How To Write a METAL Solo - Theory, Scales, Techniques, Strategies

The game this song will appear in, Can't Drive This on Steam: https://bit.ly/2QWaNKy This kind of solo would have blown my mind when I was younger, but after learning lots of Metallica, Megadeth, and Dream Theater solos, you start to pick up on some useful strategies and structures for making a solo. This one in particular is very influenced by Kirk Hammet, with the Wah pedal inclusion adding even more Metallica influence. Although I don't have the same shredding skills as the legends, I can still utilize the skills I DO have and get the most out of them by planning and writing. I mainly compose by feel- and then I consult my theory to help me execute what I'm feeling if it isn't happening naturally (this is usually the case). In this instance, the theory used is knowledge of several scales (Pentatonic Minor, Blues, and Minor), a few rhythmic concepts, and overall structure. A big thank you to my Patreon subscribers who make these videos possible, including the following superheros:


Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors. However, I do hope you find it helpful. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster!

Hey, I'm Jake. And in this video, I want to show you the steps and process that I take to writing a full metal solo something Shredder rific technical something impressive and fun to play to demonstrate this. I'm going to be using a song that I wrote and a solo that I wrote and basically we need to understand the structure just a little bit here because before you write a solo you should understand. What is my solo supposed to do is an intro solo is an outro solo is it? Just a quick little thing in the middle. What we've got here is we have an intro riff and then we have a rif a and then we have R if B and then once we have B occurs, that's the first introduction to the solo and then it'll go back to riff a after that.

So I decided to split my solo into two halves. I wanted the one have to be more of an introduction to the insanity and then I went to the second half of the solar to be real chaos just laying cities to waste and thrashing around and aggression.

So keeping that in mind, that's how I crafted the two halves of this solo now when you're starting off a solo, I think it's kind of Lame to just play a note it can be fall flat when you just start off by playing a note. One thing I've learned is it always works when you bend at the very beginning of guitar solo. So in this case my riff here goes like this. It's B to B power chord by a followed by C power chord and an A which kind of Screams out be frigid. You know the be phrygian scale all those notes are in be phrygian. I chose pentatonic to solo on top of this though because pentatonic has more aggression to it. It's got more of a bluesy Rock feel it. Didn't have any of that exotic flare that phrygian has when the phrygian dominant has I wanted to save that exotic Flair for later on in the song. So I will use phrygian dominant later on in this song just not in the solo that I wrote here. So to start off the lead what I decided to do since we're in the key of B something I decided to bend up to this note being by starting on the a whole step below it and just bending vibrato. It's a great way to introduce a solo and it matched the imagery. I had in my head of like this King Kong like these living out of the ER and rising up and getting ready to attack everybody take a listen.

So from there, we got to start getting into some actual notes pastors bends and since we're in pentatonic, it's really easy to string together. Eighth note patterns just by going up and down and stepwise motion.

What I decided to do was do something like that just up and down the scale, but I wanted to end on another a so I could do another Bend from an A to a be just the octave higher you Not notice that it's the same been but your brain will it's a nice little reference to what we just heard two measures earlier, but eighth notes are boring. So I decided to throw on some 16th notes with the pentatonic scale. It's very easy to throw in 16th notes just by doing hammer-ons and pull-offs and not picking those notes. So the lick I wrote went like this one e and two and three and four and which is real simple one. And now let's copy that Rhythm the Rhythm pattern was one e and two and three and four and let's do the same Rhythm 20 And two and three and four, so if you put it together one end and that's the reference to my first band and you can see I've got that same rhythm in there twice that might make it a little bit easier on the ear.

Now the next lick was once again inspired by this imagery in my head of this bubbling water Beast coming out and when I think of bubbling, I think of lots of hammer ons and pull offs stuff like that or that's a bubbling feel to me and this is a thing you hear in a lot of metal. So it was what I'm doing is I'm on the 12th fret with my first finger and I'm hammering on my pinky on 15 since I'm in deep anatomica. So the first note of the pentatonic I'm doing a hammer-on and pull-off and then coming back to my ring finger on the Note a I'm gonna do that for time.

And then I'm just going to end with three and four.

So it's like I made a video on the Rhythm 3 plus 3 plus 3 plus 3 plus 4 this is that one two, three. One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three four one and if you here I ended it right there. I'm ending with just another band, but this is not a band from an A to a b. So I've dropped that reference. I am keeping this idea though of starting every two measures with a band and that can get annoying right it can be kind of repetitive. So I want to play a trick on you here. I started here with a bad I started You with a bad, but here I want to go up with a band and then follow up.

