5 ways to start a guitar solo

Male guitarist plays music in neon light with smoke.
(Image credit: Getty)

It can be pretty overwhelming when the spotlight lands on you. Faced with the opportunity to play anything, how do you decide where to start? There are many options, but many great guitar solos work by starting small and building to a climax. 

If you’re feeling unsure, aiming to build intensity throughout your solo gives you a good chance of creating something satisfying. You could start soft and finish loud, start low and finish high, or start slow and finish fast. Paul Kossoff’s All Right Now break is so popular because it does all three. It’s not an unbreakable rule, though – some solos start with an intense burst of shred to get your attention – but it’s a reliable strategy.

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Jenna Scaramanga

Jenna writes for Total Guitar and Guitar World, and is the former classic rock columnist for Guitar Techniques. She studied with Guthrie Govan at BIMM, and has taught guitar for 15 years. She's toured in 10 countries and played on a Top 10 album (in Sweden).