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Fiddle Lessons: Basics of Improvising - Building a Solo

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All right,
let's talk here a little bit about, sort
of building a solo, just,
just how you would put structure into a
solo that is,
is basically you're original ideas,
original or not,
you know and how, how they would fall
under some kind of rhythm section.
I think that there's a couple of different
ways to structure this,
and one of the best, most famous ways to
do this,
is to kind of set yourself up as as a, as
[INAUDIBLE] as a little conversation.
You have a conversation with yourself
one part of you will make a question, and
then the other part will make an answer.
And that's a very old way of interacting.
And, and it's, it, you can hear, you know,
even animals do this.
You know?
So, one animal will call out, and
then a bunch of animals will answer.
And then and then we've, pe, people have
been doing that for a very long time, and,
and it just seems like a good way to sort
of organize your thoughts a little bit.
So, if we're playing something like.
That kind of tune.
Like the Blue Eyed Darlin' tune.
You could like, start with sort of a
And then you could answer yourself.
And then come back it,
with another question.
And then come back with another answer.
And, you know, one,
one side of it could be down here in the
low part.
And then the, the answer could be up here.
And then again
And that's a little time-honored
way of sort of organizing your solo that,
that draws the audience in to, you know,
the, the process and, and they can make
predictions which can be corroborated or,
or exploited, depending on how you're
And it, it kinda tends to give the the
feeling, you're,
gou're kinda tying your soul together
because, you know, the question, you know,
the answer has to relate to the question,
Because you're answering your question,
so, there has to be part of the question
that's contained in the answer, so, that,
just that idea, you know,
of you're gonna, you're gonna like make
that melodically fall together.
one of the ways to do that, is of course,
to make whatever your,
whatever notes you're playing in a really
similar rhythm to each other.
So, you might go.
You know?
So, you get this idea that two,
two sides are, are playing together.
That's a good one.
Question, answer.
Another great way of sort of, starting to
build a solo,
and, and develop a solo, is to find a
And then take part of that phrase.
So, you're taking that little phrase,
and moving it up.
So, you're just moving it up.
You could be doing it like a sequence.
You could do it scale-wise, like I just
Or you could play it you could play it
other places, but repeating, so
that you get the sense of rising
expectations, and rising tensions.
And then all of a sudden, you've stopped.
You've, you've stopped playing that same
phrase, and
then you've either stopped playing
completely, or you go into a long note.
And that's very dramatic.
Very, a great way of developing a solo.
So, that was question and answer.
then we get into just repeating a part of
that phrase.
And come in with something,
at the end, that's entirely new.
And maybe,
you know, a little bit simpler, so that we
give the,
everybody a chance to just go [SOUND]
something has happened, you know?
So, that's, these kind of ways, of, of, of
organizing solos.
So far, we've done talking about you know,
this, this kind of building drama.
You know, and, and making things more and
more intense as we go.
There's also ways to, to you could start
pretty intense.
And just then relax.
You could, like, actually, you could start
in with something really busy, you know.
And that would you, in order why would you
do something like that?
You might wanna do that because maybe
where you're coming to a soft part in the,
in this, in the tune.
Maybe the singer's gonna come in with a, a
very calm verse.
There's all kinds of reasons, why you
would wanna go in that direction.
And it can be very effective, especially
with the fiddle,
because even when you're smoothing out and
playing less notes, you can still be
pretty, pretty intense about it.
You can
You know, you got that nice sustained.
You could play double stop.
even if you're not playing a million notes
a second.
You can still make some drama and
interest, even with some very long, you
know, slow notes.
So, that's all kinds of, you know there's
all kinds of ways to go with this stuff,
depending on what, what's happening with
the, the tune.
Now, of course, in blue grass, generally,
you're gonna be playing a one chord,
or a solo, or even a half chorus.
So you might not be, you might not have a
lot of time to do this,
you know, which is, is cool, you know,
it's you,
you just like, it's a very short, short
You know, so, you just wanna be, whatever
you do, you wanna be clear.
And you want to make sure that when you
end it, that the ending is clear.
You, you know, the idea of like, that
whole thing where you go.
I stop making my solo.
Backing out of the microphone as you're
playing on the rift.
That can work, but you wouldn't wanna make
too much of a habit of that, that's,
that's kind of a fun thing to do but don't
do it every time because,
people start making, making fun of you.