#1
I have some recordings in my profile. I've been playing 2 years and I'd like input mainly on the improvisation pieces.

I could use some advice that is suitable for someone with 2 years experience, not like "learn this know that". Thanks guys.
#2
Ok, so I'm really high and don't have the attention span to listen to the others, but I really liked Blues On The Spot. The thing about blues is this: it's about the feeling. And I'll tell you this much: I think you've got the feeling. I felt like it was missing something... I kept hoping for some lower pitches mostly. It's really good, clean, and creative playing in my opinion, but it needs more contrast and color. As long as you don't just dance all over the fretboard, I think it could really benefit from some longer leads to really get a diverse and emotional tone. Otherwise, you're mostly playing in "shades of gray."

But yeah, like I said, I really like it.

OH! After listening to it more, more vibrato! I noticed very, very little vibrato. The bends sound good, but loosen those fingers up and go for some bigger bends and deep vibrato. Maybe it's just my preference, but that adds a huge degree of personality and LOADS of the "color" I was talking about. =P
#3
A little lick-y for my own taste, but the notes are there. You do a good job at note and motif repeating. But it sounds like you are throwing in a cliche and then randomly playing all over between them. My suggestion is cut out 50% of the notes that you use, and listen with your ears. Don't try to play blues. Try to interact with the song. Breathe in and out more and let your phrasing slow way down, and try to say more with less. In my opinion, you are talking faster than everything else around you. No shame in slowing it down.
#4
Yeah, the colour is what I'm after though I'm struggling with how to go about it. I don't really know how to embellish my playing with external notes. It seems that improvising well requires a lot of theory knowledge.

I'll need to practice changing scales though I also don't really know what scale transitions sound good or what scales are best to use in certain musical contexts.
#5
Quote by Boxxxed
Yeah, the colour is what I'm after though I'm struggling with how to go about it. I don't really know how to embellish my playing with external notes. It seems that improvising well requires a lot of theory knowledge.

I'll need to practice changing scales though I also don't really know what scale transitions sound good or what scales are best to use in certain musical contexts.


IMO the most important tool you have or can bring to an improvisational environment is your own two ears. Listen to what you are doing, listen to what the music is doing, use what knowledge you have and try like hell to NOT think in scales. Think in terms of melody and going lower and higher, using what you know about low and high as far as the scales form themselves to send you in the right direction.

My suggestion, redo it all. Find a theme this time, maybe a 4-5 note motif that sounds good to YOU, and play on it. Play off of it in an improvisiational style, and avoid licks, simply play according to whether or not you hear that your contribution should be lower, the same, or higher than your last note played. Play slowly Then come back to that theme, and play it again, but change it up slightly, maybe how it resolves, and then take it in a different direction. Use only your ear to tell you where it should go.

Play fewer notes but make them count more. This takes a lot of discipline to do, and the temptation to fill in space and silence will be great. You may even be chiding yourself that if you arent playing fast or enough notes per minute that youll sound like a beginner or basic and.....fill in the blank.

Resist all that negative thinking, just play for the song, and at the end if you have 25 notes in the piece and you did what I suggested, you'll have made a big step as a musician seeking to communicate on the guitar.

Whats your musical and theory background?
Last edited by Sean0913 at Dec 11, 2009,
#6
Quote by Boxxxed
Yeah, the colour is what I'm after though I'm struggling with how to go about it. I don't really know how to embellish my playing with external notes. It seems that improvising well requires a lot of theory knowledge.

I'll need to practice changing scales though I also don't really know what scale transitions sound good or what scales are best to use in certain musical contexts.


When I play the blues, I like to use a lot of chromatic... hmm, hammer-ons? For example, I frequently use things like 10h11h12v, a lick, and maybe 10h11h12v on a different string (or different frets altogether) followed by another lick.

This is just kind of an off-the-wall suggestion, but try dropping from your position a complete octave, or even two. Like, a massive slide or quick run from a high note down a full octave, or more. Really give it some big moments of contrast and experiment with different methods of bringing it back "home." Obviously, you could do that vice versa too: experiment with methods to bring it into the lower registers and then bring it back home (or further) with massive slides or quick runs.

