Tutorial: Four Techniques to Improve Your Solo Playing

Once you have been creating your solos out of scales- and scale positions, using alternate picking, it is time to spice up  your solos with some different techniques, techniques which will add more spice and drama to your solos.
For this article a look at four different techniques which you can add to your alternate picking style. All four techniques will add some extra flavour and taste to your solos, they will also make your solos come alive with dynamics as they will break up the regular sound of your alternate picking style.

       Hammer-On/ Pull-Off:

The hammer On and Pull Off technique can be used within chords or just for single notes on their own. Practise their sound in isolation over first one string. Try to get a smooth and clean sound, try to control the sound and do not let luck play part in gettting the sound! You want to use the sound of them at any time you want to use them, be patient until you can play them clean and at will.

      Tremolo Picking:

Tremolo picking is the sound of an alternating pick moving rapidly over one note. When you do it right it will give you the idea that the tempo has moved up and will make you feel you are playing at higher tempos. But do not be fooled, the beats per minute have not moved up! It is a great technique to add extra flavour to a phrase.  Practise its sound with scales and even bends. It may take some time to get the technique to sound natural and not too stiff, relax your wrist and just play them first at slow tempos.

      Sweep Picking:

Sweep Picking over arpeggios which cover larger parts of the fretboard are hard to sound smooth and clean. Try the technique first over two strings, then try it over partial Barre chords where the strings are all across the same fret. Once you get a feel for them try playing them over arpeggios which move along the fretboard. Combine Sweep Picking with other forms of picking such as alternate picking or straightforward downpicking. The Sweep will sound smoother compared to the other forms of picking, use it in combination of Hammer-on’s and Pull-off’s and you have a winner in your hands!


Use them at the end of your phrases, or start off a phrase with a bend and travel up to the higher frets of the fretboard to repeat the same bend but now at a higher postion.
You can bend into chordtones to understate the chords which are being played, combine bends with tremolo picking to add even more drama to the same phrase.

With all these four techniques metioned above, play them first on their own if you are not familiar with them. The Hammer-On and Pull-Off will be common, also the Bend.  Try any of these techniques in various places across the fretboard, and also play them in areas where you do not normally use them, especially bends, why not try them in low areas, they will still sound great if you play them clean and smooth.

Keep at it and hope to see you soon again for more updates.