#1
Hi guys, here's my problem:

I've been playing seriously for about three years now and I know scales and modes. The problem is when I apply it on a chord progression that my band mates jam to, It... sucks. I try to speed up and slow my playing to help but something still feels off about it.

I can play tabbed out songs fine but when I'm just jamming or getting into the groove, I just can't cope up with my band mates. When I asked my guitarist friend about it, he said that I needed to "feel the music." I don't know how to do that.


Please help me guys! Thanks!
#2
You don't need to "feel the music", that's just hippy bullshit.

You need to listen to the music, listen to what you're playing over and figure out what's going to sound good over it. If you're primarily approaching it in terms of what pattern or shape to play, where to put your fingers then you're not really improvising.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#3
Put your guitar down and start to imagine solos and lines. Then start playing the rhythm part and start to image your lead lines. Then start to actually play those lines you have in your head.

You should become able to truly improvise when you practise this, thinking about what your going to play next while you're already playing the current part coming out of your head.
Oi! Me dog Sally needs to drop:

|-4---|
|-5---|
#4
If you're primarily approaching it in terms of what pattern or shape to play, where to put your fingers then you're not really improvising.


Put your guitar down and start to imagine solos and lines. Then start playing the rhythm part and start to image your lead lines. Then start to actually play those lines you have in your head.


So that means I don't need to follow scales/modes when I play, I just need to think about what lines sound good with the music then play it. Will it come down to trial and error?

I was under the impression that scales/modes over chords of the same key=great sound. Looks like I was wrong.
#5
Becoming good at pure improvisation is not easy, so don't beat yourself up.
Make those chord progressions into loop backing tracks and practice a lot.

With the track looping, think of a phrase that sounds good in your mind. Then sing it, then play it.
If you fail don't give up... do it again as long as it takes until you can play your idea.
Tip: use the vocal melody as a starting point. Learn to play that first.

Improv skills need practice just as much as anything else.
Never just blindly run through scales because they theoretically fit.. Every song is different. Sometimes songs with very similar progressions can feel totally different and call for unique approaches to improv.
So ideally you want strive to play music, not scales. That takes time and experience. the more you do it the better you'll get.

you might spend time ear training if you don't already, that helps too.
good luck.
#6
Quote by BiscuitHammer
So that means I don't need to follow scales/modes when I play, I just need to think about what lines sound good with the music then play it. Will it come down to trial and error?

I was under the impression that scales/modes over chords of the same key=great sound. Looks like I was wrong.


Playing scales over the chords of the same key will just make you end up sounding in-key which is a choice anyway, you don't need to be in key to sound great at all.

It might sound a lot like it comes down to trial and error but that's not really the case, it's a lot of work and practice and listening to both yourself and others but it's not anything like as luck based as trial and error.

Great improvisers know what the note they're going to play next sounds like before they actually play it; they know their instrument well enough that they play something like they would sing. Scales and related theory are a way of putting a name to a sound so if you hear a certain thing you can put a name to it so if you want that sound again you can say "Oh yes, that's a *thing*" and play whatever "thing" is.
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.”


Album.
Legion.
#7
Quote by BiscuitHammer
So that means I don't need to follow scales/modes when I play, I just need to think about what lines sound good with the music then play it. Will it come down to trial and error?

I was under the impression that scales/modes over chords of the same key=great sound. Looks like I was wrong.

Not quite, but a scale isn't a roadmap in that it doesn't tell you where to go, it's simply a bunch of possibilities.

If you have the slightest bit of musical understanding in you then whatever you manage to think of should end up being in key. The problem is you're using the purely physical aspects of a scale to "guide" you, the positions and shapes. What you should be using is the sounds that scale contains.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#8
So is best way to overcome my problem is to create tracks with chord progressions and play along until I create sounds that I like? Then to practice it until it becomes natural? Or are there more ways to deal with my problem?
#9
Quote by BiscuitHammer
So is best way to overcome my problem is to create tracks with chord progressions and play along until I create sounds that I like? Then to practice it until it becomes natural? Or are there more ways to deal with my problem?


That's one way of doing it, another is to listen to other players you like and either transribe or get hold of transcriptions and identify the sounds you like most. Then once you know theory and have a name to those sounds, when you want those things in your playing you'll know what you're going for.
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.”


Album.
Legion.
#10
Quote by steven seagull
The problem is you're using the purely physical aspects of a scale to "guide" you, the positions and shapes. What you should be using is the sounds that scale contains.


this is it. dissect your chords, the notes in the chord are in a way the most important. the notes of the scale that are not in the chord are also good but slightly less important.
but that doesn't mean you have to play the scale of the chord. or in that key.

for example:

simple C G chord progression.
cmaj scale --> C D E F G A B C
gmaj scale --> G A B C D E F# G

you can use the c maj. scale because all the notes of both chords are in the scale however while the g chord is played F can sound a little off because Gmaj contains an F# and not F. so try replacing the F with F#

but you can also play in G myxolydian . because it has G A B C D E F G in it. then again over the G chord try replacing the F with F# witch makes the G myxolidian into Gmaj scale (i hope you know each scale has his own unique intervals between the notes. this determines the scale and gives it it's sound)

other scales and parts of scales and wathever sounds good to you can be used this way

it all kind of blends. look for the right scales that match your chrord progression.

note i'm not an expert on this (yet) so i could have made some mistakes / incompletenessness. but it is on the right path to what you want i think
Last edited by vince1991 at Sep 2, 2011,
#11
Quote by vince1991
this is it. dissect your chords, the notes in the chord are in a way the most important. the notes of the scale that are not in the chord are also good but slightly less important.
but that doesn't mean you have to play the scale of the chord. or in that key.

for example:

simple C G chord progression.
cmaj scale --> C D E F G A B C
gmaj scale --> G A B C D E F# G

you can use the c maj. scale because all the notes of both chords are in the scale however while the g chord is played F can sound a little off because Gmaj contains an F# and not F. so try replacing the F with F#

but you can also play in G myxolydian . because it has G A B C D E F G in it. then again over the G chord try replacing the F with F# witch makes the G myxolidian into Gmaj scale (i hope you know each scale has his own unique intervals between the notes. this determines the scale and gives it it's sound)

other scales and parts of scales and wathever sounds good to you can be used this way

it all kind of blends. look for the right scales that match your chrord progression.

note i'm not an expert on this (yet) so i could have made some mistakes / incompletenessness. but it is on the right path to what you want i think


No you can't. If you play G mixolydian over that progression you described then it's not G mixo, it's just C major because that's where the chords resolve to.
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.”


Album.
Legion.
#12
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
No you can't. If you play G mixolydian over that progression you described then it's not G mixo, it's just C major because that's where the chords resolve to.



thanks for pointing that out.

hey, i said i'm not an expert in this anyways it sounds nice and that's the point
#14
Quote by BiscuitHammer
So that means I don't need to follow scales/modes when I play, I just need to think about what lines sound good with the music then play it. Will it come down to trial and error?

I was under the impression that scales/modes over chords of the same key=great sound. Looks like I was wrong.


When you're starting out on this line, scales are needed. What previous posters have said about imagining the solo you want to play is correct.

It's not really trial and error. Take a step back from this and then wean yourself into it. When starting out down this road, imagine good/great solos you want to play over the rythmns in the scales you know and use. Some of the most notable guitarists now and in history produced the most memorable solos by just using Pentatonics for instance. But the key is in their timing and phrasing and making the solo 'speak' to the listener.

After a while you'll gain the confidence in branching out beyond just the scale/mode cycle and develop your own style.

But you have to learn to crawl before you can walk.