Soloing is a huge topic by itself, which is the nature of the beast. First, let’s talk about soloing by itself. Soloing is about playing from heart and mind within a structured form. You are playing with structured chords, but there is no certain path to follow. You have to be creative, but you also have to cultivate technical ability.

Becoming more technical means you are supposed to be structured enough to practice for long period of time. You must know what you are and aren’t capable of, and you must understand what the piece really needs to deliver.

It’s also critical who you play with. The phrases you produce depend on your fellow musicians. Playing music, especially in a band, is a completely different musical experience than playing by yourself. It’s important to understand that there is always a big picture with music. If you’re serving this big picture, then you’re great no matter what notes you play. If you’re not serving the big picture, then you’re only playing your instrument instead of the music. Simply playing your instrument detracts from the music itself, and is not something your band or audience really needs.

When I was asked this question I was unsure of how to answer him since I didn’t wish to mislead him. That’s the reason why I talked about the importance of rhythmic pattern, and the people he would be playing with. When we put all those things together, we always see that playing a great solo is actually about composing music. As I analyzed great bassists and other musicians earlier, they all have that key component in common: They create the big picture with a few consistent melodic lines, establishing form from the beginning, and adding complexity as they go. Once you build the fundamentals of your solo, you can progressively improve upon it. Of course, this is something that you get better at by doing it over and over again, trying more and more.

As always, I’ve really enjoyed the questions. I thank everyone who is courageous enough to believe in themselves. Please feel free to share your experience with soloing! What was the hardest part of soloing and how did you get over it? And let’s keep in touch.

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