Hi, so I've been playing guitar for about 2 year and a half, Im into stuff like joe satriani and im curently working on for the love of god by steve vai. Anyways, my question is, will my improvising skills improve over time? sometimes I feel like if I know what i want to say with my guitar but cant find the notes. i know you can get better by practicing technique wise, but can you really improve musical intelegence? *also english is'nt my first language so sorry for typos
most definately. you just need to expose yourself to different types of music when improvising so you learn, then when you go back you'll use some of those techniques in that style.
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Yeah, for sure improvising involves different techniques to create an emotional and interesting sound. As you become more familiar with the entire fretboard and different sound it can make, like playing the notes legato down one string as opposed to the normal scale. Time won't make you better but practice will.
Practice, and work on your phrasing. With practice you will learn which notes you like, and what you think sounds best. Also, learning theory will help a lot(this will help with your musical intelligence).
Quote by Eric014
will my improvising skills improve over time? sometimes I feel like if I know what i want to say with my guitar but cant find the notes
Thats the easiest bit of improv to improve imo - work on your ear (practice transcribing - starting with really simple songs), make sure you understand the scales you use, and can play them in any direction anywhere on the neck. Practice singing what you hear in your hed, and then try and repeat it on your guitar, even record yourself singing what you want to play, then transcribe it.

Phrasing takes time to improve too - just like you couldn't construct coherent sentences when you first started talking, you will find it a lot easier to construct coherent phrases on your guitar as you get more comfortable with your instrument and don't have to consciously think about where the notes you want are.
Something that really helped me improvise was to turn the radio on and play with whatever song popped on, regardless of genre.

The idea is that you have a limited amount of time to find the key and apply the relevant scales. Over time you can pick up the chord progression relatively easily. It's a lot of fun, you end up learning a lot of songs too that you otherwise wouldn't be bothered doing.

Just don't try to jam with the classical stations. That'll drive you nuts. News radio doesn't really work either.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
> make sure you understand the scales you use,

what exactly do you mean by 'understanding' scales?

>Phrasing takes time to improve too

can you also explain what is meant by phrasing?
Quote by vtpcnk
> make sure you understand the scales you use,

what exactly do you mean by 'understanding' scales?
Know how they are constructed in terms of notes and intervals, not just in terms of the patterns they make on the neck (although that is useful too), and be able to play them in any key in any direction anywhere on the neck - that way you can focus on the sound you want, and not have to hunt for notes.

Quote by vtpcnk
>Phrasing takes time to improve too

can you also explain what is meant by phrasing?
I think of it a bit like a conversation - if you're talking to someone you might make a statement, then they ask a question about it, which you answe, then they ask a deeper question, you answer it then change the subject slightly etc. Phrasing is doing the same sort of think in your playing, so your improv tells a story rather than just being a long string of noodles. Although long strings of noodles are fun to play, they aren't as easy or as fun to listen to as something that is well phrased. Listen to some Andy Timmons - he has awesome phrasing!
i know what you are feeling mate. Ive been playing for about 5 years and although i can play solo's with emotion and also fast solo's, i always have this feeling that my solo's dont sound that great. I always feel like it sounds like racket and i want them to sound good, but dont know how..
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In my opinion improv is where a guitarist truly shines. A kid at my school was INSANE at guitar, his timing perfect, play both fast and consistently and he learnt whole songs within the time i was still learning the intro, however when asked to improvise he would send you to sleep, no excitement in his playing because he was so used to being told what to play, he didnt know what to do when put on the spot and show what HE sounds like.
There's riddles in the shadows
They're thrown the way that i'd expect
And people never seem to know
What they least suspect is coming next
Improv is a great deal of feeling and it definitly gets easier over time. Also easier if you've been playing with the same group of guys for an extended period of time.
I think two of the more important elements of improvising are:

1. Being able to play what is in your head - you can improve this by developing your ear and the connection between ear/guitar.

2. Being creative enought to "hear" something interesting in your ear - I think you can improve this by studying other musicians (all instruments and styles) to see how they approach improvisation.

If you improve on those fronts you will definitely see an improvement in your improv. I think most bad improv can be traced back to people letting their fingers guide them where to go next without thinking about how it will sound, so if they are used to running up and down scales, all of their improv attempts will just sound like running up and down a scale.
learn your theory!! its borin but it really helps ure improv. also jus practise and importantly have fun.
Get a recorder. Listen to yourself on playback. Make adjustments to your liking or rather to
your listener's liking. Just becuase it sounds and feels good to you while you're improving
dosn't mean you're gf or listener dosn't want to slapp you over the head or poke your eyes out.

Listening on playback is a common technique singers use to improve thier vocal.

A guitar being a string instrument with the ability to strecth or bend notes. If you
don't bend your notes up to a nice pitch at a given moment it can sound very irratating.

Listen or practice playing with various drumming patterns at different tempo.
Get familar with the druming patterns. Get familar with the various chord movements.

Keep it simple and slow at first then build on that.
First you might pratice playing over one chord. Then to a two chord progression.
Then three..then 4 and so on and so forth.

Set up your guitar's intonations or get someone that knows what they're doing.
A $99 guitar set up properly will sound better than a $2000 guitar without proper
set up anyday.
Last edited by 12notes at Sep 4, 2009,