Should you really learn guitar solos note for note from your favorite guitar players???

I often get advice from other guitar players that if you want to learn to play better, learn a guitar solo from a cover song, note for note. I disagree. I’ve always believed that if you want to become a better lead guitar soloist, don’t touch any other solos from anybody else at all. You’re just gonna get their style, and you want your own. This is why I never touched other guitar solos from my other heroes. I’m never going to play “Stairway” or any Led Zep solos note for note, ’cause I don’t want to rip off Jimmy Page.

So when I do cover songs in a band, I’m not going to copy the solo off the song, I’m going to give it my own solo. You want to have your own style of lead guitar playing, so that when the listener is listening to your playing, he/she will immediately know the lead guitar player is you.

When somebody tells me to try playing this solo, note for note on a cover song, I’m going to refuse. Don’t get me wrong. I actually tried to play other guitar solos from other songs note for note, I could never do it.

I never understood why other musicians and bands try to copy solos note for note on a song. I never understood why musicians and bands play the same exact solo at every damn show, whether on a cover song or an original.

When I get a band and start playing live gigs with them, I’m certainly not going to play solos the same way every show. I’m going to want to improvise it and wing it out every time. That’s how you become a better guitar player. You don’t ever want to sound like your heroes, ever.

While, I admire Jimmy Page so much, I’m never going to copy his sounds although, I do borrow a little bit from him here and there. You want to sound like you, nobody else.


3 thoughts on “Should you really learn guitar solos note for note from your favorite guitar players???”

  1. Learning a guitar solo from a song you dig DOES have it’s advantages. It can be a great test for your ears and it can be a great test of your dexterity as well – especially if the solo shifts through different positions on the fret board.

    It’s fun to challenge yourself and learn a solo as close to note-for-note as you can. Sometimes, dudes in bands play the exact parts out of respect for the tune/band that they’re covering. Can you imagine “Nowhere Man” without that solo? I can’t.

    Just because a person has the ears and the dexterity to play a solo note-for-note doesn’t mean that they have to. When you learn tunes, you get inside the tune and learn as many aspects of it as you can. If you’re doing self study on a guitar player you dig, you may notice certain scales and/or patterns that keep on popping up. Or not.

    You’ll never play like Jimmy Page, or Hendrix, or anyone else – you’ll play like YOU. While you may be able to cop the vibe of Hendrix or Jimmy Page, you’ll never get their thought process or the reason WHY they chose those particular notes.

    We should all take Frank Zappa’s words to heart – “SHUT AND PLAY YOUR GUITAR!”

    1. Thanks for the post Rob. Every guitar player has their different feelings on these things. Maybe I should look deeply into Jimmy Page’s playing style and maybe it will help me improve a bit. Maybe I should try to learn the “Stairway” solo note for note. While I do love many different guitarists, Jimmy will always be my no. 1.


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