How do I improvise using the minor pentatonic scale?
So I learned the A minor pentatonic scale a few months ago, and I want to learn to improvise on it better. I try to improvise, but all my improvisions don't really sound that great. So how do I improve my improvision?
Try to play what you hear in your head. And just use the scale more. Listen to more music and expand your style. Also, play with other people.
The secret to improvising is to play what you want to hear. To do that, instead of trying to always play along, sit back sometime and just hum along to a backing track. If you can, record yourself humming. Then grab your guitar and try to figure out what you were humming. If you do this enough, you'll start to figure out those melodies more and more easily. Eventually, you eliminate the need to hum or anything as it becomes easier to transfer melodies from your mind to your fingers.
Scales are all well and good, but their purpose is to describe what you have already played, not what you must play. A scale doesn't tell you what to play. It's a way of organizing what notes you played and enables you to more easily communicate those ideas to other musicians.
Do you know all 5 scales of the minor pentatonic scale? Do you understand how they are connected? If not which one did you learn? Are you aware that knowing it in Am means that you know it in every single other minor key? So you can play it against a backing of Dm, F#m etc.
There's a few ways that I would recommend.
Get a backing track in whatever key and jam along, improvising. Think about what you would like to play and try to recreate it on the guitar. That's a really great way to improve as you're training your ear as well as your guitar skills.
You could get a book and learn locks from that. I have a good book called the blues and rock guitar locks factory. Check it out.
Learn loads of Hendrix and analyse what locks he uses in what position, try to transcribe locks from one position to another. Not hard when you are aware of the positions.
Or the best way, get a teacher.
Do you know the Am pentatonic across the whole fret board? or just the most common position?(Fifth Fret). I typically rely on three different positions for a lot of improvised riffs.
These are the three "boxes" I use (and abuse) in Am. I know I'm now trying somewhat to play "outside" of these boxes but for starting out they offer a great visual reference for staying in key.
Here's something I have that's in Am using the above. It's not great but gives you an idea.
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