For those of you looking to break through a plateau in your soloing, maybe it’s time to increase your vocabulary. When taking a solo, compare it to giving a public speech, in some way it really is what you’re doing. Think about it, you’re expressing your thoughts to an audience or a listener. In order to convey your ideas, you will speak in sentences, using pauses and dynamics to make your points. The words you use will be very important. The better your vocabulary is, the better you can convey your thoughts and ideas.
Here’s how we’re going to increase your vocabulary. Write down your top five or six favorite guitar players. Learn a few of their solos or even melody lines. Do a quick analysis of the solos. What key are they in? What scales are they using? Now find one of your favorite songs to solo over, whether it’s one of your songs or a rhythm track you like to play to. Now see how you can incorporate some of the licks you’ve learned from your favorite players. Are you soloing in a major key or a minor key? If you just learned a bunch of minor licks and you’re soloing in a major key, see if you can move the licks to a relative key that would work. Make them your own licks by changing them slightly. Get really comfortable with the new material you’ve just added to your playing. The more you use it, the stronger command you have over it. You’ve just expanded your vocabulary! Go have fun with it!