#1
hey dudes,i've been playing guitar for a while now and here's the issue. i found a backing track in E minor/Gmajor in rock/blues context and i jammed on it for say,maybe close to 5 months? here's where the problem is: every time i play to this particular Gmajor/E minor backing track,i find myself playing the same thing every time i jam to it. i'm not playing the same thing in the whole 5 minutes of backing track but i'm playing the same thing(more or less) every time(every day) i jam to it. as the days go by, i realised how boring my licks sound and how 'ordinary' sounding they are. so can i have any advice or help here? i think my problem is under improvisations. right,so tell me what can i do to improve.




Oh and it's a E minor/G major pentatonic backing track.
Last edited by gisobon at Jan 7, 2010,
#3
you are probably using a pentatonic scale.... or a major scale...

thats bland because you cant really make melodic stuff out of it... it you jammed out on a harmonic minor scale, you are able to get a bit more fancy with melodic stuff...

if yuo want to stick with pentatonic type stuff,,, thats cool... here is how to make it sound a little better. mess around with picking out notes outside of the scale and use those notes as passing notes to build up creativity.

for example... I'll use the Stairway to Heaven solo example.

That solo is all Aminor pentatonic but it has one note that isnt in the scale but it is used alot, and thats the F note. The reason that F note works is because for the rhythm, the chords are Am to G to F and when the rhythm goes to the F chord, Jimmy Page applies the F note in the scale.

Also, instead of playing the pentatonic scale, play the Blues scale instead...

Dont be afraid to play outside of the scale... Marty Friedman is a great example if this... If he was to solo over just an A major chord, one of his techniques would be this...

he would take notice all the A notes in the fretboard. And then he would just make a melody off random notes but always end on that A note.

Another tip is,, dont just solo in the key of the back track.... Lets say the back track is in A minor and the chord progression is this A minor to D7 to E7...

When the chord progression switches off to that D7,,, use the D pentatonic scale.... when it goes to the E7, use the E pentatonic scale... etc...

Hope any of this helps
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#4
Start thinking about what sound you want as opposed to just moving your fingers.
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#5
Quote by steven seagull
Start thinking about what sound you want as opposed to just moving your fingers.

Yep. Definitely.

I'm sure everyone goes through this stage. You're basically letting your fingers do the playing for you. Try to give some thought into your phrases before you play them. It will become second nature, in time.
#6
i see..wow you guys are certainly of a great help,thanks. recently i'm trying to sing the melody in my head and then execute them on the guitar as steven seagull and chrisweyers mentioned. and cobracarg you're right but i'm under a teacher now and he wants me to make some musical sense by blending only the E major and E minor pentatonic together to make some melodies.i mean he said it isn't wrong to use notes outside the scale but he wants to build my licks up just using the E major and minor pentatonic scale.can anyone reconmend me some songs to hear so that i can use some of the licks there? is that i should do? and do you guys have any more suggestions to how i can improve my improvisations?

Thanks guys
#7
You'll have no trouble finding songs in E minor. Paranoid by Black Sabbath is a good one. Or Walking By Myself by Gary Moore if blues are more your thing.

As for how to improve your improvisations, there's really only one way. Do it. Download some back tracks and have at it.
#8
Quote by chrisweyers
You'll have no trouble finding songs in E minor. Paranoid by Black Sabbath is a good one. Or Walking By Myself by Gary Moore if blues are more your thing.

As for how to improve your improvisations, there's really only one way. Do it. Download some back tracks and have at it.



practice and practice? i see. thanks. cheers mate
#9
I have the same problem - if I jam to the same bt more than a few times its almost like it turns into a song in my head and I end up playing pretty much the same thing over it each time. If I force myself to play something else - say by using triads or arps or diatonic scales rather than pentatonics - I can make it sound different but it doesn't feel right lol. Its not just my fingers wanting to play the same licks - I get the same melody running through my head :S

I got round it by just getting hold of as many BTs as I can, so I can keep using different ones. Download a bunch of BTs, make a bunch of your own, and just pick a different one each day.
#10
Quote by gisobon
i see..wow you guys are certainly of a great help,thanks. recently i'm trying to sing the melody in my head and then execute them on the guitar as steven seagull and chrisweyers mentioned. and cobracarg you're right but i'm under a teacher now and he wants me to make some musical sense by blending only the E major and E minor pentatonic together to make some melodies.i mean he said it isn't wrong to use notes outside the scale but he wants to build my licks up just using the E major and minor pentatonic scale.can anyone reconmend me some songs to hear so that i can use some of the licks there? is that i should do? and do you guys have any more suggestions to how i can improve my improvisations?

Thanks guys

Try singing with the scale if you know it well enough, that takes your fingers out of the equation so it's impossible to fall back into the trap of simply following the pattern.

