Level Up in Guitar: Perfect Your Sound & Play Your Solo | Taylor Gamble | Skillshare

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Level Up in Guitar: Perfect Your Sound & Play Your Solo

teacher avatar Taylor Gamble, Professional Guitarist

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Creating Your Signature Style


    • 4.

      Establishing a Tempo


    • 5.

      Establishing Rhythm


    • 6.

      Adding Guitar Techniques


    • 7.

      Adding Lines Between Chords


    • 8.

      Perfecting Your Solo


    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Take center stage and master the art of the guitar solo!

Growing up in a musical family, Taylor Gamble discovered that playing guitar could soothe her anxiety, lift her mood, and tap into her creativity. Now a professional musician who’s worked with artists like Stevie Wonder, Ari Lennox, and Victoria Monét, Taylor’s here to help you build a joyful and rewarding guitar practice of your own.

In this fun class — the culmination of the Complete Guitar Learning Path — Taylor shares her favorite part of the process: putting together all the guitarist’s tools to create a signature sound. From tempo and rhythm to strumming and picking patterns, you’ll learn how to mix and match techniques for the ultimate form of self-expression.

Hands-on lessons cover:

  • Changing the mood of your music with tempo
  • Using a metronome to “hear” time
  • Picking and strumming techniques to add emphasis
  • Incorporating dynamics in your chord progressions

Plus, Taylor shares her favorite pro tips and tricks for show-stopping solos. Whether you’re planning a performance, building a band, or just playing for the thrill of it, by the end you’ll have the tools you need to speak your truth through the strings—one guitar solo at a time!

This class was created with intermediate beginners in mind, and assumes you’re already familiar with rhythmic notation, chords, scales, and basic dynamics. To revisit any of those skills, review the first four classes in Taylor’s Complete Guitar Learning PathSince learning music takes time, this class is designed to complement your own self-guided practice or lessons. Taylor uses an electric guitar, a pick, a capo, a tremolo bar, an amp, a tuner, and a quarter-inch cable; follow along with whatever guitar you have access to, acoustic or electric.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Taylor Gamble

Professional Guitarist


Taylor Gamble is an expert guitarist based in Los Angeles. As a touring musician, she's played with artists including Ari Lennox and Victoria Monet, and performed on Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and NPR Tiny Desk, and most recently Fox’s show ‘Alter Ego’. Taylor also teaches, sharing her technique and passion for the guitar via the popular Fender Play YouTube series. 

