#1
Ive recently started learning by ear and my biggest problem is that i cant get to develop a sense of rhytm. I know what stuff like 4/4 of 16th notes means but i can never tell if a persons playing sixteenth notes. In both these improvisation attempts i wasnt paying much attention to the backing track, i was in my "zone" and i really have problem playing in time so im not really sure how i sound. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

http://picosong.com/eyp4/

http://picosong.com/eyiV/
#2
Do your best to identify the time signature, characteristic first beat, and common note values used in a song. After that it's mostly a counting game, how many notes per beat, etc.

On the other hand, after I heard the tracks, I was pleasantly surprised. You seem to know what you're doing. It sounded well organized in time, even with the occasional syncopation thrown in for flavor.

The second track seemed to sound like you were struggling a bit with it, but barely. Like I said, the easiest way to stay in time is to count along with the music, whether its tapping your foot or counting out loud. Always be aware of where the first beat falls, so you can act accordingly.

I think it was really good. Your technique is good. I would study up on syncopation, and practice some phrases and eventually make it a part of your everyday go-to playing style for more variety.

EDIT: I would suggest if you want to work on timing, play to slow backing tracks. The slower the better. I can tell your style is "shreddy", so playing over a slow backing track will force you to contemplate timing more than if you were playing over something fast, which is something you're used to apparently. And I'm not saying don't play fast. Keep playing fast, but really take note of what beat you're on, and really do your best to emphasize the tempo with nothing but your playing by using stresses and dynamics and whatnot.

Good luck!
Last edited by one vision at Mar 9, 2014,
#3
My advice would be:

Quit the shredding until you can play slowly well. You're just spamming notes really fast from scale patterns.

I would say you need to work on playing MELODIES instead of shredding scales fast. Your technical skills are not sufficient for playing that fast and sounding good at the same time either.

Pay attention to the notes you are playing. Know the underlying chord progression and try to target chord tones (obviously not only those all the time), etc. Use your ears instead of just playing memorized scale patterns really fast.

I was talking about your first link here.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Mar 9, 2014,
#4
Quote by Elintasokas
My advice would be:

Quit the shredding until you can play slowly well. You're just spamming notes really fast from scale patterns.

I would say you need to work on playing MELODIES instead of shredding scales fast. Your technical skills are not sufficient for playing that fast and sounding good at the same time either.

Pay attention to the notes you are playing. Know the underlying chord progression and try to target chord tones (obviously not only those all the time), etc. Use your ears instead of just playing memorized scale patterns really fast.

I was talking about your first link here.

This is well said, kinda what I was trying to say.

TS, maybe play some rhythm guitar to get into a habit of paying attention to time?
#5
Thanks guys, ive actually started working on my rhythm playing. Currently im playing stuff like wonderwall to get into the habbit of playing in time.

The problem is that i can play stuff like fear of the solo. But i mess up when im improvising on a backing track, especially in a slow track. Also, im used to learning licks from Andy james' lessons so i hav a very limited stock of slow licks.

Thanks alot guys ill definetly work harder.
#6
Another problem is that im used to playing in Em or Am so every lick i learn i just incorporate it into the Em scale. After that i just play the lick as it is, i want to "mould" my lead playing according to the rhytm but thats seems impossbile right now i thought learning by ear would be the ans so thats what im working on alongside.
#7
The solution is to learn all of the notes on the fretboard and be able to recall them without having to rely on patterns. Improvisation is much more successful when you are in control. Know what notes you're playing, over what chords, in what key.

I recommend watching Marty Friedman's Melodic Control. Very helpful in all aspects of improvisation. Must watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLs8384-wJU
#8
Quote by danyal92
i thought learning by ear would be the ans(wer?) so thats what im working on alongside.


It most likely is. If you can't figure out things by ear, then chances are you probably can't play the melodies you hear in your head either. And without the ability to do that your improvisation is nothing but playing scales.

Remember that you aren't going to be an improvisation god in a day. Or a week. Or a month. Just keep playing and analyzing music/solos/chord progressions/everything, learning by ear and of course practicing improvising as well. You will see progress slowly, but surely.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Mar 9, 2014,
#9
In all fairness, though, hearing things in your head and being able to play them out is an acquired skill for most people, like relative pitch. But definitely learn as much theory as you can, it will help you understand what you are playing, and why you're playing it, why things sound the way they do, and potential next moves in your playing.
#10
Quote by one vision
In all fairness, though, hearing things in your head and being able to play them out is an acquired skill for most people, like relative pitch.

