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Soloing In Context

Do you want to be a 'Musician' and not just a 'Rock' or 'Insert genre here' Musician?

 

Then mastering guitar soloing requires a versatile approach that adapts to different rhythmic feels and genres, today we’ll focus on country, rock, and Dance / Pop Music.

 

By leveraging the ACE system, a modified version of the CAGED system, we can navigate the fretboard efficiently while incorporating diverse soloing techniques tailored to each genre's characteristic rhythms and moods.

 

We’ll use the same chord progression with different styles to show how your approach should change in regard to the source material without the distraction of changing harmonic content.

 

You are not a rock musician / country musician etc you are just a musician and you've got to adapt to the situation you find yourself in.

 

Know the tropes and play something suitable for the situation.

 

Let’s get shredding!


 

Understanding the ACE System


The ACE system simplifies fretboard navigation by emphasizing chord shapes based on the open chords of A, C, and E, while omitting the less frequently used G and D shapes.


This streamlined approach provides us with versatile reference points for soloing all over the neck.

 

Soloing in Context - Beta Blog Banner | Grokit Guitar

Soloing Strategies for Country Guitar

 

In country music, soloing often uses fast runs, twangy bends, and hybrid picking techniques. Focus on incorporating major scales, pentatonic scales, and double-stop licks that complement the upbeat feel of the music.

 

For example, when soloing over a country song in the key of E major, we'll try to 'play the changes' of each chord thinking about chord tones etc.

 

Experiment with chicken pickin' techniques and pedal steel-inspired bends to capture the authentic country sound, while utilising the ACE framework for fluid fretboard navigation.

 

Example – Country Solo 1

Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Country Guitar - Example 1 | Grokit Guitar
Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Country Guitar - Example 1 | Grokit Guitar

 

With any note, you can approach it from a semitone below. And this works great for country music solos.


You can get a cool solo going just by using arpeggios and this technique.


This approach sounds super country and almost comical.

 

Using the same shapes as before...

 

Example – Country Solo 2

Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Country Guitar - Example 2 | Grokit Guitar
Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Country Guitar - Example 2 | Grokit Guitar

 

Soloing Strategies for Rock Guitar

 

Rock music features aggressive riffs, power chords, sweet solos. Prioritise techniques such as alternate picking, pentatonic double stops and bends to achieve a bold, energetic sound.

 

For instance, when soloing over a rock song in the key of E major, utilise the C-shaped chord as a visual reference for exploring the E major pentatonic scale and its variations.


Experiment with fast legato runs, unison bends, and vibrato to add intensity and expression to your solos.

 

You can also think of this as C#m to use the classic E Shape / 1st Position minor pentatonic.


Because C#m is the relative minor scale (same notes) as E Major all your usual (C#) Minor pentatonic licks will work over an E major progression.

 

Example – Rock Solo 1

Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Rock Guitar - Example 1 | Grokit Guitar
Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Rock Guitar - Example 1 | Grokit Guitar

 

 

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Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar

 

Soloing over pop and dance tracks requires a blend of melodic hooks, rhythmic groove and exciting shredding.


Here's how to approach it:

 

Melodic Hooks: Craft memorable melodies that resonate with the song's theme.


Utilize the ACE system to identify target notes within chord progressions and experiment with catchy motifs.

 

We're not looking to show off here (Yet)

 

Example – Dance 1 Melodic Motif

Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar - Example 1 | Grokit Guitar
Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar - Example 1 | Grokit Guitar

 Rhythmic Groove: Embrace the song's beat and incorporate syncopated rhythms and percussive techniques to create energy in your soloing.

 

Example – Dance 2 Funky Rhythm

Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar - Example 2 | Grokit Guitar
Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar - Example 2 | Grokit Guitar

Excitement – This is an important aspect of Dance music – time to shred / sweep pick and overindulge all over this for fun!

 

Example – Dance 3 Exciting Shred 

Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar - Example 3.1 | Grokit Guitar
Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar - Example 3.1 | Grokit Guitar
Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar - Example 3.2 | Grokit Guitar
Soloing in Context - Soloing Strategies for Pop and Dance Guitar - Example 3.2 | Grokit Guitar

Conclusion


By leveraging the ACE system and tailoring soloing techniques to the rhythmic feels and genres of Country, Rock, and Dance music , we can elevate our ability to craft expressive solos that enhance the musicality and emotion of songs.


Whether twanging through a country solo, shredding on top of rock riff, or bringing some much needed soul to an electronic track , the ACE system provides a versatile framework for navigating the fretboard while staying true to the stylistic nuances of each genre.


Through dedicated practice and creative exploration, guitarists can unlock new dimensions of musical expression and confidently solo their way through diverse musical landscapes. I hope that this article has given you a keen insight into how to approach soloing over different styles of music stay tuned as there are more articles to come.

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