Where to Start Your Solo

The first note/phrase of your solo sets the pace for what you’re going to do throughout it. Here are some things that can help make each solo stick out a bit more.

Which Note Should I Choose?

Ahh.. this is probably the easiest to talk about. A note in the chord! I have another blog that talks about how to visualize chord tones and that’s easily the best place to start your solo. If the chord that’s playing while you’re starting your solo is A, then you can choose either A, C# or E. There are a lot of those notes, so try to get comfortable with different octaves of each note.

The best way to visualize notes on the guitar is through chord shapes. If you know how to play a lot of different types of A chords (Barre Chords? CAGED Chords? Triads?) the more you can choose from.

Bend/Slide Into the Note.

This is a guitar solo and nothing screams guitar solo like a big bend/slide into the note you choose from the chord you’re playing over.

How Long Is Your Solo?

If you’re solo’s pretty long, I’d start lower on the neck. You have more time to build the solo. Take you’re time and ease into it. I usually start long solos slower and lower before building up to the later part of my solos.

If you have a short solo I’d start midway/higher up on the fretboard and get right to it. You can start with a blazing lick and get to the point as you won’t have as much time to build

What’s the Dynamic Level of the Band/Track?

Along with the length of your solo, the dynamics of your surroundings play a major factor into the register you start your solo. If the band/track is quiet I’d probably start a bit lower then if the band/track was really rockin’.

I’d also play slower if the band was quiet and faster if the band was louder.


So there we are, some ideas to help each solo have a little different flare.