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Old 12-29-2012, 01:26 AM   #1
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Improvised Soloing

I've noticed that on anything else than a blues my single line improvisations lack overall interest while staying in a certain scale thinking, even if its a chromatic scale.

On Blues changes and im aware of all the intervals and a chromatic scale so to speak,
and since its a pretty simple, internalized harmony, i can do totally fine and play with confidence. But on anything else, no dice.

Recently ive been forgetting all that scale shit, even the awareness of where i am and ive had so much fun and great sounds coming out of me while improvising to a song i just recently started to like. I start getting a short feel for it, im getting aware of the key, then i just start to play on a note, and go from note to note from then on.
This usually works great on jazz tunes and songs with many changes.
I dont have to time to analyze everything and so im forced to play what my instinct tells me, what i do think about though are the intervals from the current note to the next. I dont necessarily think 'ok down a m3, now up a 2m (although i do that sometimes). Its more like i can feel it and my fingers sort of sense where i have to go to get there. Notice i said "sort of", I often land on the wrong note a whole/half tone below/above the note i wanted to hit.

Anyway this is very interesting and i'm considering giving this idea an in-depth study.
Maybe this is all people ever do when they solo, i have no idea but it seems right and natural.
Combining this idea with a lot of ear training, knowing the chords + practice and this seems like a method made by gods.

Does anybody do this ? is this just the normal way of improvising, what work best for you, how do you improvise a solo?

Last edited by Ignore : 12-29-2012 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:46 AM   #2
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Is there a question in there somewhere? I'm confused by what you're getting at.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:53 AM   #3
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yeah should have though of that, fixed. im mostly just wondering what other people do or if anybody does the same thing or tried it and so on

Last edited by Ignore : 12-29-2012 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:58 AM   #4
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I mean, ultimately you want to hear what note you want to play before you play it. That takes a lot of ear training. So I guess you're on the right track.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:08 AM   #5
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Yeah, its along those lines. You also want to have an idea of the melody and augment it in an improv. This will give you a blueprint to work around and come back to... eventually.

Quote:
Maybe this is all people ever do when they solo, i have no idea but it seems right and natural.


Not really, sometimes a solo is composed so they actually stick to what was written. But then again, as was mentioned with the blueprint - in this case the improv is very short between the main concept so as not to disturb the flow.

Hope this makes sense

Last edited by evolucian : 12-29-2012 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:46 AM   #6
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What you're describing is what I do. The comment that struck me was: "I dont necessarily think 'ok down a m3, now up a 2m (although i do that sometimes). Its more like i can feel it and my fingers sort of sense where i have to go to get there."

At some point, you will (hopefully) reach a point where your fingers move faster than you can have any kind of thought in English. This is where the "feel" comes into play. By playing a ton, you'll get a sense of where you need to stick your fingers (no laughing) to get the desired sequence of notes. (You'll play a lot of wrong sequences of notes, too. That's fine; it's what the practice room is for.) With a combination of learning your way around the fretboard and improving your physical technique, you'll be able to play a lot of complicated, interesting phrases.

I also suggest the Friedman video that is linked in my sig. He plays metal, yes. He also addresses blues (and why every guitarist should know a bit about blues), and the ideas he presents apply to soloing on any instrument in any genre.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:56 AM   #7
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Too bad that video is private. im sure i can find it somewhere else though.
Im glad to hear that though, do you have any specific ideas or concepts that could be beneficial in practice for learning my way around the fretboard as you put it, besides just playing ofcourse.
and how is playing like this working for you?

Last edited by Ignore : 12-29-2012 at 03:00 AM.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by food1010
I mean, ultimately you want to hear what note you want to play before you play it. That takes a lot of ear training. So I guess you're on the right track.


Why is that?
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:48 AM   #9
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I've linked to a new video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ignore
Im glad to hear that though, do you have any specific ideas or concepts that could be beneficial in practice for learning my way around the fretboard as you put it, besides just playing ofcourse.
Play for ten years. Then play for twenty. What you can do now is be aware of what you're playing and write down (use PowerTab or a similar program like GuitarPro or TuxGuitar) cool riffs. Writing that way will force you to figure out rhythms, too. It's typically nice to be able to play in time.

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Originally Posted by Ignore
and how is playing like this working for you?
I'm pretty good. I'm not famous. I wish that I had more time to spend working on my technique. That's what limits me at this point (and hearing something awesome in my head and forgetting it by the time I get to a guitar). I've also been playing for 15 years (can't do subtraction this late at night...might be 12).

Some people really like to memorize the fretboard. I never did. There's no real understanding, just memorization. In that way, it is nothing like scale theory (which I very much suggest learning). It doesn't take much to know what note a fingering is once you've played a while, and recalling in 0.25 seconds that the 4th fret of the B string is D# doesn't strike me as much of an advantage over being able to do so in a full second. When you're playing fast, you'll be playing 10 or 15 notes per second -- much too rapid to truly think a sentence or even a phrase like "D# note next". What I end up knowing are intervals and what fingerings give those intervals. I don't care that my next note is C nearly as much as that I'm currently on some note (A) and want to go up a minor third. More than that, I quickly know that I want to go up that minor third. It becomes a reflex.

