#1
Hey guys, I'm having a lot of trouble with myself in terms of music. I have been playing for years; I don't consider myself a master of dexterity and I can't really play fast, but I've learnt many useful things along the way. I can figure out most of the music I hear by ear (even jazz, though I can't play it), not that fast but very accurately. I know chords, extensions, scales and the theory behind them, how modulation works, cadences and basic voice harmony. But I can't improvise. No matter what I do, I can't even improvise a decent basic blues solo.

I've been trying to figure what my problem is, and I came to the conclusion that I lack musical sense. Even though my ear is trained, and I study my theory, I don't have a good sense of rhythm or a sense being musical. I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself well. For example, I know some people who have been playing for the same time I have, but they don't have any knowledge about theory and they can easily come up with very interesting guitar lines or melodies even on an instrument they rarely play (for example a piano). That's what I'm calling the 'musical sense'.

Do you know what can I do to improve in this aspect? I'm really frustrated and haven't seen progress in myself for years now. I have even considered quitting, but I just can't do it, I NEED to play everyday or I feel bad about not doing what I love

Thanks in advance
Fender Jaguar -> Polytune -> Diamond Compressor -> Timmy -> OCD -> Big Muff -> Line 6 M9 -> Sonomatic Cheddar -> Spark boost -> Fender BDRI
#3
Yes! I do know what consonance/dissonance is.

I listen to blues often, but not everyday. I used to try to play over SRV tracks a couple of years ago. But mind you, blues was just an example. I mentioned it because I've seen that most guitar books start with 12-bar blues as the backbone of improvisation, not because my goal is to exclusively play blues. I'm talking about improvisation using diatonic scales as well, over common chord progressions
Fender Jaguar -> Polytune -> Diamond Compressor -> Timmy -> OCD -> Big Muff -> Line 6 M9 -> Sonomatic Cheddar -> Spark boost -> Fender BDRI
#4
Improvising is something you have to practice. Play with some backing tracks on youtube until you get it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#5
Quote by Svennz
Yes! I do know what consonance/dissonance is.



Aim for chord tones and embellish them with passing notes/auxiliary notes/changing notes etc etc. 99% of tonal melodies can be broken down into those devices.

And as Alan said, Improvise to backing tracks.
#6
Sit down, hash it out, trust your fingers, and trust your ears. Split your time between practicing technique and musical skills, learning music, and just jamming with tunes you like.

When you're listening to music or jamming, make sure you always know where the downbeat and key are. If you lose either, take a few bars' rest and find them, then get back to playing/listening.
#7

Aim for chord tones and embellish them with passing notes/auxiliary notes/changing notes etc etc. 99% of tonal melodies can be broken down into those devices.


This is very good advice. It is still one of my favorite means, if not my very favorite, of improvisation.
#8
Thanks for the advice. Do you think it's a good idea to memorize other people guitar lines as well?
Fender Jaguar -> Polytune -> Diamond Compressor -> Timmy -> OCD -> Big Muff -> Line 6 M9 -> Sonomatic Cheddar -> Spark boost -> Fender BDRI
#11
I always put on random backtracks and just try to see if I can jam with it. At first I was terrible, I'm still pretty bad but Ive gotten a lot better then when I started with practice. Ive noticed I can play around with a lot more tracks now because Ive gotten more comfortable with it. So, Id say its just practice but maybe not.
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#12
^ This is actually pretty good way to practice, because you are constantly using your ear. It's a little boxy though so I also advise that you practice improv without backing tracks. Also my favorite way of practicing is to play a note, then pre hear in my head the next notes I want to play, and then to play those notes. I swear to God you'll get a whole lot better a whole lot faster (and it'll really hellp with improv)

EDIT --> also, improvising along with your favorite songs is excellent practice. I do it all the time with voice =)
Last edited by Erc at May 23, 2013,
#13
dude I was frustrated with improv a few years ago. Practice those scales in patterns and in musical ways. I mean improv is not magic....its the result of practicing scales like a mad man with a musical approach