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  • Songs and Solos: Creating the Right Solo for Every Song

    By Ara Ajizian |

    The electric guitar has come a long way over the last 50 years, rising up from the confines of the rhythm section in the early days of R&B to a full-fledged, versatile instrument that drives the sound of modern music. And perhaps no element of guitar playing has evolved as much as the guitar solo: from its origins in lap steel  passages during the '40s to Chuck Berry's groundbreaking licks in the '50s; through Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, Page and Townshend in the '60s; through the larger-than-life solos of the 1970s (Freebird, anyone?) and the shredding '80s; into the amalgamation of all that came before that was the '90s and into nu-metal, indie rock and beyond. Imagine what they'll be playing 50 years from now.

    No matter when or what they've played, guitarists have always sought to play the "perfect" solo. Is there such a thing? It's hard to say, although there are countless solos that sound pretty perfect. Crafting the right solo or lead part isn't just rooted in knowing what scales and notes to play. It's an art, and having a reference that can guide you as a songwriter and guitar player is invaluable. Songs and Solos: Creating the Right Solo for Every Song by Rikky Rooksby is exactly that kind of reference, and it's packed with information that will empower you to write solos that enhance your songs rather than just accompany them.

    What sets this book apart from most how-to-play guides is that it's wisdom is rooted in the study of hundreds and hundreds of classic songs and solos. In fact, it's not until chapter 6 that scales are even covered. It's not as much about what is played, it's the how and why that make a solo—and the song it's a part of—so memorable.


    Songs and Solos is divided into 12 sections, beginning with the history of guitar solos and walking you through everything from the basic concept of soloing, how to position a guitar solo, choosing the right instrument (it's not always a guitar) and how that will affect the song and solo, scales and harmony, techniques and much more.

    In the last four sections, Rooksby combines all the knowledge from the previous eight and put them to practical use. The included CD has over 40 sample solos with backing tracks to demonstrate each concept and help you learn the fundamentals needed to create solos for your own songs. The book closes with a chapter dedicated to quotes from famous guitarists about solos. It's a very inspirational way to bring the lessons full circle, hearing some of the greatest soloists essentially back up what this book is all about.

    Songs and Solos: Creating the Right Solo for Every Song is an outstanding reference for songwriting guitarists as well as for players just looking to have a better understanding of soloing and how to craft memorable solos that serve the song. We've all sat through a solo and though, "We get it, you know how to play scales." With Rikky Rooksby's tips in this comprehensive guide, you'll learn how to tastefully enhance any song with a solo that goes beyond your own playing.


    Learn more about Songs & Solos: Creating the Right Solo for Every Song at halleonard.com

    Learn more about Rikky Rooksby at rikkyrooksby.com




    Ara Ajizian, Harmony Central's Editorial Director, has been playing bass and guitar as well as singing since he was 18, and soon that love of music combined with a passion for writing; launching what's now a decade-long career immersed in the gear world. He's thrilled to be back on the Harmony Central team after two years as Managing Editor for Musician's Friend covering gear, bands and events and gigging in the Los Angeles area.

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