#1
So l've been playing for 6 years now. And I've been busy trying to improvise and stuff, and I've looked at the topic from different angles but I've come to a conclusion which is this;

those who can improvise well or play well have a good sense of timing
those who can improvise well or play well enjoy every note and time spent on their instrument whilst jamming

I realized I don't really have both of these qualities; I like the concept of great music but can't put it to work, I don't think I enjoy making music as much as some other people around me or professional musicians do. Playing in a band is a lot of fun though.

I also don't hear any music in my head currently, or usually while improvising. I do notice that I do have some moments where improvising seems to just flow, but these were quite rare.

Examples of musicians I found particular, ehm, so to speak, musical (and having a good sense of improvisation) are:

Jimi Hendrix
Angus Young
Stevie Wonder
Skrillex (yes, if you don't agree, argue with me)
Eric Gales
BB King
John Bonham

and I probably forgot a lot of other greats, but in particular those listed, I think, have a good sense of rhythm, give and take, like cycles in life.

I know that you can 'learn' improvisation through making melodies, and practicing that. And I think in a genre like jazz that is a key thing to be learned. But I believe that music is an expression and true improvisation discards all theories and just is an expression from a human being who is an artist.

So I wonder; do you guys think about this topic?

I think I can 'learn' how to improvise personally, but won't come to sound as musical as someone who really has to say something musically (me, more verbally, hence the long read).

Opinions please : D
#2
You say you don't hear melodies in your head, but let me ask you: how's your ear?

Can you hear a melody that I play and quickly play it yourself?
#3
I'm a jazz guitarist, which requires A LOT of improvisation. At first I played really inappropriately but after a few years I'm finding that my playing has become more tasteful.

And you've hit the nail right on the head when you said good improvisation is good timing. I've seen lots of players go and play a solo and leave absolutely zero space, they have a huge lack of phrasing. This is part of why shred is such a big turn off to me. Timing is something that you just learn as you improvise and listen.

Also, if you're not feeling the music, your improvisation is going to be garbage. That's just a fact. The more you let go and allow yourself to get into the music, the better your improv will be. You really need to channel the song, not yourself. I've found that tuning into the band and the environment around you is far more effective than tuning into what you feel yourself.
Last edited by ccannon1 at May 17, 2013,
#4
Wow, wow, nice going guys, quality posts, I like that. To Hotspur Jr; could you give me an example for what kind of melody? I can figure it out most melodies, and can play some of them in other improvisations, like 'quoting' a solo, but I really have trouble playing, how ccannon1 described it, playing tastefully.

Ccanon1; yes yes yes, I just recently learned to play in reggae band; you're bound to get creative with limited tools when you can't use the whole fretboard, muting notes and overall rhythmical playing really develops when just playing a few chords, but I find that doesn't translate well to lead guitar soloing, or melodies so to speak. Do you personally learn a lot of solo's on ear actually? (on a side note)
#5
Quote by Jyuuga
music is an expression and true improvisation discards all theories and just is an expression from a human being who is an artist.

This is true....

but learning all the theories and learning to implement first them is the best way to do it. Why grope around in the dark, when you can learn from others who have already illuminated the way?

I think Charlie Parker (who went through a long period of practicing 16 hours a day) sums it all up best:

You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
Charlie Parker
#7
I know that you can 'learn' improvisation through making melodies, and practicing that. And I think in a genre like jazz that is a key thing to be learned. But I believe that music is an expression and true improvisation discards all theories and just is an expression from a human being who is an artist.


No-one "just expresses" at first. It's all learned. Jimi Hendrix didn't sound like Jimi when he first picked up the guitar. It takes a lot of experience before you can easily express yourself.

You'll find that most good improvisers "discard theory" when they play, see that Charlie Parker quote above!
#8
Quote by Jyuuga
Do you personally learn a lot of solo's on ear actually? (on a side note)


I don't really sit down and learn solos specifically, but instead I learn melodies. Wikifonia is a great resource for just learning the melodies of standards. Doing that will help your sightreading skills too haha
#9
Quote by BoogieShinbones
This is true....

but learning all the theories and learning to implement first them is the best way to do it. Why grope around in the dark, when you can learn from others who have already illuminated the way?

I think Charlie Parker (who went through a long period of practicing 16 hours a day) sums it all up best:

You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
Charlie Parker

+1

You have to know the "rules" to break them.
#10
Quote by Jyuuga
Wow, wow, nice going guys, quality posts, I like that. To Hotspur Jr; could you give me an example for what kind of melody? I can figure it out most melodies, and can play some of them in other improvisations, like 'quoting' a solo,

but I find that doesn't translate well to lead guitar soloing, or melodies so to speak. Do you personally learn a lot of solo's on ear actually? (on a side note)


I'm not talking about playing something you've already learned. I'm saying, if I play a simple melody for you, can you play it back right away? Or does it take you a while to find it?

Any sort of melody you don't know, be it a part of a guitar solo, the melody for a song you haven't heard, or whatever?
#11
Quote by HotspurJr
I'm not talking about playing something you've already learned. I'm saying, if I play a simple melody for you, can you play it back right away? Or does it take you a while to find it?

Any sort of melody you don't know, be it a part of a guitar solo, the melody for a song you haven't heard, or whatever?


It takes me a little while to find it, usually after the first two notes (or so) I get it right, wide intervals do take time for me though.
#13
I'm a firm believer that all almost all aspects of music can be, and are, learned. Enough formal exercises in varying and adapting a phrase will improve just about any person's ability to improvise in some small way.