#1
Im having an issue with most scales. I know the minor pentatonic scale inside-out, and if i'm given a key and some time i can build up any modal scale (i.e. you say C ionian and I say D dorian E prhygian F lydian G mixolydian A eolian and B locrian) and when I try to write a riff I fail because the whole thing just doesnt sound snappy or good or whatever, even if i stay in the same scale and key. Also I always try to write a new rythm pattern and want nothing to do with the ones that everyone else already wrote. Hell, i started learning 9 months ago and I didnt come up with a proper riff ever since. (By the way im thrash and heavy metal orientated). Also I become terribly frustrated/nervous when I want to start improvising until I hear what I like and write a tab of it. This also results in annoying failures. Could someone help me out what to do with even only one of the problems above? (Srry for bad english)
#2
Better to spend months trying to write a good riff than spending only hours writing a sh*t one.
Just keep experimenting and you'll get there.
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#3
Quote by HUNDuffman
Im having an issue with most scales. I know the minor pentatonic scale inside-out, and if i'm given a key and some time i can build up any modal scale (i.e. you say C ionian and I say D dorian E prhygian F lydian G mixolydian A eolian and B locrian) and when I try to write a riff I fail because the whole thing just doesnt sound snappy or good or whatever, even if i stay in the same scale and key. Also I always try to write a new rythm pattern and want nothing to do with the ones that everyone else already wrote. Hell, i started learning 9 months ago and I didnt come up with a proper riff ever since. (By the way im thrash and heavy metal orientated). Also I become terribly frustrated/nervous when I want to start improvising until I hear what I like and write a tab of it. This also results in annoying failures. Could someone help me out what to do with even only one of the problems above? (Srry for bad english)


Well, you need to take a look at the definition of improvisation:

Improvise ([im-pruh-vahyz])

–verb (used with object)
1.
to compose and perform or deliver without previous preparation; extemporize: to improvise an acceptance speech.
2.
to compose, play, recite, or sing (verse, music, etc.) on the spur of the moment.

3.
to make, provide, or arrange from whatever materials are readily available: We improvised a dinner from yesterday's leftovers.


That's what seems to be the accepted definition of improvisation; spontaneous composition. If you are truly improvising, you don't even need to think about scales or what notes a chord contains. You think of a melody (or some sort of musical passage, not to leave out unpitched percussion players) and then play it. It requires mastery of your instrument of choice.

You need to essentially cut out the technical aspects of the instrument. If it takes you more than a few seconds to think about how you are going to play something you think of, then you cannot improvise naturally. Furthermore you need to live and breath your preferred genre(s). You need to "speak the language". Sometimes genres have a collection of riffs and licks that characterize them, that everyone proficient at that genre knows well enough to do their own variations on them on the spot, but improvisation is not just reciting licks. If you only memorized like five different licks and then started arranging them in a random order to appear as if you were improvising it would be plainly obvious to anyone familiar with the genre.

It takes a really long time to develop fluency on both your instrument and in the style of the genre, and there are no short-cuts. You can match up scales with chord progressions and play modes where they are wildly inappropriate but that is not musical in the least and generally no one appreciates those type of guitarists. All those good metal shredders you maybe look up to like Becker, Malmsteen, Vai, Friedman or whatever were all fluent can play actual music no matter how fast they may have going. Playing mindlessly fast may appear to fool people but it doesn't. Hope this helps and good luck.
Last edited by Sóknardalr at Jul 25, 2011,
#4
See how your favourite guitarists use scales to make their riffs. You can bet they're using primarily major, minor and blues scales primarily so I'd start there.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#5
A lot of metal uses off-notes and intervals that don't really make sense theoretically if you're just trying to stick in a scale. Try playing without thinking about everything you're doing. Realize that theory is a set of helpful guidelines and it is an extremely useful tool, but if it sounds good, you don't always have to abide by it.

Take the intro to Holy Wars by Megadeth, really iconic riff - it's just a bunch of random sequences of chromatic notes. Do you think Dave was sitting around thinking "I want to use XXX scale in XXX key" when he wrote that?

Play what sounds good, not what necessarily makes sense. Your ear is your strongest tool. That's not to say that theory is useless, by any means, but if you're trying so hard to grasp onto boxes and scales, it can be a breath of fresh air to let it go for a while.

Also, learn as much music as possible. Figure out what weird stuff sounds good, why it does, how they get that certain feel, and learn to apply those elements to your music. This is where theory is great for writing, but it might take a while to get used to it. Just explore and you'll get there eventually.
modes are a social construct
#6
Wow :O thank you all

So is it okay if I add the
A I--0-2-3-2
E I-------------1
"part" (lick?) from that video (sorry for complete absence of special musical terms from my posts as I dont know if i would properly use them in english) just completely the way it is to my toolbox and use it just like that without being sent to hell by copyright dudes? (because im very sure i heard this one somewhere else too) With altering the length of notes and some further customization, of course. (By the way, im glad to see that im not ignored )
#8
Quote by Sóknardalr
Well, you need to take a look at the definition of improvisation:


That's what seems to be the accepted definition of improvisation; spontaneous composition. If you are truly improvising, you don't even need to think about scales or what notes a chord contains. You think of a melody (or some sort of musical passage, not to leave out unpitched percussion players) and then play it. It requires mastery of your instrument of choice.

You need to essentially cut out the technical aspects of the instrument. If it takes you more than a few seconds to think about how you are going to play something you think of, then you cannot improvise naturally. Furthermore you need to live and breath your preferred genre(s). You need to "speak the language". Sometimes genres have a collection of riffs and licks that characterize them, that everyone proficient at that genre knows well enough to do their own variations on them on the spot, but improvisation is not just reciting licks. If you only memorized like five different licks and then started arranging them in a random order to appear as if you were improvising it would be plainly obvious to anyone familiar with the genre.

It takes a really long time to develop fluency on both your instrument and in the style of the genre, and there are no short-cuts. You can match up scales with chord progressions and play modes where they are wildly inappropriate but that is not musical in the least and generally no one appreciates those type of guitarists. All those good metal shredders you maybe look up to like Becker, Malmsteen, Vai, Friedman or whatever were all fluent can play actual music no matter how fast they may have going. Playing mindlessly fast may appear to fool people but it doesn't. Hope this helps and good luck.


Tl;Dr

Just keep practicing. Good riffage is hard to come by nowadays, so you can take your time. It would be better To take your time on a good riff instead of coming up with a shite one in like, 10 minutes.

My two cents
#9
Quote by kotorfreak666
Tl;Dr

Just keep practicing. Good riffage is hard to come by nowadays, so you can take your time. It would be better To take your time on a good riff instead of coming up with a shite one in like, 10 minutes.

My two cents


Have you ever read a book before? It takes like two minutes to read my post. In essence I just said learning improvisation takes a very long time and there are no short-cuts.
#10
Learn some songs and keep at it, you'll get there man...keep goin!
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.