#1
I had made my own backing track which was in the key of C major and i used the A minor Pentatonic scale with some other notes from the C major scale thrown into the mix. This will be my first real attempt at improvising over a backing track and I was wondering if i could get opinions on the matter.

Are there parts that were good, bad, horrible? What should i work on to make these improve? Any general, understandable tips on anything about improvising?

Please don't be afraid to be harsh or anything like that, yeah i'll probably think "oh man that guy hurt my feelings " but in the long run it'll help me improve as a musician!

and just as a side note.... its my 1 year anniversary playing guitar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28y-_4_7JUU

btw i know it sucks so no need to say it does!
#2
Well, yeah it was bad, but mostly it just sounds like you need to work more on your ear, and find good ways to keep the notes flowing together.

Although using the relative minor is cool, try sticking with the actual C Major scale at first.

Also, it sounded like you were just playing notes at random kinda, so try and make your phrases more connected, as if you're trying to say something. In speech, you're not just saying random words, you have a purpose. So in playing, have a purpose and use different articulations (bends, and vibrato are good).

And last, put some soul in it man.
#3
Quote by rocklover13
I had made my own backing track which was in the key of C major and i used the A minor Pentatonic scale with some other notes from the C major scale thrown into the mix. This will be my first real attempt at improvising over a backing track and I was wondering if i could get opinions on the matter.

Are there parts that were good, bad, horrible? What should i work on to make these improve? Any general, understandable tips on anything about improvising?

Please don't be afraid to be harsh or anything like that, yeah i'll probably think "oh man that guy hurt my feelings " but in the long run it'll help me improve as a musician!

and just as a side note.... its my 1 year anniversary playing guitar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28y-_4_7JUU

btw i know it sucks so no need to say it does!


A Minor and C Major contain the same pitches.
#4
One thing to keep in mind is that you WEREN'T playing the A minor pentatonic scale, you were using the C major scale. You may have been using a shape that you learned as the A minor pentatonic scale, but in the context of a C major progression those notes are C major. There's no such thing as "using the relative minor", that's one the most common misconceptions in the guitar world. Relative minors and majors just explain the relationship between the keys, they have nothing to do with actually playing. The chords dictate the key and therefore what scale those notes will be, not the shape.

All I can really say to you is listen listen listen, because it doesn't sound like you did. Listen to your backing, follow the chords and choose notes that fit. Likewise timing - you need to time your playing to fit with the rhythm of the backing. From the sounds of it you were mainly just moving your fingers through that A minor pentatonic shape rather than thinking about how each note would sound over the backing.

Just slow down and think of a sound you want to play, then try to find it on the guitar rather than letting your fingers take the lead.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Jul 15, 2009,
#6
Quote by steven seagull
One thing to keep in mind is that you WEREN'T playing the A minor pentatonic scale, you were using the C major scale. You may have been using a shape that you learned as the A minor pentatonic scale, but in the context of a C major progression those notes are C major. There's no such thing as "using the relative minor", that's one the most common misconceptions in the guitar world. Relative minors and majors just explain the relationship between the keys, they have nothing to do with actually playing. The chords dictate the key and therefore what scale those notes will be, not the shape..


This is true.
The
A minor Pentatonic and C major have very similar notes but if you play a song with the A minor when its C major, it wont sound as good. You'll end some of your phrases with A instead of C, which makes a difference in my ears. So just practice a song with the the key of C with C minor and ect. Then worry about the major later.

You just have to look at the Pentatonic shape in a different way when your using it to play the major scale.
#7
Quote by steven seagull
One thing to keep in mind is that you WEREN'T playing the A minor pentatonic scale, you were using the C major scale. You may have been using a shape that you learned as the A minor pentatonic scale, but in the context of a C major progression those notes are C major. There's no such thing as "using the relative minor", that's one the most common misconceptions in the guitar world. Relative minors and majors just explain the relationship between the keys, they have nothing to do with actually playing. The chords dictate the key and therefore what scale those notes will be, not the shape.

All I can really say to you is listen listen listen, because it doesn't sound like you did. Listen to your backing, follow the chords and choose notes that fit. Likewise timing - you need to time your playing to fit with the rhythm of the backing. From the sounds of it you were mainly just moving your fingers through that A minor pentatonic shape rather than thinking about how each note would sound over the backing.

Just slow down and think of a sound you want to play, then try to find it on the guitar rather than letting your fingers take the lead.


This might sound like a stupid question but what are ways to work on phrasing?
#8
Quote by rocklover13
This might sound like a stupid question but what are ways to work on phrasing?
Think of it a bit like telling a story, or holding a conversation. If you're talking to someone you might ask a question, then they answer it, then you elaborate on it slightly, then they might ask about something else, changing the subject slightly....try and do something similar with your improv. It can help to limit yourself to just the root note and a couple of notes near it - that way you can focus on your rhythm and phrasing without having to think about what note you're going to play next, and add more notes in as you get confident.

Edit: It sounds like you were actually playing A minor over a C Major backing track - you seemed to end a lot of licks and phrases on an A. Try and focus on the root of the scale, so if you're playing over C your licks and phrases gravitate towards C. If you listen to it, it sounds a bit uncomfortable, as you're not resolving by going bakc to the root.

If you're not sure about major stuff yet try improvising in a minor key for a bit first, then try major when you've got a bit more confidence.

Phrasing-wise I've heard a lot worse. Just focus on listening to what you're playing and the backing track to make sure it sounds like it fits.

Props to you for making your own backing track

Double Edit: Happy anniversary
Last edited by zhilla at Jul 16, 2009,
#9
It sounds very out of key... You might want to work on your guitar tone, too. I liked the picture in the video, though
#10
Quote by rocklover13
This might sound like a stupid question but what are ways to work on phrasing?


That's not a stupid question. The fact that u asked is a sign of intelligence and is something even well know guitarist should be asking themselves.

anyway... hehe

Basically phrasing is what you're trying to say with your guitar. slow phrasing could be conveying something mournful or romantic and faster phrasing could be saying something happy.

The best way to improve your phrasing is to learn from other guitarist. Learn a solo that u like.

Since u know pentatonic scales, Try looking into santana's or david gilmour's(pink floyd) solos.

Listen to what they're trying to say and how the solo starts, moves, and ends.

and above all else, listen to yourself.

It's your guitar and your fingers and your pick, what is it that you wanna say?
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#11
Play less notes. This was one of the best pieces of advice I was given towards improvisation. Don't try to fill the space with notes. Create the space with rests. Try to think about where the third of a chord is or where the fifth is, or the seventh if you can do it, even the root note is good. Then play that note. Then stop playing and think where those notes are for the next chord and play them. If you can't find them in time, don't play anything! It's better to hit one really sweet note than to fumble around playing a lot of bad notes in hopes of hitting a good one.


And an old trick is that if you hit a note that instantly sounds bad just bend it up a fret. It'll sound good enough.


Also, just because I recommended following chord tones (the root, third, fifth and seventh) doesn't mean you stop using C major scale. You will be playing in C major all the time. In fact, you can just stick to one position you know for C major and look for the chord tones within that frame work.
#12
Are you sure it was in key? I would seriously reccomend lessons if you can get them, they helped me lots with this kind of thing
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