Hey, maybe i'm jumping the gun here, but for the past 7 months now i've practiced my guitar skills for at least an hour a day. To the point where i can play most songs after a little-bit of practice.

But somehow i still feel completely clueless, my fingers do what they are told, but i have no idea how to play together with other people. I'd just try it if it weren't that my friends are all very very experienced musicians and live pretty far away now-a-days. (So i don't want to embarrass myself if / when we get together to do a little bit of music)

What can i do to improve / create my improvisation skills? Should i start learning every single scale? Because i've learnt a few, and so far they sound very stale and frankly quite boring.

Or maybe i should be doing something else entirely in order to improve my improvisation, i honestly don't have a clue .

Kind regards,

Last edited by xiblaauw at Mar 25, 2014,
You play with other people by playing with other people.

The closest thing you can get to this would be practicing along to backing tracks.

If you want to improve your improvisation skills then put on a backing track and PLAY. If you don't like to learn your scales then thats fine.

Scales are beneficial in the sense that they allow you to associate sound to instrument fingerings.

You can still do this without knowing the name of the scale you are playing. Improvisation is tough because essentially it is composing on the fly.

LISTEN to what everyone else is playing and respond based off of what you hear. Are there a lot of high instruments like flutes, oboe, and violins? If so then you should already know that you don't wanna be playing all the way up on the upper frets of the high e string.

To be honest though learning to play with other people has a lot to do with factors that aren't even considered musical. I don't know if you're one of these types of people but if you are then leave your ego at home. Part of the reason why I hate trying to play with other guitar players is because when i ask to play with them they shred away at me. Be a decent person and figure out what it is you want to do. Write a song? Improvise over chord progressions? Learn a new song together?

There it is.

Hope this helped you Xander.
Backing tracks, or just play along with radio songs. The latter will teach you to recognize key by ear more easily, and then you figure how to can add embellishment to the song that adds to, or at least does not detract or clash with, the song.

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All of the above.

Plus, if they're your friends, they won't worry about you embarrasing yourself. They were in your position once, and unless they're arseholes they'll understand and help you improve.
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You don't need to know how to improvise to play with other musicians. The couple of times I hung out and jammed with my friends, we all picked songs we knew, and taught them to the folks that didn't. Then we played them.

And now, I'm in a cover band. The guitar player widdles away sometimes, but we mostly follow the recordings so that everyone's on the same page.

So, I guess my point is that improv and playing with other people aren't the same skill set, and you shouldn't let the fact that you can't improv keep you trapped in your bedroom. I can't improv for shit and my first live gig's in, like, two months.
Wow i am blown away by the amount of response i've gotten! First and foremost, thank you!

Secondly i think i should state that i am not so much afraid ill embarres myself as much as im afraid that i will be the groups bottleneck.

I feel like you're all right in that i should just go for it, and i am certainly planning to do so, but i'm really looking for a place to start, a reference point if you please.

Since i am sitting in the bus atm, watching the vid Superkid shared is going to have to wait untill a later moment, but i am interested to see what they've got to share

In response to Dannydawiz, no worries im going to try and not disturb anyone at least for the first couple months. After that i'll venture out carefully and with consideration towards my playing partners.

Garybillington, don't laugh if this seems very obvious to you but you're saying knowing the key is more important then knowing scales? Any ideas on how best to learn what a key is and how to use them?

I am completely clueless it seems but a quick learner, so bear with me and i might suprise all of you

Thanks a lot for the great response beautiful people! Hope you have a great day

Quote by xiblaauw
Secondly i think i should state that i am not so much afraid ill embarres myself as much as im afraid that i will be the groups bottleneck.

You'll need to find a group of people for whom this won't matter. I started with friends who I knew wouldn't care, then when I felt I was good enough I posted an ad that explained exactly what kind of experience I had (or didn't have) and let the bands that replied to it know exactly what they'd be getting, so that they'd know they'd be getting a root-note rocker and not John Entwhistle.

You won't be a good fit for every band you play with, but it's not necessarily a reflection on you. I sat in with my dad's bluegrass band once (at his insistence, despite my own insistence that I didn't know bluegrass from a Pop Tart - he just said I wouldn't have any problem because I was awesome. Can't argue with that logic.) and couldn't follow the chord changes at all, but I didn't feel bad about it. After all, I had an album out at the time.
If you want to learn how to improvise then learn by ear I really can't stress this issue enough. You don't just learn how to improvise over night honestly it's all about experimenting with different licks you've transcribed or playing things you hear in your head.
Learning all scales doesn't make you a good improviser. Being good at improvising is getting lots of ideas and being able to play them. Yes, knowing the scales helps but improvising isn't scales. By knowing scales it is easier to find the right notes. But without getting ideas you can't play any right notes so it doesn't matter if you know all the scales if you just don't get any ideas.

Just jam with your friends. You'll learn to play with other people by playing with other people. You'll learn to improvise by improvising. Don't worry about mistakes. Everybody makes them. Just play with your friends and have fun. If they are your friends, they will understand that you are not that great. And if they are good musicians, they'll also understand it. Just play some simple songs that everybody knows. As said before, you don't need to be able to improvise to play in a band.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.


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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 28, 2014,