Covers- How Close Do You Stay To The Solos?

TSJMajesty

Rock Star
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There's not a lot of songs I can think of in which I'd just jam my own thing to the solo. Sure there's some. And there's some where if you didn't do the solo note-for-note (Pink Floyd, e.g.), the song just wouldn't be the same. Imo

Maybe it's just me, because just like the vocal melody, I can hear the notes of the solos in my mind, especially with players like Neal Schon. I'd hardly consider singing a different vocal melody, so I tend to approach solos pretty much the same way.

Thoughts?
 
I’m like guitar George - I’m strictly rhythm…I don’t make it cry or sing.

But when I do play solos, I like to be really close to the record. The problem is, I often don’t have the skill or time to learn them note-for-note quickly, hence being more of a rhythm player at this point.
 
There are singers and there are vocal stylists. There are guitarists. I happen to fall into the guitar stylist category.
 
Depends on the song; if it’s a recognizable one or anything Gilmour, I’m going to learn it note for note and stick to that. For everything else, I’ll stay about 90% accurate and if I forget something I may or may not bother re-learning it and sometimes I just alter a small thing or two. RHCP’s “Soul To Squeeze” solo is a good example; it’s super easy but there’s some room in there to embellish on the notes/bends a little bit without taking anything away from it.

Or another one in this Ryche tune; I learned the solo note for note and then went a couple days without playing it, I recorded this quick clip and fell off the mark towards the end but f*ck it.


Hahaha with the Gilmour stuff I’m over the top, which is precisely why I haven’t posted anything as of yet; I’ve been re-learning a lot of the PULSE solos but am focusing on every little nuance and won’t post anything until I can nail them 100%.
 
It depends on the song and the solo.

There are some that are either iconic or melodic that people expect to hear, and I play those note for note.

But there are others where I don't think it matters as much. Some of these there are certain motifs and licks that are essential while other parts can be ad lib'd, and others the whole thing can be improvised. I think there are some songs that even sound better when you don't try to do the original solo note for note, such as some blues songs and other music that is strongly improvisational and open form.

A good example for me is when we'd play Ain't Goin' Down 'Till the Sun Comes Up. The opening solo sets up the song and is well known, so I would play it note for note. But towards the end when it gets into trading off solos between different members of the band I would always improvise when it was my turn. That part is loose and just passing solos back and forth, and here I think not playing the original solos note for note is better because it allows all the musicians in the band to listen to each other and play off each other trading licks and setting each other up.
 
The problem is, I often don’t have the skill or time to learn them note-for-note quickly
I'm still at that point also. Getting better, but since I want to be the sole guitarist in a band (ideally with keys, and a singer who can also cover some guitar parts as needed, or share solos), I'm still working on my chops, so that when it comes time to learn a difficult solo, I'm not starting from scratch, so to speak.

For me, I feel there's a certain number of like, "go-to" skills that are common enough in many solos, that if I can get several of them under my fingers (like 3-note-per-string, triplet runs), it'll make learning new solos a lot less time-consuming. No band wants to give me their list, and have me tell them, "Ok, give me 2 months, or whatever, and I'll get back with you guys." Lol

Like, once you know how to sweep-pick through an arpeggio, it's a lot easier to learn others in different chords/shapes.
 
Depends on the song; if it’s a recognizable one or anything Gilmour, I’m going to learn it note for note and stick to that. For everything else, I’ll stay about 90% accurate
Yep. That's how I feel too.
It depends on the song and the solo.

There are some that are either iconic or melodic that people expect to hear, and I play those note for note.

But there are others where I don't think it matters as much. Some of these there are certain motifs and licks that are essential while other parts can be ad lib'd, and others the whole thing can be improvised. I think there are some songs that even sound better when you don't try to do the original solo note for note, such as some blues songs and other music that is strongly improvisational and open form.
Yep. Absolutely.
A good example for me is when we'd play Ain't Goin' Down 'Till the Sun Comes Up. The opening solo sets up the song and is well known, so I would play it note for note. But towards the end when it gets into trading off solos between different members of the band I would always improvise when it was my turn. That part is loose and just passing solos back and forth, and here I think not playing the original solos note for note is better because it allows all the musicians in the band to listen to each other and play off each other trading licks and setting each other up.
Like, who in their right mind would bother to work up all the solos n-f-n in Free Bird. Get the basic motif where/as needed, then turn on the fire hose. ;)
(Not that I would ever cover FB, but I suppose you need to know a few bits of it for when some drunk fool yells out, "PLAY FREE BIRD!!")
 
