How to memorize guitar solos

The right method to memorize guitar solos

Memorizing guitar solos and executing them perfectly, could be a very demanding task, especially if you compose your own solos and if you are trying to grow your guitar skills by learning something that you consider far away from your current level.

In this article, I will teach you a method to learn how to memorize guitar solos perfectly, so you can apply it during your learning process and grow your music/guitar skills to a whole new level. 

What I recommend is being patient during the process, never surrendering to frustration, and working progressively and consistently until you achieve the desired result. 

Never give up must be your mantra.

Memorizing solos: how can I find the legit way to do it properly?

Listening over and over is always the best method to start with. 

Once you have chosen the solo you like, please take your time to listen to it over and over again.

Start to ask yourself: what do I really like about this solo or this music passage in particular?

Which are the emotions that this particular music passage unleashes in me? Maybe it is because you consider it interesting and original, maybe because it includes some technique you would love to learn, maybe because it remembers you something in particular, as a specific moment of your life. 

Whatever the reason, try and create an emotional connection with the song and the solo included. 

Close your eyes and imagine yourself on stage, completely absorbed in the flow while playing the solo beautifully and flawlessly. Try and imagine how you will feel when the audience will appreciate you.

Imagine every emotion and sensation you would feel after the execution, and how it will positively influence other people’s moods, and of course yours. 

Create a visual image of yourself in the act of playing, and try to listen to the music you will create in your mind.

Once you have created that particular image of yourself in the act of playing, keep on visualizing it whenever you can: before sleeping, while you are in the queue at the postal office, during a pause moment. The choice is only yours.

Once you have THAT image, keep on listening to the solo over and over. 

The more you listen to it, the higher the chances you will memorize it in every detail. You don’t need the guitar during this phase. You just require some concentration and focus. The solo has to become a part of yours. 

This phase is crucially important, as your brain will memorize every sound, and then it will be easier to transfer these sounds to your fingers’ memory. 

Tabs/Not tabs?

 

Tabs. 

And also a music score.

Writing this down may seem to be redundant, but it is not. Finding the right tab and music score for the music part that you would like to learn, is the first step to learning every passage properly.

Learning how to read the solo from a score is a very good exercise as you will know exactly which notes are included in it, and there will be no room to cheat. 

I encourage you to buy software products like Guitar Pro, for example. It will be super useful for you to see exactly how the music is written, and it is an important tool to slow down the parts or put them in a loop, as we will see shortly. 

Find the Audio/Mp3 of the song and get a software to slow down the speed

Once you have the tabs and the music score of the solo you would like to learn, it is time to get a software to slow it down. 

There are many apps out there to slow down any solo without affecting the audio quality. 

The one I personally use is Transcribe! . It contains different features, like changing the key (very useful for songs in Eb when your guitar is tuned in E), tools for ear training, and also a video section to sync audio and video together.

Once you have the software, you can start to slow down and learn every section separately.

Don’t start with the entire solo, use the software to make a loop of a single little section. Slow it down and learn it little by little. 

You don’t need to rush, you don’t need to go immediately fast. On the contrary, making it slow is the key to progress consistently.

So in short:

  1. Import the audio in the software
  2. Split the solo into sections and licks (it’s about you to decide the size of each section)
  3. Put the section in a loop and slow it down.
  4. Once you have your little section in a loop, look at the music sheet, memorize the section movements and play them over the loop, always at a very slow speed.

Here’s the link to get Transcribe!

Transcribe! for Windows

Transcribe for Mac

Use a metronome to memorize every single note

Wittner_metronome

Once you memorized every section of the solo and you have it all on your fingers, it is time to stop the backing track for a while and proceed only with the metronome. 

In fact, at some point playing the solo over a backing can be a bit deceptive during the learning phase, as you will be playing and reacting to the music.

Your goal should be to make of the solo you are learning a song in a song. In order to do this, you should try and make your solo stand up by itself. It has to sound as accomplished and perfectly balanced even without the music. 

A metronome can be very helpful to achieve this purpose, as you can slow it down and then increase the speed little by little until you reach the original speed. 

Using a metronome and listening only to the sound of your guitar, will bring you towards a different perspective, as you will be alone only with the sound you produce.

You can work on the little nuances and be sure that once the solo reaches the normal speed, it will make complete sense even by itself. 

When you are sure that all the notes are in the right spot, that the solo is played flawlessly on the metronome, and that every sound is on point, proceed by using for the 50% of the time metronome, and for the other 50% the backing track. Speed up both starting from slow speeds until you reach the speed you want. 

Be sure you speed up the metronome or the backing only when you feel comfortable, and you feel every movement as natural for you.

We are at the end of this article, I hope my suggestions helped you!

If you want to book a skype/zoom lesson to discuss this topic further, you can find me here