The fact that it's an acquired skill makes it all the better. That means anyone can learn it.
#11
I only have basic knowledge of theory. When i hear a melody playing in any song etc i can usually tell the fret (not note) that will produce that sound. Later i just analysze all the notes to find out the key. Even when improvising im usually relying on my instinct to indentify frets that will produce the sound i want without even being sure of the notes.

Is this the correct approach?
#12
I don't think there's such thing as a "correct approach", but I don't think it's the most useful one to you as a musician in the long run. It is much more prosperous to you to know the notes by name, so you can have a system of identifying them, and later matching them up with the appropriate harmony and other useful information.

Analyzing the notes to find out the key is a good skill, and you will eventually be able to do it on the run, or just by looking at a chord progression or score, without having to play it.

Sounds like you're pretty close. I would really recommend learning the notes though.

When you say you have a basic understanding of theory, what does that cover?
#13
Think of it like this. Without theory knowledge, you have the pages of a book all out of order, and you're constantly searching through them for information. But knowing theory, the pages of the book are bound, and all in order.

/sick analogy
#14
Like one vision said, being able to play what you hear is only one part of the whole puzzle.

It's also very important to know the theory side like how you make chords from the major/minor scales, how tones and chords resolve, how to use passing tones, what to do when playing over non-diatonic chords and things like that.
#15
Quote by one vision

When you say you have a basic understanding of theory, what does that cover?


Very basic stuff like how the major/minor scales are constructed. The notes in a chord. and what notes would sound good over what chords. I have no understanding of advanced stuff such as modes.
#16
Good, that's enough for improvisation purposes. I would use that knowledge and apply it to your playing.

For example, a scenario like this chord progression looped: Dm - E7 - Am

Would you be able to tell me the following:

1. What key this would be?
2. What scale(s) could be used. And I really hate that question, because there is never just one answer, the answer should be "play any appropriate notes based on context". But for our purposes, basically what I'm asking is, at a first glance, and in general, what scales would be fitting here?
3. If there is a dominant present, which one is it, and what is it's function?
4. What are the notes of each chord?
5. What chromatic notes or passing notes would you use that come to mind instantly, and why? In between what notes would you use them?

This is just a few of the types of questions you should be asking yourself before/during/after improvisation. If this takes time for you to answer, don't worry, it will eventually come naturally to you, and you will be able to answer it without an instrument in your hand.
#17
Quote by one vision
Good, that's enough for improvisation purposes. I would use that knowledge and apply it to your playing.

For example, a scenario like this chord progression looped: Dm - E7 - Am

Would you be able to tell me the following:

1. What key this would be?
2. What scale(s) could be used. And I really hate that question, because there is never just one answer, the answer should be "play any appropriate notes based on context". But for our purposes, basically what I'm asking is, at a first glance, and in general, what scales would be fitting here?
3. If there is a dominant present, which one is it, and what is it's function?
4. What are the notes of each chord?
5. What chromatic notes or passing notes would you use that come to mind instantly, and why? In between what notes would you use them?

This is just a few of the types of questions you should be asking yourself before/during/after improvisation. If this takes time for you to answer, don't worry, it will eventually come naturally to you, and you will be able to answer it without an instrument in your hand.


What my approach would be is:
1i would look at the noted D F A (Dm), E G# B (E7) and A C E.
2im not sure about the key so the scale i would use is Aminor but i would be worried about the G# note so i guess i would try my best to highlight it at some points. (This is the stuff that confuses me)
3 Usually from what i read up dominant chords were mostly used to highlight a particular mode so i actually never used them
4 As for the chromatic notes i usually try to pull of stuff like in the hotel california solo or try to just do half step bends i.e bend from the G note to the G#.

To be honest im really answering this question on a hunch im actually very confused even though ive been playing for a couple of years.
#18
No problem. You're definitely on the right track, just need to be fine tuned.

The key here is A minor. I used the D minor first to try to throw you off the scent, but the E7 chord should have been a dead giveaway. You see, the major dominant chord is a result of the implementation of the harmonic minor scale in minor harmony. If we were to use a natural minor scale to create all of these chords, our dominant chord would be a very boring E minor, with not nearly as much resolution potential as the major dominant. This is because the E Major has a leading tone. Try playing the same progression, but use the E minor chord instead of the E7. Very different isn't it?

