“What people tend to do is learn licks and then try to stick them into the solos – and that’s not really the way to do it”: Iron Maiden’s Janick Gers shares his tips for better guitar solos

Janick Gers
(Image credit: John McMurtie)

There is a school of thought that to play better solos you need to know what you’re playing, you need to warm yourself up, you need to be ready. Preparation is everything. But Janick Gers, one of the prongs on Iron Maiden’s electric guitar trident says forget all that – and he has been doing this a long time.

Checking in with Total Guitar, he argues that you need some kind of danger in the enterprise lest you go stale, and also that we have to think about solos as art, not sport. There is no better, no best, he says. But you’re going to get more out the more imagination you put in.

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).