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Old 10-01-2012, 08:59 PM   #1
yoyoloto
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Improvisations getting boring

Hey guys, I like to solo in blues so I work a lot with blues/minor pentatonic scales but I'm feeling that I'm not exploiting enough ressources. So instead of playing scales or transcribing vocals (I do that sometimes), what other tools can a guitarist use for his impros ?
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:24 PM   #2
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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Listen closely to BB King, Albert Collins, Jimmie Vaughan, ALbert King and all those chaps. These guys really talk with their guitar. They use few notes, but phrase them and attack them just right. I was also really bored with improvising, because I was thinking about it too technically and playing too many notes. I found learning to make three notes say something instead of just thrashing out a speed picking riff really helped me. It's all in the tone.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:15 AM   #4
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You havent said that you learn other peoples solos...so Im suggesting do that, if you dont already...
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:00 AM   #5
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Learn how to weave in and out of different scales; for example I am currently practicing this weaving method by playing blues and then throwing in some harmonic minor notes in there and vice versa. It gives your improv a needed boost.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
MaggaraMarine
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Also focus on rhythm instead of notes. And try to listen to how different notes sound over different chords. Use repeats: Repeat the same lick many times. And thanks for not asking more scales.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielShaw123
I found learning to make three notes say something instead of just thrashing out a speed picking riff really helped me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
Also focus on rhythm instead of notes.


+1 to these↑↑↑

I find that anytime my improv starts to feel like i'm just repeating myself I try to find new ways to phrase the same things. Try to get a rhythm going while you play. Doesn't have to be a swing feel or anything, but just break it up from the usual straight notes.

Also, concentrate more on your dynamics and articulation. I find that these two things are what will set you apart the most. Play some notes softer and some accented heavily. Try playing your usual licks staccato(pick it and immediately mute it.)

The key thing I'm trying to point out is that you don't necessarily have to play different licks, just play the same licks differently. Helps me start to think outside the box a lot.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoyoloto
So instead of playing scales or transcribing vocals (I do that sometimes), what other tools can a guitarist use for his impros ?

Well that's a pretty good start, dude. If you're transcribing vox lines already then that's one way of making your musical sentences sound very lyrical and expressive.

You can take what you have there already, and apply some articulation techniques to the notes to help develop your own form of expression even more.

There are various ways to articulate notes, such as legato (slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs).

Picking the note in various ways, you have a choice of pick and/or fingers. Listen to Jeff Beck.

Vibrato.

The nitty gritty - chord tones.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:13 PM   #9
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i'd starting taking blues improvisation and start applying it to other genre's, you never know what your gonna find. I started doing that with my fiddle and VIOLA, fun.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:34 PM   #10
yoyoloto
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Thanks a lot guys, I heard about some of your advice and it's good to get a reminder of my options. There are definitely many things that were missing from my playing but you gave me a good bit to work on for the next couple of months/years.

I'm adding this thread to my favourite links to keep track.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:31 AM   #11
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Glad everyone could help!

What helps me too is remembering why I started to play, and why I love playing guitar. It's to make music that sounds good and evokes emotion, not to impress other guitar players.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:40 PM   #12
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I don't know much Blues, but my playing could be described as Blues Rock and for an example I will use Smoke On The Water. I have played it a gazillion times and never have found one to be boring. Each time I play something different, from tapping, to mixing scales, to even pick scraping, so I'd say it's about variety. Focus on the rhytm spice it up.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:05 PM   #13
ibanez1511
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A quick tip. Practice some dominant 7th arpeggios. and use the major 3rds and minor 7ths in them as target notes so over a 12 bar blues in A:

Mix the A blues scale with : C# and G over the A7
F# and C over the D7
and G# and D over the E7
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:21 AM   #14
danresn
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Start using chromatic notes, provided you like the sound of chromatic playing.

One thing I heard from Guthrie Govan (If you need a guitar soloist to listen to look at his track 'waves') is instead of going what key is this and looking at an appropriate scale. Look at the chords and play the notes of the chord AND the notes that would be in the chord if it was a more interesting chord. For example, if someone plays a C power chord (Assuming its major in terms of the key), you could play a C, E, G and then to add interest you could make it a major 7, adding a B or a ninth by adding a D. Your playing the same notes that would be in the scale, but I found this approach made me play better.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:30 PM   #15
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^ Unless you want to play some pentatonic stuff. I find some notes to fit some keys better. For example if we are in A minor, I don't like playing F, not even over F major chord. I just don't like playing the b6 note even though I like the VI chord in minor. Pentatonic just fits rock solos the best. Also playing F# in A minor is kind of more "rock" than F.

Chromatic notes are cool, yeah.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:21 AM   #16
danresn
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^ I suppose I thought of soloing in my perspective, someone whom doesn't really listen to much blues, more prog and jazz.

If you watch from 2:00 on I think what I mean is explained well.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danresn
^ I suppose I thought of soloing in my perspective, someone whom doesn't really listen to much blues, more prog and jazz.

If you watch from 2:00 on I think what I mean is explained well.

You were right about the chord tone thing and it's always good to find some new aspects. But if you play a normal rock solo, it's usually just pentatonic. That sounds the most rock.
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Just rememeber that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Charvel So Cal
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