However, any rock and blues song will be chock full of ideas - it doesn't really matter if they're in E or not as the relationships between the notes will all be the same, just played in a different place. That means if you find a lick in, for example, A minor pentatonic all you need to do is transpose it until all the A notes match up with an E instead. Stevie Ray Vaughan's stuff would be a great place to start looking though.
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#12
try also to add slides, bends , and other types of dynamics to your improvisional playing to keep things fresh.
#13
Quote by gisobon
hey dudes,i've been playing guitar for a while now and here's the issue. i found a backing track in E minor/Gmajor in rock/blues context and i jammed on it for say,maybe close to 5 months? here's where the problem is: every time i play to this particular Gmajor/E minor backing track,i find myself playing the same thing every time i jam to it. i'm not playing the same thing in the whole 5 minutes of backing track but i'm playing the same thing(more or less) every time(every day) i jam to it. as the days go by, i realised how boring my licks sound and how 'ordinary' sounding they are. so can i have any advice or help here? i think my problem is under improvisations. right,so tell me what can i do to improve.




Oh and it's a E minor/G major pentatonic backing track.


I think part of the problem may be that you have been playing to the same backing track for so long. It's very easy to fall into the habit of playing some favorite licks and fragments too often when it's always the same backing track. Get some new backing tracks and I think that will help breath a bit of new life into your improvising.
#14
Without the backing track, just play around in your scale shape and come up with some short melodies. I mean really short. A few notes. I've heard them referred to as melodic 'cells.' The thing is to avoid just playing. You've gotta consciously think about what you can do while you're playing. We all fall into the trap of playing what we're comfortable with, but it's not hard to avoid. Try intervals that you don't use as much. Skip strings. Add in some outside notes like some other people said. Even try throwing some chords in there. Nothing fancy. Simple two or three note chords will definitely give you some new ideas. Be as creative as you can. Just try stuff. If it doesn't work, who's really gonna hear it?
The guy's a beast, but he uses 8s. So he's shit.
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#15
Quote by VeilOfMaya
Without the backing track, just play around in your scale shape and come up with some short melodies. I mean really short. A few notes. I've heard them referred to as melodic 'cells.' The thing is to avoid just playing. You've gotta consciously think about what you can do while you're playing. We all fall into the trap of playing what we're comfortable with, but it's not hard to avoid. Try intervals that you don't use as much. Skip strings. Add in some outside notes like some other people said. Even try throwing some chords in there. Nothing fancy. Simple two or three note chords will definitely give you some new ideas. Be as creative as you can. Just try stuff. If it doesn't work, who's really gonna hear it?



i see..you know,i tried to put some chords inside my playing to emulate jimmy hendrix but i can't really get to it.anyone can offer me some advice on this stuff? how do i make something nice come out just by playing chords?

oh and can any of you here give tell me where can i find some good backing tracks? and i don't mean those crap that sound like the ringtones of the 80's. i tried youtube but i can't find anything that i like.
Last edited by gisobon at Jan 9, 2010,
#16
Even just using intervals (major 3rd, minor 3rd, fifth fit in scales all over the place) can spice up your playing.

The ones I use the most (depending on the context) are:

Major 3rd
A||--4---|| 
E||---5--||


Minor 3rd
A||--3---|| 
E||---5--||


The root for both of those is the A on the E string, but you can move it all around (just remember that playing them on G to the B string is different! :p The fifth should be easy. It's just a powerchord, but playing it in a different context (usually higher strings work well) can have a cool effect. Definitely gets away from the 00ber br00talz powerchord sound. You can also play them apart but right after one another for a pretty versatile effect.

Those are really easy to fit into your playing. They're all over the place. If you can visualize your scales on the fretboard, you'll be able to find places to use them no problem. If you're not at that point, work on it. It'll give you tons of new possibilities. It's well worth the effort.

As for more chord stuff, you can do all sorts of stuff. Being able to see your scale patterns and how they fit together is key though. You've gotta somewhat know your way around the fretboard. Once you get farther into the theory of chords and stuff, you'll be able to form your own from the notes from the scale on the fly. If you know where each scale degree is in the pattern and how to build chords, you can do pretty much anything. If you want, I can give you some three note examples to fit in a major or minor scale to get your ideas going, but the best way to get better at this kind of thing is to experiment and figure stuff out. Using the knowledge is monumentally better for your playing than just having someone tell you what's what. I can't stress that enough. I don't mean that you shouldn't learn from other people but you've gotta apply it yourself to really understand it. Damn this turned out to be a long post This better help

EDIT: TuxGuitar or Guitar Pro will work for simple backing tracks, but they don't sound thaaat great. Tux gets the job done for me though
The guy's a beast, but he uses 8s. So he's shit.
-juckfush on Alex Hutchings.
Last edited by VeilOfMaya at Jan 9, 2010,
#17
nah i tried tuxguitar it sounds a little mechanical.any like,websites or sources that i can find good solid backing track?
#18
nah i tried tuxguitar it sounds a little mechanical.any like,websites or sources that i can find good solid backing tracks?
#19
Look up any guns n roses songs, the solos are all e pent (eb pent, but that's cause they tune to eb instead of e) I personally love slashs use of dynamics and bends... Learn to bend into the blue note and you will make girls squeel