Topic: Phrasing

I'm getting at working my way around the fretboard, learning what notes fit in where, and so on.  My picking technique isn't perfect, but it's improving a lot.  When it comes to improving stuff, though, I find that a lot of the notes I play just sort of dissappear, and I'm having a tough time figuring out when to end a run.  Does anyone have any tips for improving my phrasing techniques? As far as I've seen, this is the most difficult part of improving solos.  Thanks!

"A steering wheel don't mean you can drive, a warm body don't mean I'm alive"

Re: Phrasing

Hi 06sc500,
I'll take a stab at this one - but I'm sure there will be plenty of other responses.

Generally speaking, solos should follow the same basic chord and rhythmic cycle as the rest of the song.  So, if the verses are 8 bars long then a solo would be about the same.

Listen to and watch BB King.  I think his playing is so powerful because his solos are phrased like a lyric.  In fact, watching him play you can often see him singing what he is playing.  Consequently, his melodic phrases last about as long as a singer could do on one breath or maybe two.

Hope this is helpful, James

"That darn Pythagorean Comma thing keeps messing me up!"

Re: Phrasing

when doing a solo in any style I'm a big believer in LESS IS MORE.  Don't fall into the trap of jamming as many notes into a phrase as you can.  I'm not a massive Clapton fan but listen to the solo from 'Badge' and you'll see how economy of notes can become expressive.

Practice bends, they make a good solo ('While My Guitar gently Weeps').

Watching BB King showed my how to do vibrato, again essential when putting any note in a phrase that's longer than about three quarters of a second.

Re: Phrasing

I dont know how big of help I can be here... but I'll try. When trying to get better phrasing I always look at the melody and then I try to build off of the melody(sorry about spelling). Also another key to phrasing is to use dynamics. Try to stick to the melody differing it slightly. Artists mentioned above are great at this, also I sujest to listen to Carlos Santana, Phil Keaggy, Joe Satriani. There are alot of great artists, some are sensitive to phrasing and the others suffer because they dont. Listen to other instrumentalists as well, like a violin player. You can learn phrasing it just takes time.
Good luck.

Re: Phrasing

I, too, recommend the "Less is more" strategy.
Try to phrase your notes like you're talking...but through the guitar.
The same places you would stop speaking are the same places you stop playing.
No run-on sentences allowed!!! AND NO RANDOM NOODLING!!
Speak through the guitar and make your audience FEEL what you're playing.

Sometimes humming the words I would speak/sing with the backing track I'm playing with helps me figure out my riffs.


"Talent instantly recognizes genius,
but mediocrity knows nothing more than itself."

-Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle

Re: Phrasing

try to practice a call and response like the Allman Bros. version of Statesboro Blues.  gregg sings, duane answers on the slide.   play along and try to imitate the vocal.   It forces you to keep your improv short (less is more) and dynamic, then naturally end the bar. 

btw: duane played slide trying to imitate a blues harp. 
Another great blues player to check out is Albert King for some great phrasing. He really influenced young EC.

That's alright, I got my guitar
-Jimi Hendrix

Re: Phrasing

When I play a lead solo my way of thinking is if you have to think about what your going to play your not really playing just assembling riffs that fit into the progression and unless its a structured solo like playing in 3rds or 10ths (harmonies) or a intro that has to be played note for note I just go with what feels good and let my feelings guide my hands smile

"Growing old is not for sissies"