#1
hi guys,

i got a question on soloing and improvising. I've been playing guitar for about 2.5 years now, practising almost everyday. Whenever I improvise a solo over a backing track, i just tend to use thesame patterns in thesame scale over and over again. It feels like i'm 'stuck' in these patterns, making the overall solo sound repetitive after soloing for 2 minutes. (=For example, 12--13--15 on the high E-string and B-string seems to always return somehow) Also i tried combining diffrent scales with diffrent keys to make it all sound more interesting, but mostly that would sound pretty weird or just not right. Technically im doing fine in my opinion, but has anyone had thesame issue or felt thesame when they were on their way to improvement? Does anyone have tips for making my solos sound more interesting and less boring/repetitive and how to make diffrent scales work? I got a video on youtube in wich my problem is pretty clear.
you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPv06UkB-M4
it's quite old though, and the intro is covered ofcourse. Bad audio quality also, sorry for that. To prove im not totally useless, you can also check out my august burns red cover btw xD hope you guys can help me out on this one
cheers!
#3
First of all I think that wasn't so bad at all , your playing was good , and in the beginning it was nice to listen to . Then after a few minutes d it became a bit boring, like you said. So I'm going to try to help you a bit .

First of all : learn some licks, there are a lot of lessons where they show you different licks to add to your solos to make them more interesting. Watch or read some lessons about the different shapes of scales and you probably wont have much trouble soloing.

Maybe try to add some silence in your solos if you know what i mean, sometimes it's better not to play too many notes, just play a little slower , hold some notes a little longer than others add some bends and some hammer ons instead of just playing different notes of the same lenght .Most famous guitarists depend on the way they use bends and stuff like that to create their tone, not by playing through scales (unless you want to be a shred god, and even then you should know more than just playing really fast) . You just went up and down (a section of ) some scales too often imo.

Sometimes you jumped from one side of the neck to the other ( I mean like around 6:10), it would be much more smooth if you gradually went from one scale to another,not playing a bit over here and then start again in another scale. That's a pretty big jump you make there and to me it doesn't sound right , I could be wrong ofcourse because some people like it like that , but I prefer smoother playing.

I hope that will help you
Also I should add that you were improvising a pretty long time in that video, when you play shorter songs it would sound better. It's not easy to sound interesting after 5 minutes of continuous soloing.
Good job on the cover btw and yay for belgium :p

Edit: Like CarmenJuandeago said listen to the legends and copy some licks , listen how they play , when to use certain licks and stuff like that .
Last edited by Waffleguy at Jul 11, 2010,
#4
I watched the video and i understand how you feel, ive had the same problem for awhile know and im starting to get out of the habit of going back to one or two common riffs. What you could is when your doing your runs it seems that you like to stay in the one pattern, instead of doing that trying doing your runs starting in one pattern and work your way into another. You also said that you come back to a common phrase like 15-13-12 well thats fine but while doing that why not trying climbing up the scale so it doesnt sound so repetitive while your doing those riffs.
#5
what kinda helped me was listening to
Live albums of the greats----

How the West Was Won--- Jimmy page
Band of Gypsys---- Jimi Hendrix
tokyo tapes--- uli jon roth

see how they improvise stuff
#6
What your talking about sounds perfectly normal. I remember experiencing the exact same thing. A few tips to help break out of those boxes.

First, solo a lot to a backing track by yourself in an environment where you can hit the wrong note. Then start forcing yourself to fool around outside the box. Do not be afraid to hit the wrong notes. Start trying to find the ones that work and implement them into your style.

Second, like others suggest listen to some of the great improvisers. Jerry Garcia, Trey Anastasio are two that come to mind.
Hello, my name is Rob and I am a guitar player .
I have no money, my wife left me and all I want to do is play another tune!
#7
If you keep using the same notes use different scale shapes or go into relative keys like from A minor to C major or E minor to G major and all of the other combinations.
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#8
Quote by Fiddly Diddly69
If you keep using the same notes use different scale shapes or go into relative keys like from A minor to C major or E minor to G major and all of the other combinations.


you only go into relative keys if the harmony dictates as such. you don't switch freely between E minor and G major if the progression is set in E minor. you start using G major if the progression switches to the key of G major.

he does have an important point, though -- maybe you're not exploring the fretboard enough. are you staying in one particular shape?
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#9
well i have the same problem except its not exactly repetitivness, im not always sure what scale positions to use and also yes mine often sound repetitive except not as good, any suggestions will help
#10
Well first I'd like to say, you're actually pretty good, I wish I could improvise, or simply play like that.

