How To Play Great Guitar Solos & Make Them Sound More Emotional

Apr 21, 2016 • By

Most guitar players can't play emotional guitar licks/solos for two key reasons:

Reason Number One: They focus on creating using their hands, not their creative mind. They simply go through the motions of playing stock licks or ideas.

Reason Number Two: They haven't learned how to integrate their guitar playing skills together. Having great technical skill is useless until you learn how to use it in a musical situation.


Once you have moved past these problematic issues, playing amazing guitar solos will be totally easy.

The following is the most effective way to play/improvise awesome guitar solos (in six steps):

Step One: Think Of The Particular Emotion You Want To Express With Your Guitar Solo

To play super creative guitar licks and solos that have tons of emotion, you must first know which emotion you want to convey. This is the basis for all of the remaining steps.

Step Two: Transform That Emotion Into Sound

No matter what emotion you want to create, there is a sound to express it. Once you haveidentified the emotion you want to convey through your guitar playing, your ears need to find the sound that best matches it.

Check out this video to find out how to turn emotions into specific sounds:

Step Three: Determine The Notes You Must Play To Create The Sound You Hear

Once you have used your ears to find the sound you want, your level of understanding with music theory will give you the ability to know which note is required to make this sound. Of course, music theory is not what most people think... just a bunch of rules and guidelines for how music should be made.

Watch this video about music theory to learn what it is truly all about, plus how it helps you to play expressive guitar solos:

Step Four: Locate The Correct Notes On Your Guitar

As soon as you have determined which notes you want to play, you'll need to find those notes on the fretboard very quickly. To do this, you must improve fretboard visualization. Fretboard visualization does NOT mean memorizing the letter names of the notes on guitar. It actually refers to the following skill: knowing how to quickly find chords, arpeggios and scales in any key signature + any location of the guitar. Almost no one actually works on this, but those who do make insanely fast progress towards becoming killer lead guitarists. Check out the video below to learn how to practice fretboard visualization with scales:

Step Five: Play Notes On Guitar With 100% Accuracy And Total Fluency

A lot of guitar players begin with this step (playing the notes), while having skipped the others before it. When you allow your fingers to play mindlessly without making expressive musical choices (using your creative mind first), you will struggle greatly to make your solos sound anything but stale and boring.

With this in mind, your guitar technique is an integral part of being able to easily play the notes in your mind. By having better guitar technique, you will be able to more accurately and consistently express the emotions you are feeling in the moment.

Watch the video below to see how to integrate advanced guitar techniques into melodies to make your solos sound more expressive:

Step Six: Express Every Note With Maximum Emotion

As soon as you know which notes you need to play... don't just play them, use them to express as much emotion as you can! This is done by focusing on HOW you play the notes you play, and by squeezing everything you can out of each one.

To check out many more examples of how to do this, get this free eBook about playing emotional guitar solos.

The Main Difference Between Virtuoso Guitar Players And Everybody Else:

Virtuoso guitar players go through all six of the steps above in the blink of an eye second. For them, there is simply no delay between selecting an emotion to express and actually expressing it. This exact same process completed again and again until the solo is done.

A lot of people leave out several steps from above or have a difficult time completing them fast enough to express themselves with total accuracy. These issues occur because they haven't learned how to integrate their skills together (or they simply haven't mastered certain skills on their own yet).

To transform yourself into a great lead guitarist who can come up with killer solos in the moment, you need to completely master every step of the process I've discussed. If there is one step giving you problems, you will have a very hard time expressing yourself. The quickest way to reach this goal is to take lessons with a guitar teacher who has already helped countless others become amazing lead guitarists. This will save you tons of frustration and time, so you can master guitar as fast as possible.

Get tons of ideas for adding more feeling to your guitar playing by downloading this free eBook about playing emotional guitar solos.


About the Author

Tom Hess

About The Author: Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and virtuoso guitar player. He teaches guitar players...