How King Diamondís Vocal Technique Will Help You Play Killer Guitar Solos Part 1
By Tom Hess - 12/08/2015 - 01:53 AM EST
Want to play killer guitar solos? Listen to your favorite singers! You heard right... Fact is, the majority of guitarists never even thought about studying singers to improve their guitar solos... they only take the conventional routes of increasing speed, researching new licks or attempting to learn different scale positions. If you understand how to integrate the vocal style of great singers with your own guitar playing style, you will be able to play amazing solos that sound highly emotional and expressive.
King Diamond is one of the most underrated, yet amazing singers. Even if you arenít into metal music (or know of Kind Diamond's musical style specifically), you can improve your soloing by leaps and bounds when you study his vocal phrasing style.
These are four excellent ways to use King Diamondís vocal technique to greatly improve your guitar solos:
1.Play An Amazing First Note In Your Solos
Want to quickly get the attention of anyone listening to your solos? Make the first note truly AMAZING. King Diamond is a master at this, and understands precisely how to get someoneís attention with the first note of his musical phrase.
Listen to 34:39 in the link above to see just one (of many) examples of him doing this.
To utilize this idea in your own guitar solos, work on playing just one and ONLY one note as expressive as possible. This is not as easy as you think and it will showcase the weaknesses in your guitar phrasing that need to be improved before you can play truly awesome solos.
To make a single note sound incredible, utilize various methods for applying vibrato, string bending, sliding, string rake technique, artificial harmonics, double stops, and any combinations of these techniques. Watch the video below to see examples of how this can be done :
2. Learn How To Play Killer Lead Guitar Harmonies
Another awesome element of vocal phrasing that will help you play better solos is being able to play tight harmonies (two or more notes played at once). Playing a harmony above or below your guitar solo melody can really make your music sound badass. King Diamond uses this method all the time with his vocal lines. One of the things that make his harmonies sound so great is his ability to perfectly line up the vibrato on the longer notes between all the notes of the harmony (have a listen to the music at 13:14 and 7:46-8:08 in the Facebook link).
To play killer guitar solos with tight harmonies, you must precisely match the phrasing of the original solo melody with the phrasing of the melody being played in harmony. This is extremely critical while using vibrato. You need to start the vibrato in all parts of the harmony at the exact same moment in time Ė while also making sure it is played the same way (in other words, all parts of the harmony use the same vibrato that is wide, subtle, fast, slow, instant, delayed, etc.).
You can hear tons of examples of harmonies with vibrato being sung in perfect timing by King Diamond in the Facebook link above (I recommend listening to 8:35).
3. Fill Your Guitar Solos With Tons Of Tension Using Rhythm
Everyday guitarists think only about the pitches they play in their guitar solos. Better guitarists also think about how the notes are phrased (played). Excellent guitarists also focus very closely on the rhythm of the notes in their guitar solos. You can understand more about how this is done by listening to great singers. In the King Diamond album I posted about on Facebook, listen at 23:44 to hear a slow, repeating rhythm in his vocal line. This rhythm helps to build tons of tension when approaching the end of a musical phrase.
To make your guitar solos sound tense like this, observe the rhythms you use in your guitar licks on a consistent basis.
To get used to doing this, do the following:
1. Improvise a short, slow and easy phrase (of no more than eight notes in total).
2. Make about 15 variations of this phrase by only altering the rhythm. Keep all the pitches exactly the same!
3. Make more new phrases (slow and easy ones) and repeat step two with each one.
Doing this will really help you become more aware of how rhythm can be used to play better solos.
4. Make Amazingly Emotional Guitar Solos Rather Than Just Playing As Fast As Possible
Many guitarists make the mistake of only trying to play as fast as possible during their solos while sacrificing good phrasing. Amazing vocalists like King Diamond will never waste notes like this. Since singers simply cannot sing as fast as guitar players play, they are in the habit of making every note feel as expressive as possible. THIS is the best way to create music that is truly captivating and emotional (just listen to 17:39Ė17:52 and 35:36Ė35:50 in the Facebook link above to see what I mean). Highly expressive phrasing always sounds awesome (whether it is fast or slow). By the same token, guitar solos with crappy phrasing always sound crappy (whether it is fast or slow)..
To start playing more emotional and inspiring guitar solos, complete these steps:
1. Select a few very short phrases in any one of the King Diamond songs from the Facebook post mentioned above and write down the notes. Use your ear as much as you can (and your guitar as needed).
2. After youíve written down the notes of the phrase, try to imitate King Diamondís vocal phrasing style very closely (focusing heavily on vibrato technique, rhythm and bends). Try to match every subtly of his phrasing using your guitar.
3. Make your own versions of the vocal phrases you wrote out. Use completely different notes and phrasing techniques to create your own licks. Learn a lot more ideas on this topic by downloading this free guide to playing emotional guitar solos.
You now understand how much there is to learn from using King Diamondís (and other vocalistsí) vocal phrasing style together with your guitar playing. Now itís time to apply these ideas in order to see huge progress in your soloing. To see how this is done, check out this video about how to create killer guitar solos.
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