With a prebend like a down Bend instead. I think that would be kind of a nice little change of pace from these three straight Ben's we've had up. This one's going to come up and come back down.

Now a lot of these things that I put into my solo, you know, most people aren't going to notice them on the 10th time or the 20th time and it might not be till they write it out till they notice it but I really think that subconsciously all these little patterns and all these little symmetries you put into your solos. I really feel make a big difference and I think that because that's what I see in other good solos when I learn another solo. I all of a sudden realize there's this master plan at work. That I wasn't aware of when I just was hearing it. So I do advise you spend the extra mile and if you find a pattern or if you find something that starts becoming consistent maybe play on that for a little bit and then maybe take it away when it becomes too consistent. So my next lick was this band off and then a unbanned like that and then I've got a little bit of a blue scale run the blue scales great.

But when I play the blues scale, I have no fear in adding in extra notes like the sharp seven instead. So just by playing my blue scales. I've got to be I've got a deal so right here A and B, if I just add in the note in between there that a sharp right there. Then I get the seven note scale 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-1.

It's a really nice variation on pentatonic minor. So this link right here.

Is built off of that idea of using the blues scale plus that major Sabbath.

Now after that, I figured we really need to get kind of get things ready for the next part of the solo which is going to be the crazy part and I wanted to start Throat doing something a little faster here. So I came up with a pentatonic triplet pattern that just sounds like this and what that is is the pentatonic scale set up on one string.

So right here here are three notes of be pentatonic.

Okay, and what I'm doing is I'm just playing them descending one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three.

It was a guitar player. These one string lips are about the easiest looks you're going to learn because you don't have to switch strings. It's really hard doing a lick like this, you know setting up your pentatonic scale three notes per string and shredding up and down is really hard. I've tried it. I'm not good at it. But if you're just on one string you should with sufficient practice be able to pick up some skills and getting that going pretty fast. After that. I did three notes of the pentatonic scale 1 triplet 2 triplet 3 triplet 4 triplet and then three notes of the pentatonic scale on the second string 1 triplet 2 triplet. The three triplet four triplet after that. I started moving a little faster 1 triplet 2 triplet 3 triplet 4 triplet 1 triplet 2 triplet and then ending on a be just like that speeding it up.

Now what I recorded this I made a lot of mistakes in the recording process and I gave myself plenty of opportunities to do it over and over and over again till it was perfect. That's the luxury of doing things in the studio. You don't have to play it perfectly every time and a lot of these licks that you're going to hear. Perfect other recording. And I might not play play perfect for you in this video because I had to practice this pretty much all week. In order to track it to the point that I was happy with it. And yeah, there were lots of mistakes in that process. So, you know another thing to keep in mind when you're hearing one of those incredible perfect solos in the studio just keep in mind that they had the luxury of spending all day to get it. Just perfect. Okay now it's time to get serious because this is the second part of the solo and this is where I wanted to really go crazy.

So I wanted to make noise and get chaotic in the most chaotic thing I can think of is your the most noisy though sounding thing I can think of is, you know, That we switch to the key of E. Suddenly. It's a very Metallica s terrific tritones mine Earth all stuff from the Metallica scale and the lead I started off with an e and then I'm playing a d also on the second string and by bending that D up to the E. It becomes a Unison but along the way you get a lot of dissonance and I love that sound I decided to combine it with a wha to really get some real nasty this out of it. And this is what it sounds like.

Now I still haven't like done shred yet. I wanted to go up and down a scale.

And what I decided to do was to just throw together a mess of notes that are convenient for my finger that I can blast through. This is the kind of thing you'd see a lot in Randy Rhoads solos even Kirk Hammett solos. It's not really a scale. It's like just a lot of notes that happened to work out. Well as a guitar player, so that's what I did here as long as you know what you're doing. I think that's a perfectly acceptable way to play things. I started here on the note B, and I basically went up the E Dorian scale and added in some notes of the tritone as well. So Not like mostly me Dorian with a tritone and then it kind of goes back to e pentatonic now the lick itself looks like this.

This is all linear motions with all like stepwise note. There's no jumps and makes it very easy to play as a guitar player. It makes it easy to shred through but it's 22 notes long 22 notes than an ending beat.

So I mean, what can that be of can't be sixteenth notes. I can't be triplets. Well, it could be 11 tuplets.

