Whatever your craft; painter, potter, poet or guitar picker -- tools, skills and creativity are prerequisite. Fortunately, tools are relatively easy to acquire and the quality of those implements are limited only by the thickness of one's wallet. While we guitar players are always on the hunt for the ideal rig, most of us have the tools of the trade at hand.
Skills are not so easy to develop, but anyone (yes, anyone!) who is willing to follow an effective course of study and put in the practice time, will eventually master those skills. For those guitarists eager to develop their soloing and improvisational skills, SoloCraft is not only an effective course of study, it will get you where you need to be in record time. Due largely to its rather unorthodox approach, SoloCraft delivers more miles to the practice-gallon than anything you've taken on previously -- guaranteed.
Creativity is a funny thing; you can't buy it and you really can't "practice" it in the traditional sense. However, skills do spawn creativity by better equipping you to express yourself. As we all know, guitar players love to take little nuggets of musical ideas and then twist, turn and expand them into something new that they can call their own. SoloCraft is brimming with new musical ideas, making it an amazing ideation engine.
SoloCraft is a bit of a strange brew for students of guitar. It's a compilation of eleven mini-courses, yet it's focused solely on crafting polished, compelling solos. The curriculum centers on the development of essential skills, while the play-along exercises and application of those skills are designed to spark creativity.
You will not encounter any unfamiliar scales, grips or flashy moves. Yet your new soloing skills will produce fresh and highly sophisticated lines. There's no tedious theory that you have to unravel, but you'll learn how to apply theory on the guitar faster than you ever thought possible.
Solocraft Guitar Lessons
Like we said, SoloCraft is an unorthodox course of study, which is precisely why you'll find it difficult to break for coffee and donuts while working and playing through it.
Nashville session player, singer-songwriter, educator and all around six-string maestro, Robbie Calvo is the musician's musician whose work is described as "flawless and inspired." Robbie has earned the respect of his peers as a "consummate guitarist" and his clinics and workshops are jammed with equal numbers of pros and students of guitar. Sweet Notes, Calvo's first and much heralded course on targeting tones is testimony to his popularity.
"I've coined the term 'SoloCraft' to define the set of skills, stylistic approaches, techniques and note choices that a player calls on when crafting solos and fills in performance, composition or improvisation." SoloCraft is organized into 11 main sections with 3 1/2 hour's worth of video lessons along with tab, notation, practice rhythm tracks and charts."
The essence of the "sweet notes" approach is the chord/scale relationship and knowing which notes to target as resolution points from your scales when you are soloing. The great session players and our favorite guitar players all understand the value and power in knowing these "sweet notes" when they are soloing and improvising. In this first section of SoloCraft, Robbie distills the sweet notes approach and shows you exactly where those tones are in the scales and shapes you already know.
Standard Tuning Slide
Learning how to use a slide to achieve specific tonal qualities and expand your palette of expressions is an essential skill for players across all popular styles. Learn how to easily spice up your solos in standard tuning with some tasty slide work. If you play Rock, Blues and R&B, this is a must! Robbie guides you through the slide techniques needed to have you playing and sounding like Duane Allman and Bonnie Raitt -- all without re-tuning your guitar, which means you'll already know where the "sweet notes" are that you need to target.
Open Tuning Slide
Rock, blues, country, pop, alternative and even metal and grunge players leverage open tunings and a bit of slide to add color and texture to their solos. You'll learn how to work the sweet notes over a single fret in open tuning for optimal effect. The Rolling Stones used the open G tuning for classics like "Brown Sugar" and "Honky Tonk Women" and Robbie will show you how to apply your new slide techniques to a Stones-like progression in this tuning.
Double-stops that are made up of an interval of either a major or minor 6th have been heard on records from the 50's through modern times in a variety of genres of music. These classic sixths are a timeless device for fills and solos in any style. Robbie shows you exactly where to find those classic sixths on the top four strings on your guitar and you'll discover how they just happen to fall right inside the chord shapes that you already know and love so you can get up to speed quickly.
Octave lines have been trademarks of great guitarists like George Benson and Wes Montgomery, but contemporary rock, blues, country and pop players use them quite frequently to create excitement within a solo. Learn how Robbie approaches playing octave lines as a soloing device by weaving them into a cool pentatonic lick or two and then climbing the fretboard to enhance the melodic qualities of your improvisations.
Fourths, Fifths, Sixths
From the classic sound of Jimi Hendrix to the great rock, blues and country players of today, players of all genres use double-stop 4ths, 5ths and 6ths. Learn how, why, where and when to pull these out of your bag to add dimension to your fills and solos. A whole new realm of sonic possibilities opens up when you play riffs and ideas with 4ths, 5ths and 6ths because you are playing harmony lines and so your lines will sound full and infinitely more interesting than just relying on single-note runs.
Guitarists have been emulating the sound of a pedal steel for decades and Robbie will show you an easy way to approach and apply the technique on your guitar, all from within the minor pentatonic scale for maximum effect in rock, blues, jazz and country. This technique will add a unique flavor and tool to your "SoloCraft" kit and is an ideal device for creating emotive swells or outlining chord changes in a song where you want to make a subtle statement. Or, you can even add overdrive to these ideas to really make a power chord grind!
Classical composers have used pedal tones for decades, but contemporary guitar players across all styles now use this technique to achieve very distinctive melodic hooks that are often repeated throughout a solo or improvisation. Neo-Classical rockers like Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen and Uli Roth have all used this wonderful technique in their "SoloCraft." Likewise, "The Edge" from U2 uses this approach coupled with delays to create those ethereal riffs we have all grown to love. Robbie shows you how to locate the best pedal tones from your scales and which notes can be used to create memorable melodies from that given pedal tone point.
Ever wanted to learn how your favorite two-guitar bands create those killer harmony lead guitar parts? Robbie breaks this down for you so clearly and so quickly, that you'll be composing your own harmonized lines immediately. Robbie explains how to clearly see and fully understand the underlying harmony using a simple one octave major scale shape and then applying that new-found knowledge in a visually appealing linear fashion along the fingerboard.
Guitarists like Carl Verheyen, Monte Montgomery and Eric Johnson play lines that seem to defy gravity with amazing interval skips. Learn how to construct your own intervallic lines using scales you already know with these simple formulas. Robbie demonstrates how to simply change the order in which you play notes by skipping a string or two in your well-worn minor pentatonic scale shapes to add maximum flavor and interest in your lead licks and lines.
Open String Triple Stops
An open string triple stop is a double stop idea like a classic sixth with an open string added in between the notes like a pedal tone. Add a dash of technique and a sprinkle of effects to produce ear-to-ear grins on your audience's faces. These are those jangly riff ideas you hear from the likes of Tom Petty or The Pretenders. These are great ideas for intro and outro sections alike, but also sweet as honey for that memorable solo at the next gig or jam session.
Each of the 11 sections of SoloCraft includes performances of each skill in play (fully transcribed and tabbed for your learning pleasure), detailed demonstrations of the respective techniques and applied theory, play-along interactive sessions, practice rhythm tracks, charts, transcriptions of all key examples, text narration and Power Tab.
All in all, SoloCraft is well qualified to be your personal extreme soloing and improvisational make-over. Put in the time, hone your own SoloCraft and you'll sound like a million bucks.