I think of it like driving. I know a bunch of ways to drive from downtown to my house. I know what to do if X highway is backed up and I want to avoid it. I know all sorts of ways to drive home on the best route. I would have a ton of trouble explaining how to do that, though. I don't know what half of the roads are called! I just know that if the cross-town interstate is a nightmare, I can take side streets (many of which have names that I can't keep track of -- where the hell is Race Street?) and get to the main road into town. I've just driven in and out of town so many times that I know what I'm doing without even thinking. (Come to think of it, driving it like that, too. I don't think about when to turn the wheel. I just do it. Female drivers jokes are not to be made.)

Memorizing the fretboard has no disadvantage aside from a time commitment, though; it won't stifle your creativity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aralingh
Why is that?
You'll be playing music rather than some riff that you happen to know. (You'll end up playing plenty of those.)
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bangoodcharlote
You'll be playing music rather than some riff that you happen to know. (You'll end up playing plenty of those.)


I'm sorry but that makes no sense whatsoever. I never faced a problem of playing only known riffs regardless of my preparation to a backing track.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:01 AM   #11
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Once you pass the 13/14 year milestone in playing guitar... everything becomes "Wtf? Why am I playing this shit? It's pointless." You start appreciating music in a different way. Techniques fall and new ones replace them...etc etc. Playing a good solo, whether improv or composed, takes a long long time. Don't forget to pack a lunch...
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aralingh
I'm sorry but that makes no sense whatsoever. I never faced a problem of playing only known riffs regardless of my preparation to a backing track.

Known riffs would be known to you and habitual playing. This dictates to lead licks you regurtitate too. No matter how much preparation one makes... thatt shit always has a habit of entering the picture.

Now onto the original quote from foodies which you asked why. If you hear it in your head and can translate it immediately, that would be ideal. I work differently where I use a blank slate, this way every note brings a new surprise. Habitual melody making techniques do filter themselves in. However, I would not say that it is ear training alone, but a long time of playing that makes things easier and flowy.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aralingh
I'm sorry but that makes no sense whatsoever. I never faced a problem of playing only known riffs regardless of my preparation to a backing track.


if you can't hear what you're playing before you play it, your process involves some sort of guesswork.

a craftsman of high caliber never leaves any part of his craft to guesswork. even where variables are involved, a good craftsman integrates them into his process and works with them.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
if you can't hear what you're playing before you play it, your process involves some sort of guesswork.

a craftsman of high caliber never leaves any part of his craft to guesswork. even where variables are involved, a good craftsman integrates them into his process and works with them.


Not knowing what note you're going to play is not guessing.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:02 AM   #15
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Not knowing what note you *want* to play isn't guessing, I agree. If you literally pay no thought watsoever to the sound your making and have no concern regarding what comes out of your guitar as a result of your actions then arguably you shouldn't really be playing the thing in the first place...

But assuming your actions when playing the guitar are a result of conscious thought, putting your finger down on a fret and plucking a string without knowing the results you're going to get (ie the sound) is pretty much a textbook definition of guessing, commiting to an action without being certain of the results.

When you talk you already know hat message it is you want to convey to someone before you open your mouth, and you use whatever words you think are most appropriate to best convey that message - you don't just open your mouth and just start making random noises in the hope someone will understand.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aralingh
Not knowing what note you're going to play is not guessing.
Let me ask you this: When you approach improv, do you match up scales/arpeggios and passing tones/tensions that you know will work over a certain chord?

Quite often there's a better note choice than the first choice that just "works." When you're matching up scales and such, you're just playing notes that "work," not necessarily the notes that you want to play.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aralingh
Not knowing what note you're going to play is not guessing.

If you talk about note names, then you are right (you don't need to know the note name to know what you are playing). But if you talk about sounds then you are wrong. You need to have an idea of how what you're going to play will sound like. Otherwise you will only be guessing and hoping for good melodies to come out of your fingers.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aralingh
Not knowing what note you're going to play is not guessing.


by that logic, what you consider improvising is not really improvising - you just so happen to be doing it on the spot. it's merely coincidental.

if you don't know something for certain, you're guessing at it. whether it's an educated guess or otherwise is irrelevant - if the probability isn't 1 then you're leaving at least part of it to chance, even if the probability is .99.

i'll say it again, since you bolded it (and i'll bold it myself this time, since it's so important): a craftsman of high caliber never leaves any part of his craft to guesswork.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:13 PM   #19
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Hello friend.

I would focus on starting notes mainly, and alot of ending notes. They really do start the idea off on a different trail. Instead of starting an ending on the root note, of hell maybe other key notes in the chord at the time. Maybe try a passing note ( you can make them sound good when you stay on them ). Then again i enjoy fusion, Jazz, Rock. Try it out and believe in yourself my friend!
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:38 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
i'll say it again, since you bolded it (and i'll bold it myself this time, since it's so important): a craftsman of high caliber never leaves any part of his craft to guesswork.
Your stance suffers from counterexamples. It wasn't so long ago that I saw the Black Mamba (Kobe Bryant) miss a shot. That is not 100% certainty about draining the shot.

If a guitar soloist is a craftsman, so is an athlete. And if you don't like the Lakers, I love it when people hate us, and Michael Jordan (et cetera) missed shots, too.
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"Melodic Control" by Marty Friedman: A video on soloing
A Great Theory Lesson

A Harmonizing Lesson
The Correct Way To Play The Gallop

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