A leading tone is the name of the interval or note that comes directly before the root note. That's why it creates the tension, and then releases it. So technically, we are using 2 different scales to create the harmony here. A minor for the majority of the progression, but we use the harmonic minor to exploit the leading note.

Also, we make the dominant chord a 7th, to emphasize it even more, and make it even more tense, making the resolution that much more satisfactory. Like you said, you should definetly highlight it, but not at some points, only at one point, over the E7 chord, usually right before you resolve into the A Minor chord.

For passing notes, you can use any note in general, but would be safe in using a note that is relevant. For example, going from D minor to E7, you have several possibilities.
D minor is made up of D F A and E7 is made up of E G# B D. You can use a walking technique to go from one chord to the other. Like emphasizing the "Blue" note, made popular by blues music and found in the blues scale. In this case it is a D#. So our notes would go D, D#, and into E. Chromatic movement.

Another example, you can go from A (found in D minor) to B (found in E7), using any number of chromatic or diatonic notes as passing notes. The trick is to use notes in common, and notes close to each other to make the transition.

But really, start looking at the notes and analyzing their intervals, and understanding tension. Understanding the use and function of the dominant in both major and minor keys is a great start.

Hope that helps, feel free to ask anything else. I feel like we're on a roll here.

Just one question though, you said you weren't sure of the key, but said you'd use the A minor scale, why is that?

Also, you can't really just rely on half step bends, or full step bends. Different bends should be used in different situations. For example, if you do a half step bend from the root, A, you will get B-flat, which is a tough note to pull off and make sound good in the key of A minor. Always be aware of what note you will be playing when you are making a bend. Visualize it ahead of time, and then you will be fine, but it's tough to just rely on a technique alone and be correct all the time, you know.
Last edited by one vision at Mar 9, 2014,
#19
Actually the stuff about the chromatic movement feels like major revelation, i had no idea that this was the way to approach it. Previously i usually just played outside notes quickly or in a "hit and run" manner but now its like wow!

One thing i always wondered, when you listen to a backing track can you identify the chords by listening to them? because i cant and i find it almost impossible to recognise a chord.

As for my technique, should i work on it alongside? or should i focus on my theory just now?
I was kind of happy after playing this :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTw-Yp_7fWA

But i seem to mess up while improvising.

Btw would you recommend any website or anything for learning theory?
#20
On an off related topic, does this solo sound like Bmaj or G#m?
http://picosong.com/eRhf/

Because to me it seems to resolve to B but a guy said that it resolves to G because of some chord movement which i dont understand.
#21
Your technique is good man, I'd give it a rest and work on theory right now. Play all your scales, arpeggios and whatnot, and really think about what you're playing and how it applies to other aspects of theory. Everything is connected.

Honestly, this is really the best site for theory. It has some great articles, along with great people to answer your questions.

This is also a good site. http://www.musictheory.net/

And, when I listen to a backing track, I can identify the function of the chord, but not the chord by name. I have relative pitch like most people, but if I were to know even one chord in the mix, I'd be able to put a name on the rest of them in seconds. It's kinda like an algebra problem with variables and whatnot.
#22
Quote by danyal92
On an off related topic, does this solo sound like Bmaj or G#m?
http://picosong.com/eRhf/

Because to me it seems to resolve to B but a guy said that it resolves to G because of some chord movement which i dont understand.

I'll check it out later, but if an MT regular told you that, it's probably correct. Again probably had something to do with some kind of resolution.

Although having listened to just the ending few seconds, it seems like B Major.
#23
^ good job, but i would suggest to work on your vibrato. most guitar players ignore that aspect of their playing to focus on sweeping, tapping, and picking the fastest possible
a good vibrato makes all the difference: good vibrato here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibonH3lA66U

the way i learned to improvise was by transcribing good players by ear and analyzing
learn some theory first http://www.musictheory.net/lessons
#24
Quote by one vision
I'll check it out later, but if an MT regular told you that, it's probably correct. Again probably had something to do with some kind of resolution.

Although having listened to just the ending few seconds, it seems like B Major.