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: This one's for all my songwriters and those who want to be able to express themselves freely. My name is Taylor G, and I'm a professional guitarist and dorsal fender musical instruments. My love for guitar began at the age of 11 and has brought me to screens and stages of life performing with artists such as Stevie Wonder, our Linux, Victoria Monet, and more. Every musician has their own sound. So let's dive deeper into forming yours. Learn to express yourself in this class where I'll be teaching you everything you need to be able to construct your own sounds. Constructing your sound is for any player at any level who needs help with creating a progression or song, you'll need an electric guitar with a tremolo arm and amp, a quarter-inch cable, and a tuner. Let's finally make some music together. By the end of this class, you'll be able to competently play chord progression, single note lines, and use guitar technique to fabricate your own approach on the guitar. You ready? Let's rock and roll. 2. Getting Started: You made it. This is the last class. Now we know our basics. We know some music theory, we know some techniques to spice up our core progressions. So let's bring that all together and begin by constructing your personal sound as a guitarist. Now I know this is a lot of information, but if you stick with me throughout this class, this will be as easy as 123. So grab your guitar, a quarter-inch cable, fire up that AMP and grab a pic, tune up your guitar, and let's get started. 3. Creating Your Signature Style: Got everything you need, let's jump into it. The easiest way to start constructing your sound is by using a song. A song is not complete without a chord progression. If you've been following along with me in class three, we learned the song using bar chords that taught us what a progression was. Now feel free to pick out your own progression as again, this is your journey. The techniques still apply. It's just gonna be a different chord progression. So let's review on what that chord progression was in class three. So we started off with a C minor bar chord, which looks like this. We've got our index finger barring the third fret. We're placing our ring finger on the D string, fifth fret. We've got our pinky on the G string, fifth fret, and we've got our middle finger on the B string. Second fret, barring the a and E strings to bring out the third fret. Next, we move to a G minor bar chord that looks like this. We're borrowing the third fret still, and we've got our ring finger on the fifth fret of the a string and our pinky on the fifth fret of the D string. So we're literally just removing our middle finger and shifting our ring finger and pinky finger up one string. We're going to shift that G minor chord back a whole step to F minor. And then finally, we're going to end on a B flat major chord, which is shifting down. And we're playing B-flat major. You can use your ring finger to bar the D, G, and B strings like this. Or you can form that a major shape that I showed you and use your middle ring and pinky finger on the third fret like this. Whatever feels most comfortable to you. Now, we're going to shift that progression up a whole step. And we're gonna be playing D minor instead of C minor. So what does that look like? We're shifting up to the fifth fret. We read the third fret, one to the fifth fret. We're gonna do the same movement as we did when we were down a whole step and we're going to shift this up to an a minor. Take that same shape, move it back a whole step to G minor. And then we're going to end with a C major, which looks the same as our B flat major chord. So we're going to repeat that core progression as many times as we need to, to get it down under our fingers. Remember your core progression is up to you. Whatever you feel like sounds best to you is going to work. This is a learning process. I want you to experiment and have fun. Now that we've got our chord progression down, I want you to join me in the next lesson, we will be discussing the importance of time and how it can change up the feel of your chord progression. See you there. 4. Establishing a Tempo: So we've got our chord progression. Now, let's add time. Remember time is on our side of music as it helps keep us in a consistent flow. And if we were playing with a band, we'd be able to all be on the same page without rushing or playing too slow. Music. We refer to time as a tempo. Tempo is a measurement of time to keep a consistent pace, every person must be moving along at the same pace when we're playing in a band setting. How do we measure the tempo by using a metronome? Remember our metronome gives us a regular tic that keeps us in time. Simply by inputting a number, were able to establish a number of beats per minute. So if I were to enter 90 beats per minute or 90 BPM, that means that this metronome would click Literally at 90 beats per minute. Now that we've reviewed what simple is, let's define the words that determined the pace of our tempo. First we have Allegro. Now allegro means fast, is upbeat, is tearful. It's more like, you know, it keeps people move in. Then we have Andante. Andante means slow. It's a little bit more mellow. It's chill. It's like a ballot or something that's just more heartfelt. Then we have Moderato. Moderato is basically a moderate tempo. It's a consistent pace that's pretty normal for the average humans who want a groove two. Now, let's take our core progression, either the one that I'm playing or the one that you played. And try to figure out which of these three temples works best for you. Let's start with a slower pace at 50 beats per minute or 50 BPM. So if you're playing your own progression, I want you to pause this video. Start at 50 beats per minute and play your progression a couple of times in what's called a loop, and that's just a repeating pattern. However, if you're playing my progression, Let's do it together. Where 50 BPM and we're playing each chord for a whole note. Remember that's