Guitar Solo Fretboard Theory | Will Edwards | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      5 Octaves Review


    • 4.

      Fretboard Modal Tonics


    • 5.

      Chords and Numerals


    • 6.

      Tonics Within a Scale


    • 7.

      Filling Gaps


    • 8.

      Rhythmic Motive (I Chord)


    • 9.

      Rhythmic Motive (V Chord)


    • 10.

      Rhythmic Motive (vi Chord)


    • 11.

      Rhythmic Motive (IV Chord)


    • 12.

      Phrasing and Style


    • 13.

      Reusable Phrases


    • 14.

      Putting it All Together


    • 15.

      Wrap-Up and Project


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About This Class

Have you struggled to get past just "running scales" when you solo?  Are you curious about how experienced improvisers choose their notes with such confidence and speed?  This course explains and demonstrates the relationship between music theory and the guitar fretboard that solves these common problems.

In this course, you'll learn:

  1. Simple octave-based techniques
  2. How to play "thru" any chord progression
  3. Tips for crafting better phrases
  4. How to write your own licks (a.k.a. motives)
  5. Making licks reusable

This course will be super helpful for both beginners and more experienced players.  The music theory presented here is clear and simple to understand.  More importantly, it is actionable.  More advanced players who struggle with the fretboard theory of soloing will learn the most efficient method for navigating scales based on a chord progression.  For beginners, this course will introduce you to the principles of playing a great melodic solo. The music theory will apply to all styles of music and can be adapted to your playing style easily.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me via direct messaging or in the discussion board.  Thanks for watching!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Will Edwards

Artist. Creative Problem Solver. Musician


I am a full-time professional musician who has broad teaching experience with guitar & bass students in rock, blues, jazz and many other genres. I perform live on bass, guitar and keyboards.  In addition, I perform live electronic music improvisation.  I've devoted over 26 years to my own well-rounded musical education, focusing on a mastery of all aspects of modern music - from music theory to ear training; from live performance to composition and practice routines.

