IS THIS THE BEST WAY TO START YOUR SOLO?

Guitar Lessons

How To Start That Solo

We've been listening to a lot of classic rock this month, and that means a lot of classic guitar solos! It started to become clear pretty quickly that these solos all started in a similar way. They all started with a bend on the 1! It's a fantastic sound that just sets you up perfectly for a big pentatonic solo. We noticed that it wasn't always the same bend (that would get boring quickly!) but a few common choices, with a lot of different phrasing to give each solo its own unique sound.

Bending

Before we get into the detail of the bends that are being used we'll just have a quick recap on bending technique and theory. When you're bending a string you're forcing it to play another note. You can do this simply by moving to a differnt fret, but bending can give you so much more room for expression! The first thing to consider when bending is how much you want the note to change, and what note you're trying to get to. Typically we bend with a semitone, or half step or a full tone or whole step. Once you know how far you're bending you'll need to make sure you're using the correct technique so you can consistenly get the bend just right, otherwise you'll sound out of tune!

If you're new to bending you'll need to take some time to get the technique right. We've got an in-depth free course on bending here but the basics are wrap your thumb over the neck, bend using your wrist and use all your fingers to push the string!

Make It Musical!

Another common occurance was a few notes that came just before the 1, in the previous bar. This is called Anacrusis. That basically means we play a few notes before the big bend to give a nice run up to the solo. Give it a go and see how it sounds!

Now we'll get into the bends themselves! We noticed four very common bends being used a lot (not just in the nine songs in the video!). These are so useful and based on our familiar pentatonic boxes so you'll be able to use them in your own solos right away! In the video Dan is playing in B (minor and major) - we've added a few backing tracks in various keys so you can give it a try yourself to the bottom of the page! If you're not familiar with the pentatonic boxes check out the notes below, or check out our pentatonic pathways course for the most in-depth study we have!

4th to 5th

Our first common bend is using Shape 1 of the minor pentatonic scale and bending from the 4th up to the 5th. It's a whole step bend. Check out the diagram to see which note to bend (highlighted in blue):



b7 to Root

Our second common bend is using Shape 1 of the minor pentatonic scale and bending from the b7th up to the Root. It's a whole step bend. Check out the diagram to see which note to bend (highlighted in blue):



Root to 2nd

Our third common bend is using Shape 2 of the minor pentatonic scale and bending from the Root up to the 2nd. It's a whole step bend. Check out the diagram to see which note to bend (highlighted in blue):



2nd to 3rd

Our fourth common bend is using Shape 1 of the major pentatonic scale and bending from the 2nd up to the 3rd. It's a whole step bend. Check out the diagram to see which note to bend (highlighted in blue):



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