four beats. So I'm accounts you in, get set on that first chord and let's begin. Ready. Great job. How did that feel? Feels good to you. Okay, now let's do this at a more consistent pace, also known as Moderato. And try this chord progression again. This time we're gonna be checking for the field compared to the Andante version that we played in the last example. Remember that feel free to pause the video if you are playing on your own. However, if you're playing with me, Let's get started. Very nice. See, the temple definitely changes up the field. Now, last one, we're going to do it faster. This time we're doing it at 160 BPM. I know that's pretty fast, right. But it's okay. I have faith in you. I believe you can do it. Let's get our metronome set and I'll count you in. Wow, that was pretty fast. Wasn't it? Totally different field, as you can see, that simple change the entire mood of the progression, right? This is why time is so important. Again, it's not about what you say, but how you say it. Or as musicians is not about what you play, by how you play it. So I want you to pick a temple that works for you. It doesn't have to be any of the temples that we chose here. However, it has to be a temple that you feel like is appropriate for your chord progression. So I want you to practice up, pick a tempo, join me in the next lesson where we'll be discussing rhythm. 5. Establishing Rhythm : We've got our temple down, we know and what time we want to play our chord progression. So what about rhythm? What's the difference between rhythm and tempo? Well, rhythm is a strong, regular repeated pattern of movement or sound. So now we're getting into the pattern of how we play something. So how do we apply rhythm to our plane? If you were following along with me in class one, we talked about our strum hand are strong hand plays a vital role in how a chord is articulated. So what are the different strumming styles or picking styles that you can choose from to switch up your core progression. Let's take a look. First up we have what's called the down stroke. So all that is, is strumming in a consistent downward motion, kind of like how we were doing before. So just like this, very easy and a very simple technique, then we have our alternate strum, which were just alternating between strumming downward and upward. So let's hear how that sounds. And then we have our syncopated Strome. Remember That's how rock and roll strong. We're just disrupting or alternating the pattern in which we play something. So that sounds something like this. You can't guess where I'm going to strum next, can you? That's the syncopated strong. So what about picking styles? We have downward picking in which you can just downward pick each note like this. And you can even come up the other way. So let's go down first. Come up. Now of course, this requires more attention in detail to your Strom hand. But again, I'm confident in you as a student that you can get it done. Alright, then we have alternate picking, which just like alternate strumming, we're gonna be alternating between picking upward and downward like this. Now this can be applied to your strings as well. Something like this. Beautiful, isn't it? All of these different techniques help to create a different type of rhythm when playing your core progression. So as usual, we're going to try this out at an example, and I'm going to play various forms of rhythmic techniques. You ready? Let's start with downstrokes wing. We're not going to use the metronome in this example as we're just getting a feel for how we want to play our chords. Okay? So let's start with downward strumming. I want you to downward strong quarter notes in a consistent pattern. I'm moving at a temple that kind of feels like this. 12341234. I'll count you in. Ready? One, 23. For how did that feel to you? Feels pretty good to me. Let's try alternate strumming. That same chord progression. You ready? Same tempo. 123412. Ready? Play. Very nice, totally different field. Let's try syncopated strumming. Same tempo, 123412. Ready? Play. Let's try downward picking. In this example, we are gonna be down picking each note in order. However, when we get to our corps that require the low E string, I want you to pick five notes that you want to play like this. This gives you the consistent feel of a downward picking motion at this tempo. You ready? One, two, ready? Play? Wow, I really thought that was pretty. Next, we're going to try alternate picking. I'm going to show you a quick example of how I will alternate pick this pattern. If you want to, you can pause this video and try to get this pattern down on your own. Feel free to pick your own alternate picking pattern and join me in the next lesson if you feel confident. But for now, let's try it in an example. As you can see, the various types of strumming and picking patterns can change the entire dynamic in which your core progression sounds. This can take time to get down because again, we're adding the metronome while we're playing this. So I need you to be able to be consistent with whatever it is that you're doing. Lastly, I just want to switch it up a little bit. Do some alternate strumming though in some down picking, and maybe just end on a downstroke, whatever is up to you. So let me show you an example. You're ready. So as you can see, just as you speak, we don't always say things the same way. Certain words we emphasized more than others. Picking and strumming can help you do that by emphasizing certain notes and hiding certain notes. Again, I want you to practice this technique. Tried different styles, mix it up with different patterns and make it your own. Once you've got your pattern down, I want you to join me in the next lesson where we're going to be adding gets hard techniques to our chord progression. Remember these other building blocks to constructing your sound? So I want you to have fun. See you there. 