3 Steps to Solid Improvisation

author: gregstudley date: 07/18/2013 category: soloing
rating: 5.8 / votes: 8 
3 Steps to Solid Improvisation
By using these three simple steps, you will learn how to follow chord progressions while improvising. The method can be applied to major chord progressions, minor chord progressions, or major & minor chord progressions. Here's the chord progression: 80bpm
|Bm  |   |   |   |Em  |   |   |   |F#m |   |   |   |Em  |   |   |   |
The scale to be used is the Minor Pentatonic Scale Shape E1, also called Min Pent E1 ("E" because the lowest root is on the E-string and "1" because it is played with the 1st finger). The roots of the scale are labeled as "R":
e |-R-|---|---|-O-|
B |-O-|---|---|-O-|
G |-O-|---|-O-|---|
D |-O-|---|-R-|---|
A |-O-|---|-O-|---|
E |-R-|---|---|-O-|

Step 1: Play The Roots

Using half notes, play the low roots of the minor pentatonic scales (on the low E-string) through the chord progression. Repeat using the high roots (on the high E-string).
 Bm                                          Em                              
|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|---------|
|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|---------|
|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|---------|
|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|---------|
|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|---------|
|--7--7----|--7--7----|--7--7----|--7-------|--0--0----|--0--0----|--0--0---|

           F#m                                         Em                    
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
--0-------|--2--2----|--2--2----|--2--2----|--2-------|--12-12---|--12-12---|

                      Bm                                          Em         
----------|----------|--7--7----|--7--7----|--7--7----|--7-------|--0--0----|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
--12-12---|--12------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|

                                 F#m                                         
--0--0----|--0--0----|--0-------|--2--2----|--2--2----|--2--2----|--2-------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|
----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|----------|

Em                                           
--12-12---|--12-12---|--12-12---|--12------||
----------|----------|----------|----------||
----------|----------|----------|----------||
----------|----------|----------|----------||
----------|----------|----------|----------||
----------|----------|----------|----------||

Step 2: Play The Scales

Using eighth notes (and alternate picking), play the minor pentatonic scales through the chord progression starting from the low roots. Repeat starting from the high roots. From the low roots:
   Bm                                                        
E |----------------------------|--------7--10-7-------------|
B |----------------------------|--7--10----------10-7-------|
G |--------------------7--9----|-----------------------9----|
D |--------------7--9----------|----------------------------|
A |--------7--9----------------|----------------------------|
E |--7--10---------------------|----------------------------|

                                        Em                           
----------------------------|----------|----------------------------|
----------------------------|----------|----------------------------|
--7-------------------------|----------|--------------------0--2----|
-----9--7-------------------|----------|--------------0--2----------|
-----------9--7-------------|----------|--------0--2----------------|
-----------------10-7--10---|--7-------|--0--3----------------------|

--------0--3--0-------------|----------------------------|----------|
--0--3-----------3--0-------|----------------------------|----------|
-----------------------2----|--0-------------------------|----------|
----------------------------|-----2--0-------------------|----------|
----------------------------|-----------2--0-------------|----------|
----------------------------|-----------------3--0--3----|--0-------|

F#m                                                       
----------------------------|--------2--5--2-------------|
----------------------------|--2--5-----------5--2-------|
--------------------2--4----|-----------------------4----|
--------------2--4----------|----------------------------|
--------2--4----------------|----------------------------|
--2--5----------------------|----------------------------|

                                        Em                           
----------------------------|----------|----------------------------|
----------------------------|----------|----------------------------|
--2-------------------------|----------|--------------------12-14---|
-----4--2-------------------|----------|--------------12-14---------|
-----------4--2-------------|----------|--------12-14---------------|
-----------------5--2--5----|--2-------|--12-15---------------------|

--------12-15-12------------|----------------------------|----------||
--12-15----------15-12------|----------------------------|----------||
-----------------------14---|--12------------------------|----------||
----------------------------|-----14-12------------------|----------||
----------------------------|-----------14-12------------|----------||
----------------------------|-----------------15-12-15---|--12------||
From the high roots:
   Bm                                                        
E |--7-------------------------|----------------------------|
B |-----10-7-------------------|----------------------------|
G |-----------9--7-------------|----------------------------|
D |-----------------9--7-------|--------------------7--9----|
A |-----------------------9----|--7-----------7--9----------|
E |----------------------------|-----10-7--10---------------|

                                        Em                           
--------------7--10-7-------|--7-------|--0-------------------------|
--------7--10----------10---|----------|-----3--0-------------------|
--7--9----------------------|----------|-----------2--0-------------|
----------------------------|----------|-----------------2--0-------|
----------------------------|----------|-----------------------2----|
----------------------------|----------|----------------------------|

----------------------------|--------------0--3--0-------|--0-------|
----------------------------|--------0--3-----------3----|----------|
----------------------------|--0--2----------------------|----------|
--------------------0--2----|----------------------------|----------|
--0-----------0--2----------|----------------------------|----------|
-----3--0--3----------------|----------------------------|----------|

F#m                                                       
--2-------------------------|----------------------------|
-----5--2-------------------|----------------------------|
-----------4--2-------------|----------------------------|
-----------------4--2-------|--------------------2--4----|
-----------------------4----|--2-----------2--4----------|
----------------------------|-----5--2--5----------------|

                                        F#m                          
--------------2--5--2-------|--2-------|--12------------------------|
--------2--5-----------5----|----------|-----15-12------------------|
--2--4----------------------|----------|-----------14-12------------|
----------------------------|----------|-----------------14-12------|
----------------------------|----------|-----------------------14---|
----------------------------|----------|----------------------------|

----------------------------|--------------12-15-12------|--12------||
----------------------------|--------12-15----------15---|----------||
----------------------------|--12-14---------------------|----------||
--------------------12-14---|----------------------------|----------||
--12----------12-14---------|----------------------------|----------||
-----15-12-15---------------|----------------------------|----------||

Step 3: Improvise Over The Chord Progression

A sample solo is available at www.improvisingwithknowledge.com, along with a video that includes scrolling tab.
More gregstudley lessons:
+ Mastering Different Types of Slides and Bends Guitar Techniques 12/26/2013
+ Embedding Arpeggios Into Your Solos Soloing 11/10/2013
+ Linking Pentatonic Scales & Arpeggios Scales 09/30/2013
+ The Ultimate Preparation for Soloing Soloing 09/02/2013
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