Author Topic: Help! - Where do solos go?  (Read 1803 times)

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Offline LBro

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Help! - Where do solos go?
« on: March 17, 2015, 03:28:39 am »
I think I know the answer to this. But I am writing out a song on paper that I put together in a jam session. When I come to putting the solos down I want to know where to put them "over", a verse or in the chorus? My thinking is they should go in the verse? Or does it matter, and they can go in either?

Thanks for your help!

LB
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Offline KasperFauerby

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2015, 09:05:25 am »
Hi,

They can go anywhere, but I think it's most common in pop/rock music to play them over the chorus. But many songs also have a special chord progression just for the solo.

Kasper

Offline LBro

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2015, 09:29:09 am »
HI Kasper,
Thanks for the post!
I found a good article on the net about this. They said either verse or chorus. They also talk about what you said that sometimes they have their own set of chords to go over and the article called it a "bridge".

Take care,
LB
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Offline KasperFauerby

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2015, 11:11:44 am »
Hi,

Well, I don't think you should think of it as a bridge. Of course, as we already discussed, you play a solo wherever you like.

But I think it's better to think of a bridge as a short special passage that connects the more structured parts of the song, like verses and choruses.
Verses and choruses are generally repeated multiple times in a song and are built from very common and fixed chord structures (repeated sections of 4 bars for example). Bridges sometimes add a little spice to this formula and doesn't necessarily have to be a multiple of 4 bars.

What I mean is more like what is going on in, uhm.. say "The Final Countdown" by Europe. Surely you know that song :)

That guitar solo is played over a chord progression that is not used anywhere else in the song. It's NOT build from repeated blocks of 4 bars, but rather should be thought of as one longer chord progression - which leads gracefully back into familar land of the chorus progression.

Offline Majik

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2015, 12:25:21 pm »
Typically you wouldn't play a solo when the singer is singing.

In normal verses or choruses you might have some sort of call/response type guitar interleaved with the singer (a good example of this would be Clapton's Behind the Mask) but full blown guitar solo's are normally separate from the singer, in a "middle 8" or similar section of the song. This section might repeat the chord progression from another part of the song, or it might be a variation (similar chords but different order).

Take Lady Antebellum's Need You Now as a fairly classic example: the top-level structure is Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle 8, chorus, outro. The guitar solo is in the middle 8 section which has a different chord progression from either the verse or chorus.

There may also be multiple locations for a solo, like in Sweet Home Alabama, where there's a short 4 bar solo between the 1st chorus and 3rd verse, and a long 16-bar solo after the 2nd chorus:

http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Lynyrd-Skynyrd-Sweet-Home-Alabama/

Cheers,

Keith
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Offline LBro

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2015, 07:40:17 pm »
Majik,
Good points, that is the one thing I did realize in that you should not have a singer "competing" with a lead guitar. Though just the other day I heard a song like that. Sweet Home Alabama is a great tune that I really like and you are right it has solos all over the place it seems. Good example of one way to go about. Right now I have:

Intro - bass lead in
Verse 1
Chorus 1
Verse 2 - Keys lead and Guitar lead sort of answering one another.
Chorus 2
Verse 3 - Keep playing to a fad  out....

How do you think that will work out?

@ Kasper - Good points and tips on Bridges... I think for now I will go basic per the above. When I get through that and a few more songs I might venture into these kinds of alternatives.

Thanks to you both!
LB
You can rock a bit here:
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"I just experiment in guitar and music, at times something good comes of it..."
LB

Offline Majik

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2015, 10:00:25 am »
@LBro,

There's no reason why that shouldn't work as a song structure. The reality is almost any song structure can work with the right song and arrangement.

Some observations and questions:

* It's more common, but not essential, to finish on a repeated chorus rather than a verse

* Another common thing is to have 2 verses before the first chorus. Again, not essential, but you may want to consider it.

* Where you have indicated "Verse 2", is that meant as a space for guitar/piano solo? If so, is the plan to not have lyrics/singing in this verse?

* Regarding fade-outs: these are very common in pop and rock recordings, but are seen by a lot of songwriters as poor songwriting. I don't necessarily agree, but having an actual ending makes it easier when jamming or performing live as you can't really fade out in those situations.

If you have recording tools, you might want to start by trying to record a template for this structure as this will be the best way to get a feeling for how it works. Laying down a simple drum track using a drum machine or application, for instance, would be a great way to start. Put drum breaks in at the end of each section to give audible cues and then listen to it a few times.

This also gives you a starting point for recording as, with multi-track recording tools you can start to lay down bass, guitars, keyboards, vocals, etc. over the top.

