#1
At the moment I feel like im in a big playing rut. When I improvise I keep playing similar stuff to every backingtrack, or band jams and it's starting to get really frustrating.
Now I'm a bit curious about how you deal with this kind of problem.

What I'm trying to do is to just try playing everything else than the old shit I keep playing. Also I'm trying to learn new licks from solos I like. I guess I haven't really focused on learning licks at all until now.

I mostly play blues style, so maybe I should try some new genres.

So...how do you deal with improvisation ruts when you feel like you are playing the same stuff over and over?
#3
try playing different scales?


no matter what you do, a blues scale will sound like a blues scale.


adding different notes will give your licks a different tonality
#4
That's what I tell everybody I know and on don't know(on forums). Ear training is such an important aspect of playing. I refuse to learn anything by tabs or something on paper. And I think I greatly benefit from it. Learn A LOT of music/licks/solos from EVERYTHING. Learn small licks from talkshows or tv commercials but offcourse also everything you like. Don't stop at learning the guitar part, also learn the bass parts and the vocal lines. If you learn something new everyday you'll keep yourself fresh I think.
#5
Quote by Joenuh
That's what I tell everybody I know and on don't know(on forums). Ear training is such an important aspect of playing. I refuse to learn anything by tabs or something on paper. And I think I greatly benefit from it. Learn A LOT of music/licks/solos from EVERYTHING. Learn small licks from talkshows or tv commercials but offcourse also everything you like. Don't stop at learning the guitar part, also learn the bass parts and the vocal lines. If you learn something new everyday you'll keep yourself fresh I think.


I agree with that ear training is really beneficial. I have practiced that for over a year, and I feel like I can get more feeling out on the guitar. Still the old rut is keeping me away from expressing myself :/. But I'm going to focus more on transcribing solos I like and learn the licks I like and hopefully that will refresh my improvisation.

By the way, may I also ask how you guys practice licks into your playing? When I learn licks I play it over different backing tracks and not only the lick itself, but the licks phrasing. And I try to play around with the idea.
#6
Wanna stay fresh? Knowing scales is ground zero- learn some licks, redecorate melodies, and change your undies at least once a day. Try putting together your own stuff?

MOCOSO LIKE ME
Last edited by river.wild at Dec 3, 2011,
#7
I just fool around, not caring bout scales or whatever. Don't think, just do it
Quote by Ulalume
I had a friend who was held at gunpoint as a cashier. The robber told him to give him all the money in the register and what not. Apparently my friend then replied, "Would you like a slurpee with that?"
#8
Quote by simoon321
I mostly play blues style, so maybe I should try some new genres.

So...how do you deal with improvisation ruts when you feel like you are playing the same stuff over and over?

Do you leave much space in your blues solos? Although space is good, regardless of genre.

Try to think in concepts rather than licks. You'll find that your licks and phrases will evolve out of the concept itself.

Thinking in terms of licks all the time is kinda the equivalent of waking up, pre-planning and subsequently remembering every word you're gonna say for the day.
#9
I concur with MDC about licks. If one is just stringing together a bunch of memorized "licks" out of context, forcing them over whatever is going on, it's not going to come off like fluid (let alone "fresh") improv, or even necessarily fit the music very well.

I think it's far more important to be sensitive to the musical context that one is working with (chord changes, motifs, rythmic feel, and dynamics of the tune, general themes, etc.), start out simple (maybe even directly quoting the main melody), and develope from there. React to what you are hearing, don't force yourself over it.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Dec 3, 2011,
#10
I'd suggest a study into melody. There was a time when my students were hitting a wall with "licks" and then feeling that rut.

Licks are great, but ultimately you have to play what's meaningful to you, not just what works.

We started breaking down melodies, what was making the melody work, what were the magic moments? Knowing theory we could see if a melody went up a 9th and wanted resolved on the 3rd, or if something worked because of a change to a chord tone, or if it started on an accidental, etc.

I remeber doing a harmonic analysis several months back with a user who said he liked David Gilmour, and I showed him elements of what David did in his leads that made it work. For example, a bend from a half step flat into the target note, a melodic arpeggio over the chord sliding into an 11th, etc.

This is what I am so grateful to teach, because if YOU can see what's going on you GET IT, if you can't, at best, all you can do is imitate it, but you'll always be held back in having any sort of insight.

There are so many ways to do this, but I know of no other way, without doing the "work". If you want to sound good, define good, and then, hopefully you have the tools and know how in real time, to define WHY it sounded good. There's always something that made something "click" with you. Learning what it is/was allows you to capitalize on that data in your own playing without sounding like a clone of the thing you liked.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Dec 3, 2011,
#11
Quote by simoon321
At the moment I feel like im in a big playing rut. When I improvise I keep playing similar stuff to every backingtrack, or band jams and it's starting to get really frustrating.
Now I'm a bit curious about how you deal with this kind of problem.

What I'm trying to do is to just try playing everything else than the old shit I keep playing. Also I'm trying to learn new licks from solos I like. I guess I haven't really focused on learning licks at all until now.

I mostly play blues style, so maybe I should try some new genres.

So...how do you deal with improvisation ruts when you feel like you are playing the same stuff over and over?



- Appreciate your playing for what it is

- keep your ears and mind open

- allow yourself to develop as a musician.

- don't be overly judgmental

- have fun
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 3, 2011,
#13
So...how do you deal with improvisation ruts when you feel like you are playing the same stuff over and over?