I specialize in bridging the gap between music and technology, focusing on using modern tools to demonstrate all aspects of music.  I compose and perform with Ableton and Push 2 and I have experience with Cubase, ProTools and Logic.  I'm extremely comfortable using web-based to... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Will Edwards and thanks so much for joining me in this course where we're going to be talking about navigating the fret board, writing our own licks, and having them work within a specific chord progression. So the idea here is learning how to play guitar melodically as a soloist, as an improviser, but in a way that's always matching, integrated with the court's going to make your solos sound a lot better. I've been playing guitar for about 30 years. I've played in gigging situations. I'm in a singer songwriter, played thousands of gigs and have had thousands of hours on the guitar, as well as teaching private and online students. And in the upcoming lessons, we're actually going to write some licks. We're going to see how they integrate with chords. And then you're going to learn the theory of how those links are built and the theory of how to apply them. And it's all going to be patronized around this concept of the octave patterns on the guitar fretboard. So thanks so much for joining me and I'll see you in the upcoming lessons. 2. Overview: I want to provide you with some insights as to how these lessons are really going to help you as a guitarist and has a musician. So lot of times when we're learning guitar, we want to get into soloing. We find ourselves just running scales, and that can be pretty tedious. It sounds predictable, no matter how many scales, you know. So you learn all these fancy scales, but you still have bas, basically running scales. And that's because the melody you're playing, the phrases, the links that you're playing needed to match the chords that are in the harmony the rhythm guitarist is playing, that the band is playing, right? Understanding those relationships is key. Now the good news is, it doesn't always have to be a bunch of cotton musical algebra that you're doing in your head and in the upcoming lessons, you're going to see that there are simple ways to understand which phrases are going to work best. And there are simple ways to sort of understand them in the context of the fretboard using what's also known as the cage system. So we're going to be looking at the five most common scale patterns from the major scale. And we're going to look at the five octave patterns that relate to those scale patterns. We're going to be using those as navigational systems in order to write these links and then see how they can be used over specific courts. So stick around and now we're going to get really started with the details of this exercise. 3. 5 Octaves Review: All right, Now let's start here with a review of the five scale shapes. You know what I'm talking about? And you also have a review of these five awkward patterns. If these are not things that you have been introduced to before, you definitely want to spend some time learning. And not only are they the best and one of the most widely used and universal systems for navigating the top fret board. But they're integral to the lessons that are coming up. So I thought I'd just do this review if you want to just kind of like hammer through it on your own. If you're new to it, you can use the downloadable tabs and cheat sheets to learn this material. I do have a course that focuses on these five shapes as well. So you can look that up and you can always get in touch with me if you need directions to those course materials. But let's go over these five patterns. So let's start with five scale patterns and my examples throughout this course, we're going to be in the key of G. So let's look at these five scale patterns and five are dependent in the key of G. So we'll start with what's actually known as scale pattern 4, which is just a terminal G major scale. High 9 scale pattern for, and this is octave pattern for these specific numbers. Now if you need a reference, I have a PDF cheat sheet that you can download along with this course. And that gives you a very clear association of the cage system chords CAG and D, and how they correlate directly to these patterns, like this octave pattern for and scale pattern for. So you'll see how each of the five scale patterns at each of the five octave patterns and each of the five chords in cage system are all aligned. Then you have scaled pattern five, which is this is also known as the Dorian mode. A lot of people, a lot of guitarists might know this as the Dorian mode and it contains octave pattern file. Looks like this. Then you have Octave pattern one, which is going to start here on the B, on the seventh fret. And it correlates to Octave pattern, one, like this, which is actually kind of a C-shape, comes from it's C-shaped core. And you can see all that in a cheat sheet. This is just mainly a review. You're going to need to dive into this material and it's new to you and you want to continue on with this course. After scale pattern one here we have scaled pattern too, which has Pattern 2. And then finally in this example, because we're working in the key of G, we have scaled pattern three, which is the minor scale natural minor. And that correlates to Octave pattern three. Okay, so that's a review of the five scale shapes one through five. We started with four, went from 45123. That's how the cage system works in different keys. And each of the scale patterns has an OCT, pattern that matches it. Okay, So if you know that, then you're all set. You can continue on in the next lesson if you're new to that or you totally unfamiliar with it, make sure that you really dive into that material because it'll allow you to make the most use out of the upcoming lessons. 