You don't have to start with drums, although that's often the easiest: don't be afraid to whistle/hum/sing/clap out a track as a starting point. Just make sure you set up your DAW application with the correct tempo and do this to a metronome as it then makes it easy to add new tracks.

Remember, the beauty of modern multi-track recording and DAWs is you can create tracks, experiment, and generally mess around to your hearts content. For instance, you could hum or "la" the guitar or keyboard solo into a track and then replace it with the real solo(s) at a later date. The trick at this point is to capture the ideas and start forming the structure.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline LBro

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2015, 03:28:38 pm »
Keith,
Thanks so much for your post. It is extremely helpful and from your post I got more than hunting around the net for a few days.

On the overall song structure I see what you mean. What I wrote is maybe too "machine" like. I could take Verse 3 and slide it in after Verse 1. So it would look like:

V1
V2
C1
V3
C2

That would allow the lyrics to develop more of a story in the 2 versus and then the chorus would come in. After that verse 3 could be used for the guitar and key solos... and yes there would be no singing there as planned at the moment but that is sure subject to change.

Yes I have a full blown DAW with some decent trimmings. I am stronger on the DAW than I am on any instrument, including the guitar. BTW - Not sure if you heard the Jam tune I did (over in the show how your playing section of the forum) but it will give you an indication of where I am at on the guitar. I started out messing around and now I am trying to get some structure in making noise. But what I found after I tried to write out the song on paper, then play it, was that my strumming and timing are lacking. Sigh.... so I have a lot of work to do there and will be dusting off RUST.

Thanks again as your tips seem spot on and certainly were most helpful!

LB
You can rock a bit here:
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"I just experiment in guitar and music, at times something good comes of it..."
LB

Offline marcusmarkmus

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2015, 03:49:05 pm »
I think I know the answer to this. But I am writing out a song on paper that I put together in a jam session. When I come to putting the solos down I want to know where to put them "over", a verse or in the chorus? My thinking is they should go in the verse? Or does it matter, and they can go in either?

Thanks for your help!

LB

Dude this is impossible to give a general answer to!  :P
It depends on the song! When does it feel right? Usually you can some sort of feeling when you have had enough of the vocal and need an instrumental break. Just do some jamming over verse and chorus and see what you like. no answer on any forum is more valuable than what you hear with your own ears
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Offline LBro

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2015, 04:10:17 pm »
Hi Marcus!

How you been doing and how is the band going?

Yes your right in that the solos could get moved around based on the "feel" of the song. Good point! I guess my questions were more in generally speaking terms. I did not want to mess it up by being in the wrong spot. I think what your saying is that there is no wrong spot and put the solos in where they make sense based on how it sounds....

Thanks for pointing this out!

LB
You can rock a bit here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNOrtongjfX4RI33JWKwn7Q/featured

"I just experiment in guitar and music, at times something good comes of it..."
LB

Offline PattheBunny

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2015, 12:28:02 am »
Good solos go to heaven.    :)   
Realism is relative.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2015, 01:09:58 am »
Majik,
Good points, that is the one thing I did realize in that you should not have a singer "competing" with a lead guitar. Though just the other day I heard a song like that. Sweet Home Alabama is a great tune that I really like and you are right it has solos all over the place it seems. Good example of one way to go about. Right now I have:

Intro - bass lead in
Verse 1
Chorus 1
Verse 2 - Keys lead and Guitar lead sort of answering one another.
Chorus 2
Verse 3 - Keep playing to a fad  out....

How do you think that will work out?

@ Kasper - Good points and tips on Bridges... I think for now I will go basic per the above. When I get through that and a few more songs I might venture into these kinds of alternatives.

Thanks to you both!
LB


After Verse 3 put a bridge for the solo, then back to a chorus out....

The bridge works well for the solo because it can have a simple structure like a 2 chord vamp and/or it could do a key change or other such alteration.

Some songs you hear may have pre-choruses that might contain short solos.

A 12 bar blues could simply have a solo over 12 or 24 bars or it could break with the 12 bar format and go to 8 or 16 bars.

but yeah, you don't want to be soloing over the lead vocal. You can fills around and somewhat overlapping some of it tastefully... but a solo generally has it's own private space.
Gone

Offline LBro

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Re: Help! - Where do solos go?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2015, 01:15:16 am »
Good solos go to heaven.    :)

Ha, my solos are not fit for heaven! They be bad to the bone.

LB
You can rock a bit here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNOrtongjfX4RI33JWKwn7Q/featured

"I just experiment in guitar and music, at times something good comes of it..."
LB

 

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