I love soloing and I hate soloing.
A guitar solo can be a wonderful place to have fun, show off, make a statement, or just blow off some steam. In the case of some people (David Gilmour and Trevor Rabin immediately come to mind) it’s also a way to bring a song up to a whole new level.
Now I’m not the greatest guitarist in the world, so in my case it’s generally a chance to extend melodies or point out new ones nobody recognised lurking underneath the chord sequences.
Sometimes those melodies aren’t immediately obvious and it takes a bit of searching to find them. Otherwise it’s too easy to fall into the trap of repeating the old cliches we’d happily play endlessly, given half a chance. It’s one thing to know the cliches. It’s another thing to come up with new phrases that might be exceptional enough to enter the realm of cliche one day.
Take Song 7 for example.
These days I’m developing the annoying habit of clinging to the original vision of a song at conception. Annoying because if a bit is getting too hard for me, I’m not allowed to simply abandon it anymore. And this song calls for a big sad electric lap steel guitar solo at the end, fading out into loneliness. Now give me a normal guitar and the fingers tend to do the talking – the solo comes out thick and fast and familiar. But on lap steel it’s a less familiar world, and the solo has to be much more considered.
This is not a bad thing.
And given a bit of a kick start, solos always seem to eventually sort out themselves in the end.