The downpoint I think it's like someone said, at the beginning it is interesting but after a while it gets ordinary. Personnally I think you stay too much in the same pattern/position. It seems like you're always between the 12th and 15th fret. Your soloing did sound interesting when you were actually moving down or up the fretboard.

I think you should try to improvise over shorter tracks, and focusing on your phrasing, rather then just playing it over again and again.
Quote by MH400
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You have 2 options.

1. Tits.
2. GTFO.

#11
First of all, thanks for all the replies to all other people! this will definatly help me alot! thanks you very much!

Quote by AeolianWolf
you only go into relative keys if the harmony dictates as such. you don't switch freely between E minor and G major if the progression is set in E minor. you start using G major if the progression switches to the key of G major.

he does have an important point, though -- maybe you're not exploring the fretboard enough. are you staying in one particular shape?


Yeah I guess i do, I mostly stay within thesame scale in wich I know everything I play would sound okay, it's also some sort of insurance that i wont play anything wrong. But what you and fiddly diddly69 said, when you switch to another scale, do you have to find a "common note?" One that, lets say G and A both have. And start playing into the other scale starting from that note? I dont know how to explain it in another way xD

Quote by WaffleGuyFirst
of all I think that wasn't so bad at all , your playing was good , and in the beginning it was nice to listen to . Then after a few minutes d it became a bit boring, like you said. So I'm going to try to help you a bit .

First of all : learn some licks, there are a lot of lessons where they show you different licks to add to your solos to make them more interesting. Watch or read some lessons about the different shapes of scales and you probably wont have much trouble soloing.

Maybe try to add some silence in your solos if you know what i mean, sometimes it's better not to play too many notes, just play a little slower , hold some notes a little longer than others add some bends and some hammer ons instead of just playing different notes of the same lenght .Most famous guitarists depend on the way they use bends and stuff like that to create their tone, not by playing through scales (unless you want to be a shred god, and even then you should know more than just playing really fast) . You just went up and down (a section of ) some scales too often imo.

Sometimes you jumped from one side of the neck to the other ( I mean like around 6:10), it would be much more smooth if you gradually went from one scale to another,not playing a bit over here and then start again in another scale. That's a pretty big jump you make there and to me it doesn't sound right , I could be wrong ofcourse because some people like it like that , but I prefer smoother playing.

I hope that will help you
Also I should add that you were improvising a pretty long time in that video, when you play shorter songs it would sound better. It's not easy to sound interesting after 5 minutes of continuous soloing.
Good job on the cover btw and yay for belgium :p

Edit: Like CarmenJuandeago said listen to the legends and copy some licks , listen how they play , when to use certain licks and stuff like that .


Thanks for the tips dude, and yeah, shorter songs would be a great place to start. maybe 5 mins is a bit too much for me xD And yeah, I could use some smoothness in my playing, but I still have to figure out how to combine multiple scales in a good way so xD But thanks for the tips man! and yay for belguim indeed xD great to see another belgian on the net, lol xD

Quote by Spike6sic6
Well first I'd like to say, you're actually pretty good, I wish I could improvise, or simply play like that.

The downpoint I think it's like someone said, at the beginning it is interesting but after a while it gets ordinary. Personnally I think you stay too much in the same pattern/position. It seems like you're always between the 12th and 15th fret. Your soloing did sound interesting when you were actually moving down or up the fretboard.

I think you should try to improvise over shorter tracks, and focusing on your phrasing, rather then just playing it over again and again.


Thanks man, i'll keep that in mind =) grtz!
#12
i don't play electric guitar not because i think it's lame or nothin but just cos i don't have one this actually sounds pretty sick.

anyways i saw a video and it was a guitar instructor and his student and the instructor was pretty harsh. he told the student to play one lick he showed him and go from there but that he had to make it sound good without playing a lot of notes after the lick. like he would play more than two other notes and the guy would stop him what he was trying to tell the kid was that he need to get more mileage out of the few notes he was playing rather then just play a bunch of other notes. so like i guess with bends and holding the notes for longer and things like that. wish i could find the video or I'd link it to you.

Sorry if i rambled or didn't help at all but yeah.
#13
I have a similar problem but I'm gradually getting over it.. my method if you want to try it.. Say for example I've got a jam track in the key of A. Ill turn it off, decide which scale I want to use.. For this example I'll say A pentatonic..

Step 1: Find the notes used in the A pentatonic scale..A,B,C#,E,F#

Step 2: Locate All the As on the fretboard.

Step 3: Ill just try to find ways to link the different A notes on the guitar, going up and down, left and right. At first I'd just find the notes within the scale and sort of, find how those notes made a road to the next A. Now sometimes I'll just try to do some random things to get from one A to the next.

