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How to creatively use guitar effects for guitar solos | Symphonic Metal


When I start thinking about any guitar solo part in any song,

I always remember what Ozzy Osbourne said to Zakk Wylde when they were building the guitar solo part for No More Tears.

Ozzy said to Zakk that the guitar solo should tell the story, it should have the beginning, the ending and some gradation.

I have heard it years ago, like, maybe, 15 years?

Maybe it's not the truth or it's not 100% correct, but it doesn't matter too much.

But the idea and the point is brilliant.

My most favorite John Petrucci guitar solos are also very epic, conceptual, with the strong story.

And what about Steve Morse? Stressfest @ 1:04 ?

These are all technically very difficult guitar solos.

But it's not the goal.

The goal is to say something.

To express yourself, to express emotions, to tell the story.

This is the goal for a great guitar solo.

Pointlessly over-technical guitar solos don't have much value.

I try to think about a guitar solo like it is a little song inside the song.

If you want to attract the listener and if you want to be unforgettable,

you need more than the technique.

You need to have the vibe, depth, emotions, something to say with your guitar solo.

For me the good KPI for this is if a listener has a chance to sing the part of the solo line after some song-plays.

Not every note.

Just a part of the solo.

This works for me.

If I can imagine someone could sing the part of my guitar solo, then the solo is probably not too bad or invaluable.

Well, I am not a shredder.

Maybe it's a little advantage ;)

Sometimes it definitely is...

But you need to have good-enough technique so you are able to play what you havbe in your mind, right?

So it's not black or white.

And what about the pedals and effects?

I find guitar pedals and effects very interesting and effective way how to enhance the guitar solo,

how to express myself even more than just with my fingers.

One needs to be careful with using effects in guitar solos.

Some are more solo-ready or universal, some are barely useful for solos.

But music has no rules, right?

Wah pedal is a total classic for more expressive playing.

From gentle wahs like Dunlop Buddy Guy wah all the way up to the devastating cut-throat John Petrucci wah.

Wah pedal is really versatile tool.

You can do slow wah swells during the solo to add movement.

You can emphasize or accent only some notes by opening the wah for a short times.

You can get harmonics easily with wah pedal.

You can use it as a static filter by finding the interesting sweetspot of the pedal position

to get very distinctive color or to cut through the mix like a knife.

And there definitely are even more ways how to use wah pedal for guitar solos.

Delays and reverbs are something very universal when it comes to guitar solos.

In most cases you cannot go wrong with a bit of delay and reverb.

Those effects add space and wideness.

When it comes to shimmers and stronger halls one should be more careful,

sometimes it's totally awesome to use bigger reverbs and shimmers, but it must fit the song and mood.

Modulation effects can be food for thought.

Phaser can be very good in most cases, like Eddie Van Halen used a lot.

I like slower rate for solos, but the faster rate can be super fun to play and interesting if it fits the song and mood.

Flanger mostly doesn't work for me for solos.

I don't know why, but it doesn't work.

I like flanger occasionally on heavy rhythms to get that jet plane effect.

I like flanger for swells and risers to make a gradation ramp and special movement in the song.

I like a gentle flanger on cleans - sometimes flanger works even better than chorus!

Chorus can be interesting.

It can make your lead tone more liquid.

But it can also kinda kill your emotions - your vibrato can be blurred, your expressiveness can be tamed down.

So it really depends on the song and the mood.

Can work, can ruin.

But when used very lightly, like with slow rate and the mix at 10%, in stereo mode, it can emphasize your lead tone in a lot of cases.

I am talking about almost "invisible" chorus, very slight, very gentle, just to spread the stereo a little and to add a tiny little bit of movement.

Uni-vibe is very interesting and my favorite modulation effect.

But it definitely needs to really fit the song.

If it fits, it's awesome.

Vibrato can be very interesting.

From gentle settings for a little movement all the way up to the whammy bar effect.

If your guitar doesn't have a whammy bar or floyd-rose, then stronger vibrato effect can simulate it quite well.

In this video you can see how I have used my guitar pedals and some combinations.

  • How do you approach guitar solos?

May the muse be with You!

1 Comment

Jul 18, 2023
Good job
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