Thanks alot man, you helped me out alot
#25
Quote by SuperKid
^ good job, but i would suggest to work on your vibrato. most guitar players ignore that aspect of their playing to focus on sweeping, tapping, and picking the fastest possible
a good vibrato makes all the difference: good vibrato here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibonH3lA66U

the way i learned to improvise was by transcribing good players by ear and analyzing
learn some theory first http://www.musictheory.net/lessons


yes the vibrato :S a huge problem which im working on aswell. thanks man
#27
Quote by danyal92
On an off related topic, does this solo sound like Bmaj or G#m?
http://picosong.com/eRhf/

Because to me it seems to resolve to B but a guy said that it resolves to G because of some chord movement which i dont understand.

That was me.

And IMO it is in G#m because of the progression. The progression behind the solo is E-F#-G#m. The G#m chord is replaced twice by B major chord during the solo. But IMO that isn't enough to make it sound like B major.

But it's not that clear whether it's in B major or G# minor. Both scales contain exactly the same notes (which doesn't mean they are the same).

And I agree with others, your vibrato could be better. Now it sounds like you know the right notes and can play them but that's it. There's no feeling in the solo. Technique isn't just speed. Speed isn't that important. You want to sound good. Good technique makes you sound good (I'm talking about the tone in your fingers). Your cover is pretty accurately and cleanly played but it could be a lot more musical. Don't just play notes. Pay attention to phrasing.

So, of course learn theory but that doesn't mean you shouldn't also learn technique. But I would say you can play pretty fast - focus on other areas. You want to sound good, not just fast. There are fast players like Malmsteen who can play really fast but they also sound good. He has pretty insane vibrato.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 12, 2014,
#28
Quote by MaggaraMarine
That was me.

And IMO it is in G#m because of the progression. The progression behind the solo is E-F#-G#m. The G#m chord is replaced twice by B major chord during the solo. But IMO that isn't enough to make it sound like B major.

But it's not that clear whether it's in B major or G# minor. Both scales contain exactly the same notes (which doesn't mean they are the same).

And I agree with others, your vibrato could be better. Now it sounds like you know the right notes and can play them but that's it. There's no feeling in the solo. Technique isn't just speed. Speed isn't that important. You want to sound good. Good technique makes you sound good (I'm talking about the tone in your fingers). Your cover is pretty accurately and cleanly played but it could be a lot more musical. Don't just play notes. Pay attention to phrasing.

So, of course learn theory but that doesn't mean you shouldn't also learn technique. But I would say you can play pretty fast - focus on other areas. You want to sound good, not just fast. There are fast players like Malmsteen who can play really fast but they also sound good. He has pretty insane vibrato.


Thats exactly what im working on these days, my phrasing. When listening to stuff like satriani i pay a lot more attention as to how he plays the lead in relation to the rhythm in the background. Plus im improvising over slow backing tracks and i think that helping me improve my phrasing, but all the fast licks i know seem pretty useless when played slow :S. Other than ear training and improvising over backing tracks, should i do anything else to improve my phrasing?

Im working on the vibrato aswell, ive only begun to realize thats it may even be more important than cleanly sweep picking :S

Thanks alot for everything man.
#29
Also i must admit, that in my covers i never really paid any attention to the backing track. TO get my timing right i just played alongside the original song over and over.

P.s The fear of the dark solos a cover of the andy james' version which was a little slower than the original :P
#30
Quote by MaggaraMarine
There are fast players like Malmsteen who can play really fast but they also sound good. He has pretty insane vibrato.


+1

I find it a bit bemusing how many people think yngwie just plays fast with no feeling when he has arguably one of the best vibratos in the business.

Quote by danyal92

Im working on the vibrato aswell, ive only begun to realize thats it may even be more important than cleanly sweep picking :S


There's no maybe about it, it's several orders of magnitude more important than clean sweep picking, in my opinion anyway (and I like fast playing and shredding, I'm not some blues cat who thinks that more than one note per bar/measure automatically means no feeling!).

I'm probably slightly biased against sweep picking because I never feel that confident about it But yeah, vibrato is the thing. If your vibrato is good you can get away with a lot, it sounds like you know what you're doing and if you're playing slowly it sounds like you're holding back. Whereas if your vibrato isn't good nomatter how complex or fast the rest of the stuff you're doing is, it can only sound so good (IMO). Good vibrato makes you sound better than you are; bad vibrato makes you sound worse (again, IMO).