Step 4: After a bit of practice linking different A's around and just jamming with out a track or anything, I'll go back and try playing to the jam track to make sure the things I've tried work of course.
#15
Quote by slayerfrk
maybe you should be more specific with your pentatonics sparta. its A major pentatonic


Correct me if i'm wrong, but I think the fact it says only A tells you it's in major. Else he could have said Am pentatonic?
Quote by MH400
a girl on the interwebz?

You have 2 options.

1. Tits.
2. GTFO.

#16
Quote by slayerfrk
maybe you should be more specific with your pentatonics sparta. its A major pentatonic


he WAS specific. he gave the notes in the scale. a musician worth his salt would know that the scale he gave was indeed A major pentatonic and not A minor pentatonic.

Quote by Bendude01
Yeah I guess i do, I mostly stay within thesame scale in wich I know everything I play would sound okay, it's also some sort of insurance that i wont play anything wrong. But what you and fiddly diddly69 said, when you switch to another scale, do you have to find a "common note?" One that, lets say G and A both have. And start playing into the other scale starting from that note? I dont know how to explain it in another way xD


that's what a lot of guitarists are worried about, i notice - playing things wrong. if that's your prime concern, then you're just going to confine yourself to your comfort zone, and any progress you make will be minimal. i'm not singling you out -- this happens to a LOT of guitarists.

typically when you switch to another scale, it's to accommodate a change in harmony. for instance, if your backing modulated from G major to A major, you'd go along with it and end up in A major. let me think up a sample progression that would go from G major to A major:

| Gmaj | Am | D7 | Gmaj7 | Bm | Am | E7 | Amaj ||

fairly straightforward progression, modulating via the use of a picardy third*. what you would generally do here is play over the progression from the beginning up until the second Am chord using the G major scale, emphasizing chord tones where necessary and adding accidentals as desired. then, when you hit the E7 chord, you change all of your Gs to G#s. you could play the A major scale here if you wanted, but here's the thing with that -- until your E7 chord actually resolves on that last Amaj chord, it's not clear precisely where the resolution will be. you will probably be playing a G# over the E7 chord, so A major will look likely, but it's not defined yet. the reason i bring this up is that there is no C# defined in the scale, so you can use C and/or C# to create some ambiguity (though once the progression resolves, you'll probably want to stay with C#, because it will be contained in the Amaj chord).

this isn't difficult stuff at all, but as you can see, it's where theory comes in. this is where knowing your notes and your chords and all of that other stuff pays off. if you haven't gotten into it yet, i strongly advise you to do so.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picardy_third
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Last edited by AeolianWolf at Jul 12, 2010,
#17
Quote by AeolianWolf
he WAS specific. he gave the notes in the scale. a musician worth his salt would know that the scale he gave was indeed A major pentatonic and not A minor pentatonic.


that's what a lot of guitarists are worried about, i notice - playing things wrong. if that's your prime concern, then you're just going to confine yourself to your comfort zone, and any progress you make will be minimal. i'm not singling you out -- this happens to a LOT of guitarists.

typically when you switch to another scale, it's to accommodate a change in harmony. for instance, if your backing modulated from G major to A major, you'd go along with it and end up in A major. let me think up a sample progression that would go from G major to A major:

| Gmaj | Am | D7 | Gmaj7 | Bm | Am | E7 | Amaj ||

fairly straightforward progression, modulating via the use of a picardy third*. what you would generally do here is play over the progression from the beginning up until the second Am chord using the G major scale, emphasizing chord tones where necessary and adding accidentals as desired. then, when you hit the E7 chord, you change all of your Gs to G#s. you could play the A major scale here if you wanted, but here's the thing with that -- until your E7 chord actually resolves on that last Amaj chord, it's not clear precisely where the resolution will be. you will probably be playing a G# over the E7 chord, so A major will look likely, but it's not defined yet. the reason i bring this up is that there is no C# defined in the scale, so you can use C and/or C# to create some ambiguity (though once the progression resolves, you'll probably want to stay with C#, because it will be contained in the Amaj chord).

this isn't difficult stuff at all, but as you can see, it's where theory comes in. this is where knowing your notes and your chords and all of that other stuff pays off. if you haven't gotten into it yet, i strongly advise you to do so.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picardy_third


Yeah, I can imagine how important theory is here. I understand what you saying, but like you said, I never learned guitar theory like that. I found out everything myself by trying and just hearing what sounds right and what doesn't. I'll definatly have to take a close look at this. Thank you so much for explaining, im already getting excited man! xD finally some new stuff to do!
and btw, thanks to all for commenting and replying! ^^
cheers!