Who recommends learning solos with little to no effects?

Matt Wildman

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I know I have heard people say this really helps and I personally haven’t tried it but should I not use distortion/effects when learning guitar solos? And then apply them after I’ve learned it? Cause I’m working on multiple different solos right now for gigs
 

Matt Wildman

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I was just wondering because I practiced the very beginning riff for the solo for afterlife without an amp and then after I did that, it sounded a lot better when I plugged in compared to learning it while using the distortion
 

Ed Seith

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Nov 11, 2019
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Depends.
For one, I don’t consider distortion (or amp gain, in my case) to be an “effect.” It’s a core component of the tone.
When I say I would learn something “without effects,” I would generally mean “using my standard rhythm or lead tone,” which includes small amounts of delay and reverb – REALLY small amounts.
If I was learning a solo that had a flanger, or leslie, or some other REAL effect, I would learn it without that effect first.
I might also get the notes under my fingers (cement my chosen fingering, etc) without being plugged in, but that’s not a case of listening to what’s coming out, just watching what’s going in.
 

Jak Angelescu

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I do, but then I don’t. Learning solos without effects makes you really hear all your mistakes. But sometimes playing with effects on can be just as challenging – like not being able to control the muting when the distortion is kicked on all the way or making too much delay sound like crap. I think it’s best to find a more raw sound when learning it and then add the effects as you go 🙂
 

Mohamad Zahwi

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I am strongly against practicing with no effects if the solo has effects. I find it very easy to play cleanly because I’ve played quite dirty.
I can do some troublesome techniques cleanly with little effort because I’ve spent a lot of time practicing them with distortion,delay, and reverb over and over until it was easy to play cleanly. It takes a lot of time and it’s best you stick to few exercises until you get this down. If you do put your mind to it, things like barred sweeps, multi finger tapping, stretchy string skipping dim7 crazy legato shit,etc… will be a piece of cake.
 

Ids Schiere

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Practicing songs with effects can make you rely on them to much. Distortion, delay and reverb makes it easier to do at lot of things(legato and tapping specifically) to the point where you won’t able to do them clean without(on an acoustic for example). Even though you may sound great with the effects most people can very easily notice that you’re actually not playing that clean and relying on your effects which means your technique is a little flawed. On the contrary muting becomes more difficult when playing with distortion so I would say practice both clean and will the effects but definetely not overlook the importance of practicing without them.
 

Syn Gates

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I have to agree with Jak here. I spend equal amounts of time playing in various situations because they all have their challenges.
-Practicing on acoustic guitar will strengthen the fingers greatly and help you to project/play with volume and dynamic.
-Clean electric guitar will expose the type of flaws most of you are describing like unsynchronized picking and fretting causing dead notes and inarticulation. There is also a slightly greater sensitivity than playing on acoustic guitar especially if you have some compression or EQ in your chain. This requires a lot more “touch” or “feel” at times, but not always.
-Distorted electric practice is essential because like Jak said, this will magnify the lesser discussed flaws in your playing like poor palm muting technique, artifact control(controlling unwanted noise), non targeted string attack(accidental hitting of unwanted strings either by picking or fretting hand), to name a few.
I play a lot of acoustic because I really enjoy Gypsy Jazz and have a lot of catching up to do because of my late start so I tend to tip the scales in favor of that, which actually hurts my electric guitar execution. I say execution because I’m not talking about harmony or theory. Gypsy Jazz has opened up a whole other world or lexicon of harmony and melody which has helped increase my musical palette. By execution, I’m referring to the way I handle the electric guitar such as the way I pick, palm mute, or string mute with my fretting hand. These extremely fundamental approaches to playing guitar vastly differentiate between all 3 platforms.
And getting into FX is a whole different ball of wax that should be treated as an entire craft of it’s own.
Hope this helps, Happy St. Paddy’s day family!