When learning how to play the guitar most people love the idea of being able to solo. Which in my opinion is one of the funnest things you can do. There's nothing like being able to play a great solo, especially one you just made up on the spot!

When first learning how to do this though a lot guitar players experience a few issues such as...

  • Only being able to play in a few places on the fretboard
  • Playing the same licks over and over
  • Not be able to come up with new ideas
  • Feeling stuck at a certain level

These are all symptoms of not being able to comfortably play all over the guitar. Most guitar players find this to be a very difficult task to master and understandably so. This is a skill that takes time and practice and there no way to get around that.

But if you know a few very effective practicing techniques we can cut the amount of time it'll take you down by A LOT. 

Now imagine if you could play anywhere you wanted on the guitar in any key, how would that feel? Pretty awesome! It would completely liberate your playing and open up a whole new world of possibilities. 

Before we get into what this practice technique is and how to do it we need to first go over 2 common ways of practicing your solo playing. These 2 ways are...

  1. Practicing it vertically
  2. Practicing it horizontally

The first thing most guitar players do when learning how to solo is to memorize all of their scale patterns. By doing this you are playing vertically and this is a great thing to practice. The problem is most guitar players only practice playing vertically, this is only half of the equation!

You also need to practice soloing horizontally. This will allow you to move up and down the fretboard in any key effortlessly!

Now how can we practice this in the most efficient way possible?


What is single string training you might ask? All it is is choosing one or a few strings at a time to solo with. By only soloing with one or a few stings it forces you to move up and down the fretboard, this is horizontal playing. The best thing about this is it doesn't matter if you are a total beginner or an advanced player, anyone can do this and get a lot from it.

A few benefits of single string training are...

  1. Becoming more comfortable playing up and down the fretboard
  2. Becoming way more confident on where you can play in a key
  3. Fixing any spots on the fretboard you are not that confident soloing with
  4. Allowing you to learn how to solo in other keys in way faster
  5. Making you a more creative and intelligent player

So now lets get into exactly how to do this. There is an order you want to follow when practicing this. I like to do this to a backing track so I can hear how it sounds and practice this in application.

First thing you need to do is pick a key and what type of scale you want to practice. It makes no difference what you choose. Then you need to follow these 15 steps below. If you follow this step by step you will see result just the first time through! So here we go...

Step 1) Solo only using string 1

Step 2) Solo only using string 2

Step 3) Solo only using strings 1 & 2

Step 4) Solo only using string 3

Step 5) Solo only using strings 2 & 3

Step 6) Solo only using strings 1 - 3

Step 7) Solo only using string 4

Step 8) Solo only using strings 3 & 4

Step 9) Solo only using strings 1 - 4

Step 10) Solo only using string 5

Step 11) Solo only using strings 4 & 5

Step 12) Solo only using strings 3 - 5

Step 13) Solo only using string 6

Step 14) Solo only using strings 4 - 6

Step 15) Solo only using strings 1 - 6 

Yes there are a lot of steps, but each step doesn't take that long. After a while of doing this you will be able to complete this exercise in under 10 minutes. I have found this to be one of the best ways to practice soloing and to master it you should practice this over and over and over.