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#1
I'm pretty good with music theory, but I don't know what to do with it!!!

If you asked me to play any scale, I could
If you ask me to play any chord, I could
But I just can't make a tune or a song sound interesting!
My ultimate goal is to be able to improvise a decent solo piece, but I don't know how, they're always so bland!

Please, give me some tips and pointers on what to do next!!!
Thankyou in advance
J
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#2
force yourself to work outside your shell. like if you play mostly metal, try some jazz for blues. master as many genres as you deem possible, and then do some sort of fusion, fusing say- metal, blues, and folk music.
EDIT: i honestly don't know if that helped any.
#3
Making a Chord Progression Based off of the major scale

I = Major Chord with the Tonic as the root.
ii = Minor Chord with the Supertonic as the root.
iii = Minor Chord with the Mediant as the root.
IV = Major Chord with the Subdominant as the root.
V = Major Chord with the Dominant as the root.
vi = Minor Chord with the Submediant as the root.
vii(diminished symbol) = Diminished Chord with the Leading Tone as the root.

In most popular music, the chord progression is based around the chords I, IV, and V.

I'd just say mess around with those, and maybe stick in a ii, iii, vi or vii for some added flavor.

EDIT: This was posted with the knowledge that you know a fair amount of music theory. I can make things less wordy if need be.
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#4
Learn some other peoples solos, check out other peoples licks, make up some licks of your own, make yourself use different intervals and start on different notes, make up a rhythm then fit the notes to it....then get yourself some jam tracks (make em or download em) and just try out all the different licks, link them together in different ways, and just noodle.

Don't expect yourself to instantly be able to come up with something awesome if you are just starting to improvise. Start off limiting yourself to just 2 or 3 notes, and noodle with them, then when you are confident add a note in, and keep going like that until you are using the whole fretboard.
#6
get some friends and jam for a while. if nothing else you can at least observe their styles.
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#8
Quote by MrToucan
I'm pretty good with music theory, but I don't know what to do with it!!!

If you asked me to play any scale, I could
If you ask me to play any chord, I could
But I just can't make a tune or a song sound interesting!
My ultimate goal is to be able to improvise a decent solo piece, but I don't know how, they're always so bland!

Please, give me some tips and pointers on what to do next!!!
Thankyou in advance
J


Spend some time listening to and playing music on your guitar to give your theory knowledge some context.
shred is gaudy music
#10
Whenever I don't feel like playing guitar, I watch Steve Vai playing. And goddayyuum if that don't get you in the mood, nothing will.

When composing, you literally just gotta close your eyes and listen. Learn what intervals sound like, so if you think of a good tune in your head, you can translate it to the guitar. Also, once you get good with it, it will help you quickly play good melodies when improvising.
#12
If you can't use theory to make music, then you don't know theory. Learn to APPLY what you have memorized, don't just memorize stuff because it's considered "advanced" or whatever guitarists are doing nowadays.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#13
take some drugs.

or you can screw your life up and make songs out of desperation!
like brian jones
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#14
Quote by Ribcage
get some friends and jam for a while. if nothing else you can at least observe their styles.

best answer really, playing by yourself gets old.. i never get tired of jamming with people
#17
Quote by MrToucan
I'm pretty good with music theory, but I don't know what to do with it!!!

If you asked me to play any scale, I could
If you ask me to play any chord, I could
But I just can't make a tune or a song sound interesting!
My ultimate goal is to be able to improvise a decent solo piece, but I don't know how, they're always so bland!

Please, give me some tips and pointers on what to do next!!!
Thankyou in advance
J

how much of your practice is devoted to improvising? how many times a week do you do this? your answer should be every day if you really want to be a serious improviser and id say at LEAST a third of your daily practice should be improvising.

when i first started, what id do is as soon as a learned a new scale, i threw myself into soloing. i forced myself to use the scale to make an actual solo instead of worrying too much about how to go up and down it. and every single day (give or take. some days i might have been out somewhere without a guitar)since then ive been taking time in my day to practice improvising. in fact, most of my practice is that. losts of times when im doing this though im looking for new things to do and new phrases.

so get out the old CD player and pop in some tunes and jam along. or just turn on the radio. try to figure out what ever song comes on. it will help with ear training. and the best way to learn is to jam with others in a band situation. hope that helps a bit.
#18
Thanks everyone

I've started playing with a metronome, and that helps ****loads!
And, learning the different boxes of the minor and major pents now mean I can improv right through the neck!

But the main thing, it that i've stopped anchoring, and my god, it helps!!!!!


If anyone who anchors reads this, then just for five minutes, try playing stairway to heaven without anchoring your pinky! It gives 1000x more control


Thanks!
Quote by Ikonoklast
Tie her up and drive her into some woods, pour petrol over her and then ask her if she wants you back.


Anyone in Birmingham, England meet up for a Jam?


Quote by uk.mace
My hand gave me a handjob



Won't give me a f*cking blowjob though
#19
To T/S
I gave up 'guitar' along time ago. Now I spend all my musical energy improvising and writing music.

I figured that the best guitarists in the world are these obscure guys who nobody knows about and won't get laid more than anyone else. They're usually these sad little guys with no social lives that spend every waking minute playing other guys songs really really fast. Sure they can play at 40bpm, but so what?

Then I asked myself, who in this music thing actually gets laid because of music?

Well, song writers. Not many guys can write a decent song. These are the guys that get famous and get laid and get written in the history books. Let's face it, bachs lead violinist has been forgotten, but I highly doubt Bach, the guy that wrote the music, ever will.

My fix to any motivational rut is this: Learn to write music (like all REAL arts, it's a learned ability, not an inherent ability), get famous, get laid.
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        L.
#20
I've had similar problems with music theory concepts myself. Its one thing to know what a chord or interval is or how to play it, but what always becomes more important is what those things sound like. Do you know what a V-I progression or a Dominant 7th chord sounds like? Knowing about something is okay, but incorporating that thing into your musical mind is much more important.

I find when it comes to writing, the best stuff usually starts as a riff, melody, chord progression, or groove that I can hear in my head. The better connection you have to what you hear, the easier it will be to figure that out on the guitar. It can sometimes be grueling to figure out how to play some things, but the key is to push through it.

A good exercise for this would be to try learning some songs (start with simple ones) by ear. No tabs. No videos. Just listen to the track and work it out. Again, it will take time to do, but its worth it. Remember that guys like Jimi Hendrix, SRV, Randy Rhoads and many others didn't have songs tabbed out for them when they were learning. They had to work it all out by ear. Take them as your example. Remember to analyze what your hearing and learning to play. If you learn the song as (string 5, fret7), (string 5 ,fret 8), etc. it won't mean anything and you'll miss out on fully understanding what it is that your hearing.

On to improvising solos. It doesn't matter if you can play a scale inside and out when your improvising if it isn't musical. I'm not saying that you can't play with amazing technique and not be musical (Guthrie Govan is a good example of this), I just believe that the musical side should come first. Work on improvising with your ears instead of with your eyes. Hear the solo you want to play instead of burning through a pattern that you know. Basic ear training will help with this as will the above exercise.
#21
The good news is, you havn't totally lost your love for guitar or you wouldn't have made this thead. Your probably just bored, don't worry, it happens to everyone. Hendrix said he got bored multiple times, and did he quit, **** no. Just find a way to inspire yourself again. Write a song, learn some theory, learn a new riff, get 10bpms faster. Something that will impress yourself.

When I get in a rut I either write a song, check out a new genre, or get a girlfreind. Works for me everytime.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#22
don't get 10 bpm faster. screw that. who cares?

i have still given you the most practical advice. take some drugs and start winging it. you are probably overthinking the task at hand. some songs only have two chords. i know you know two chords. some have three, for or more. drugs will take your typical sober mind out of the equation, thank goodness. this of course is not recommended if you have children.
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#23
Quote by Bosswagon
don't get 10 bpm faster. screw that. who cares?

i have still given you the most practical advice. take some drugs and start winging it. you are probably overthinking the task at hand. some songs only have two chords. i know you know two chords. some have three, for or more. drugs will take your typical sober mind out of the equation, thank goodness. this of course is not recommended if you have children.


Yes why try to improve your playing when you can get high instead You should apply this philosiphy to everything you do in life, and see how far you make it.
#24
Quote by blueriver
Yes why try to improve your playing when you can get high instead You should apply this philosiphy to everything you do in life, and see how far you make it.


this man embodies genius.
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#25
I'm not down talking drugs, as I am a user, but I don't believe they are the only option, and definatly not the saffest.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#26
Drugs are like this: Safer than people think, less effective/impressive than people think, less of a problem than people think, not as helpfull as people think.
This is why people that grow up being told that all drugs will kill them after the first hit (lol) end up smoking weed and popping the occasional pill, and why people who grow up being told drugs are wonderful ways to access a creative, fun world of butterflies end up "growing too old" for drugs (if they ever try them).

Drugs (weed in particular) won't make you write better music, sure they'll make a single note sound blue with awesome (hard to explain), but when you're sober and your audience is sober, it'll still sound like crap. Let's put it this way, after a few cones/bowls good things sound A-FUKING-MAZING, ordinary things sound great and crappy things sound passable. If you're writing and the stuff sounds passable, you're actually writing crappy music.

Now stop talking about drugs.
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[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#27
if you aren't an idiot it can provide a valuable vacation from mundane perspectives. if you aren't an idiot you can benefit from a broadened perspective. you people take this too seriously. the guy is only trying to string a few chords together.
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#28
drugs are perfectly safe, it is people that are sometimes defective
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#29
Exactly. Drugs are safe if used responsibly, but 9 people out of 10 are too stupid for them, but enough about drugs. TS, you need to remember why you started playing guitar, and build on that. The only thing I can do is give you an example, because I have no idea why you play guitar. I started because I wanted to write songs, and hopefully pick up girls. I've been in ruts, mostly due to lack of direction. When this happens to me I drop everything. I don't practise anyone, I don't study any more theory, and I barely train my ear. I focus 100% of my energy on writing music, and just enjoying the experience, and it has worked everytime.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#30
If by drugs you mean weed is perfectly save then yeah, weed is fine. If by drugs you mean all drugs, then no, they obviously aren't fine. A heroin addict doesn't overdose because he is defective. Saying drugs don't have negative effects is like saying I have no idea what I am talking about. Coming from someone who did drugs for a very long time, they don't really have positive effects. And smoking weed isnt going to change your perspective on life or enlighten you. Ok Im done sorry
#31
I think drugs can change your mindset, Adam Jones himself said there would be no Tool if he didn't do LSD.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#32
Quote by The_Sophist
I think drugs can change your mindset, Adam Jones himself said there would be no Tool if he didn't do LSD.


Funny I was just thinking about LSD and Tool while I was taking a shower. Yes LSD can and will change your perception on everything, since an LSD trip is basically looking at things from a different perspective. It isn't always possible, and LSD can have really bad effects on your brain. Hallucigenic ( I think I butchered that word) drugs are the only ones I would credit with that ability.
#33
when ever im not feeling optimistic about my playing i just jam with my friends. thats the perfect prescription for me. also i know some music theory no where near as much as you. i dont come up with riffs from a scale. i know my basic scales and up to my intermeadiate chords. i have a general understanding on how chords are contstructed. i can pick a chord out of a scale.

i dont really use much of this technicallity when coming up with original tracks. i come up with a riff based on how im feeling at the time. i base a riff of its tone and how it sounds. i rely on my ears to make it sound good not theory. the only part i use theory is in soloing. sometimes i will pre plan a song of theory but i have found this techique is what works for me.
as for your bland solos. use vibrato, tremolo, bends, taping stuff like that. put emotion in it. thats what i do. i tend to be more of a gilmour type soloer. i like emotion in my solos. though it is cool i find it pointless to just play a bunch of really fast licks over and over. like i said it is cool but its not my style. i will still do some fast parts here and there though
#34
I think that perhaps...you should put the books down and start feeling the music.
just perhaps.
#36
whatup the best songwriters didnt know any theory and did lots of drugs just saying
#37
Best song writers is all about opinion, and I think this thread is dead.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#39
Define most succesful.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
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