writing solos

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ianray, Jun 9, 2003.

  1. ianray


    Jun 9, 2003
    i want to lean how to write cool solos, and dont know where to start
  2. Melf


    Mar 20, 2003
    Starkville, MS
    The first step is listening to solos. Lots of solos. I'm not sure what your musical tastes are but metal solos always inspire me.
  3. ianray


    Jun 9, 2003
    yeah, metal solos. do you mean bass solos or just solos in general
  4. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    listen to whatever solos you can, whatever inspires you, or just sounds cool. Tweak those solos a good deal, and make your own from them.

    I learned the first few solos from metallica's One, and I'm sure I could figger out my own from it, but I've never felt like massacring them, seeing as they are just done so well, and I'd just screw them up. But whatever you want to do is fine, as long as it fits into the rhythm part well, and isn't too insane.

    I would think it is hard to start from scratch while writing a solo, so some sort of inspiration is always good.

    I always dig the bass solo on Orion, and I tweak that all the time to make really nice riffs. made like 3 different riffs from it I can think of.
  5. ianray


    Jun 9, 2003
  6. sDg


    Feb 26, 2003
    Wise, Virginia
    Don't forget about the rhythm. The most amazing bass solo I have ever heard was by a jazz bassist who has been playing longer than I have been alive. Anyway, during his solo, he never lost the rhythm. He stayed right in the pocket, layed down the groove and a solo at the same time. Absolutely amazing.

  7. sDg


    Feb 26, 2003
    Wise, Virginia
    You've never heard of him, but his name is Dave Jones. He plays in small clubs and churches in Florida. He also happens to be the father of a very good friend of mine.

  8. There are no "rules" to writing a solo, it comes from within, as corny as that sounds.

    I find inspiration in the human voice. Read the following sentence for example:

    "ouch! damn thing"

    It could be pronounced as "OUCH! DAmn THing"

    Just different ways of hearing melodies or whatever..dif'rent strokes fer dif'rent folks. Try playing a scale, and messing with it, you might come up with something.
  9. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    I suggest that you not just listen to bass solos, but also to solos on guitar, sax, trumpet, etc. Also listen to vocals and try to emulate them on your bass. The voice is the hardest instrument to translate to another medium, therefore it challenges you to find ways to incorporate the inflections. When you find ways to do it, it will give you a new perspective and help you find your voice on the bass, so to speak. Using a fretless helps, but learning to do it on any instrument is a great, eye opening challenge to try. My $0.02.
  10. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    This reminds me of something I once learned at a lesson. It was taking a sentence or a phrase and making a bassline out of it. Fool around with both long and short sentences and phrases. Focus on patterns in your measures and rhythms (think of syllables and rhythms going hand-in-hand.)

    EX: "I'm going to bed now"

    I can make "I'm" a quarter note; "going to" a triplet; and "bed" and "now" quarter notes.

    Hope this makes sense. :)
  11. ianray


    Jun 9, 2003
  12. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Out of my mind, back in 5 minutes! Supporting Member

    I've started to work out of the Marc Johnson/Sher book "Concepts in Bass Soloing." Great book - it is helping already.

    Dan K.
  13. ianray


    Jun 9, 2003
    thx, ill try to get it, how much?
  14. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Yeah, Soloing is like an extension of yourself onto the instrument, speaking through the instrument, whatever you want to say :D

    can't hurt to know all your scales, modes, arpeggios..etc.

    Know how to play all the scales and stuff in as many different ways as possible.

    Learn the most energy efficient ways and the least efficient ways, so that you can always find where you are.

    Can't hurt to know the fretboard 100%

    can't hurt to know the basics of walking a bassline.

    For me, it's all about listening, and feeling. When I solo, I listen to the band, but I feel the notes I play.
  15. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Can you sing or hum?? There's a great way to come up with solos...
  16. +1
    I totally agree by learning not only the solo but how they're phrasing their licks
    You'd find by imitating other instruments your soloing becomes more melodic in a sense of phrasing and begin to sound similar to the instrument itself
    ie. Jaco's Teen town check out his phrasing sounds like a saxaphone
    Even trying to imatate vocals helps especially for smooth legato note choices
    So not only listen to bass solos but other instruments
    My favourite licks believe it or not are from saxaphone players as well as wes's guitar licks
  17. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I like to think of writing any type of musicial material as using "layers", for example:

    layer 1 - Chord progression (C, Dm, F, Am)
    layer 2 - Diatonic scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B)
    layer 3 - Chord progression in Sevenths (Cmaj7, Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, etc)
    layer 4 - Modes (C Ionain, C Dorian, C Phrygian, etc)
    layer 5 - Two, three, and four Note, One string patterns

    This idea of layers is used in other art forms like painting. Plus it's purely conceptual, still working on it myself
  18. One good way, if you are quite experienced on your bass, is to sing the solo, or at least imagine what you want to play. If you can take that voice and put it on bass, you will definitely come up with some good stuff. Being able to transcend that barrier is a great thing, and once you're completely on the other side, you'll find soloing a breeze. Get to know your bass.
  19. sedgdog


    Jan 26, 2002
    Pasco, WA
    I think the best way to start is to play ONLY chord tones. No other notes. I learned this from Jeff Berlin and that guy can play the most beautiful stuff playing nothing but chord tones. For instance Am7 (A,C,E,G) to D7 (D,F#,A,C). You could play something like G,A,C | C,D,F#,D|. Your solos will start sounding melodic because every note you play defines the chord.

    All the best,
  20. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    If you go out of time unintentionally in your solo or otherwise you need to work on it. Just cause you're soloing it doenst mean you can be any less solid with the time.

    My advice for starting out would be to start as simple as you can get.. our very own Steve Lawson played me a bass solo on a Donnie Hathaway live album once in a lesson (I later bought the album).. the bass solo starts off with then root + 5th, for 16 bars or so!! Then root +5th + octave, then a bit more, then a bit more, inteh end it never gets beyond realy basic lines. And the audience loves every second because it grooves! Simple bass parts have a lot of impact - often a lot more than complex ones.. and the same goes for bass solos. Keep it simple, solid and make sure it grooves and you'll be on to a winner :)