my instructor recently taught me the penatonic scale and is trying to get me to improvising, like making a solo. whenever i try i have no clue what to do. any advice?
just play any of the notes in the scale and see what sounds good
Try finding/playing a chord progression in the same key to give you a basis to work from?
first, try to learn some licks. Usually, when you learn a scale, I try to search for songs with licks in that scale so i can know what it actually is about.

I'm just getting my head around improvising, so am by no means an authority on the matter, but my two-pennoths worth...

If you're feeling a bit lost, might be worth looking at some other peoples solos to get a feel for some licks - like stairway (although watch out for the extra 'F's), shook me all night (ACDC), Paranoid (ozzy)...then nick little bits from them, play them a few times and then start changing them.

And make sure you know the scale well - play it forwards, backwards, and in different combinations so you can find your way around it without having to think.

I find it a lot easier to improvise to jam tracks than on my own, do might be worth downloading some or making your own.
Quote by atr5557
my instructor recently taught me the penatonic scale and is trying to get me to improvising, like making a solo. whenever i try i have no clue what to do. any advice?

Get used to the sounds the scale makes, decide whether or not you want to use them.
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Sounds like I'm just starting to climb the same learning curve as the OP, albeit in a very blues-oriented kinda way.

Self-teaching here, and have adopted the following method (which, as with most things I do, is probably wrong)...

Acquire slooow* backing track in the key I'm intending to use.

Decide whereabouts on the fretboard I'm going to kick off, and make a mental note of where the important notes I'm going to be basing the improvisation around (i.e. where are the roots, IVs and Vs I'm probably going to be visiting). I'll then usually just play the pattern(s) in which the starting root resides a few times (to remind my aged brain what's going on...), and probably the neighbouring patterns as well. If I'm going to try and pop a chord or two in (this usually ends in disaster at the moment), I'll try and work out where's going to be played beforehand, and whereabouts it's "legit" for the underlying progression, so I can keep it in the locker for use at the appropriate point.

Slowly, without necessarily playing constantly, play a few pre-learned licks, or variations thereon, centred around (or ending at, or starting at, whatever) the appropriate root note of the chord in the underly progression.

As far as where said licks come from, they're basically pinched from other people's solos, which strikes me as fair enough as the same basic soloing components appear constantly throughout blues\rock\metal\[insert plenty of other genres here].

As things stand, I'm truely rubbish at it That said, it's improving slowly, and the kick from putting a few bars together that sound really good (happens occasionally) is massive.

* Can't over-emphasise that enough. Okay, I an absolute total improvisation n00b, but at my current state, anything more lively than the background music at Andropov's funeral leaves me with fingers in a knot, and sounds like a mixture of free jazz and a plane crash.
Oh, now I've gone and spilled my tea. This really won't do at all.
Last edited by CarpUK at Feb 17, 2009,
I'd start by learning other scales(/modes) that you can play together!
To my knowledge(sounds okay to my ears) when the root of a chord progression is E minor ( a minor chord progression I think), you can use G major, E minor pentatonic and A minor pentatonic.

I'm not 100% sure, but to my ears it sounds okay.
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