#1
What are some do's and don'ts?

I like doing it but say im improvising cocaine by Eric c. The rhythm is playing in the back and i am improvising. What i usually do is play half of the real solo on the cd then improvise the rest. I usually stay in the em pent starting on the 12th. But i wanna sound better. Other than just going up and down scales? What are some really good notes and what are not so good notes to hit?

May be this help could go over just in general to intro to improvising.
ty for help

edit one technique for bending i found out reading http://www.vai.com/LittleBlackDots/84/bending.html. Bending to the right pitch helps a lot.

i guess tips to just sound good . Nothing fancy.
My newest cover Rivers Of Babylon sublime style.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=J_E7iWLxmiA


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Last edited by silly6-string at May 16, 2011,
#3
Well lets look at the song.

The verse goes E - D (basically).

Then on the chorus, at the end it goes E - D - C - B.

The song is in E. Both C and D are borrowed from the parallel minor, so it's safe to assume that we'll have to employ accidentals to the E major scale to avoid clashes over these chords.

So as the song is in E, we will always be using some form of the E major scale over it. Eric Clapton opts to use the E blues scale over this, employing accidentals to the E major scale to get the "blues" sound that has come to be iconic of blues songs.

So right now you're limiting yourself to an E minor pentatonic box at the 12th fret. Is there any reason why you aren't opting to use the scale all over the fretboard? It covers the entire thing. As for "licks", well Eric C just gave you a whole heap of them in the E minor blues scale, have you tried experimenting with those? There are countless other blues songs that you could take inspiration/rip off to get different sounds from the minor pentatonic, especially so in E. Have a look at Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix or Pride and Joy by SRV for some further inspiration.

Somebody will probably pop their head in and say "if you solo just sounds like running up and down scales, stop practicing just running down scales and make some music with the scale instead". I'll support this also. You can't just expect to be inspired because you have music on in the background.

As for what notes to aim for, pay attention to the chord structure. For example that D in the verse is pretty obvious, why not hit a D chord tone (D, F# or A) every time it comes along?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
Its all in the phrasing.

Well dont feel that just because you are going to stick to a scale that you need to go up and down it step by step. Jump around a bit, play different intervals and it might even sound good. Explore different positions of the neck than the box shape that you are most comfortable in. Note choice is important and you could think of it more carefully than just 'E blues scale for 48 bars', looking into what chords are playing and trying to target chord tones.

Mess around with the rhythms your playing, just keeping it to eighth notes will become boring. Use rests, triplets, 16th notes and loooong notes - its all about how you phrase stuff and thats largely to do with rhythm. Try having a bit of musical call and response with yourself - play a two bar phrase and then try to come up with a similar phrase that compliments it, ie with the same rhythm but slightly different notes. This is where being able to hear a melody in your head and translate it to the guitar is important, and its a good way to practice it (especially fun if you call and response with another guitarist)

Dont be afraid to repeat yourself. If youve said something cool and you wanna reiterate it then use repetition to your hearts content. Some of the most memorable guitar solos use a simple three or four note lick repeated for several bars.

However you gotta keep it engaging and thats where dynamics is important - how loud or soft you pick a note. Try playing a 12 bar solo starting a as softly as you can but gradually becoming as loud as you can.

As you mentioned (and I pointed out in my crit of your solo in another thread), theres nothing worse than someone who cant bend in tune, so you should really work on that. Vibrato is also paramount - being able to shake the sting in an appropriate way will make you sound professional. Be aware that there are different intensities of vibrato (fast/slow, wide/shallow bends) which may be appropriate at different points in a solo.

Combine all of those aspects to create the building and release of tension during a solo.


Edit: Alan already posted half of what I had to say Damn my absent minded typing

Ill add this though - if you solo just sounds like running up and down scales, stop practicing just running down scales and make some music with the scale instead


Edit Edit: While were discussing phrasing, check out these awesome videos -

Scott Henderson on Phrasing - http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjUyNTY3NzEy.html

and Marty Friedman - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5777562536751428345#

One thing that hasnt been said I think is that it would be good to just learn other peoples solos, learning directly from your favourite blues guitarists.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at May 16, 2011,
#5
Don't play without thinking.
Do think about what it is that YOU want to hear over your backing.

Don't play without listening.
Listen closely, follow the chord tones and listen for the way the notes you're playing interact with and affect the chords you play over. If you don't like what you're hearing just do something else.

Don't approach it mechanically, don't think "I haven't done a bend for a while, better throw one in" and don't approach it by thinking about what techiques you're going to use. Think about the sound you want to hear, after all that's all techniques are - different ways of moving between notes that give you a different sound.

Don't be afraid to stop playing - space is good and often less is more.

Don't be afraid of repeating something if it sounds good. If people were afraid of repeating themselves Freebird would never have been written....or it would at least have had a much shorter solo.

Make sure you're playing the guitar, try not to let the guitar play you.
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#6
Quote by Hydra150
Edit: Alan already posted half of what I had to say Damn my absent minded typing


It seems you also missed this;

Quote by AlanHB
Somebody will probably pop their head in and say "if you solo just sounds like running up and down scales, stop practicing just running down scales and make some music with the scale instead". I'll support this also. You can't just expect to be inspired because you have music on in the background.


Because...

Quote by Hydra150
Ill add this though - if you solo just sounds like running up and down scales, stop practicing just running down scales and make some music with the scale instead


Alan wins!

Amazing! Almost the exact words!
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
what songs that are bluesy are in the key of E? Also can i take songs that arent in that key and use the lick in the key of E? Also how is d DF# a why not dfa?
My newest cover Rivers Of Babylon sublime style.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=J_E7iWLxmiA


My gear:
taylor 310
Fender strat MiM
Cry Baby-GCB-95
Tone port ux2
tascam dp4
80s rock, classic rock, classic metal
#8
Quote by AlanHB

Alan wins!

Amazing! Almost the exact words!



... well I did copy and paste that part
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#9
Quote by silly6-string
what songs that are bluesy are in the key of E? Also can i take songs that arent in that key and use the lick in the key of E? Also how is d DF# a why not dfa?


There are lots of bluesy songs in the key of E, too many to count. I mentioned two above.

You can take licks from one key and play them in another, that's fine.

A D major chord contains the notes D F# and A because that's how major chords are structured.

You're obviously missing a lot of fundamental knowledge about theory, check out this site www.musictheory.net and work from there. You should also learn all the notes on the fretboard to be able to apply the theory to the guitar.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#10
i +1 everything the seagull said. i try to tell people new to improvising to listen more than they play.
#11
listen +1

But listen instinctively i.e let the music inspire your playing. Just remember you can say a lot more with less if that less has a whole lot of heart in it. Just noodling has zero emotion in it.
#12
Do: Play what you hear.
Don't: Play what you don't hear.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea