Influence of Solo Instrumental Guitar on Mood and Ambiance

For the last few months, I have been playing the Sunday brunch at Antlers Restaurant in Ithaca and it’s been so much fun.  Last week someone gave me a big smile, put $20 in the tip jar and said “thank you for the beautiful music.”  It’s those moments musicians live for! 🙂

Playing solo every week has got me thinking about solo instrumental guitar can craft landscapes of sound that resonate with the heart in diverse ways — soothing and meditative, lively and upbeat, and everything in between.  It’s background music, yes, but it’s also the backdrop against which stories unfold, emotions surge, and memories are created.

On ballads, the gentle caress of strings can whisk listeners away to soothing and meditative realms and conjure an atmosphere of tranquility.  But solo instrumental guitar isn’t confined to calmness—it’s equally adept at elevating energetic moments. The vibrant interplay of notes and rhythms injects a spark of life into events, fostering an atmosphere of excitement on up-tempo or funky tunes.

Then there’s dynamics—the variations in volume and intensity—are the keys that unlock emotions. The dynamics help shape the ebb and flow of the music, guiding listeners through a spectrum of feelings.

I also love the variety.  The versatility of solo instrumental guitar knows no bounds.  I like to transition between genres—classical, rock/pop, contemporary, & jazz.  I have organized my solo repertoire into several different styles:


Rock / Pop



Fusion / World

I am careful not to play melodies as most of them would violate copyright infringement laws, so I just play new improvised melodies on top of existing chord sequences in the style of the original songs.  It’s challenging sometimes to come up with new, compelling melody on the fly!  Often it just sounds like someone soloing on the tune, not the melody itself, which forces me to think more simply.  It’s great practice and one that has helped illuminate for me on what makes a melody great, and it hopefully such practice will help make my playing more melodic.


I hope you can join me one of these Sundays if you live in Ithaca and want to have great food and hear some solo guitar music.

If you are planning an event you want to explore your options for live music, book a free music consultation with me or simply write to me on the contact page.