Soloing Tone Tips for Single Guitar Bands

charlie chitlins

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I also just bought a TC electronic mimiq which helps to a certain extent! Most suggestions above are excellent! Thanks!
That's a cool pedal!
Also...make your solos melodic.
Think about the melody.
Follow the chords...if you imply them, that helps take the place of a chord instrument.
Consider planning your solos so they're a little song-within-a-song like Beatles, Steely Dan, Squeeze....
 

jaycoyoyo

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Just my take on this, but I would definitely hit the delay pedal hard. You might also need to be okay with some sort of modulation. If you're not a chorus/vibrato fan maybe try harmonic tremolo.

-Jay
 

chipper

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I agree with a lot that’s been said here. I play in a 3 piece. It took about a year to get the bass player to play more upfront in the mix. Not just about volume but it was a confidence thing not to hide in the background.

Whenever I go to see big outdoor concerts, the mix is usually vocals, bass and drums upfront with the mid range instruments (guitar, keys) ever present but definitely in the background and just coming up occasionally for feature parts. So we try and do the same but the bass and drums have to be tight and purposeful.
 

Dolebludger

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My goodness, I had problems with getting the bass and drums to be more quiet for my solos in a three piece band. Once, I had to fire a drummer for being as loud on soft jazz as on hard rock! I have been fighting the same problem as the OP for about 60 years. I have only recently solved it with a ‘touch sensitive” tube amp with chanel and gain pedals on it, and the use of a few external pedals (compressor/sustain, octave, and analog delay) all set at very conservative levels “always on”. Contrary to what others have posted, the last bass player I was with gave me grounds for the 2A! Make sure that your bass and drummer turn down for your solos.

Another thing you can do is to play your rhythm with your guitar volume turned down a bit. Then hit it to 10 on your solos. And you can put your speakers (or combo amp on a stand, tilted up). Since I have used an amp head and two 1X12 cabs on stands on opposite sides if the stage, I have had to use less volume to cut through.
 

Freddy G

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Have you actually recorded yourselves and listened to it? It may not be as empty as you are perceiving it to be.

Would also be a good way for you guys to decide as a band what may or may not be 'missing'.
This. Step back and be objective. Think like a producer, not just a guitar player. I know this sounds like crazy talk, but you don't have to be filling out the sound all the time. The hardest thing to do for most guitar players is to play minimally or nothing at all. To you, it's sounds like a huge hole (because of course you are listening primarily to yourself) but the audience is listening to the whole band....not just you.....and they don't think your guitar is as important as you think it is. Now, I'm veering off on a tangent somewhat because I know you were just talking about solos. But even in solos...what if you let a whole bar go by without playing anything? Most guys start their solos and never ever come up for air. Phrasing! They just fill every hole at all times. The holes are a huge technique, and it takes musical maturity and discipline.
 

Freddy G

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Other than my comments above, what has always been my secret weapon for solos is an EQ pedal with the mids boosted...400, 800, 1.2k and with the highest and lowest freqs dumped a bit. This only works with a tube amp. What happens is that the boosted mids slam the front end preamp tubes and that alone makes it gainier, but the EQ element of it is so important because it focuses the tone to absolutely cut through the mix. The notes seem to explode off my fingers....it's a totally different feel than an overdrive, clean boost or distortion pedal.
 

Dolebludger

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All of the above suggestions are good. In addition I have a combined effects pedal that includes octave lower, with adjustments that give only a small amount of that effect. Used like Tabasco sauce (a little goes a very long way) it is a good way to fatten up the tone while retaining dry tone.
 

dro

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You could try a trick I used to use. Don't try to go straight from rhythm to lead, on the same beat. Pick a chord, let it ring out. While ringing, drummer and bass player need to get what would normally be seen as overly busy. It's like a distraction. Don't get in a hurry. Use this time to take a drink, scratch nose, look at chick in front row while licking your eyebrows. Then begin your lead. takes some practice to get this to work seamlessly.
You could try a trick I've seen major artists use. Play to tracks. problem here is you have to stay on time with the track.
But I've seen this more than a lot of people are aware. People go to concerts and are caught up in the whole thing. It happens so quick they don't even know or realize they are hearing more parts than there are musicians on stage.
I do a lot of open string drone stuff when doing solo acoustic gigs. This may take multiple guitars. Multiple tunings.
But if you really want that fullness. Add another guitar player/keyboard and get the other guys to agree to give him/her a cut of their pay. Good Luck
 

brashboy

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Other than my comments above, what has always been my secret weapon for solos is an EQ pedal with the mids boosted...400, 800, 1.2k and with the highest and lowest freqs dumped a bit. This only works with a tube amp. What happens is that the boosted mids slam the front end preamp tubes and that alone makes it gainier, but the EQ element of it is so important because it focuses the tone to absolutely cut through the mix. The notes seem to explode off my fingers....it's a totally different feel than an overdrive, clean boost or distortion pedal.
I like... but how do you make this EQ adjustment on the fly?
 

Freddy G

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Cool - - which pedal?
P1080020.jpg


bought it in 1980.....seen a lot of stages and studios! I never leave it at home.
actually bought the Boss GE-7 when it came out. It was supposedly quieter....and it was. But it didn't have the same magic as this one. It sits on the shelf now.

I discovered this EQ boost thing on my own just fooling around. But a lot of top players I found do the exact same thing....only recently I heard Steve Stevens (who I love!) talk about how it was one of his favorite methods of solo boost.
 

rock09

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What I do is playing solo with right hand moving like I play chords. Don't know how to explain it better. I get a lot dirty tones, but it makes sound fuller and I try to play melody more then go into fast licks. Like singing in my head and play what I sing. Yes, I am alone in my head...lol Using overdrive pedals is fine, but I mostly play blues with just a little crunch, so I had to find the way and this works for me. Works in all situations, though...pedal or not. Oh, and a lot of doubles, when ever, where ever....
 

brashboy

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View attachment 433417

bought it in 1980.....seen a lot of stages and studios! I never leave it at home.
actually bought the Boss GE-7 when it came out. It was supposedly quieter....and it was. But it didn't have the same magic as this one. It sits on the shelf now.

I discovered this EQ boost thing on my own just fooling around. But a lot of top players I found do the exact same thing....only recently I heard Steve Stevens (who I love!) talk about how it was one of his favorite methods of solo boost.
Awesome, thx!
 

mgenet

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Excellent conversation going here. I love this stuff guys. Great read.

Articulate and helpful...

too bad I missed it earlier.
 




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