#1
I really want to start improving, but I have no idea where to start. I can play the minor pentatonic scale in all 5 positions, and im trying to memorize each note on the fretboard. What else would I need to be able to do before I attempt improvising? thanks
#2
Memorizing every note on the fretboard is definitely a great way to start. Learn how chords are made up of and how scales relate to chords. I'd recommend josh urbans crusades column on ultimate guitar and go on youtube and search up "Lypur" and watch all his videos relating to chords + scales.

After this its all about applying it and soon you'll be able to improvise over any key, any chord, like its nothing.
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#3
Technically, nothing, because by its very nature you sort of just do it and use your ears. However, it's quite true that improv reflects on the background knowledge of the musician, that already being familiar with concepts as they apply to one's instrument forms a basis from which to improv. What's distinct about improv is that such concepts have been internalized to such a point that one can meaningfully do something with them on the spot, without explicitly forming a plan.

At this point, I agree with the prior poster that it's important to simply properly learn scales, chords, and how they relate. Improv possibilities open up with there being more stuff to work with. Once you can intuitively understand what's going on if I shove a lead sheet for "All The Things You Are" in front of you (or if you've memorized the changes and don't need my lead sheet), improv is just a matter of being creative with what you already know in such a particular musical context.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Sep 23, 2011,
#4
Learn the major/minor scale across the fret board. Play around with that for a while. Then try learn music by ear. Maybe just start off trying to learn simple melodies and vocal melodies from songs you know. I think being able to translate music you hear to your guitar is the most important skill to have. Epically for improvising
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#5
Most important thing is being able to listen - listen to wha tthe rest of the band is doing, listen to what you're doing and be able to recognise when what you're doing is working musically and when it isnt.
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#7
I agree with the prior poster that it's important to simply properly learn scales, chords, and how they relate. Improv possibilities open up with there being more stuff to work with. Once you can intuitively understand what's going on if I shove a lead sheet for "All The Things You Are" in front of you (or if you've memorized the changes and don't need my lead sheet),
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#9
Quote by steven seagull
Most important thing is being able to listen - listen to wha tthe rest of the band is doing, listen to what you're doing and be able to recognise when what you're doing is working musically and when it isnt.


And when it doesn't work, change it and leave it at that. Or do that old Dimebag trick, bend it, crank your whammy bar. Or do what my instructor said and just rip a chromatic till you're happy.
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#10
Quote by Jarik
I really want to start improving, but I have no idea where to start. I can play the minor pentatonic scale in all 5 positions, and im trying to memorize each note on the fretboard. What else would I need to be able to do before I attempt improvising? thanks


Sounds obvious, but the more improv you do, the better at improv you get. You just need to take the plunge and start doing it. Set aside some of your practice time to just improv. In the beginning it's gonna test you for sure, but you will quickly learn what works and what doesn't and over time your improv confidence will grow.

If you haven't already, improv to background music. Try any and all sorts of different stuff. Use different BGM styles so you don't get into the trap of repeating the same style improvs over and over.

You can do this the same time you work out scales and your notes on the board.

The trick is to just get to the getting.
Last edited by Phoenix V at Sep 25, 2011,
#11
Do ear training as part of every day practice. Start now it's never too early and it can take a long time to develop a good ear.
Also I'll repeat, practice improvising every day. Start with short simple phrases. think of an idea and then sing it and play it. This is something you just get better at with experience so just go do it.
If you suck at first don't worry - that makes you normal. just keep going you'll get better.

PS - pentatonic positions are not any special means to good improv. Learn to let your fingers go where the notes are - which means mentally breaking out of the positional playing approach. good luck.
#12
Quote by apajr
Learn the 7 modes, learn how they work

In the 7 modes the order is this:


M m m M M m D
Degree: I II III IV V VI VII


where:

M - major

m - minor

d - diminished

Just...no...enough with the irrelevant modes talk
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#13
Quote by steven seagull
Most important thing is being able to listen - listen to wha tthe rest of the band is doing, listen to what you're doing and be able to recognise when what you're doing is working musically and when it isnt.

This. You can't improvise well without fitting into your context. Technical skill and knowledge of theory are meaningless if you can't apply them musically. Improvising is the ultimate in testing your application skills, since it's immediate and on the spot. Listen and hear what you want to play, then play it. That's all you need to know. As you become more technically proficient and more knowledgeable about theory, you should start integrating those skills into your improvisation, but they are not the focus.
#14
Quote by Geldin
This. You can't improvise well without fitting into your context. Technical skill and knowledge of theory are meaningless if you can't apply them musically. Improvising is the ultimate in testing your application skills, since it's immediate and on the spot. Listen and hear what you want to play, then play it. That's all you need to know. As you become more technically proficient and more knowledgeable about theory, you should start integrating those skills into your improvisation, but they are not the focus.

Yup, all the theory knowledge in the world is useless to you if you can't play a note, listen to it and think "ooh, that sounds nice" or "balls, that doesn't fit" - that's something that most people should have, irrespective of their musical knowledge or experience.
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