So I just decided to cram in 11 notes / Measure and if you practice to a metronome and find out the notes to sync up to I know that the 11th note of this of this lick one, two, three, four, five six, seven eight nine ten, eleven one right there. That's the next note that I have to sync up a beat to so when I practice to my metronome might have sunk up this note to the beat this note to the beam and that note and I ended up with a lick that ended up being 11 notes per measure and I got to shred through it and then a right on a 1 B and it sounded awesome.

Now my opinion after something like that. I want something a little bit of something to decompress. I wanted some filler something noisy and and rambunctious again and I just went with straight blue scale here the blue scale in in this position very and I did some double stops there and then really just following through the up-and-down with some simple scale patterns. I think that of as a throwaway lick. I didn't put a lot of thought into it and I just wanted something that was Just back and forth something that just took up space to get me to the next lick.

Now once again in my mind, I wanted noise. I want a dissonance and I thought it would be cool to bend up to that be but then kind of Bend flat to that be so not quite get there and then along the way I accidentally grabbed the little bit of the that second string and I got more dissonance that I had planned.

So when I started practicing it after that, my first lick was a Bend up to be and then I played Annie but then I come down a little flatter to bend so my been doesn't quite reach B and then Grabbing the tritone. They're giving me a lot of noise and then coming to a be here to get me into my last lick. Now the next lick here the final lick. I really wanted to end with some fireworks and I pick something straight out of the book of Yngwie Malmsteen. He's got the six note little pattern here 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 and you can do with any position you can you do a pentatonic you could do with you know major and minor I chose to just finally go into regular ol D minor and let's work up the E minor scale using the six note pattern. So I have these three notes. Okay.

He's free now and then.

And then finally end on now this is a lot of work. This is the hardest work I can do as a guitar player. And as a songwriter is Right a metal solo, you know, I can write riffs in just a few minutes you've seen in the Metallica scale video. It's it's just a matter of playing around with things but you know playing around with lead you're going to get good sounding stuff. Yes, but are you gonna get that? Solo the solo that like, you know kids want to learn or like think of your favorite Souls think of the solos that you that made you want to play more guitar. I doubt they were improvised unless you were listening to Pink Floyd, you know Pink Floyd's The one example of a guy that just went into the studio and improvised a lot of solos and we really really like what we heard but especially with metal and progressive rock, you know, that stuff is very well composed and it takes work. It takes effort. It takes planning.

It really helps to be able to record yourself and listen to your ideas and listen back and kind of come up with ideas in your head. I can't Tell you how many of these licks changed throughout the week as I was writing them. You know, I recorded something and then maybe I was you know driving and I and I thought you know, I really don't like the way that lick sounds and I started thinking what can I do differently. Can I use a different scale? Can I do a different Rhythm? Can I try a different Bend? So a lot of the work doesn't have to be on your instrument a lot of the work can be in your head as you just kind of hit play in your head and listen to what you've written and then see what you don't like now. If you really dig this song you can hear it two different ways. I'm giving it to free for all my patreon subscribers, but you're also going to hear it in a video game. That's the reason I wrote. A video game company called pixel Maniacs from Germany got a hold of me and they asked if I might be able to make them a track for their video game called can't drive this. It's a really cool idea for a video game where while you're racing. Somebody else is building the track at the same time and their way into metal and when I think of metal and driving games, I think that's a perfect combination of like aggressive explosion type chaos going around you so that was kind of like my driving force through this entire thing is to write a good song that would complement that video game the game is available on Steam. Right now but they're planning on porting it to PS4 and switch and Xbox. So I've linked to it in the description. I highly recommend you check it out. So I really hope this gives you some insight into the process of writing a guitar solo. It's a lot of work but it is one of those skills that you develop it is not a talent. I just want everybody to dispel this idea of the guy that picks up a guitar and then like magic starts coming out and there's the perfect solo. I've never seen that I'm sure it exists. I'm sure there's people out there that talented in that good but in my experience that's not a practical image of how music is written. It's usually Blood Sweat and Tears and luck.

So this case lots and lots of work lots of practice and lots of time and to me it's all worth it though, because at the end of the day, I get an awesome metal. So low that I get to shred in somebody's face. So if you like this video and you want to see more videos like this, you can consider supporting my patreon page. The only reason these videos are going to continue going forward is because I do have patreon subscribers. So thanks to them. And if you can't do that, that's fine. Just like subscribe comment share this video with your friends. That's good enough for me. I'll see you next time.


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