Think that you have to play highly advanced, technical and lightning fast guitar solos in order to get the attention of your listeners? Think again. The truth is, you can play truly eye-popping guitar phrases that demand the attention of others ‘without’ playing fast… if you know the right method for doing so.

To create killer guitar solo ideas that simply ‘can’t be ignored’ by your listeners, you will need to do two things:

1. Establish a familiar pattern to create a ‘musical expectation’ AND 2. Go against this expectation to surprise your listener. Fact is, this is ‘not’ hard and there are countless ways to accomplish this in your lead guitar phrasing. In this article, I will explain the process described above using a step by step approach.

It is important that you check out this free guitar solo video so you can better understand the ideas in this article. Once you have watched the full video, come back and I will take you through the steps to writing your own killer guitar solo phrases.

Okay, assuming you have already watched the video in the link above, you are ready to continue reading this article. Follow these steps to write guitar
solos with phrasing that ‘demands’ the attention of your listeners:

Step #1:
Begin by writing a guitar phrase in common time (4/4) that uses one of the following choices: a group of eighth notes or a group of sixteenth notes. The phrase should be a repeating pattern that can be easily played over and over (starting over every 8 or 16 notes), so it’s important to use the same note values here. After making your selection, play the phrase you created over a backing track. Use this percussion backing track in 4/4 to get started. Play your melody over this track now.

HINT: By using pedal point phrasing (as demonstrated in the video above) you will make the following steps easier to do. Additionally, you can use a similar idea to the one seen below, where every note is picked two times:

(I encourage you to create your own ideas as well)

Step #2.
Now begin playing your short guitar idea along to the percussion backing track in 4/4 from
above. Play your idea many times to securely get its sound into your ears. It is important that you repeat this idea many times for these reasons:

A. Repeating the guitar phrase several times creates a reoccurring pattern. This has the effect of establishing a strong expectation in the mind of your
listeners that the pattern will ‘keep going’.

B. It helps make the next step even more surprising and powerful.

Step #3:
Now you are going to surprise the listener with a totally unexpected twist to your guitar phrase. You are going to create a ‘three against four’ feel as I explained and played for you in the video I linked you to at the beginning of this article. A very basic method for doing this is changing your phrase by removing some notes so it can fit into a time signature with three beats to a measure. At the same time you will continue repeating it over the 4/4 backing track. Compare the tablature below to the one above to see an example of how this can be done:

Observe that the value of each note remains the same (16th notes) in both versions of the guitar phrase (just like in the video you watched). As the music continues in 4/4, the altered phrase you created will clash against it by falling on a different beat than the backing track. This makes the guitar phrase very tense and gives your listener NO CHOICE but to pay attention to what you are playing.

Step #4.
At some point, the new guitar phrase will eventually line up with the beat of the backing track (remember the value of each note remained the same). Once this happens, you will need to decide on what to do next. You can choose between any of the following actions:

A. Maintain the three against four feeling by playing the shorter guitar phrase again.

B. Start over by playing your original guitar phrase from step one.

C. Start over by creating a new guitar solo phrase.

Notice: Although playing guitar in this manner will certainly create unexpected results for your listeners (in a good way), if you play the same idea over many times it will create new expectations for them. In other words, you must ‘balance’ the process of introducing new ideas and ‘developing’ them in order to keep your playing interesting for your audience. The longer you repeat an idea, the less ‘novel’ it feels to the listener (even if it is a really cool idea).

Additionally, do not limit yourself to using this three against four approach only in lead guitar playing scenarios. All of the steps in this article can be followed to create cool riffs for rhythm guitar as well. There exist endless possibilities for creative application with the three against four concept as well as tons of examples similar to the ones provided in this article.

Now that you have learned this idea, it is time to fully integrate it into your own guitar playing. Use what you have learned in this article to enhance your musical creativity and write killer guitar solos.

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Author's Bio: 

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a professional recording artist, composer, and the guitarist in the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He teaches and trains guitarists how to develop their musical skills in his rock guitar lessons. Visit to receive additional free guitarist resources and to read more guitar player articles.