Yep. That's how I feel too.

Yep. Absolutely.

Like, who in their right mind would bother to work up all the solos n-f-n in Free Bird. Get the basic motif where/as needed, then turn on the fire hose. ;)
(Not that I would ever cover FB, but I suppose you need to know a few bits of it for when some drunk fool yells out, "PLAY FREE BIRD!!")

Absolutely. I've never played in a band that did Free Bird regularly, but it's one of those songs that would come up from time to time and we'd have to cover it.

My approach was always to know the slide melody part, the main melodic line from the solo section (the one shown below), and then ad-lib the rest!

Screen Shot 2022-10-26 at 2.16.28 PM.png
 
Absolutely. I've never played in a band that did Free Bird regularly, but it's one of those songs that would come up from time to time and we'd have to cover it.

My approach was always to know the slide melody part, the main melodic line from the solo section (the one shown below), and then ad-lib the rest!

View attachment 1974
How did you copy/paste that?
 
There's not a lot of songs I can think of in which I'd just jam my own thing to the solo. Sure there's some. And there's some where if you didn't do the solo note-for-note (Pink Floyd, e.g.), the song just wouldn't be the same. Imo

Maybe it's just me, because just like the vocal melody, I can hear the notes of the solos in my mind, especially with players like Neal Schon. I'd hardly consider singing a different vocal melody, so I tend to approach solos pretty much the same way.

Thoughts?

For me it's really on a song by song basis. However..that said..I find the signature licks and surround them with a lot of similar stuff in my own style in general. For instance the solo to Crazy Train pretty much has to be played note for note but something like Tush...pfft just wing it.
 
Absolutely. I've never played in a band that did Free Bird regularly, but it's one of those songs that would come up from time to time and we'd have to cover it.

My approach was always to know the slide melody part, the main melodic line from the solo section (the one shown below), and then ad-lib the rest!

View attachment 1974

I appreciate you posting this, but you really need to work on your tab skills. First off, there's not even the right amount of strings there and I don't know if it's a penmanship issue, but those don't look like numbers to me.
 
I appreciate you posting this, but you really need to work on your tab skills. First off, there's not even the right amount of strings there and I don't know if it's a penmanship issue, but those don't look like numbers to me.
Ha - you beat me to it! I was going to post something just like this, LOL. #greatminds
 
the solo to Crazy Train pretty much has to be played note for note but something like Tush...pfft just wing it.
Pretty much this but even Tush has some signature stuff that I like to nail, I love doing faux slide licks with my fingers, and the ending!
Some of these there are certain motifs and licks that are essential while other parts can be ad lib'd, and others the whole thing can be improvised.
iconic solos
people know and hum along to? Better know that s**t!
Exactly

There are hooklines that people know and expect to hear - those should be learned but Pentatonic fill is a Pentatonic fill. Diminished run is a diminished run, I got more important things to focus on.
 
Pretty much this but even Tush has some signature stuff that I like to nail,
Here's another angle to consider...
We did Cheap Sunglasses. That style of playing isn't my forte, so at first I planned to just ad lib the solo. But then I found a good tab of it and gave it a try. Wow! The licks and phrasing in it was so foreign to me that I just had to learn at least some of it, if for no other reason than to broaden my own palette. And as I dug in, I found that I really wanted to learn as much of it as time would allow.

I came into rehearsal with a few parts under my belt, and the band was actually impressed, since it was so different than my typical way of soloing.
So, you never know what you might discover.
 
Here's another angle to consider...
We did Cheap Sunglasses. That style of playing isn't my forte, so at first I planned to just ad lib the solo. But then I found a good tab of it and gave it a try. Wow! The licks and phrasing in it was so foreign to me that I just had to learn at least some of it, if for no other reason than to broaden my own palette. And as I dug in, I found that I really wanted to learn as much of it as time would allow.

I came into rehearsal with a few parts under my belt, and the band was actually impressed, since it was so different than my typical way of soloing.
So, you never know what you might discover.
I really love Billy‘s phrasing…
 
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