#1
Hi,
these days I decided I want to start to improvisate, just to start to really "feel" the guitar and not just play stuff same as it is on tabs.
But I have a problem...I just don't know how to start to improvise!
I know I have to play notes of a chosen scale; but I can't do a real "solo" or something like that.
I don't mean to do stuff like rockstars do (for now ), but just some simple music, but it has to be nice to hear to. And of course don't be something I do almost the same every time I improvise.

Actually I played guitar for 6 months, and I know the five patterns for major scales (so I should be able to do minor scales as well), and the 3 patterns of pentatonics.

As I have trouble starting to do something that looks like a decent improvisation, I thought maybe studying some band guitarist's style may be helpful.
Actually I can play all the song "Fool for your loving" (Whitesnake), solo included; can do back in black but without solo, and can do the first part of the solo in Whiskey in the Jar (thin lizzy); should learn fastly the second part as well.
I thought maybe learning something more from whitesnake, acdc, and maybe add Led Zeppelin, should help me finding something I miss to improvise?

The problem is that every time I try to improvise I end playing the pentatonics and do some stupid bendings always on the same notes...that's boring and frustrating.

Do you have any advices? Actually it looks like I know the letters but I don't know how to put them together.

I know it's used to play mainly the notes of the chord which is played during the improvisation (and consequently change the notes when the chord changes), I should try to improvise playing with a backing track?

Thanks

P.S: I'm sorry for my bad english.
P.P.S: and yes, what I really need is a new amp
#2
What I really like to do, this may be a bit hard for you as you're playing for only six months. But listen to some songs or backingtracks and try to play along with those records. Just play notes and notes and notes till you are hitting notes that are ''right''. Then apply the knowledge of those ''basic scale shapes''. Sometimes it's off and sometimes it's right on. This way you're training your ears on multiple levels and your improvising will become better aswell. This way you can also learn simple songs by ear and climb the ladder to difficult songs. I think this will make you a much better guitar player AND musician.

Joenuh
Last edited by Joenuh at Aug 20, 2011,
#4
Your English is fine!

Better than my Italian!

The problem is that every time I try to improvise I end playing the pentatonics and do some stupid bendings always on the same notes...that's boring and frustrating.

Do you have any advices? Actually it looks like I know the letters but I don't know how to put them together.


Here's an important tip - you can stop playing pentatonics and you can stop doing the same old bends!

Every time you're about to do it, stop yourself, and MAKE YOURSELF DO SOMETHING NEW!

That's the only key to constantly advancing your style.

Another important thing is to improvise from within - don't let your fingers go on autopilot. Put the backing track on, listen, and imagine the solo you want to hear. Then after that, try and find the notes you really want on the guitar.
#5
Agreed, that's pretty good advice.
Honestly, it just takes a a lot of time, and there's no set thing to get it. Its not like "oh! If I practice X I can improvise!" It takes a lot of time and practice to be able to think on the fly, even more practice to be able to think on the fly w/o using cliche licks and repeated patterns, and an even LONGER time before you really can feel the music, and make the listener feel it as well. Just keep jamming, and you'll get better.

On a side note, a lot of people will probably debate the importance or lack thereof of knowing theory....honestly, its up to you amd your style and how you like to think about it. I think a great way to put it is that learning theory allows you to know the "rules"...and then you know how to break them

Good luck!
#6
Thanks for all these precious advices!

"imagine the solo you want to hear"
Heh, this is the most difficult part actually...I'll try to do it

About the theory, I know something, well, as much I learned in this 6 months.

I'll let you know the progresses I'll (hopefully) do, and the new problems I'll have to face.

@Joenuh: thanks for that advice! The next question I was about to ask was about the ear training in realtion with improvisation
#7
Quote by Michele_R

"imagine the solo you want to hear"
Heh, this is the most difficult part actually...I'll try to do it


Doing this well usually requires some ear training work.
#8
As a player of 2 years as of yesterday, I've been doing a lot of improvising recently, and Freepower's advice is (as always) Perfect! I'm having some trouble imagining the solo, but by forcing myself to choose the notes, I can bumble together something passable, without falling into the trap of just going onto autopilot. I guess improvement would be practicing until I can choose those notes maybe a couple of notes sooner than I am right now, giving me more time to consider the effect I want the note to have.

Freepower saves the day again, hurrah!

Okay, I'll stop stealing your thread now xD
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#9
What i do is i take a backing track (there are tons on youtube), i lissen through a few times without my guitar. Then i start imagining a solo over it. Then i pick up my guitar and try to find the lick or melody i´ve thought out. And learn it.
#11
One thing that helps me when jamming, either by myself or with others, is to return to the original melody when I stray to far. So say you're jamming to a backing track, you will naturally fall into a little groove early on. Once you move on and start feeling lost just go back into that riff. Its great practice for staying within the melody, and also it teaches you to pick up with a riff after losing it, which is imperative for jamming.
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#12
Too true tubetime86

Also, remember that the most important thing in improvising is the music you make in your head, not the music you make with your fingers. Most everyone can hum a solo to a music. How talented you are (and/or how well you know music theory) will affect how good the solos are, but try to concentrate on creating solos with your head. And then try to play them.

REMEMBER!!! You WILL play like crap for a good couple of months. But practice makes perfect. Don't fall into the trap of going on autopilot over a given scale, but that's NOT productive in terms of phrasing (it will help your technique though). Always try to make a solo in your head and play it with your fingers.

- knowing all intervals by hear helps a LOT;
- knowing all the notes in the fretboard is pretty important;
- knowing scales (and I don't mean just where the notes go, but which notes are which) will be essential too, after you can do some stuff.

At any rate, if you listen to music often, which you should, you should know many solos by hear and can hum along when listening to music. That's a good start to train how well your hands react to your head. If you're good at that, you should be able to translate what's on your mind into what comes out of the amp pretty easily.
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#13
Just an extra tip on top of the good ones in here already is to get a looping pedal. Play your own riff's or chord progressions and then improvise over them. So for example a bit of theory would help but just for the example's sake you play a CFG chord progression your could then loop this and play an improvised piece over the top of it using the C major scale.

Again theory would help because then you can become familiar with different strumming patterns, chords and progressions and advance your scale knowledge and know or have at the very least a decent feeling of what can be used to improvise.

And the key to this as free power said is stop yourself when you feel what your improvising becomes repetitive. A lot of people tend to stick very close to the 3 note per string scale boxes and don't know how to move freely around to improvise so make sure you know the scale back to front and blind folded lol.
#14
Hi,

I agree with all the previous posts, but the way I work on my soloing, is by taking a song without a solo (that way, you don't base yours on the existing solo), and try to make up a solo for the song. (for example, today I decided to make a solo for Power of Love by Frankie Goes To Hollywood)

Happy Soloing to you!
#15
Also don't play faster than you can think, as if you do, you tend to end up falling into the pentatonic box clichés.
#16
Quote by Cal808
Also don't play faster than you can think, as if you do, you tend to end up falling into the pentatonic box clichés.


That's your problem, I assure you I don't fall in to any pentatonics when I play faster than I can think. I actually can't play pentatonic licks that fast since my two note per string playing sucks

inb4pentatonicscanbe3nps
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#17
Must be just me then! But if you play faster than you can think, you do tend to fall into clichés. (even if they're not pentatonic boxes!)