#1
Hello people of UG!!!!

So, I've been playing guitar for 3 and a half years and I mainly play classic rock and blues.

I spend a lot of time improvising over blues backing tracks on youtube and I'm never satisfied with the way they sound. But when I'm improvising in front of my friends, they seem to think it sounds really good.

So I was just wondering, is it normal to feel unsatisfied with your own playing and what is the best way to work around it?

Thankss!!
#3
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour are my main inspirations. Especially SRV! Its beyond me how he was so good with his improvisation ability
#4
They're all amazing. Gilmour had some really great string bending phrases. It's worth studying bits of their solos that really stand out to you, then incorporate those phrases into your own improv.

It's ok to do this. Copying from just one guitarist is stealing, but copying from many is called research.

Also try singing some lines that you want to hear, then play them. That requires some ear training which is the most important, yet neglected part of a musicians improvising abilities.
#5
Quote by mdc
They're all amazing. Gilmour had some really great string bending phrases. It's worth studying bits of their solos that really stand out to you, then incorporate those phrases into your own improv.

It's ok to do this. Copying from just one guitarist is stealing, but copying from many is called research.

Also try singing some lines that you want to hear, then play them. That requires some ear training which is the most important, yet neglected part of a musicians improvising abilities.

Good advice.

To be honest, I'm very particular about the backing tracks I jam with to practice improv. I find it hard to jam over tracks I'm just really not all that into. Is it possible for you to record simple backing tracks? If so, I would create some jam tracks of your own to practice improvising over. Even if they're as simple as a repeating chord progression and a click track, I think you'll find it easier to improvise over something you've created.

Also, try listening to the backing tracks you're jamming over a few times before actually playing over them. Get a feel for the song and let your mind develop some ideas before you attempt to improvise lines over it. Being familiar with the backing track will help you be more musical and melodic with your improv rather than just playing licks that fit in terms of key and time.
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#6
Do you use your ears? Do you play what you want to play or do you play some random fingerings? Do you know what you are playing? Do you trust your ear or just play inside scale boxes?

I sometimes have troubles with playing solos depending on my mood. Sometimes I can play awesome stuff but I need to be in the right state of mind. I found out that I could improvise well over the rhythm my guitar teacher played. He just played some chords and reacted to my playing and I reacted to his playing and I think that's what helped. But usually when I'm at home, I just can't get into that right state of mind. So I think if you have some people to jam with, it could help. It also helps me if I don't think too much about the scale shapes. I try listening to the sound in my head. Sometimes closing your eyes helps.
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#7
^^ closing your eyes does help. My jazz teacher use to make us improvise in the dark. Same sort of thing. People walking past the classroom would probably have thought we were a bit weird. 👀
Last edited by mdc at Jul 17, 2013,
#8
Also try singing some lines that you want to hear, then play them.


I used to practice this way. It is a great way to practice. You are probably dissatisfied with your playing because you aren't getting the sounds you want out of your guitar/instrument.
#9
Quote by Erc
I used to practice this way. It is a great way to practice. You are probably dissatisfied with your playing because you aren't getting the sounds you want out of your guitar/instrument.


This. Ear training.

WIthout it you're just sort of randomly riffing in a scale, which can sound decent to someone who doesn't know music, but tends to be pretty boring and repetitive.
#10
Thanks for the advice!
I never really realized how important using your musical ear was until recently. I just wanted to be one of those guys that blazes out a million notes across the fretboard when I first started playing. But now I've 'matured' as a musician, I realize its not all about speed, its about playing whats right and that can require a trained musical ear.

I tried singing out melodies and trying to play them on the guitar... it was a little hard at first but I'm getting the hang of it. I can see how this will be beneficial when improvising! This is something I'm going to defiantly work on! Great advice! Thanks!

As for recording my own backing tracks is something I wont do. I have shitty recording gear and it just isn't worth it. Finding nice backing tracks on youtube is good enough for me.
#11
Another great tool for ear training is the functional ear trainer, a free download from miles.be.

As far as backing tracks, at the very least find backing tracks which follow a chord progression. With the prevalence of computer loop-based programs like Garageband, it's really easy to make a generic backing track in a given key, but if you pick something which actually has chord changes (maybe not super fast ones, but a few) in a repeating progrssion, A and B sections, and variations in the harmonic rhythm (eg the rate at which chords change) you'll be "feeding your ear" a lot more, giving yourself more interesting things to play against.
#12
I feel the same way. although occasionally when I hear a recording of myself playing a gig i'm much more satisfied with how I played. sometimes it makes me feel worse.
#DTWD
#13
I'd suggest listening analytically to recordings of guitarists you like and comparing them to recordings of yourself, and figuring out where you're going wrong. Work on timing, ear training and fretboard knowledge and you'll come on leaps and bounds!
#14
Quote by SaturnFive
This is something I'm going to defiantly work on!


Fight the power, man!

I'm sorry, but the typo made me chuckle a bit.

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