#1
I've been playing for a while now, and i really want to start improvising my own solos, but i'm not sure if i should work on other things first, what do you think?

so far i know...
e shape minor pentatonic
a few riffs from: master of puppets, purple haze, seek and destroy, icky thump, etc...
the basic major/minor open chords
e shape major scale
working on barre chords

where should i go from here?
help would be GREATLY appreciated
#2
Improvising is honestly individual. Just pick a scale, play it and add your own flavor to it with bends, hammerons, pulloffs, etc. I write alot of riffs this way just playing around and If I like something I keep it if I dont like it I forget it.
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#3
I'm not sure what you mean by E shape minor pentatonic? If you mean The E minor pentatonic then you know every pentatonic scale, it's movable and can be played for any key, say in G major you would use the E minor pentatonic(it's relative minor).

just mess around with it, and have fun.
#4
I think he/she means they know the shape of the scale and whilst that way of learning seems far too popular, it will be what inevitebly is the meaning of the question and what is holding them back.

My advice would be to learn those scale formula's for both the major scale (and then minor) and the minor pentatonic scale (and then the major). Stick to the scale that you have that box pattern for, for now, and learn the notes and the intervals between them in relation to the formula.

I always found it a great help to say out loud, or 'sing', the note names as you play through the scales and also to mix up the scales so you don't always play the root on the low E and run through the scale and back every time. (Try playing Root then third then 2nd then 4th of the scale etc etc. or just improvise within the scale. Or start from a different root).

Stick to this and you're improvositation skills will improve notably (pun intended). Then learn more scales etc etc.
#5
Worry more about your ears than your fingers, ultimately improvising is about getting what you hear in your head out of the guitar, and to do that you need to get familiar with the sounds it can make.

That's why theory is immensely helpful, it puts those sounds in a structure and gives things names so everything becomes a lot less abstract. Start by learning the notes on the fretboard then learn the major scale, but LEARN the major scale. Finger patterns aren't that important, they come into play when it comes to using the scale. Learning the scales is all about understanding how it works musically and when and how you can use it.

Singing things is a great help too, anything you can do to reinforce the connection between the names of things and how they sound. Think about it, your voice is the most immediate instrument you have with the most direct connection to your brain. If you can't "sing" an improvised guitar solo over a backing track then you're never going to be able to play one on a guitar which is several steps removed where the idea starts.
Actually called Mark!

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#6
Yes thats very true, all the practice you put in and the theory you learn will help you to play the tune in your head on your guitar. Sometimes when you are just messing about on the guitar you will produce something that sounds good and can then work on it. Other times you will be out and about somewhere and an idea just pops into your head.
#7
Quote by steven seagull
Worry more about your ears than your fingers, ultimately improvising is about getting what you hear in your head out of the guitar, and to do that you need to get familiar with the sounds it can make.

That's why theory is immensely helpful, it puts those sounds in a structure and gives things names so everything becomes a lot less abstract. Start by learning the notes on the fretboard then learn the major scale, but LEARN the major scale. Finger patterns aren't that important, they come into play when it comes to using the scale. Learning the scales is all about understanding how it works musically and when and how you can use it.

Singing things is a great help too, anything you can do to reinforce the connection between the names of things and how they sound. Think about it, your voice is the most immediate instrument you have with the most direct connection to your brain. If you can't "sing" an improvised guitar solo over a backing track then you're never going to be able to play one on a guitar which is several steps removed where the idea starts.

Wow. This is an excellent answer. We've just hired a vocal coach for our studio. Thanks for the fun improv exercise ideas I'm cooking up from that one.
#8
Also, singing solos is excellent for perfecting your "guitar faces"!
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#9
I'm curious if you could explain more of what you mean by learning the formula? Basically like using the notes that are in the scale in the same order but not using the common pentatonic shape? Or just playing the same notes that are in the scale in any position?

I'm really interested in learning deeper into theory as I too want to improve my improvisation and soloing strategies.
#10
Quote by steven seagull
Also, singing solos is excellent for perfecting your "guitar faces"!


"have you shown her your guitar face?"

i had to say that lol

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#11
^ this is all true. but if you want to make your playing really stand out and add some really cool licks to your solos, i would strongly advise learning the modes, ionian, dorian, phrygian, etc..

forgive me if you know all about this but ill explain anyway. the ionian scale is just the c major scale. simple! the dorian scale is the next one, and this is the same notes but starts on the second step of the ionian scale. same with phrygian, this starts on the third step of the ionian. go all the way though and learn all 7.

youll find that adding some notes from dorian mode or aeolian mode into the e pentatonic minor scale will sound amazing and really spice it up.
#12
Quote by steven seagull
* a whole load of useful information*



Steven, how do you do it?
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#13
I used to work out other guitarist's solos, particularly Jimmy Page's, though obviously your own taste should dictate who you choose. It's a great way to develop your ear, and you usually get to know the best positions to play things in. Once you have someone's solo down, you can throw your own things in there to develop your own style.
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#14
thanks for all the help guys
ill definitely start getting familiar with the fretboard and developing my ear right away
#16
Quote by Markese
I'm curious if you could explain more of what you mean by learning the formula? Basically like using the notes that are in the scale in the same order but not using the common pentatonic shape? Or just playing the same notes that are in the scale in any position?

I'm really interested in learning deeper into theory as I too want to improve my improvisation and soloing strategies.

WWHWWWH would be the'formula' for the major scale. W=Whole step (1 full tone) H=Half step (a semitone). That is to say that starting at the root note (for eg. A) you would follow the formula to give you the rest of the notes within that scale.

So, starting from A add a whole step = B, add another whole step = C#, add a half step (semitone) = D and so on until you have A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G# and back to A

So now you have 7 notes that you know are in the key of A. So now by learning where all those notes appear on the fretboard you'll be able to improvise a solo.

Its important to add, and you metioned it yourself. You don't have to play the notes in any order. If you're playing the A major scale as a pattern or as an exercise then you will probably start with the 5th fret of the low E. (A). When in actual fact you could start with any of those notes.

Hope that helps, I'm not the best at explaining things in text form so I hope I haven't confused you any further.
#17
Quote by LordPino
Steven, how do you do it?
Pretty much EVERY post you post is epic and answers all questions.
If I could vote for a new UG Moderator I'd totally vote Steven Seagull.

It's easy...I'm old and I've made a lot of mistakes seriously, whenever you have a problem just take a step back and look at the big picture, take time to work out what it is you're actually trying to do. Like soloing, the biggest trap people fall into is they learn a scale pattern then start moving their fingers, and then wonder why it doesn't sound good. As soon as you stop approaching it as "where shall I put my fingers?" and instead start thinking "how do I want this to sound?" you start getting somewhere. The fingers are just a means to an end, if you're not using your brain to think about what to play and your ears to tell you if it sounds right then you're not going to create much as far as solos go.
Actually called Mark!

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#18
Quote by LordPino
Steven, how do you do it?
Pretty much EVERY post you post is epic and answers all questions.
If I could vote for a new UG Moderator I'd totally vote Steven Seagull.

I second that. His answers are incredibly right on and "even toned" for an internet forum. Steven Seagull is a definite asset around here.