Yes I know, there are many threads of that stuff. However, I hope that you would still give input as I have recorded an example for you guys.


That would be said recording/ clip. Now you don't have to like the stylistic elements, but I would love get a better grasp onto the fretboard =) I have just started reading The Crusade: Music Theory (Colums section here on UG) and the first lesson was on intervals. I have little music theory behind my ear, not much. Ear training also only practiced with intervals.

I play covers of Dream Theater usually, but am not limited to Prog-Metal/Rock. I have recently just discovered Greg Howe and would love to incorporate some typical elements of his, not ALL however.
Usually the problem with people's improvising is that they spend too much time playing and not enough time listening. Listen to yourself and the backing a whole lot more, think about what you're playing all the time, choose your notes rather than simply letting your fingers just run over the scales and licks you know.

I'll take a listen to your video later but for now that's what usually solves the problems with improvising.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”

First memorize the fretboard if you didn't already.
It helps to understand how and why scales/chords are constructed the way they are, and the difference, similarities and relationships between varioius scales/chords.... So I would keep learning that theory - and definitely keep ear training every day - that's really important for good improv. A strong ear is key.

Few things that i recommend.. one is to sing and then play musical phrases as a daily exercise. This help connect your ear and fingers.
For getting around the neck I like to practice improvising without any 'shapes'... to force that you can practice over a backing track but limit yourself to 1-2 strings at a time - that does a few things - it leads you to make music instead playing through fixed patterns, and it also gets you moving (and seeing) up and down the entire neck.

for Greg howe... the most direct path is to learn to play some of his work that you like.
hope it helps
Yeah I'm working my way up with theory =) Don't find it even that tedious to be honest, quite fun.

The singing idea seems cool! I'll have try it, even though I blow at singing. Yeah I've been trying to neglect the "shape" or "pattern" playing thought, it has its places but not every time.

Thanks for your input guys! =)
Zaphod_Beeblebr kind of said it all. Don't think with your fingers and patterns: play what you want to hear. It's not as easy as it may sound. Learning to sing and recognize intervals better does help.

I noticed some sweep picking and tapping stuff there which felt pretty forced, kind of like you were using those techniques for the sake of it. Those things can be made sound good but I find it hard thinking "perhaps I'll make a sweet string skipping tapping lick here" and my note selection at the same time. I'm not good at putting this to words

You do sound pretty good and your playing is clean. You seem pretty confident and play notes that fit the chords, so you're already doing good. I suggest trying different kind of backing tracks as well, just to get some diversity. Just keep doing it and you're good.
Yeah, I've listened now and a lot of it seemed a bit forced, like you were out of your comfort zone. Pushing yourself outside of what you normally do is no bad thing but in those cases it's much better to hang back and just not play until you know what you want to do. Lots of silence punctuated by a few really choice licks sounds a hell of a lot more professional and experienced than continual playing that doesn't seem quite right.

You've got chops, no doubt, you just need to work a little on application, but really don't worry about it, as long as you're aware of what you want you'll get there eventually
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”

Agree with Zaphod.

Look, your chops are there.

But you don't look comfortable. You look like you're thinking about what you're doing with your fingers rather than about what notes you want to play.

It might be really good for you to take a buddy who's in a similar place developmentally that you are and do some call-and-response stuff. One of you plays two bars, and then the other one listens, then plays the same two bars, then develops the idea for two bars.

Then the first guy repeats the second two bars - and then expands on the idea for two bars. Second guy takes the two new bars, repeats them ... and builds on them.

For this to work it, though, it can't be about one-upmanship. It's not about "hey, look at this trick!" - I mean, you can do that, but it won't be that much fun or that educational. Rather, it's got to be about having a conversation, with your guitars rather than with your voices. It's about exploring the musical idea that your partner gives you.

The other thing that I think would be good for you would be to slow down to the point where you're more relaxed. Maybe you're moving to the beat a little bit, feeling good, don't feel the need to look at your fretboard. In other words, get the technical requirements of speed out of your head, so that you can focus more on the notes and make more conscious choices.

That's my best advice. But beyond that, your chops are better than mine, so what do I know?
Wow, getting so much input! Really nice.

I can't really comment on the forced playing bit, it'll be biased. I shall believe your peoples words rather than my own on this one though = D Like I mentioned I lack theory and ear training isn't up to par with other things.

I have been playing around with other styles of backing tracks as well. I have decided to go with 1 music theory a week (there are 11 of the ones I am doing), so the know of know-how will be coming due time = D Also, HotspurJr your idea sounds nice! I don't really have anyone to do it with though...

Once again thanks for the input.
Quote by Ballom
Like I mentioned I lack theory and ear training isn't up to par with other things.

Honestly, go get Keith Wyatt's book "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician."

It'll teach you a bunch of theory, but also develop your ear. It's a great book. It can be a lot of work, depending on where your ear is, but it'll make a big difference.
Seems to me like everything you're doing is metal except the style you're playing. I can't really hear the chords and all that, but it sounds a bit jazzy and relaxed to me. So that would make all the flashy "metal" techniques pretty much irrelevant.

If you haven't already, I'd sit down and find every note in each chord and start to build a nice melody around them and some flowing expressions between the melody and any other parts that you want to put in there. I understand that it's improv, but the best way to do anything is to have improv just be a way to come up with ideas for melodies and finding a sort of structure for a song. That's how I work anyhow.

You, good sir, have not gone over to your friends house after a hard night of drinking to find 2 dudes passed out in the same room both holding their own flaccid cocks in hand, passed out, with porn on the tv.
I didnt think the tapping sounded forced at all...in fact, it was one of the licks that stood out to me...

I think you did great, keep it up!
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Have you taken a look at Marty Friedman's instructional video, Melodic Control? I don't know exactly how much theory you have under your belt, but Friedman doesn't go TOO deep. He basically just explains landing on chord tones and spelling out the underlying harmony. The video should be on like Google video or something if not youtube. It's like 45 minutes.