Planning out your solos ahead of time....what are your thoughts???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Grahams Groove, Jul 19, 2001.

  1. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove Never succinct... Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    I am just wondering what you guys think...??? I think its extremely "cheesy" to plan out a solo note for note to perform it in a jam or during a live performance.... ALbums is a different story.

    What are your thoguhts?
  2. i say it's cool if you satisfy youself. hey no one will notice you any way unless you're a lead guitarist. just jump around and hang your bass low and you'll look cool and people will love it. just kidding. i think it's a cool idea not as cool as a good idea. too bad that doesn't make much sense. hope i help you.
  3. can...cannot.... argh... cannot... do....solo.... bah :(
  4. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    all i'm thinking is ...
    "okay, what am i playing over, what chord ? what key ?" when i've got that sussed (and i sometimes get it wrong because my ear is kinda sh*t :( i think about whether i want to start it on the tonic, or maybe the third, naaaaah the fifth sounds good ... :) usually i'll try to make it tell a story - beginning slow and with plenty of tension, speed up into some 16th note runs or some other such trickery, maybe go way out for a bit and try my hardest to bring it back, finally ending melodically with some double-stops or arpeggios.
    falling back into the groove, however, is probably the hardest part of a solo ;) i'm mostly thinking about where the best place for me to come back into the song is and how i can get to it after showing off :p

    i never plan them, however. bass is a free-flowing thing, IMO. leave the preparation to the geetarz, i say !
  5. brewer9

    brewer9 Guest

    Jul 5, 2000
    I think its fine to preplan a solo. Is it OK to "preplan" a song? Of course! If you take a test at school, would you "preplan" your answers? Of course! Knowing what you're going to do is the best way to ensure a succesful outcome.

    If your goal is to impress an audience, it would be a good idea to go into a solo knowing what your gonna do. If you just wing it then you may appear to be just winging it. (If your goal is to impress yourself thats a different story, but I'd rather impress the audience)

    I'm not saying that you cant ever stray from your plan, but think of it as an outline for a book. You "preplan" the outline, then fill it in while performing. Even a well-planned solo evolves naturally, as you add on to it and take things out.
  6. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    It's cool to have a general idea of what you are going to do and wing it a bit from there. Total improv can be a precarious thing. Some nights you will be on and amaze yourself (maybe.) Other nights, you'll hang your head in shame and wonder why you didn't plan anything.
  7. Rockinjc

    Rockinjc Guest

    Dec 17, 1999
    As usual, either extreme is not good, unless its really good. I have jumped in full speed and not had anything left to say before my time is up. Conversely I have not really gotten to the meat by the time my turn is over. A very generic strategy that I often use is to start a little slow and work my way up to a few variations on a motif or two and perhaps one quote then quickly wind it down.

    One thing that annoys me is a solo abruptly stopped. We had a lead guitar player who would do this when the lyrics came back around. I say if the phrase is not completed, back off on the volume and allow a little overlap if necessary.

  8. I think the type and feel of the song can have a big impact on how much you preplan a solo. For instance one of the songs we're playing in my current band is a ballad where I play a fretless bass solo. Since the song is real open and doesn't contain a lot of notes, I felt the best way to approach the solo was to keep it simple and mimic the melody. On that song my solo is pretty much written out note for note. Although I will vary it a little at times, the basic structure stays the same.

    On other songs where the middle section might be more of a 'jam' type feel, I would typically have a couple licks that I know will work if I throw them in, but otherwise I go into it without having anything prepared.

    I think you need to play to your strengths. If your not comfortable playing a solo cold then preplan. Just because you prepare a solo doesn't necessarily mean it's not going to appear to be spontaneous. It's all in the delivery.:)
  9. Zonplayer

    Zonplayer Guest

    Nov 24, 2000
    Madison / Milwaukee
    If you know the material in advance....why not?! I do. I mean...why wouldnt you? I like to have as many options available to me as possible. Not note for note but at least some groundwork to build upon.
  10. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove Never succinct... Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    Here's my detailed htoughts...i was discussing this with one of my guitarists...He said he wants his solos in our songs all planned out note for note, while i on the other hand wold like framework at the most, but i just think for what my band plays, that creating an exact solo ahead of time is what improvisational music is all about...And i would agree that some nights you'll be dead on, and it will be the best feeling in the world, and some nights, yeah you are gonna play ****, but the nights taht your dead on with freely improvised solos, will be such a treta and have such an incredible energy and feel to them,....

    Plus, alot of stuff we play is what "Bassin'" described second, where it ends up being a jam in the middle, and most of the time wiht the jams we do, they are always different. We just take them wherever they lead us, so it makes for an interesting sound and texture every time we play it, in which case you are forced to make up a different solo on the spot everytime we play this jam or that jam....

    But my thoughts are, a solo made from scratch on the spot when done correctly will be more rewarding than anythign you could plan out ahead of time.
  11. Zonplayer

    Zonplayer Guest

    Nov 24, 2000
    Madison / Milwaukee
    As long as a solo has something to say, then, it is best to go with what you feel in that moment. Unfortunately, there are alot of 'jam' bands out there who's solos go off into an incoherent longueur.

  12. I totally agree. That's one of the beauties/pitfalls of improvisation. Sometimes you totally connect and it all comes together, other times it's incoherent rubbish. As you get better, and more experienced, the nights you connect become almost a cosmic experience and the other times when you don't quite connect your crap doesn't stink quite so bad...but it can still stink. That's the chance you take.:)