4. Fretboard Modal Tonics: All right, In this lesson, I want to use my iPad here, and we're just going to look at this second position scale pattern, which is basically scale pattern for typically scale pattern for I started there on the root, on the third grams. I don't start with seventh of the scale on the second fret, but in this app it's showing that. So what you can see here is the three blue nodes which are labelled R for root. Those are the, those are representing all the G's. This is, we're in the key of G. And that's why it's called the root, because it's the key of G major. And this is a G major scale. So all of these notes here are in the key of G. And the numbers that you're seeing are the scale degree, right? So we have the root followed by the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 before you get to another root, which is octave. And all the routes here, the blue notes, they are representing a specific configuration that uses the third fret on the sixth string, the fifth fret on the fourth string. Then the third fret again on first string. Those are all ours. That's specific configuration on those specific strings, whether they're here or here, a flat or hear. That configuration of notes represents an octave pattern that we call octave pattern for. And of course it goes with scale pattern for it. So that's an important thing to understand. You want to make sure that you're comfortable with the Association of these occupations with scale paths. Now, if you look here at fives, you see that the fives kind of make this arrangement right here. And we're dealing with the d's, and these represent the fifth of our scale. We're in the key of G. The fifth of that scale is no D. So that helps you understand that when you play this octave pattern, octave pattern one. But in scale pattern for you're getting the fifth of the scale, which is the context. Then you can look at the E minor chord which we're going to be using. Not really. This is an octopus, helps us find the 0s. And these are labeled in the diagram here as sixes, right? Because six, or sorry, E is the sixth scale degree in the key of G. So the sixes here are the fourth string, second fret, that's an E, and the second string, fifth fret that's an E, so that's an octave pattern we call occupied and five. So in scale pattern for Octave pattern five is getting us the six of our key, the root of our six chord, which is going to be E minor. And then finally, we want to look at C, which is here on the third fret of the fifth string. And it's Octave gives us the fifth fret on the third string. That's octave pattern too. Okay? So we have Octave pattern for, we're not going to vary in scale pattern for throughout. Octave. Pattern 4 gives us the root, OK to pattern one, gives us the five octave pattern 56. And then octave pattern two gives us the for. All of those are scale degrees, the root of the scale, the fifth of the scale, the sixth of the scale and the scale. And we're going to be using that in the upcoming lessons to play through a 15 64 chord progression. So if at this point you are confused or lost, go back and either again touched me. And I'll point you to specific lessons that are on these topics. Or you can use the cheat sheets and try tabs that are downloadable along with this course to practice this on your own. I'm also providing sort of a clear outline of what you should practice if you want to master these, these patterns. Now we're going to move forward in the course. 5. Chords and Numerals: All right, So welcome back. At this point, you should be comfortable with these five octave patterns, the five scale patterns. And you should be kind of clear on what we covered in the last lesson, where we actually identified the root, the fifth, the six, and the forth within this scale pattern for using Octave patterns. And I want to start with this lesson looking at an actual harmonic progression and actual chord progression and give you the theoretical understanding of where these chords, Okay, so we're gonna start with G-major, followed by D major, followed by E minor, followed by C. Okay? And we're going to call this, uh, 1564 progression using Roman numerals. Now, if the roman numerals are not clear to you, I think that's a pretty simple concept you might just absorbed through the course of this specific lesson. But if you need more information on it, don't hesitate to reach out to me and I can point you to lessons that I have on Roman numerals and how they work. But this is going to be a rundown of where these come from and why we call them the 15 64. Okay, So if we look at our key here, we're in the key of G major. And in the key of G-Major you have seven notes. You have G, a, B, C, D, E, and then of course, F sharp is our seventh. Now you can refer to each one of these notes is scale degrees, where G is the root, a is two, B is the third. You can, you can refer that to them by the scale degree numbers. And those are the same as the numbers that were in the previous lesson where we were looking at that fret board diagram. Okay, So when you build a chord off of the first, the fourth or fifth scale degrees, you always get a major scale, or sorry, a major chord. And we use major or, or capitalised uppercase Roman numerals to indicate