#1
I've been learning guitar for 2years now. I can play quite a lot of songs on it. I learned it online from tabs and videos.

But, I suck at improvising I know some scales. Other than go up and down with it, I have no clear direction. I can't tell the note names. I don't know the notes of the neck memorized. And I can't make my own songs.

I feel like I'm not a guitarist at all. Just some guy playing cover gigs. Help me out guys, give me direction..
#2
Practice Practice Practice dude, It took me 3 1/2 years to be able to solo at a pace I was happy with.
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#3
practise, learn the notes of by heart. try practising over a backing track, it makes it funner and easier and over time you'll work out what sounds good. rather than running up and down scale positions, forget that there are positions. slide into notes a few frets up, dont limit yourself.
#4
Practise, you can learn alot of theory about song writing and still write terrible music, it's something you've just got to keep working on until you're happy. I've been song writing for years and still not written something I'm completely happy with, then again I can't bring myself to write simple music.
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#5
Oh... so where does learning licks fall in the grand scheme?? A fellow guitarist to learn lots of licks.

I learned them. But then, I've no idea where to use them
#6
When most people improvise, they don't actually think about note names and how they relate to the chord progression; it's a matter of knowing how the progression goes, and then remembering the patterns that go well with said chord progression.

However, as you become more experienced with improvisation, then you'll start to pick each note or sequence of notes more consciously to better reflect what you originally had in mind. Even then, what you will have in mind will be much clearer to think about, and so it will come out on the instrument more easily.

As the others mentioned, practice is the most important part. Play/record a chord progression in the background, and then just solo over it. Who cares if it sounds bad? Just go wild and have fun. When you hear something that sounds good to you, take note of what you played, the pattern that you played, and the chord progression's characteristics.

That way, when you hear something similar, you'll have a trick up your sleeve to whip out.
#7
Quote by techroach
Oh... so where does learning licks fall in the grand scheme?? A fellow guitarist to learn lots of licks.

I learned them. But then, I've no idea where to use them


In my opinion it doesn't. There you're learning other peoples music, not writing your own. It helps you become a more skilled guitar player sure, not a better song writer though, unless you just plan to use all those licks in your song writing. That is JUST my opinion though, there is no one right way of writing music.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#8
Quote by FaisalTMusic
When most people improvise, they don't actually think about note names and how they relate to the chord progression; it's a matter of knowing how the progression goes, and then remembering the patterns that go well with said chord progression.

However, as you become more experienced with improvisation, then you'll start to pick each note or sequence of notes more consciously to better reflect what you originally had in mind. Even then, what you will have in mind will be much clearer to think about, and so it will come out on the instrument more easily.

As the others mentioned, practice is the most important part. Play/record a chord progression in the background, and then just solo over it. Who cares if it sounds bad? Just go wild and have fun. When you hear something that sounds good to you, take note of what you played, the pattern that you played, and the chord progression's characteristics.

That way, when you hear something similar, you'll have a trick up your sleeve to whip out.


That sounds like a new direction for me I haven't tried this before. So I should be playin' around with the most common chord progressions huh?

Then what about note recognition? My friend can somehow tell which note is which when someone plays. How does one go about learning that kinda shit?
#9
Quote by ChemicalFire
In my opinion it doesn't. There you're learning other peoples music, not writing your own. It helps you become a more skilled guitar player sure, not a better song writer though, unless you just plan to use all those licks in your song writing. That is JUST my opinion though, there is no one right way of writing music.


Yea.. after learning those licks, I feel the same as before. I just learned some tabbed music. Nothing new. Just like learning any song.

If only I can put them to use
#10
When you say 'improvising', I suppose you mean playing lead guitar. If so I'd suggest trying to learn some guitar solos that you like, that are not too difficult. It's kind of the same as learning licks, but in a solo they're all combined into one, so by the time you get it right, you'll know a few licks you'll be able to use in your own playing. Then you can try alternating them, moving positions to make them work for songs that are in different keys. Learning songs is a great way to find out about music theory without actually learning it from reading books, etc. Even though it will take more time than reading music theory, it will probably be more fun and in the end you'll still know which patterns work for what.

