#1
So I have been playing guitar for a few years and built up my knowledge on theory and some notes, but advice and any tips would really help. I have been trying to learn to improvise over an a minor backing track, with chords being Am, Em, and Dm just cycling through in that order. I am using 4 of the five pentatonic forms in the key of Am.

-------------------------------------5t--8-------------
-------------------------------5--8--------------------
-------------------------5--7--------------------------
-------------------5--7t-------------------------------
-------------5--7--------------------------------------
-------5t--8-------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------8--10----------
----------------------------------8--10t----------------
----------------------------7--9------------------------
---------------------7t--10-----------------------------
--------------7--10-------------------------------------
-------8--10--------------------------------------------


----------------------------------------------10--12-----
--------------------------------------10t--13------------
-------------------------------9--12---------------------
-----------------------10--12----------------------------
---------------10--12t-----------------------------------
-------10--12--------------------------------------------


-----------------------------------------------15--17t---
---------------------------------------15--17------------
-------------------------------14t--17-------------------
-----------------------14--17----------------------------
---------------15--17------------------------------------
-------15--17t-------------------------------------------

The t represents the target notes. I know these all pretty well and I am able to switch to other scales with form. What I need advice on is counting the beats, and using which notes. Since these are all A minor scales, can I use them all in the progression (Am, Em, and Dm)? Also do the target notes hold any significance when improvising? Do I play them on a certain beat or when a chord changes. When I switch forms it is just random, but I know the notes. Are there any that should be excluded? What can I do to make it sound decent and not just a mess of notes?

I know this is a lot to ask, but I am serious about learning guitar and would like to improve my ability. All help is greatly appreciated.
#2
Well sure the root is the target note, but ending lines on the root every time gets tiresome and boring. All the notes in the arpeggio are "target notes" along with the upper extensions.

Focus on simple lines at first. One or two notes. Some to get you into the pocket. Then develop into longer ideas. Don't feel like you have to play a note every beat. Rest a few beats, give your solo space. Take breaks in your lines as if a horn player was taking a breath. As "cool" as it is to play "one line" that spans a full 16 bar form, by bar 8, people will be getting anxious, by bar 12, they'll have stopped listening.

Try not to play solely pentatonics. It's easy and sounds good. You basically can't play a wrong note. However, think of your solo as you composing a melody. It should be singable to a point. Ideally, you'd like the listener to walk away from your solo humming a part of it.

Find common tones between the chords. (The notes in parenthesis are 7's and 9's)
Am is A C E (G) (B or Bb)
Dm is D F A (C) (E)
Em is E G B (D) (F or F#)

To take something from this, C is the 3rd of Am and the 7 of Dm. Play a line that centers around C over Am. Play the same line over the Em, though this time the C changes to a B. Then play the original line over the Dm, centered around the C again.
See what I mean?

Another thing to work on is not started every line on the root of the chord. As a bass player, this was a hard habit to get out of and I suspect for people who are just beginning to improvise, it's equally as hard. If you're having a hard time starting lines that don't start on the root, play a few choruses starting every line on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, or 9th (or b9). Along the same line, don't end on the root every time. Focus on ENDING on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, or 9th (or b9).

Think of other ways to restrict your ideas. Sometimes the hardest part of soloing is "Well theres all these notes, which ones do I play and when?" And thats when people start having musical diarrhea and just playplayplayplay until their solo is done and they've never really SAID anything. If you restrict or set ideas for yourself (certain notes, rhythms, melodic ideas, intervals, dynamics, emotions, colors, space) then you give your solo a direction and in turn MEANING rather than just "LOOKWHATICANDO"

Keep in mind though: These are all suggestions and exercises to work on independently. Don't read this post and use all of them at once. Take one suggestion, work on it for 15 minutes to an hour, then try another. Come back and try ones you've already tried. Once you feel comfortable restricting yourself to one, move on to focusing on two.
Quote by Banjocal
sht up u flthy librl foogit stfu u soo mad n butthurdt ur ass is an analpocolypse cuz ur so gay "my ass hrts so mcuh" - u. your rectally vexed n anlly angushed lolo go bck 2 asslnd lolol
#3
Do you have a Melody line in your head?

