#1
I am a self taught guitarist. I have pretty advanced at playing solos and chords and anything that is tabbed. An area where I have little to no knowledge in is improvising over chords and writing my own licks/solos/songs. This is something that I really want to do but I have no clue where to start. I have already bought a book about basic guitar theory and it helped a little so I know the bare basics. I was wondering if there are any suggestions for any books that will help me or where I should start. Thanks
#2
My main advice would be to try and move away from playing by tab, and going over to playing by ear. Tab is great if you come up with something and to write down exactly how you played (fingering wise), and standard notation is great to write out forms of tunes and such. But learning by ear is on of the best things for your own development as a musician.

So learn songs and solos by ear is my first advice. Learning to sing them is my second. Learning to really think in sound and connecting your ears to your instrument. This is really hard to do at first, but eventually if you keep learning stuff by ear and practicing singing it as well you will begin to see music as more of a language than anything else. Being able to imitate phrases almost instantly and coming up with responses to what other musicians around you are saying.

My process for learning music nowadays almost always follows this pattern:

1. Learn a tune/solo/phrase from a musician i love, by ear.
2. Learn to play it and sing it.
3. Analyze it theoretically.
4. Create my own exercises/studies from what i've learned.
5. Repeat 1-4.

As for books, i don't have a lot of recommendations. Some of the lessons on "MusicTheory.net" are good. Berklee's Music Theory books are supposed to be good, but i haven't used them myself so i can't vouch for that.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#3
^ What he says.

I'd add (maybe even before point #1):

Learn to play the melody of any tune you want to improvise on. That means the lead vocal part if it's a song.
This teaches you all kinds of useful stuff: how to phrase, how to find the main way through the changes, how to add expressive bends or variable timing... how to make your instrument sing
#4
The best way to learn to solo is to learn the melody of a tune that you are familiar with, ideally a fairly simple melody. As Sickz said, by ear is ideal if possible. Pay particularly attention to wear chord tones fall in the melody (ie a C, E, or G over a C chord).

From there, start making changes. Add extra notes, such as fill notes in between the melody (if the melody jumps directly from C to G, try adding D, E, and F in between). Adding in extra chord tones between melody notes is also always safe. Try adding ornamentation to melody notes by bending into them, trilling, adding grace notes, etc.

There are also certain generic fill licks in every style that work over particular chords or a particular chord change (ie going from a C chord to an F chord). Learning some of these licks is handy because many of them could be thrown in easily, particularly in the gaps at the end of a line of the melody.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#5
Thanks, all are really good tips. Any song suggestions I should start learning by ear?
#6
Something you like in the genre that you wish to play would be ideal.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#7
Quote by billrich314
Thanks, all are really good tips. Any song suggestions I should start learning by ear?


Music you love. What you learn is what you will become, kinda like that saying "you are what you eat". All the music you learn and internalize by ear will help shape your sound, your tone, your style and your playing. You shouldn't be asking us what you should be learning, you should be going through your record collection and find things that really speak to you.

It would probably be a good idea to start with something less technical to start with though, if you are not used to learning by ear or playing by ear. Find something you love that isn't too hard to hear and pick out. Try to sing along as you listen to it, then pick up your guitar and learn it.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#9
Quote by Sickz
My main advice would be to try and move away from playing by tab, and going over to playing by ear. Tab is great if you come up with something and to write down exactly how you played (fingering wise), and standard notation is great to write out forms of tunes and such. But learning by ear is on of the best things for your own development as a musician.

So learn songs and solos by ear is my first advice. Learning to sing them is my second. Learning to really think in sound and connecting your ears to your instrument. This is really hard to do at first, but eventually if you keep learning stuff by ear and practicing singing it as well you will begin to see music as more of a language than anything else. Being able to imitate phrases almost instantly and coming up with responses to what other musicians around you are saying.

My process for learning music nowadays almost always follows this pattern:

1. Learn a tune/solo/phrase from a musician i love, by ear.
2. Learn to play it and sing it.
3. Analyze it theoretically.
4. Create my own exercises/studies from what i've learned.
5. Repeat 1-4.

As for books, i don't have a lot of recommendations. Some of the lessons on "MusicTheory.net" are good. Berklee's Music Theory books are supposed to be good, but i haven't used them myself so i can't vouch for that.


This is the best advice anyone could ever give you. Follow it!