6. Adding Guitar Techniques: So we've got a chord progression, we've got a tempo. We even added a rhythmic patterns who are playing? What's next? Let's add some spice to the recipe by incorporating some gets hard techniques. Now remember, guitar techniques are just the icing on the cake to what you've already created. And in this example, I'm just going to pick three techniques to incorporate in my chord progression. I'm going to go through with you one by one so that you can hear the difference in each technique and how it changes the sound of your progression. Are you ready? I know I am. So first I want to talk about sliding notes. This is a technique that's commonly used by guitarists all over the world to give more of a human feel to their core progression. So I'm going to show you an example of how I would slide into my notes using my progression as I talked about in class for, you can slide into individual notes or you can slide into your chords. So let me show you an example of how I would slide into my course in this progression. I'm just going to do this on the first chord. Remember we wanna be tasteful with our guitar techniques as we don't want to overdo it. Let's try. First chord is D minor. So what will be cool is if I went back a whole step to C minor and I slid into my D minor chord shape. So let's give it a try. One more time. Right away, that chord already feels like it's got some ***** to it. So let's try to incorporate it with the entire progression so that we can hear how different our progression has become. You ready? Here we go. One, two, ready? Play. Wow, it sounds so much better already. Now this time I'm going to incorporate a different rhythmic pattern. But first again, I'm going to slide into that D minor chord before I get too far. Ready? One, two, ready? Play. Wow, you're starting to sound like a real guitarist. All ready? Let's try adding another guitar technique. This time we're going to try hammer ons and pull-ups. Hammer ons and pull off. Or another classic technique that guitarist use in order to spice up there playing. A lot of times you'll hear guitars do a hammer on and pull off on a minor chord that sounds like this. They take their pinky and they're going to hammer on and then pull off. This time I'm going to hammer on and pull off on my C major chord. Now this requires some pinky strength. So feel free to take some time and actually try this on your own. What I'm doing is I'm borrowing the D, G, and B strings with my ring finger as this loosens up my middle finger and pinky finger to be able to do other things. So what I wanna do is I want to hammer on to the B string on the sixth fret and then pull off. It's going to sound like this. Now remember, you can do this on whatever chord that you choose. This is your chord progression, okay? I'm just giving you an example to go by to show you how spicy these cores can actually become. So let's try by sliding into R, D minor chord and then hammering on and pulling off of our C major chord. One, two, ready? Play. Now let's add another gets hard technique to our core progression. Let's try Paul muting this time. Remember, it's a palm mute. We're simply taking the side of our palm right here and we're resting it right in front of the bridge to give us that muted effect like this. Let's add palm using to our progression. I'm gonna be using it when I switch to my a minor chord. So when I begin to pick is going to sound like this. So let's add it in and see what it sounds like sliding into R, D minor. Ready? One, two, ready? Play. Wow, so beautiful. But you see higher progression is becoming more and more interesting. We're adding more of a human-like feel to our plane. This is what makes a guitar player great. It's not always how much you know, but how you apply what you already know. I want you to pick three guitar techniques that you feel suit your progression the best. Then join me in the next lesson where we're going to be talking about mixing up lines and chords to help add to your sound. 7. Adding Lines Between Chords: As you can see, all of these components act as building blocks to constructing your sound is not always about how much you know, but how you apply, what you already know, what that being said. We're going to add some lines in between are chords. So what do I mean by that? I literally mean playing individual notes in-between your chords. This is where playing to a metronome becomes crucial. Playing to a metronome allows you to be able to literally here, how much time you have in-between each court before you get there, you'd be surprised how many things you can fit into your core progression when you know how much time you're playing with. Let me give you an example. Playing to the same pace that I've been playing to the entire time. I've been able to get a feel for how much space I have in-between each core transition. So let's try this in an example. Remember I'm slotting into my D minor chord to begin, I'm gonna be applying this concept before I get to my G minor chord to make it a little bit more interesting. Ready? 12. Ready? Play is getting more and more interesting as we go along. This is why gets hard techniques. I literally like a godsend to guitar players. It differentiates us from the rest of the instruments, giving it that guitar flare that everyone is looking for it. Next up, I'm gonna be showing you how to solo over your chord progression. 