Do you lack the improvisational skills needed to be able to come up with great rock guitar solos in the moment? The truth is, many guitar players are in the same situation as you. In fact, most guitarists ‘want’ to be able to play awesome solos, but for some reason only a few actually ‘can’. So what is the deal with this?

The answer comes in two forms:

1. Almost all guitar players are under the impression that the best process for coming up with guitar solos consists of piecing together separate licks one after the other (which is a mistake).

2. A very high percentage of the guitar playing community has NOT invested much time into developing their guitar phrasing abilities. This severely limits their ability to improvise inspiring guitar solo licks because they only understand ‘what’ needs to be played but not ‘how’ to play it!

In order to take your rock guitar solo licks to the next level and improvise more creatively, you will need to train with intense focus and dedication toward expanding your knowledge of the two previously mentioned points (this is something my rock guitar students learn while taking lessons with me). That said, you can get quick results in your rock guitar soloing abilities by examining the guitar licks with which you are already familiar and trying the get more out of them. By doing this, you can improvise ideas that sound good without actually learning new guitar licks. With this in mind, let me show you how you can develop the ability to do this on your own.

Here is the process you should follow:

1. Locate a backing track that contains chords you feel good soloing over.

2. Choose a short guitar lick that you have memorized or are already familiar with.

3. Start the track with the chords you made (or found online) and play the guitar lick you chose over it.

4. After you have played your guitar lick one time over the backing track, do NOT play something new. Rather than adding in a totally new lick, play the same lick from step two; except this time make a variation of this lick using any one of the following methods:

•Use an alternate rhythm for the notes you are playing while keeping the actual pitches the same.
•Change some or all of the pitches in your guitar lick while keeping the rhythm of the notes the same.
•Keep all of the notes in the guitar lick the same except for the last few notes (this can sound really nice when there is a chord change at the end as well).
•Utilize different techniques such as vibrato, legato and bending to add extra ornamentation to your lick.

Use this method to create at least ten variations of the guitar melody from step two (without simply thinking up an entirely new guitar lick). The goal of this exercise is to help you get as much as you can out of a single idea in order to force yourself to improve your improvisation in the moment.

5. Now, choose a totally new guitar lick. This time use a guitar lick that feels significantly different than the one you had previously used. Repeat the steps described starting back at step 3.

6. Use the rest of your guitar practice session to concentrate on the above-mentioned steps.

The approach described above is an entirely different one than the one most guitarists take when they improvise rock guitar solos. Focusing on coming up with many variations of a single guitar solo lick is actually a lot less difficult than trying to jam together several unrelated guitar licks and improvise at the same time. Additionally, this process of improvising a single rock guitar lick will sound much better because you have many different guitar phrasing techniques at your disposal that you can use to enhance the notes of each lick you choose.

The exercise in this article is certainly ‘not’ complicated. That said, in additional to not being complicated, it is also highly effective (you WILL see results if you consistently use the process I have described!). I have used this method to help many guitar players make MASSIVE progress in their ability to improvise rock guitar solos.

Learn how to improvise great rock guitar solos by using the methods of this article as demonstrated in this rock guitarist soloing video.

Author's Bio: 

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a professional touring musician and the guitarist for the epic metal band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also teaches and trains guitarists from all over
the world in his online guitar lessons. On his website,, you can get additional free tips about guitar playing, guitar playing resources, mini courses and surveys.