In order for a piece of music to be a Piece... it has to have all of the elements...

A rhythm
a Pattern
and a Melody line. (There's probably more, but I'm not a theory expert.)

Easiest way I've found to improvise is to come up with a melody line first... then throw pentatonics at it..
I Play Guitar
Some Like it
Some don't
I don't care
Beats Workin'
OLD GUYS RULE!!!!
#4
Quote by Papabear505
In order for a piece of music to be a Piece... it has to have all of the elements...

A rhythm
a Pattern
and a Melody line. (There's probably more, but I'm not a theory expert.)

1. Sing me the melody of this piece:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3Tk6Z6XbMs&feature=youtu.be

2. Tell me it's not music.

1. You can't
2. You can't
--
1. Explain to me the "pattern" of this music (I'm guessing you mean form):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H8Iw_JYBxM

2. Tell me it's not music

1. You can't
2. You can't
--
1. Tap back the rhythm of this piece:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZYPQEfUv-c
2. Tell me it's not music

1. You can't
2. You can't

I know what you're trying to do. But the gross over-simplification of music bugged me.
Quote by Banjocal
sht up u flthy librl foogit stfu u soo mad n butthurdt ur ass is an analpocolypse cuz ur so gay "my ass hrts so mcuh" - u. your rectally vexed n anlly angushed lolo go bck 2 asslnd lolol
#5
Quote by King Of Suede
1. Sing me the melody of this piece:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3Tk6Z6XbMs&feature=youtu.be

2. Tell me it's not music.

1. You can't
2. You can't
--
1. Explain to me the "pattern" of this music (I'm guessing you mean form):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H8Iw_JYBxM

2. Tell me it's not music

1. You can't
2. You can't
--
1. Tap back the rhythm of this piece:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZYPQEfUv-c
2. Tell me it's not music

1. You can't
2. You can't

I know what you're trying to do. But the gross over-simplification of music bugged me.

LMAO
I Play Guitar
Some Like it
Some don't
I don't care
Beats Workin'
OLD GUYS RULE!!!!
Last edited by Papabear505 at Mar 17, 2012,
#6
Phrasing. Phrasing is the most important thing. Thats how you put the feeling in and give your improvisation a lyrical feel.

Try to feel the rythm your playing over and make sure what your playing is in the groove. You can also think of sentences and storys in your head and try to play the rhythm and melody of your sentences. It gives a vocal quality, and if you can think some emotion into your sentences, you'll gain some feeling.
#7
I can see that you must have pulled these patterns from a chart TS. There's no problem with that, but the concept of "target notes" is misleading. Right now you really have one target note, which is "A", the root note of A minor.

But lets say you're playing over an A minor chord. A minor is made of A, C and E. What's stopping you from making all of those target notes over that chord? The answer is nothing. What about over the D minor chord? D minor is D, F and A etc.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
for Beats, Glenn Proudfoot has a column in Guitar World mag called Loud & Proud in which the two first were about sequences in triplets, sixteenths, quintuplets, sextuplets and septuplets. It's really interesting and it might help in the beat.
#9
Just sit and listen to the backing. Once you've really locked into the rythm, start thinking about a melody. once you've got the melody in your head, try to sing it. When you've gotten to the point that you couldn't forget the melody if your life depended on it, try playing it. Keep doing this while practicing your ear.

The more you do this, the more you can cut past the middle steps, and eventually it will just become thinking about it and playing it.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#10
Thanks a lot for the help. I guess I just learned enough theory for me to rush into soloing and forgot the basics. Phrasing, melody, and resting helps it give a much better natural feel. thanks again!