major chords. Whereas we use minor, we convey minor with these lowercase. Like that. Seven chords are a little unusual because they are, they have this quality that is neither major nor minor. It's called half-diminished. We're not really going to be dealing with F sharp half diminished year. So we can just kind of quietly sweep that off to the side. What we are going to be working with here is G, which is L1, d, which is our five, E minor, which is R six. And then see which is our 4. And that is where we get this chord progression up here. That's where that chord progression comes from. And the reason that we want to go over this theory of putting TEA, this chord progression, is to reinforce why the octave patterns that we are identifying on the fretboard correlate to this specific chord progression. So in the next lesson, I'm going to revisit the, the scale degrees that we found with Octave patterns in the last lesson. We're going to review that. But we're going to actually look at it on the guitar, not just on a fret board diagram visually, but actually on the guitar and I'll play them. And then we'll see how those match these specific courts. So that's coming up in the next lesson. 6. Tonics Within a Scale: So we have talked about it using scale pattern for the major scale. G major. Looks like that. And octave pattern for is giving us our g, right? So if you remember our chord progression, G major R1 words, the first chord, we want to know whether there's GSR and we're going to be focused on this G right here, on the fifth fret of the fourth string. Okay, so what I want to remember that G, even though these are all synergies were going to meet, focusing on this one, upcoming lessons when we design our little rhythmic motives. All right, Then we had octave Pattern 1, which helps us find the five of our skin, which is DMM right now that's the second chord in our chord progression, that Roman numeral chord progression. We go from one to five. Then we go to a six, which is represented here by octave pattern five. And then we go to Octave pattern to for my forecourt. Okay, now there's a lot of numbers going around here, so I just want to review precisely what we're talking about. We're talking about scaled pattern four represents the scale that we play a ascending and descending. We call that scale pattern for, because that's how it fits into the cage system. Specifically the chords that are used. This is not really a course on the cage system, but that's why it's called scale pattern for its also just happens to be the major scale that most guitarists learn. First generate any possible on Tito, okay? Now octave patterns for 15. And then two are giving us the notes G, D, E, and C, which correlate to our chord progression, which is G major, D major, E minor, C major. And we're going to want to use these notes to find the notes. We're going to want to use these octave patterns to find the notes that are the root of our chords. So when we're playing this J4 and followed by a D chord and followed by an E minor chord. A C major chord. Actually want to find the note G, followed by the note D, followed by the note E, followed by the note C. And we can do that using octave band. Okay? So in the next few lessons, we are actually going to start constructing licks, little rhythmic motives, little phrases, little ideas, musical phrases that target these specific notes now that we've located them using the iPad. So that's coming up next. 7. Filling Gaps: So in the last lesson, we found g r d, r e, and then our C, G. And we play it. Now against the Jim track. If we land these notes, when the courts change from the court to court, the court E minor, two chord major. It's going to fit really well, right? But it's not really a very interesting melody. It doesn't feel at all like a guitar solo or a real melody. So one of the first and most basic principles that we can apply is to use notes from the scale to fill in the gaps, right? So when we're going from up to D, we can actually fill in the gaps. And then walked down to our C just using notes from the SCAP. And we can go round and round like that, filling in the gaps, focusing on those tonics, write those notes that are the tonic of each chord, G, E minor, C. But filling in the gaps with interesting rhythms as we go, That's the most basic thing we can do to just basically make a melody that's still, seats are chords. But there's a lot more that we can do that's more interesting than that. But at least that no longer sounds like we're just meandering aimlessly through a scale. And it sounds a little more melodic than just like that. Okay, so in the next four lessons, we're going to develop the actual links that we're going to use so that there's more of a set of phrases, It's more of a soloist, maybe more of a full-fledged melody. That is not going to be just the four notes. And it's not just going to be the filling gaps. It's gonna be a little more interesting now we're going to build it in four phases over the next four lessons. So I'll see you in the next lesson. 