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Old 10-26-2012, 09:23 AM   #1
skritsarn
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Learning to improvise

I've played for 5 years now, i play pretty much, up to 10hours a day sometimes. So i've built up my technique pretty well, but now i want to get good at improvising. And i find it really hard to know exactly how to approach it, since its so different from practicing your sweeps or legato etc.

How are you supposed to look at the fretboard while improvising? Are you supposed to practice scales untill you know where every note is? or do you practice licks that you know fit in a certain key?

I can improvise a little, but most of the time im just guessing and going with what sounds right, i want to be able to know exactly where on the fretboard i can go without being too restricted to scales and theory

So whats the first step to doing this?
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:37 AM   #2
ZILtoid_1991
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Improvise to a backing track. You must match the backing track and your scales, unless you'll sound awful.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:04 AM   #3
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:17 AM   #4
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He's right y'know.

Looking at the fretboard has nothing to do with your ability to improvise, but ideally you should be able to do it without looking same as playing anything else.

theory knowledge helps immensely when it comes to understanding music and getting to know an instrument - but above all else you need to listen. Improvising isn't a piece of ikea furniture, you're not looking for flange A to put in slot b.

Listen. Listen to what you're playing over and decide for yourself what you think will sound good over it, then try and play it, and if it doesn't sound good then try to figure out WHY it didn't sound good, then figure out how to change it to make it better.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:27 AM   #5
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What separates a good improvisation from an epic one is your mind.

If you just play the scale's notes and licks over the backtrack, it will sound good, but it may get boring after a few bars.

What you need to do is HEAR the backtrack, whether it's a MP3, or a youtube video, or your band, and then HEAR the solo over the backtrack IN YOUR MIND, and play it.

It takes practice to be able to hear a solo in your "mental ear" and play it on the guitar at the same time.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by vitorlp
What separates a good improvisation from an epic one is your mind.

If you just play the scale's notes and licks over the backtrack, it will sound good, but it may get boring after a few bars.

What you need to do is HEAR the backtrack, whether it's a MP3, or a youtube video, or your band, and then HEAR the solo over the backtrack IN YOUR MIND, and play it.

It takes practice to be able to hear a solo in your "mental ear" and play it on the guitar at the same time.


Good answer This is what i want to be able to do! The problem i have is i dont know where to go on the fretboard because i dont know the pattern of notes that will sound good. I can hear it in my head, but i'd have to try more than once in order to play it on my guitar.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:29 PM   #7
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Play with a band that just doesn't give a ****. That's how I've recorded some of my favorite solos.

As far as practicing, know your scales up and down the board. Have a general idea of how you want to end a lick before you even start it. If you **** that up you gotta run with it and try to sum it up the idea with the next lick. If something sounds good, repeat it ... or don't.
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:27 AM   #8
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I recommend learning scales. & I've been playing for 25 years (I'm 27 Years old), it's a feel thing...you improvise by feel...
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:50 AM   #9
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while playing scales sing them too.along to a backing
that way you get the sound of the scale in your head not just your fingers.
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Old 10-28-2012, 04:53 AM   #10
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What i generally did to improve my improvising was recording a chord progression with my loop pedal (Started with something simple, like a full cadence, like E major, A major D major and back to E major).

Then i put my guitar away for a couple of minutes and started to sing melodies over the chord progression, took up the guitar and started finding those melodies there and adding stuff like bends and vibrato. I do this EVERYDAY. And everyday it's getting a little bit better. I can now figure out basic melodies on the spot with the guitar in my hands and that really is the key to good improvising, knowing the sound before you play it.

Later you can go to more advanced chord progressions, like a jazz standard II - V - I. Then when you got a grip of that try doing II - V - I's through different key signatures.

Basically.
1) Record
2) Practice without the guitar (develop your musical mind)
3) Transfer to the guitar
4) Repeat.

It also helps to listen to a wide range of different music, i have gotten inspiration to my improvising from fusion cause i know how it sounds when they often do these quirky intervallic stuff.

I hope that was to any help, good luck.
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