Improvising

Wanting a new idea on how to improvise? This is a simple method some people use.

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Let's face it; improvising isn't exactly the easiest guitar technique one can talk about. There really aren't any rules to it, and it can sound good if you get better at it, and if you're starting out, it probably sounds crappy. We all do, you aren't alone. We all start somewhere, and though I can't give you a fool-proof trick to improvising, I can offer you some guidance as to how to get the kind of sounds you want.

I started improvising, and I'll be the first to admit, I sucked, and it was atrocious. I tried to get better, but I found no matter how much I tried, I just couldn't get the hang of it. It wasn't until I asked my former guitar teacher what to do about it that I found the answer to my problem. He told me this:

The trick isn't necessarily having as good ear or being a prodigy. It is knowing where you want the solo to take the audience and the impression you want to leave on them. Don't just walk on stage without thinking about it and just start throwing notes off, that's only going to hurt your sound. Go on with an idea of what you want to play, then go from there.

Take a day to figure out different chunks with different moods. Find something that will work with something depressing, something happy, etc. Learn to find these things, and make a few chunks that are different, but can fit together. Use these in your improve to make something interesting, and try not to repeat yourself.

As I went home that day, I worked on it. Not easy in the least bit, but I spent a few days working on making a few small chunks and putting them together in different keys. I looked for what to play and I also know what NOT to play.

Here's the trick, don't spend too much time in one chunk, and keep them diverse. This will keep your improving fresh and give you new sounds and maybe new ideas. Never repeat a chunk twice, and don't write 2 chunks that sound the same. Repeating these at random moments doesn't sound right and might make a solo boring. If you choose, you can have some pattern that you can repeat over and over singularly and it will sound good, but keep it 3-5 notes before you play it over again. Also if you choose to do this, play it fast because slow will sound out of place.

When making a chunk, try to start with the root note. Ex(key of A maj):

e|-------------------5p3p2h5h9---------------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------7h9-----9p5---------------------------|
G|---2h6p4h6p2h6p4h6---------------7p6-----6p4-----------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------7p6h9p7---------------|
A|-----------------------------------------------------9p5h7p5-------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------5h9p5~|
(This could perhaps be used to end a song, starting and ending on the root with different pitches, but can be used for many other things as well.)

Also, try to learn as many scales, modes, and variations as possible if you want to try this chunk method. That will help greatly.

Best tip is to just mess around and find something that appeals to you. Memorize how to play in the key you want, then learn to link them together with other things that you come up with. Don't get frustrated if you don't get something right away, it will take time.

Though I realize some of you might say, But this isn't real improvising! This is just playing different solos together, this is fake, I just want to let you know this is how a lot of people do things. If you are thinking, I can improvise just fine without any help, good for you, keep at it too, we can all get better. This is a method for the people that haven't learned to improvise any other way or need a new method.

Thanks, JiN

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    munky2089
    I agree, improvising consists mainly of playing chunks you know and connecting them on the spot in a way you want. Best way to learn it is to spend time with your guitar, no shortcuts on that