Ok guys,

I have to say I am a decently proficent guitarist. I have been playing and taking formal lessons for about a year and a half, and I can handle some diffucult stuff. But I was just flippin' around in some old magazines and I see a huge article "IMPROVE YOUR IMPROV!!!" While Im thinking, "this is the exact article I need!" So I open it up, and then I see all this lingo that I have absoultley NO clue about, basically, I am a theory n00b, so I was wondering if I could ask some stuff on here, so you guys could clarify for me...

(This is from a "JAM" soling improv lesson")

"In the diverse world of jam-band soloing, two key elements appear, modal explanations, and rhythmic motifs"

what??? This is two sentences in, and I am totally lost, modal explations??? rhythmic motifs???

Some fine examples include, Jerry Garcia's E Ioanian (E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D#), or Duane Allman, and Dickey Betts' A Dorinan (A-B-C-D-E-F#-G)

I have heard this before, yet I still know nothing, all I know about soloing is the penatonic scale, and not much more, and it is time for me to move on...

What scale is the E Ioanin?, and what does (E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D#) mean?
What scale is the G Mixolian?, and what does (G-A-B-C-D-E-F) mean?
What scale is the A Dorian?, and what does (A-B-C-D-E-F#-G) mean?
How Do I Use scales in Imporovisation?
What licks can I use in my soloing?
How can I improv my rhythm guitar to help my leads?

As the written lesson continues, it shows an example of a jam band solo. I moves on through many diffrent motifs, and has tons of licks like...


Well guys, I have my goal clearly stated, and this is the next part of bettering my self as a guitarist, and that is what all of us want. I am hoping you guys can help me, and that this will help other aspiring guitarists in the future by rading this thread.

Thanks a lot,

Last edited by get-born at Sep 25, 2006,
The article is talking about jamming, and improvising within this jam. Its stating there are two different parts of a jam, the rhythm, and the lead.

1. a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., esp. in a literary, artistic, or musical work.
2. a distinctive and recurring form, shape, figure, etc., in a design, as in a painting or on wallpaper.
3. a dominant idea or feature: the profit motif of free enterprise.

Thats referring to a rhythm that is repeated, e.g. a simple chord progression of G,C & D. You can also have one chords vamps, which is just one chord playing in a rhythm and someone soloing/playing lead over it. E.g. your friend plays an A5 chord whilst you whizz up and down the A minor scale (Aeolian mode).

And the 'model' part is referring the seven modes of the major scale. The major scale itself (Ionian), Dorian (minor), Phyrigian (minor), Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian (minor), Locrian (minor). The notes in the bracket left of the mode name are just the notes in that particular mode.

To use scales in improvisation over chords/backing you will need to choose a scale thats in the key and jam away with licks and runs at your pleasure. Arpeggios are also useful, because you know the chords that are playing in the backing so you can just arpeggiate them and highlight the tones of the chord.

My advise to you is that you should learn the major scale (start with C), as this is what everything in music theory is based on. Learn it in several positions on the fretboard, the notes and you'll start to see how you can form the other modes from this scale.

This was a very rough answer that probably won't make sense, but the last paragraph is a great start Good luck, it will take a lot of practice.
thanks a lot!


how am I supposed to learn the whole major c scale, let alone, all of the major scales? there is like 200 notes per scale...
Last edited by get-born at Sep 25, 2006,
No, theres only 7 notes , take C major for example - C D E F G A B (C). The C in brackets is the start of the scale again, but up an octave.
Oh, so you just take those notes on the fretboard and move around to diffrent parts of the fretboard with those notes?
yes^ thats what scale patterns are for. dont find a place on the net with all the scale patterns for the major scale, but rather figure patterns out yourself
well, that wouldnt be hard at all, I know all the notes, I mean, I know stuff like the 13th fret on the E string in standard tuning is an F, so it would be hard to figure that out, but you just stay with in that pattern and improvise off that?
what you want to do is learn one pattern with the root note on the low E string. and improvise with that. then learn the next pattern and so forth. eventually u should be able to start improvising in any any key anywhere on the neck and play all over the fretboard.

if your major scale pattern has A as its root. record a progression in the key of A, like A-E-F#m-D. IMO do this in all keys.

if in a minor key. say the progression is Am-Dm-Em. use the relative major scale to improvise which is Cmaj.

to get the relative maj of a min key just go three semitones(halfsteps) up. visa verca

oh and it's great thing that you know your notes. PM if you want some more info on improvising with major scales and making it sound cool. when your tired of just hitting random notes in the major scale patterns. but anyway that comes later

Quote by jacoinmalawi
what you want to do is learn one pattern with the root note on the low E string. and improvise with that. then learn the next pattern and so forth.

I disagree, while scale patterns are useful, you are much better being able to play everywhere on the fretboard. You already know your fretboard notes well so just use the notes of the scale and improvise with them. You don't want to get stuck playing in the same place on the fretboard all the time.
sorry i didnt get through right there^. what i meant was learn one pattern thoroughly in all key then move on to he next and then improvise with both patterns and so forth. of course if you know your notes so well that you can solo all over the neck then go for it man. patterns are just a way to learn to be able to solo anwhere any time.

You don't want to get stuck playing in the same place on the fretboard all the time.


your goal at least mine is when learning patterns to be able to solo in all keys everwhere on the neck.

Learn to apply the major scale concept to your guitar. Know it by heart
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