A lot of people struggle when it comes to playing a guitar solo, and there are some that make it seem so effortless. So how do they do it?

The first key to soloing it knowing what notes to play. You have to know where the different scales fall on the neck of the guitar and you absolutely must know what key you're playing in. The harmony of the lead and rhythym guitars mixed together is what sets the mood of the song. So know the scales.

Something to keep in mind:

Playing fast has a time and place, but the way something sounds is much more important to a listener than random speed.


To play effectively, you're going to need the right combination of alternate picking, hammer ons, pull offs, bends, slides, tapping and inflections.

Inflections are the things that add your personality to the music you're playing.

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Here are some things that can add that personality to your guitar solos.


A slide is when you pick a note and then slide your finger along the fretboard until you reach your next note. When you reach the end of a riff, try throwing in a little vibrato.


Vibrato is when you rapidly bend the string up and down. Add this to your lead and I promise it will spice things up.

Hammer On

A hammer on occurs when you pick the first note and literally hammer another finger on to the next note to create a sound without having to use the pick.

Pull Off

Pull Offs are the opposite of Hammer Ons. This is when you pick a note and then pull your finger off the fretboard to reveal the next note to be played without picking again.


When you hold a note and then bend the string up or down, you can change the note you are playing without moving frets. On a guitar this can be anywhere from a 1/2 step to a 1 1/2 step difference in pitch.


Tapping which was made famous by Eddie Van Halen is the technique of rapidly hammering on and pulling off to play a series of notes with lightning speed.

Alternate Picking

Alternate picking is the use of down strokes and up strokes with the guitar pick to make it easier and faster to move from note to note. Combine this with some inflections and you'll be playing faster than if you picked every individual note.

Practice and add these Inflections to your playing. Don't be afraid to try something new and mess up. Use the music that influences you to spark up new ideas for your own style. Be open to learning, have fun, and you can't go wrong.

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