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  1. #1

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    Hello all,

    Exams are in full swing, and because of that I've barely had time to play guitar in the last 3 weeks. I wish that weren't the case, but so it is.
    I have my last exam now, music production. I've tracked drums, bass, and piano for it and all that remains is lead guitar.
    I don't know why, but I can't record a single good phrase. I've done nearly 50 takes now over the weekend and not a single one contains a usable phrase, although I've made a composite track of the least awful phrases to form a nearly cohesive solo.
    The usual answer would be to practice practice practice and -then- record, but this thing needs to be finished by tonight, mixed and delivered with a second track and a 2000-word reflection by monday afternoon. Any quick tips to record a solo that's -decent- at least?

    e: i have the worst sunburns of my life on my upper body, could this be part of it? hehe
    cheers

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  3. #2

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    Is it on a particular piece? Where are you at school? and if it's for a production class, aim for good production. The content of the solo is your own choice, and if it's an honest indication of where you are, then so be it. You can't make yourself do what you aren't. Embrace what you can do.
    To that, work with piece, not with the axe. Have some idea of the strategy and shape of the piece you're working with. Avoid the Panic-Wing it and hope inspiration- approach and look at as a learning experience. Knowing yourself as a soloist is something you can practice...later.
    Is it a jazz production? Start with simple ideas. Develop them as thoughtfully as you can. Be aware of what you're aiming for in each phrase and build on that. Focus on what each small phrase is and let yourself remember it as you find the context within the next tonal or harmonic block. Let it grow and don't think of it as "making a perfect solo" but rather a series of small sentences that grow from the last one. The piece itself will guide you as to how and where it ends. Warm up with maybe singing a few versions with this strategy in mind. If you can do this, you may notice you have a natural sense of rhythm you should respect when the guitar is in your hands.
    You might try that. Good luck
    David

  4. #3

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    Great ideas from David!

    It sounds like a recording/production class, so do one more take (if you'd like!) and get mixing!

  5. #4

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    Give yourself a break, you've probably played yourself out. Then come back to it. You never know.

  6. #5

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    If it is a production class, and not a performance class, why does the solo have to be you playing instead of someone else? If you have a friend who plays, maybe the Steely Dan approach - using whichever player suits the song best - is the way to go... for now, at least. I understand that you might want to be able to say "I played all the tracks" or that you might have other, valid reasons for wanting the solo to be yours in the long run. For now, though, maybe someone else might be more inspired and less played out (to borrow ragman's phrase) to help you meet the short term deadline.

    And good luck!

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr quick View Post
    ... Any quick tips ...
    Make the melodic line simple and work with rythm.
    You know the song by now, so try to play something without anything except for the rythm track as backing.

  8. #7

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    You study production. You should be able to produce. Nobody cares if you can play. Get to your workstation and comp (edit together) something meaningful, out of those 50 takes.

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  9. #8

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    Surely in today’s music environment you would actually get higher marks for massively editing together a load of little bits of rough playing into one reasonable solo (as Vladan suggests), than if you recorded a superb solo in one take?

    At least it seems that’s how most of the commercial music world operates these days.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr quick View Post
    Hello all,

    Exams are in full swing, and because of that I've barely had time to play guitar in the last 3 weeks. I wish that weren't the case, but so it is.
    I have my last exam now, music production. I've tracked drums, bass, and piano for it and all that remains is lead guitar.
    I don't know why, but I can't record a single good phrase. I've done nearly 50 takes now over the weekend and not a single one contains a usable phrase, although I've made a composite track of the least awful phrases to form a nearly cohesive solo.
    The usual answer would be to practice practice practice and -then- record, but this thing needs to be finished by tonight, mixed and delivered with a second track and a 2000-word reflection by monday afternoon. Any quick tips to record a solo that's -decent- at least?

    e: i have the worst sunburns of my life on my upper body, could this be part of it? hehe
    cheers
    Listen carefully to the drums while scat singing something without too many notes. Make sure every note pops (meaning, really fits in the groove). Then, after you have some lines you like, put them on the guitar.

  11. #10

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    Don't pick up the guitar. Work out the solo in your head, turn it over in your mind's ear, hum it, get it just the way you like it so it sounds good, then learn it on the guitar.

    My solos are terrible. I have to hear them in my head and work them out first.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Surely in today’s music environment you would actually get higher marks for massively editing together a load of little bits of rough playing into one reasonable solo (as Vladan suggests), than if you recorded a superb solo in one take?

    At least it seems that’s how most of the commercial music world operates these days.
    Reading OP again, seems he already did it that way. Still, ...
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  13. #12

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    We need to know what happened...

    (In my experience, cobbling bits together does not make for a fluid solo, nearly always sounds tense and contrived).

  14. #13

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    Hi Mr quick. I am curious how did you work out this recording finally? Perhaps could you send a link so we can listen to it? You know, I feel also too often disappointment when I listen back To what I play. We are a lot in this case IMO. Actually it sounds better in my head but it's often not in place rythmically. I am working to fix it. I have loads of strategies but in practice it is still a mess at the moment. We should not give up, right?

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  15. #14

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    Paraphrase the melody?

    Then, it sounds like you need to go off and work on your ears. A solo is a set of musical ideas that you have in real time and play by ear.

    Good luck!

  16. #15

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    I would say focus on the brief of the assignment. You study production. Not guitar.

    Focus on the relevant. Life’s too short to sweat the other stuff. Sometimes you have to say hello to Mr Fuck It and Mrs That’ll do.

    Also I personally hate all my solos until I have a few weeks away from them.

    How did it go?

  17. #16

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    Get a mate to do it . Jeez , kids these days .

  18. #17

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    Play a nice melody slow, and then overdub a second track one octave up/down (your choice).

    Pan these two tracks each hard left/right, and them overdub a third track, something different, right down the middle.

    If you have time, duplicate the first two tracks and auto-pan both of these.

    Works for me.

  19. #18

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    Thanks for the advice all, especially you, David. I didn't get a chance to respond then, but I took it to heart and stamped out a composite take of all the guitar solos, I just wasn't feeling it that day. I've been shedding with a metronome ever since, hehe. Playing wasn't in focus for this in particular.

    For clarification, I do study guitar, but had production classes too. I was going for a slightly retro vibe with this, listening to bootlegs from early 'jackets stuff and their first album. If you really want to listen, forgive me and here:

    Not looking for feedback on my playing, I know my time is atrocious here... hehe

    here's a more inspired take from a rehearsal ages ages ago:
    Streetcar Strut April 5 by MarwinMoody | Marwin Moody | Free Listening on SoundCloud

    Again, thanks to the guys that pushed me in a better direction priority-wise. I'll pass, at least! If y'all have got some thoughts on the production, go right ahead - ive never tracked or mixed anything before and production classes only started in february, so i have a ton to learn still - if there's any good tips you've got, I can try them out and maybe even start over on the mix! cheers

    last note, this is obviously not mastered and it's a bit low on volume

  20. #19

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    Sunburn usually HELPS Soloing on guitar .....

    There are no known recorded examples of someone with a Sunburn doing a bad solo.

    But it does not kick in usually until 2nd or 3rd day.