rmoretti49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Hi,
I seem to have developed a method of bringing the melody out of the chord shapes.

Below is a fair example of how it works for me.

See the short break after the second verse.



Now - things can change when I'm playing with my trio - so now look at this version where I play more single notes because I have the bass and mando supporting me :

Very well done tune! Thanks.
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  #12  
Old 01-05-2019, 08:37 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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I play with my fingers (lots of Travis picking), and usually just find a melody (or a part long enough to be recognizable) and comp over the chord shapes. It helps to know several chord inversions so the instrumental break doesn't sound exactly (or close enough) like the accompaniment when singing.

Whatever, it's important that I never lose the "groove". I often see solo players who go into a single note lead and lose the underlying rhythm and even the chord progression. It's uncomfortable to watch, even if the player is doing OK on the lead, the song falls apart.

Much of what you CAN do is reliant on the key, and how you've learned to navigate in that key.
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  #13  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:12 AM
wguitar wguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyAxe View Post
I play with my fingers (lots of Travis picking), and usually just find a melody (or a part long enough to be recognizable) and comp over the chord shapes. It helps to know several chord inversions so the instrumental break doesn't sound exactly (or close enough) like the accompaniment when singing.

Whatever, it's important that I never lose the "groove". I often see solo players who go into a single note lead and lose the underlying rhythm and even the chord progression. It's uncomfortable to watch, even if the player is doing OK on the lead, the song falls apart.

Much of what you CAN do is reliant on the key, and how you've learned to navigate in that key.
Great playing guidance for average "strummers' like me ! Any ideas for Pretty Woman (transposed to key of D) chord inversions as an alternative to single note lead (in the spirit of keeping the "groove") -- intro and in-song lead parts. GREAT song! Thanks!
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  #14  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:17 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyAxe View Post
.

Much of what you CAN do is reliant on the key, and how you've learned to navigate in that key.
Excellent point. A good place to start experimenting is in A (or the A fingering). It gives you the root, 4 and 5 bass notes on open strings.
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:28 PM
Paultergeist Paultergeist is offline
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This is why the “kazoo” was invented!
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