8. Perfecting Your Solo: So now we've got a chord progression down that suits our personal taste. What's left? Soloing? As you know, throughout history, guitarists are known for our solos and almost every environment that you come in. When there's a band playing nine times out of ten, the person they're going to ask to solo is you the guitarist. So let's go over how to solo. Soloing is literally the same thing as playing lines, except for you are putting your own expression on top of what is being played. We're being a little bit more intentional about what it is that we are trying to say. One of the ways that we can start by soloing is by knowing our scales. Now if you've been following along in class three, we talked about three different scale shapes that we can use that work all over the fretboard in any key. The first one was our major scale, or minor scale, and the classic minor pentatonic scale. So in this lesson, I'm going to teach you how to use those skills in order to attain what we consider a solo. Now, solo does not require a lot of notes. I know you guys have heard Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix and all of them just go crazy all over the fretboard. However, you can be just as effective with just three or four nodes. So how do we do this? First, we have to assess what key we are in. Now this song is in D minor. However, if you want to play a major scale shape over this key, I would play F Major. F major is relative to D minor as they share all of the same notes. However, in this example, I'm going to keep it minor. We're going to find our D minor shape on the fretboard. If you've been following along in class three. Also, we talked about how to find your notes on the fretboard. This case, our d minor shape, is going to be found at the 10th fret using the low E string. Now again, we can play the minor scale, or we could play our D minor pentatonic scale. Over this example. It's all up to you. Whichever one you feel like suits you the best. Let's pick three notes that we feel like resonate best with what it is that we're playing. So I'm going to come up to the D string 12th fret. I'm going to play the G string 10th for it. And I'm going to play the G string 12th fret. Just using these three nodes alone can really make a difference in my solo. Right? Now if you want to stay down here, that's totally fine. Which brings me to my next point. Using chord shapes can also help you to determine what notes you should play while soloing. Now, D minor looks like this. That means that the a string fifth fret is available to play. D string seventh fret is available. G string seventh fret, B string, sixth fret, and the high E string fifth fret. All of these nodes are available for use. Now I'm gonna give you two examples of how I incorporate both shapes into my soloing. Another thing, incorporating gets hard techniques while you solo. One classic technique that's used in soloing is bending the strings. So let me show you a little bit of what that sounds like. Remember in class for I talked about how bending the strings gives the listener the tension that you feel while you're playing. Guitar. Again, we're trying to evoke as much emotion as possible. We want to bring our guitar to life. As first example, I'm going to use my minor pentatonic scale, the three notes that I picked in order to play my solo. I want to loop it two times. And I want you to pay attention to the emotion that I'm trying to give you through my playing. Now I'm going to show you another example using my core shape to help me know what notes I'm using to solo starting at the 10 second mark? You see how easy that is. Not too much thought. With just knowing my chord shapes, I'm able to just randomly pick the right notes. Now of course, over time, your ear will begin to develop and you'll be able to hear exactly where it is that you want to go. Also studying more into theory and understanding how each note functions in a scale or each chord functions in a scale, will help you be able to determine what nodes are the right notes to pick. However, take your time and just experiment with the different notes that are in the D minor scale, the D minor pentatonic scale, or the F major scale, or just simply play around with your D minor chord shape. By incorporating more guitar techniques, I'm able to achieve even more emotion with that solo. I can try bending notes. I can slide into and out of notes. I can try adding my tremolo arm. Remember, the tremolo arm is there to bend the notes as well, giving you that dive bomb type of sound, what happens when you start to solo is that you start to really understand what it means to be intentional. We want to learn how to use our words so that we're able to form sentences with our guitars. Except for in this example is just notes. Let me show you how I would solo over this chord progression starting at ten. You see how I incorporated some guitar techniques. That is what I call soloing. Take your time, listen to your notes, see how they make you feel. We did an exercise in class three, or I told you to record yourself playing a chord and practicing your scales over that chord. Listened to each node as you hear it over the court and see how it makes you feel. That gives you a better understanding as to how that note functions in that key. Take it a step further by trying to play those scales over this progression or your own progression. Again, this is a great way to become more of an intentional guitar player. 9. Final Thoughts: You made it celebrates yourself. You have received your stamp as an official guitarist. I'm so proud of all the progress that you've made, all the practice that you put in your determination to stick with me throughout this class. Wow, you must feel so good. I feel good for you. I just remember how I felt when I finally was getting what it actually felt like to be a guitarist. Now, I want you to take all that you've learned and incorporate it into your plan going forward as a guitarist, this is the most exciting part as you're now free to do whatever it is that you want and even further your education in music theory. And as a guitar player, this is your moment. So indulge in it. Now we can't end the class without one final assignment. I want you to come up with your own progression. Incorporate some guitar techniques into your playing, even solo over it. If you want to record yourself and upload it in the project gallery to record yourself, you can do what you've been doing by recording yourself on your phone. You can use a door, also known as a digital audio workstation, like GarageBand, Logic Pro Tools, anything that records or you can purchase a looper pedal at your local music store or online that allows you to control the loop with just your foot. This is tailored G, signing off. Thanks for watching.