I'm terrible at expressing my thoughts today, hope you understood what I just said. Keep it up!
#11
Quote by techroach
That sounds like a new direction for me I haven't tried this before. So I should be playin' around with the most common chord progressions huh?

Then what about note recognition? My friend can somehow tell which note is which when someone plays. How does one go about learning that kinda shit?


Well, as you'll notice, how you play along to chord progressions starts to become almost a formula.

"So I have this chord, followed by that, and then it resolves on this one; therefore, these scales are the most appropriate. Hmm, but this note in that scale sounds a bit awkward... maybe if I just ignore it, the solo will sound more cohesive." Stuff like that really.

For example, if you play a minor scale over a blues progression, some notes will sound kinda misplaced, and so you remove two of the notes, and you get a minor pentatonic scale. If you add the "blues note" after remove the two notes, you get the blues minor pentatonic scale. Stuff like that. Then you start to "make your own scales" by modifying existing ones on the fly (only to realize that it is a scale that exists that has some really weird name).

I purposely did not mention specific chord progressions and note names, by the way. A lot of the musical jargon turns people off of wanting to learn the theory.

EDIT: Regarding the note recognition... If you mean perfect pitch, that's, I think, impossible to develop if you didn't start practicing from quite a young age.

However, relative pitch (Playing A then B, and knowing they're a whole step apart for example), hearing the characteristics of chords (Minor 7th vs Dominant for example); that all comes with practice definitely.
Last edited by FaisalTMusic at Feb 5, 2012,
#12
Quote by techroach
I've been learning guitar for 2years now. I can play quite a lot of songs on it. I learned it online from tabs and videos.

But, I suck at improvising I know some scales. Other than go up and down with it, I have no clear direction. I can't tell the note names. I don't know the notes of the neck memorized. And I can't make my own songs.

I feel like I'm not a guitarist at all. Just some guy playing cover gigs. Help me out guys, give me direction..


I honestly believe that impovising is something that comes along after a few years of playing.
If it's improvising a sertain solo, you get the feeling of the song through years of experience.

Composing is an artform alone.
First of all you have to make something that makes you feel good about the riff, no matter the genre.
If it's cool, or you get the feeling "this ROCKS", you've done a good job, no matter what anyone else says.

Other than that.

Practice.
Glufius
#14
Mow many full songs can you play TS, off the top of your head? Not just random riffs, I'm talking about the full rhythm and lead parts.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#15
ALan's question is important.

I'm staggered, however, by how often most people answer questions about improvising by ignoring the most important thing: ear development. (I think like I'm the ear training nazi on this board, but it seems like it's something that most people totally underappreciate).

Ear training is the key to being able to create. It's what allows you to THINK in music. Just like when you're talking to someone, you're not usually thinking about the words you say, rather you know the MEANING of what you want to say, and the words are automatic. Similarly, as a musician, you don't want to be thinking about note names, but rather sounds. To do that, you don't need to know theory so much as you need to know how things will sound before you play them.

To improve your ear, download and use the funtional ear trainer from Miles.be (it's free) and get a book like Keith Wyatt's "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" which is basically a course in transcibing, starting from really simple stuff and building up the complexity.
#17
One thing I do for composing chords is taking chords I already know, and modifying them. Say you're playing a boring open A chord. Try changing the A on the G string to an Ab/G#, to get an Amaj7, or, from A again, change the C# on the B string, and change it to a B. You're now playing an Esus4/Asus2. It takes a lot longer to "find" your own progressions, but its "your" progression. Maybe find a rhythm you like, play that rhythm with your chords, and now you have the beginnings of an original song.
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

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#18
We teach all of these things. I hate to be so brief, but there are many of our students here that understand - I am very busy today so I can't go into a longer reply as normal. I don't know if paid lessons that focus on these elements is in your list of options, but you are fee to contact me through the Academy link below, or my profile here if you'd like more information and a course catalog.

There are a lot of people that we've helped in exactly your situation. Not a doubt in my mind based upon what you've written here that we could help you.

Best,

Sean