does being able to improvise (well) come with much experience or do you just need a good ear? ive been playing for a year about now and ive progressed alot, but still cant improvise anything more that like chords n small licks. my friend does full blown solos, but he also plays other instruments, and has played guitar longer, will i be able to do that?
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Basically, learn your scales. If you've got a good ear, you'll be able to play scales to a song and know when you need to skip a fret and when not to...I'm probably not very good at explaining things.
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I say just experience. Getting a good feel for different styles of music from different people will mean you are more accustomed to whatever you're playing, and know what should fit there. Scales are useful, just dont learn them all and overuse them.
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i know the scales and modes...but still if i sit down and start playing, i just get awesome chord phrases. nothing spectacular like a solo.
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Well, if you know all your theory (all meaning more than you essentially need, meaning you know stuff like jazz theory too) and can apply it (bigass ! there), all there really is left to think about is phrasing.

I'm not breaking any new grounds here, I just want you to try some of this stuff out and read this article, for starters:


And yeah, usually, you "find yourself", with experience. Which means, you're more comfortable, playing more confident, your phrasing gets better, etc... All those things combined make a good improvisation.

Ofcourse, this won't magically happen in 5 years... You need to work on it
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Improv comes from practice improving. Sorta common sense. See if you can get a few backing tracks that you can just mess around with a pentatonic. Then, the more you go, you will build up a memory of little licks and patterns within shapes and get a really good feel for them and you can almost express what your thinking into the guitar. Then you should try doing something harder than just a pentatonic, like full scales and modal shapes. Try doing it at different paces and tempos, different styles and emotions, and you will just build up that memory of phrases. Instead of just playing randomly in a scale, practice trying to make your guitar "talk", like using phrases and ending them. Once you build up a memory of licks and a feel for phrasing, thats when you should do these "full blown solos".
Record a chord progression. Record your self improving over it. Listen to it. save each improv. you do the more and more you practice over different kinds of riffs and progressions, you'll slowly see your phrasing skill increase. And as long as your not improving for people or with a band, dont be afraid to go left field and try something new. When doing this or an improv, it helps to be in key. In fact it's necessary.
Best way is to work with a decent drummer and bassist. The bass player can lay down a nice groove with the drummer and you can "feel" what should lay over the top. You need to know your scales inside out, back to front, on your head... But be careful as things can become scalic. Phrasing is SO important. remember, music is scales mixed up to sound nice. So once you know your scales well, start mixing them up baby! it doesnt need to be fast either. a nice solo can be slow and still rock
Definitely yes. Look at this way: a guitar player who's been playing for half a year won't be able to improvise as good as one that's been playing for 5 years, right? You can practise it, just playing along to backing tracks and make stuff as you go along.
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I've been playing a while now with solo improv as my primary focus. Even though
I'm always learning, it has become somewhat second nature to me. So,
here's some tips:

1) At least begin by learning the minor pentatonic scale. It's the easiest scale
to use and sound decent when you start.

2) Get backing tracks. Simple stuff without any key changes. I'd recommend blues
to start. Practice your improv w/pent minor over it.

3) Start copying some licks. There's a ton of pent minor blues/rock idiom licks using
the pent minor. Learn the licks and start incoporating them into your improv.

4) Keep practicing! Improv is pretty much an art, so you just have to do it. You
can ALWAYS do more pent scale practice by finding interesting scale pattern
exercises. Over time, you also start incorporating that into your solos as well.
Quote by coffeeguy9
Improv comes from practice improving.

That's what I was going to say. Keep practicing. Use backing tracks and use the scales you know musically. It just takes more time and experience.

Another thing that helps is to listen to a lot of other musicians and learn some of their music and phrasing.
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