And just for fun, add in a massive bend or two. And I mean epic. Slow and controlled, but epic. I love that sound and feeling. You could even aim for a "swell" quality, and mid-way through a slow release, drop it entirely and give it a deep vibrato before an aggressive and energetic lick.

It's all about the highs and lows. Think of your playing as a pencil drawing. If it only uses shades of gray, it's going to be plain and uninteresting no matter how well drawn. Contrarily, too much contrast will eliminate the finer details and all the warmth that subtlety can deliver. It's the same with playing. You don't want your finer playing to get lost in frequent drops or squeals, but a good blend will get people's attention.

You could try this: when improving over a progression, play the notes at roughly the same pitch as the rhythm instrument (or what it would theoretically be playing), possibly one octave higher, and try pushing some chords over the edge by running their tones up and down the fretboard. Kind of a ****ed up explanation, but you might get the idea.

Anyway, at this point I'm almost giving myself advice. I've never really done any of that because I'm still working on simper concepts. o.O lol
#7
Thanks for the advice, I already find myself semi-using that approach. I think I'll listen to a lot of blues and try to see what they're doing. What's incredibly difficult for me is improvising melodically or maintaining a motif as you say. My improvisation is strictly mixing up the pentatonics with some minor embellishments here and there as well as trying to keep in sync with the backing track. What I feel is that I need to learn more about how to use what notes to add this colour. I'd really like it if I could change scales over different chords and after learning that focus on the motif. It'll give me much more to work with. I don't really know how to convey what I know about theory. I'm just finishing up a chords and scales course with Berklee online if that helps.
Last edited by Boxxxed at Dec 11, 2009,
#8
Quote by Boxxxed
Thanks for the advice, I already find myself semi-using that approach. I think I'll listen to a lot of blues and try to see what they're doing. What's incredibly difficult for me is improvising a melodically or maintaining a motif as you say. My improvisation is strictly mixing up the pentatonics with some minor embellishments here and there as well as trying to keep in sync with the backing track. What I feel is that I need to learn more about how to use what notes to add this colour. I'd really like it if I could change scales over different chords and after learning that focus on the motif. It'll give me much more to work with. I don't really know how to convey what I know about theory. I'm just finishing up a chords and scales course with Berklee online if that helps.


Is that the one that costs about 900.00 or so to take?
#11
I love a good blues jam so it's funny, I've been reading this thread and I haven't been able to listen to it yet (gf listing to her playlist)and I'm very curious now. Nice sig sean.
#12
sounds like you need more experience. a couple of bends didnt really go anywhere an not much vibrato at all. vibrato i think is the most important thing an instrumentalist needs....except for a piano player i suppose.

also, the playing was a bit choppy sounding. you might want to work on your picking. i have a lesson here on pentatonic sequences for soloing. look it up, im pretty sure its called that. try practicing them to get your picking cleaner and get you more familiar with the scale. it will also help with soloing. i use each of the sequences in my soloing actually. obviously not just straight up and down the scale though.

and honestly, i dont mean to sound rude or upsetting or anything, but it seemed a bit forced at times. but i know its hard to record yourself and that happens to me too. its like the spotlight is on you and you have to do something good right there. try to just forget about that and just play. sometimes ill record something and not think its good and then ill listen to it later and it actually is. dont expect to be doing godly guitar work 24/7. play what you feel and what you think suites the song. again, this kind of ties into experience. just keep playing, have fun, dont force it and it should come to you.

also, i cant stress this enough, VIBRATO! work on it my friend. and not just fretted notes, bent notes too. listen to eric clapton with the cream. imo, some of the best vibrato ive heard. listen to "spoonful" and hear that bent e note in the second verse. perfect if you ask me.
#13
Finally able to give it a listen.

Not bad for 2 years. All I would tell you is keep up whatever you're doin. Maybe check out this little lesson on boxes. It's pretty cool and it's basically the same way I've learned to improv.

thumbs up