Don't get me wrong, the ideal is killer chops and also killer feel and vibrato. But if I had to pick one or the other I'd pick feel/vibrato every time.
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#31
Quote by danyal92
On an off related topic, does this solo sound like Bmaj or G#m?
http://picosong.com/eRhf/

Because to me it seems to resolve to B but a guy said that it resolves to G because of some chord movement which i dont understand.


Why does it even really matter? Other than for straight up studying purposes. Remember that the listener does car about these things
#32
Quote by Phazon
Why does it even really matter? Other than for straight up studying purposes. Remember that the listener does car about these things


Im trying to transcribe this solo, so i want to learn the theory alongside too. Also, G#m is the relative minor of B maj so they have the same notes and chords but progessions such as I IV V would still be different right?
#33
Plus if a song is in Bmaj does that mean that the rhytm has to emphasise the Bmaj chord more and if its G#m than emphasise G#m more?
#34
Quote by danyal92
Plus if a song is in Bmaj does that mean that the rhytm has to emphasise the Bmaj chord more and if its G#m than emphasise G#m more?


No, it's about resolution. I think you have been given all the answers that you need, to move forward from this point. Now you know what to do.

As for technique, do you ever just decide "Oh I guess I'll stop paying well, and just go sloppy?" I don't. So, yes, always work on improving your execution, but execution in itself isn't the same as being musical. Don't get scatterbrained; just work on what needs to be worked on and improve upon what you're already doing.

Best,

Sean
#35
I'm surprised no one mentioned using a metronome to the OP..


To the OP do you know how to play rhythm guitar? This is a big issue with a lot of guitarist they just get straight into lead, and don't learn the basics of timing playing quarter notes, 8th notes, trips, and 16th notes. If you don't know how to play rhythm then get into it ASAP! It teaches you how to count, and sub divide beats this will transition into your lead playing.


Oh and by the way I know a lot of guitarist face this problem it's real common sadly. Most guitarist just tend to play along to records with little understanding of what's going on honestly you're not even playing you're just "mimicking" the other players part it's a really bad habit if you can't understand what's going on musically. Then that's really bad dude a lot of people fall prey to this.. Learn to practice is all I can really say crank that metronome out and get to practicing ASAP playing along to records isn't bad, but that's all it is it's not practicing it's "playing" all play, and no work made jack a dull boy OP.
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 15, 2014,
#36
Quote by Black_devils
I'm surprised no one mentioned using a metronome to the OP..


To the OP do you know how to play rhythm guitar? This is a big issue with a lot of guitarist they just get straight into lead, and don't learn the basics of timing playing quarter notes, 8th notes, trips, and 16th notes. If you don't know how to play rhythm then get into it ASAP! It teaches you how to count, and sub divide beats this will transition into your lead playing.


Oh and by the way I know a lot of guitarist face this problem it's real common sadly. Most guitarist just tend to play along to records with little understanding of what's going on honestly you're not even playing you're just "mimicking" the other players part it's a really bad habit if you can't understand what's going on musically. Then that's really bad dude a lot of people fall prey to this.. Learn to practice is all I can really say crank that metronome out and get to practicing ASAP playing along to records isn't bad, but that's all it is it's not practicing it's "playing" all play, and no work made jack a dull boy OP.


Ive recently gotten into rhytm playing. Im a terrible rhythm guitarist and thats the problem. I can play stuff like wonderwall and youre beautiful (I play metal but im guessing these songs will help with timing). I can keep up but i have no idea what 16th note or 8th note means i mean i just dont get it. I also find it hard to determine a strumming pattern.

Your second paragraph exactly states my problem, i dont listen to the backing track when playing. I recently started focusing on rhythm when soloing but that still doesnt give me an idea on whether im in time or not. Im mostly playing on backing tracks these days as practice.

As for the solo i posted, i just cant hear a chord progession or a strum pattern or anything. I can hear the bass, and arpeggio and drums but no chords
#37
Quote by Sean0913
No, it's about resolution. I think you have been given all the answers that you need, to move forward from this point. Now you know what to do.

As for technique, do you ever just decide "Oh I guess I'll stop paying well, and just go sloppy?" I don't. So, yes, always work on improving your execution, but execution in itself isn't the same as being musical. Don't get scatterbrained; just work on what needs to be worked on and improve upon what you're already doing.

Best,

Sean


Thanks man, ill work on it surely