You just don't play those things. It's super simple but really hard to do.

A really good thing to do is place arbitrary restraints on yourself.

Today I play using only

16ths
phrases of 3 notes
large interval jumps
notes that are out of key
my B string
bends
tapped notes


And so on.
#14
Don't just regurgitate learned licks over a backing track. That's not improvising. It has to be spontaneous, you have to feel it.
#15
The funny thing is that I have never seen improvisation in the terms of licks. I probably am a bit "against it". I want to play what I feel, not what I've learned in the past. But now I feel that I play similar stuff or patterns, if you will, and Im just trying to get away from this.

I don't improvise in the terms of "what licks hould I play now and what do I play after it?" but just play what I would like to hear on the backing track. But somehow I can't really get what I want to play on the guitar. I probably need some more practice on how to get what I hear in my head onto the fretboard.

I'm really struggling with getting away from this playing rut, and as you say I should just try to play everything else and start to think the practice in terms of "freshness" .

It might be that I've become to settled with some ways to play over scales. What I'm thinking is that starting learning licks will give my mind new "patterns" and ways to play on the guitar. But what else can I do?


By the way I'm also trying to get out of thinking of scales while playing, and just play. Do you have any good tips on how to make this happen?
#16
How well do you know your fretboard? If you have to think to decide where to go next, are unfamiliar with the exact place to play a pitch in your head then youre not able to conduct your ideas in real time. Your learned scales are dictating your options.

At its most basic, you should be able to take a pitch, determine if you want to go lower or higher with the next note and then determine how far and where that note is.

As you well said: "I probably need some more practice on how to get what I hear in my head onto the fretboard."

That's the end game I agree, but there are many miles and small steps between most people and this point. What's blocking you from being there?

Best,

Sean
#17
Quote by simoon321
The funny thing is that I have never seen improvisation in the terms of licks. I probably am a bit "against it". I want to play what I feel, not what I've learned in the past. But now I feel that I play similar stuff or patterns, if you will, and Im just trying to get away from this.

I don't improvise in the terms of "what licks hould I play now and what do I play after it?" but just play what I would like to hear on the backing track. But somehow I can't really get what I want to play on the guitar. I probably need some more practice on how to get what I hear in my head onto the fretboard.

I'm really struggling with getting away from this playing rut, and as you say I should just try to play everything else and start to think the practice in terms of "freshness" .

It might be that I've become to settled with some ways to play over scales. What I'm thinking is that starting learning licks will give my mind new "patterns" and ways to play on the guitar. But what else can I do?


By the way I'm also trying to get out of thinking of scales while playing, and just play. Do you have any good tips on how to make this happen?



I'd say you're over-thinking it.

play alot, listen, learn stuff, enjoy it.

don't worry about stupid shit & don't play wild goose chase with random advice.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 4, 2011,
#18
learn to manipulate rhythms over chord tones, and interject outside notes (both diatonic and otherwise, depending on the situation). grooving on r/3/5/7 with accidentals is basically the pentatonic/blues scales anyway.

there was a guthrie govan explaining this much better i believe, but i can't seem to find it. the chord notes in the harmony are the "strongest" pull to the progression and you should know where they are and how to go away and towards them depending on how you want your solo to sound. mastering this will basically help your work in any genre, whether you're doing shred metal and need a slow point so you don't sound like a vacuum cleaner, or you're playing in a dingy bar with a contra bass and a xylophone in a jazz trio.

it's basically universal stuff for guitar and really opens up a lot of doors - the 5 to 7 notes in your scale instantly become 12, and if you're ever lost you can always work back to the main 3 or 4 notes in each chord.
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
Last edited by Hail at Dec 4, 2011,
#20
Force yourself to do something different.

If you find yourself playing the same material over and over (which I am incredibly guilty of), force yourself to substitute something else.

I view improv as pieced together from bits I know. I wish I knew music theory, because then I would have the right terminology to support what I am trying to say. :/
#21
If you want to connect melodies that you are able to make up in your head with fretboard I suggested you sing while playing.

Use simple pentatonics to start with, singing along while you play. Do this for a few minutes everyday and you'll notice a massive progress overtime. It's a good way to improve your aural skills.

Remember that scales are just a tool for improvisation, knowing a bunch of patterns won't make you improvise as good as you wish. Remember to develop your aural skills at the same time and theory would be also useful.
__
Neal Wakefield
#22
Pay attention to what you hear in your head and really listen to what you're playing.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#23
Try to emphasise certain notes, like blues note in blues scales. Play them louder or use vibratto or play them as a part of perfect fourth or fifth interval. Play chords arpeggio that go with your scale like in major scale it's major tonic or dominant seventh V. Just look for what can you squeeze out of certain scale.
#24
One thing that occured to me is that you could get inspiration and try to keep your improv fresh by finding people to play with and putting yourself in a situation of trading lines with another person that is improving as well, in a call and response fashion. This should force you to be sensitive to your surroundings and react to it.
#25
What i generally do is first have a listen to the first couple of bars, get into the groove, decide what kind of timing it is, and make sure to play against the timing or with the timing, whatever rocks your boat. Start INSIDE YOUR HEAD and once you have an idea, try putting it down on your guitar, it will enable you to think outside the box, literally i guess since most people tend to stay in box shapes. Try to only use 1 string or 2 strings for a change to limit yourself in a way etc.

Dont learn solos, learn ideas, find out why he/she puts that note there, and why it works.