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Do you know your solos?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Blackbird, Mar 31, 2002.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    When you have a solo in a tune you play regularly, do you play a pre-arranged solo or do you improvise it every time?
  2. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    pre-meditating a solo is an ordeal which requires way too much thought for me :p i'll take some ideas with me, but never an entire solo.
  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I just play what I play. I've never actually thought about what I might play in a solo. I just basically play what I feel that particular night. Sometimes a passage might be repeated from a previous time, but it's never done purposely.
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I don't solo...
    That said, as a listener, nothing is more LAME than hearing a pre-arranged solo.

    Though there are exceptions-
    I recall reading about Wah-Wah Watson doing the exact same solo while he was touring with Hancock, Buster Williams, etc(the VSOP Quintet album). Someone in the band mentioned 'it was unbelievable how Watson could make that rehearesed solo sound totally fresh each & every night'!

    Nothing's finite... ;)
  5. I assume you're talking about jazz, so selectively ignore this post if you want. ;)

    I have little solo snippets in a few songs, and I usually play the same thing every time to match the way I played it on the CD. I tried to raise the bar in rehearsal one time and do something a little more complex, and my bandmates were disappointed because they'd fallen in love with what I did on the record. Guaging that as a typical reaction for our target audience, my natural bass player "laid-backness" kicked in and I opted to just do the original all the time. They don't hear all the other tricky improv I do while they're playing. :D

    In the studio I find it really helps to have a set "official version" of everything, so I know it's my favorite way that gets on tape. It's also easier to do multiple takes that way.
  6. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    if i were playing my stuff live, id probably take a few ideas with me.... the real recognizable stuff.... and make upi in between.

    7 is awsome for solos.....:D
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Maybe I was talking about Jazz; then again, maybe not! ;)
    Believe it or not, there was a time when Rock & Funk was about experimentation & pushing boundries. ;)

    BTW, I see/hear nothing wrong with using snippets(that's only being human) or quotes(usually gives the audience a thrill) whilst in solo-ville.
    For me, though, when the entire solo is regurgitated verbatim...I dunno.
    Then again, there are exceptions. I would imagine everyone under the Sun would expect to hear Eddie Van Halen's solo on "Beat It" done note-for-note.
    I recall reading how Jennifer Batten learned & played that solo so well that musicians(like Will Lee)would ask her post-show whether what they had heard was a tape!
  8. BlackGeezer


    Aug 21, 2001
    when i solo so ta speak i just pull things out of my ass. but thats only on stage just to impress people when they really dont know is im only mixing up triads and other scales. (not that hard to do) but when it comes to a prewritten song i would play the guitar riff a couple times. then ill hear something in my head in the same key but is not regularly played. so out pops a bass fill. i have made so many that most of my bands songs i never play the guitar part for very long, but it doesnt sound like a completly different songs. so i do both, i improvise and i write. oh and tones, i play in a metal band and everybody hears me play. Gezzer butler played in a metal band and theres no way you cant hear him. Cliff Burton played with ****in metallica and you can hear him. you just have to know what a bass sounds like to hear it.
  9. rhythmrod


    Oct 27, 2001
    Austin, Texas
    Good Thread!
    I feel that there are two kinds of solo's. The first being an improvised solo and the second being a somewhat structured solo. My band has songs that have a bass solo as an important part of the song, in this regard I play the solo to be consistant with the song, with minor improv. However, on other songs where we each solo, then, that's when it's all improv, and lot's of it!!! I don't do slap & pop solo's, although I do slap & pop intermittantly for effect to keep the groove fresh. Someone stated earlier that having a planned solo is lame. I have to disagree with that statement. I feel that planning your solo is very important, especially if you're laying tracks for demo's or performing songs live that have specific bass solo's.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The only time I play a part of a solo the same way more than once is if I have been listening to a recording that I made of the same tune, in which case some of the same sounds are still in my ears. When this happens, I usually try to go in a different direction once I figure out what's going on.

    BTW, this "monkey hear, monkey play" phenomenon also happens with ANY recording - if I like what the player is playing, the sound can get stuck in my head, and sometimes pieces of it come out in my own playing. Depending on who I've been listening to, this can be a good thing.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I don't solo much, it's usually when the guitarist busts a string or some other disaster occurs...

    I have nothing worked out, because I have no way of knowing what song(s) I might be asked to solo on.

    This keeps life interesting :D
  12. I just got back from a practice where we set up a medley of songs, using bass solos in between a few, and IMO, it works best to have a general idea in mind (how long, last few notes to tip off band we're about to set back in), but besides that, just let it all go. Roll with what you think will sound good.
  13. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I'm not real big on soloing, but ages ago, my band seemed to think that I needed a solo, so I put one together. I usually came out of the song, working variations on the main theme, then futzed around on the neck, came up with some recurring neat phrases, then let it fall apart as I came back the main theme, where the band rejoined.

    Sort of a planned solo, with open spots for brilliance and/or brain lapse to occur.
  14. Depends on the song.

    We do one song where I have a pre-planned solo where I mimic the melody a lot. I won't stray from that too much as I feel the melody carries the song. I soloed over a ballad that we used to do. Same idea -- pre-planned to mimic the melody.

    Most other songs I do off the cuff. If we've done the song a few times before I will usually have a 'bag of tricks' I know I can refer to at any time but I mostly make it up as I go along. Our band is very "jam" oriented to begin with so, even if I wanted to set things in stone, they would probably through me a curve and extend the solo for another eight measures just to screw with me, It's better that I stay on my toes.;)

  15. both! hehe
  16. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
    i don't know why i bother sticking my tongue in my cheek anymore - other people just seem to want to bite it for me.
  17. Lipis Roman

    Lipis Roman

    Mar 5, 2002
    I can't say how refreshing it is to read a post like that. It irks me a bit how improvisation is so commonly related to Jazz only, in a lot of peoples minds. I'd never try to argue that it isn't a major part of what Jazz is but it absolutely exists in other styles of music as well. The funk group that I play in has alot of improvistaion going on, adding counter melodies, reharmonizing, quite a bit of vocal improv as well.

    I'm not much on bass soloing either but my band plays a couple of songs that are structured to leave space for one. Sometimes if I'm just not feeling it I'll just lay back and enjoy hearing how the other instrumentalists in the band react and feed off of that. But when I do play a solo I always improvise the majority of it while dipping into a few bars that are played the same each time just for some sense of predictablility.

  18. My bad... funk good... rock good... :cool:

    They still push the boundries in rock. I've seen some pretty cool hairstyles out there.
  19. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001
    i have some ideas in my head of what might fit and sound groovy but i dont practice it to get it beofre i play, if you know what i mean
  20. I try to never play the same solo twice but sometimes I get into ruts. The most difficult solo I play is with the Brubeck tune Take Five. I find it so hard to play what I hear in my head while counting fives. My best solos are when I can forget about the "math" of the situation and just play what I feel. Also, my advise is not to be afraid to play a simple solo. I think the best solos involve a simple theme which is repeated and embelished. I try to involve the average listener without a flury of notes.

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