Can Anyone Help Me With Basic Improvisation?

A minor forms, learning to improvise over a blues backing track.

Ultimate Guitar

So I have been playing guitar for a few years and built up my knowledge on theory and some notes, but advice and any tips would really help. I have been trying to learn to improvise over an a minor backing track, with chords being Am, Em, and Dm just cycling through in that order. I am using 4 of the five pentatonic forms in the key of Am.

The t represents the target notes. I know these all pretty well and I am able to switch to other scales with form. What I need advice on is counting the beats, and using which notes. Since these are all A minor scales, can I use them all in the progression (Am, Em, and Dm)? Also do the target notes hold any significance when improvising? Do I play them on a certain beat or when a chord changes. When I switch forms it is just random, but I know the notes. Are there any that should be excluded? What can I do to make it sound decent and not just a mess of notes?

I know this is a lot to ask, but I am serious about learning guitar and would like to improve my ability. All help is greatly appreciated.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm not too knowledgeable myself but what i consider important is to you know which chord you're playing over and the relation of the notes to that chord. E.g. a "B" would be the "Ninth" over the Am but the "Fifth" over the Em. And that way all notes have a different feeling depending of the chord you're playing over. (I hope someone corrects me if I am wrong).
    Is there any blank sheet music on this site?I can start you on basic blues scales and variations of improvs you can build on on your own? panhead301
    I'm trying to write it out long hand its ridicukous.Wasting time.Gonna look for blank sheet,then I can show you chord prog,variations,scales,options that fit.sorry,man.I'll look,I'm new here.panhead201
    There are a lot of things that can be said. I think probably the most important is to make sure that you are throwing a bit of everything in. Instead of playing just notes, put in some string bends, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, occasional tapping etc. even some pinch harmonics. I'm gunna guess that this is a blues-y type thing, so yeah, pentatonic is a good scale choice. Don't restrict yourself to it though. If you are playing in Am Pentatonic, don't be afraid to slip into A Dorian (From the Major scale). Interchange between the two. You might want to check out the Jazz books by Jamey Aebersold; specifically, look at the scale syllabus pages in the volume. Also remember that if the notes allow, you can swap from the key of Am onto Em when the chord change happens, so you can play for that particular part in Em Pentatonic or E Dorian and the same Dm. Again, the Aebersold book is great, it comes with tracks to solo along with, and also explains everything too. Happy hunting
    I also forgot to include that the 3rd and 7th degree of any scale determine what scale they actually are. Try to emphasize these as well