8. Rhythmic Motive (I Chord): All right, So welcome back. What we're going to be doing in this specific lesson is going to be using scale pattern for, to build a phrase that would accent our one chord. Okay? And so our one chord in this key is G for using scale pattern for. And our G here is what we want to feature with this phrase. We're going to play a very simple phrase. That's it. And you can sell it resolves on the G. And that's all it needs to do. It's a little lake gets a little phrase that resolves on G, and that's going to be R1. Now, anytime that we move scale pattern for elsewhere, if we were to use scale pattern for a, we're going to find that this same little lake. Now it's working on the one coordinate a. So the links that were coming up with these little mode motives, they are reusable patterns that you can apply in any key because they're bound to this scale pattern. Anywhere you move the scale pattern to match a different key, those little motives are going to move right along exactly with that scale pattern. So in the next lesson, we are going to look at d and see how we can make it a little phrase that goes over our five chord. 9. Rhythmic Motive (V Chord): All right, Welcome back. In this lesson we're going to build a little phrase for our five chords. So we had use Octave pattern one to find the fifth of our key here, which happens to be the note D in the key of G, the fifth scale degree is the node D. And I'm going to take this higher of the two notes. And I'm just going to make this little lick. So it starts with the ends with me. Okay? And that's the main thing, just like our last one. Focused on gene. This one focuses on the and so you want to just practice that lake. Little later on we'll talk about using hammer on slides, things like that. But of course, you can feel free to reinvent these four little notes with other embellishments like slides or hands or hammer ons, pull offs, that sort of thing. Thank you. Wanted to, I'm just going to leave that up to individual students. And again, this phrase will work as you move up the scale pattern for two different locations of the neck. Now in the next lesson, we want to look at how we can build a phrase for our E minor chord, a minor six squared. And that's coming up. 10. Rhythmic Motive (vi Chord): All right, let's look at building a phrase for E. Here. I'm going to start using a chromatic enemy uses a little embellishments. So I'm taking this note, which is actually a minor third, flat three. I'm going to slide it into the major third. So I'm just playing these four notes. This results on R6, which is e. And the six is a bluesy kind of note. And so this minor third, two major third roll, use of chromatic kind of favors that bluesy sound. So nice, like so you want to get comfortable with that, make sure you slide with your middle finger so that your index finger. You always want to have one finger, one fret kind of association. You don't wanna do this. You don't want to do that. You want to slide with your middle finger. Even if it feels a little awkward to begin with, that's the better technique to become accustomed to. So in the next lesson, we're going to look at our last one. We're going to look at the sea and how we can move a little phrase around that. 11. Rhythmic Motive (IV Chord): All right, so we're moving right along here. This, the last of our four phrases that we're building in scale pattern for this is going to be a phrase for the fourth scale degree in our key when we are playing scale patent for it. So this is going to be on the third string, fifth fret. So this little phrase, I'm just going to start up here on the third fret of the first string, which is the root of our key. And I am descending way down there, just 68. So this little phrase resolves on the port. You can change this up a little bit with embellishments of pull off like that if you wanted to. And again, this phrase is going to move along with scale pattern for as you move it to other places on the neck. Okay? So again, and if you have a hard time remembering these four links that we've been going ever. Each lesson has a PDF guitar to help available that shows these links exactly so that you can, you can learn them from guitar to have it that's an easier to avoid them. And you can always just re-watch these videos to make sure that you really getting the, the four of these little phrases under your fingers and getting use to find them. Okay, now in the next lesson, we are going to continue looking at how we can use these four phrases and put them all together. 12. Phrasing and Style: Now, I had mentioned that we can embellish these with vibrato, with Ben's, with Pollock's slide or hammer on. You can embellish them with those different techniques if you want to. And that's cool. But one thing that you want to be mindful of when you're creating your own licks, which is definitely where you wanna go once you've finished these lessons, That's the next step. When you're making your own licks, you want to think about how many notes there are in the lake and how does that really play out rhythmically, right? So if you come up with a link that's got seven notes in it, sevens different attacks. It's going to be hard to really fit that in to a standard 44 time for example, or even a three for time. So you'll notice that the links that I've come up with here, Let's first one is cognitive triplet based 23223. And you could apply that in all kinds of different ways. But the other ones are based on 4s, 1, 2, 3, 4. Or in the case of eighth notes 12. And when a case is 16th notes 1. So you can take these phrases for Jack, constructive for notes. And you can use them rhythmically, right? So you need to make sure that the links that you're coming up with, these little phrases, they kind of can make mathematical sense so that they're easy to fit in, be with a group of music and playing. That's an important aspect, as well as understanding how to see these, these different links within the scale pattern within units example in the examples I'm giving in this section, scale pattern for. So in the next lesson, I want to talk about the reuse of these scale patterns a little bit so that you can understand a little bit more about what I mean there and make sure that you really are making, taking advantage of that aspect of building your links within scale patterns. 