In these examples we simply used an ascending harmony: G-Am-Bm-C-D. It works perfectly well, though you can harmonize the top note with any triad in the key of G. For example, Fig. 19 uses G-D-Em-C-D.

When I do things like this, I try to superimpose secondary chord progressions over the existing harmony. Fig. 19 suggests a I-V-VIm-IV progression over a G chord, kind of a nice way to allude to the form of the song in a melodic passage.

Applying This Lesson
Now it’s time to tie this all together. Here is a solo using many of these concepts. If you use the tab to play each note as intended, you’ll see how each phrase works around the triad shapes from Fig. 9. Learn to play this solo note for note, and then practice your own over the remainder of the track.

Hopefully these two lessons have given you a better understanding of how to outline chord changes in your solos using triad shapes up and down the neck. To further your studies, transfer the triad shapes from Figs. 1-4 to the other four string groups. (The shapes are similar, though altered slightly.) You'll probably recognize the chord shapes, especially if you are familiar with the CAGED system.

I also recommend transcribing other guitar solos to expand your improvisational vocabulary. As you transcribe great solos, you should start to recognize the concepts discussed here.