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Songwriting Series:
Part Three - Composing Memorable Solos


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Guitar solos can be a killer part of any well written song. However, getting a strong melodic solo that fits extremely well with the rest of the piece can sometimes be as much work as writing the entire song itself.

What is extremely important is to take a number of different approaches while crafting your solo. In this video we will look closely at those various solo composing directions.

Our first idea will be based around a concept known as Chord Tone Targeting. With this technique, the player considers the notes found in the chord being played and then highlights the specific tones that exist in the chords very structure. For example, our first chord of Bmi has the notes of B, D and F#. Of these degrees, the common target tones are generally the 3rd and 5th. The root is also fine, however since it is the root there is very little color gained from targeting into it during the construction of melody lines. Try playing into 3rd and 5th chord tones as an exercise. It requires solid knowledge of the notes on the fingerboard to execute well.


Another solo writing technique is thinking more rhythmically instead of melodically. The idea here is that of feeling beats and clusters of specific rhythm durations as the main line of thought during the writing process. This can be done on one note or it can be done using a scale or arpeggio line. The results are very captivating.

One of the most difficult solo writing concepts is that of creating a distinctive captivating melody during a guitar solo. Because a unique melody takes skill, talent and time to craft the ability to do this obviously gets better as the player matures. As well, this skill has quite a lot to do with a guitarists level of playing experience. Once the scales and arpeggios are mastered, there still remains a lengthy period where the guitarist needs to develop their phrasing and writing chops.

A powerful and simple writing concept can occur within a solo using repetitive melodic statements. The statement can often be only a measure in it's length. But, by repeating it over and over, the melody roots itself in the listeners ear. Many times this melody sticks with the listener long after the song is over.

Thank you for participating! An MP3 jam track of the solo section is available for download below as a zipped file.


The MP3 audio document below contains the Jam Track for
the Guitar Solo section of the Songwriting Lesson Example Piece

mp3 download

To Download > Left Click > Save

To watch Part One and Two of this series please follow the links below:

Watch Songwriting Part One   |   Watch Songwriting Part Two