13. Reusable Phrases: Okay, so we want to be able to reuse these links because over time you create a link for, we're starting with a 15, 6, and 4 chord in scale pattern for it, but then you make a lake for 15, 6 and for scale pattern five and CEO Pattern 1, 2, and 3. Right? Now you've got a library of links for every scale pattern and then you get bored of those. So you make new links for the 5 and the 6 and the 2 and the 3 and the different courts. And you build up this collection, this personal collection of links. Maybe you steal them from your favorite players, which is totally fine. Or you make them up your own eye, make up your own from scratch. But you're building up this collection, right? And by seeing them in the context of a scale pattern, it's very easy then to move them into any key. So these licks, That's in the key of G and scale pattern in the key of G. But let's say we take scale pattern for in the key of a. Well I can still play a 15 64. As easy as that. Okay, So that's a really important thing to understand how you can reuse these lakes. And how, as long as the link, though afraid, is that you develop, is bound and connected to one of these scale patterns. It makes reusing it and navigating indifferent keys much, much easier. So this, this group of lessons is creating a method for how you can talk with your own lakes. And I'll also make them navigable when you're playing in any key order in any style. Okay, So in the next lesson, we want to put this altogether and we're going to be wrapping up pretty short. 14. Putting it All Together: In this lesson, I'm going to display a little jam track. It's just a four-bar loop and it's downloadable as well. So if you wanted you go out into the loop, her eyes band or something. But I want you to hear how this melody sounds over this data. All right, so we start with the GE board. Bothered by the cord. Blog ID minor, followed by C major. And now we're going to look at our notes, G, D, a, E minor, and C. And then we're going to play our legs. It, in that way we are basically interacting with your chord progression based on the red nose of the court. 15. Wrap-Up and Project: So at this point we've built for different links all in scale pattern for a little phrase, for the one-quarter, little praise for the five chord. It will praise for the six and a little for his foot four. And we put them all together to a melodic phrase, a larger melodic phrase that crosses over the entire chord progression. And it's important that you understand the method of coming up with a chord progression. Understanding that numerically one 56 for understanding the octave patterns well enough that you can recognize them. Recognize the way octave pattern one looks. It's always the fifth second string. Octave Pattern 2 is always the fifth and the third string. So you want to be able to clearly and quickly recognize the octave patterns so that you can use them to find these specific notes. If you find one knee, then you can use the octet pattern to find the other ear. That's why they're often fountains. They, they find octaves, right? So the, the way the transform everything that you've learned in the last several lessons into kind of consolidating your own knowledge and really taking ownership of it is to write your own phrases. And what I'd recommend is pick a different scale pattern case and not scale pattern for. But choose scale pattern five, let's say which is here. You scale pattern five, and then find your Octave shapes that represent your one. And then you're five and year six and your four. So the G, D, E, and C then make up little licks. Keep in mind you want the links to be mathematically sort of phrase level, if you will, to make them out of three or four or six or eight notes so that they're very easy to work into a phrase in 44 time, 34 time. And then put those all together over the gem track, over this four-bar loop that I've given you. Or you can play your own version of that. You can make up your own chord progression. And then you use the octave patterns to find the, those scale degrees representing the numerals in your own chord progression that you make now 15, 64, but maybe a 145, 12 bar blues type thing, right? So you want to make up your own licks using the method that you've learned, put it all together and play along with music. And that's the main thing. As a secondary project, go ahead and mess around with hammer ons, bends, slides. You'll find as you use different scale patterns, that maybe in scale pattern one, bends are more fruitful, they sound better, they feel better in scale pattern for maybe it's a slide that sounds right. Maybe hammer ons and pull offs are very natural when you are playing in scale pattern too. So think about how you can maybe make what you're playing, make the links more expressive. If you have any questions about any of the things you've learned, we feel like something's missing or you need additional resources or of course, pointers toward some of my other lessons that cover information like Roman numerals or the five octave patterns with cave system at large. Of course, please reach out to me. I'm always, always, always available to help my private and online students. Thank you so much for joining me in this course, and I wish you the best of luck.