#1
hi there everyone

this is gonna sound a bit silly but here we go.

i have been playing guitar for just over 1 year, am self taught, and since i started all i have been doing is learning other people's songs (famous bands that is) and general it may take me a while i can play the songs i learn reasonably, although obviously there is a lot of room for improvement. recently one of my mates who also plays guitar but prefers siging asked if i would be interested in starting up a band with him, so of course, i agreed . this is gonna sound cocky, but i dont mean it to, but i am probably the better guitar player out of the two of us, as a result of practising more.

however, here comes the problem, with news of this impeding band i will probably be asked to "make" up material i.e solos,and after researching a bit found that the best way to get a general feel for the sound of the guitar from improvisation point of view was to learn scales (something which up to now i have not done). however, after learning a few scales, i still dont understand how to "transform" if u like, the scale knowledge into being able to make up my own solos, or just generally jamming with no particular purpose.

should i just keep with it (learning scales and tunes)?

or should i try something a bit different?,

any suggestions very welcome

thanks

Mike
#2
Well assuming that you play rock, practice minor and major penatonic stuff. Also throw in notes you like. But what i did, (been playing for 7 years) and I still do this is:
just play the scales over and over and over again. I don't neccesarily mean in order, but just keep like improvising in them. The more you play them, the more comfortable you become at improvising with them.

and Learn some nice licks and stuff.
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#3
play from your heart...and try to get a good ear....

stick with scales, but dont let that limit you...


Ideally you should be able to think something in your head, then play it
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#4
so as a basic point do you mean that as i play more and generally get better at the guitar, things like the ability to improvise, and know which notes will sound good in combination etc, will come ? and one day.......one day....... i will be able to just sit and play guitar without any real purpose and still sound good?

o and yes btw, i tend to play rock, soft rock, occasional RHCP stuff
Last edited by Mike3066 at Jan 30, 2007,
#5
Yes Mike, that's right. It takes time to learn how to improvise. Just playing scales isn't enough.
Let's say you're playing a slow blues jam in B minor. Two scales will work just great...the B minor pentatonic and the B natural minor scale. Generally you'll want your solo to start and end on a B note, since the jam is in the key of B. It doesn't have to be a picked note, either...it can end on a bent note (which usually sounds better, especially when vibrato is added). The chord progression you're soloing over is a bit of a factor, too. Take note of the chords, and while you're trying to come up with something make sure you hit the notes that are relative to the chords....meaning if the chords are B, E, F (which is a standard I IV V pattern) and the chords are strummed 8 times each. You'll start your solo off on a B note. Then start playing notes, bending one or two, doing whatever you want. When it's time to switch to the E chord, make sure when you're making stuff up an E notes falls in right when the chord changes to E.
But as we all know, in music rules are made to be broken. Say it's time to switch to the E chord, and you want to be a rebel. Try bending a note anywhere in the scale...some will sound just plain wrong, and others will sound "tense" but not terrible to the ears....these "tension notes" can add a bit of mysticism and originality to your solos and make you stand apart from your buddies who are just ripping up and down scales.
It only takes a little bit of basics, but like a few others here said, alot comes from the heart. You have to find phrases that stand out to you...it's your way of saying "This is me!!" It just takes alot of time and experimentation. Practicing over backing tracks is the best way. Do it at home when your friends aren't around so they're not sitting there making faces when you hit bad notes. You'll find yourself after awhile. When I improvise at home, I try to focus on a certain technique for awhile...say something like hammer-ons and pull-offs. I'll try to come up with something using those as much as possible. Another night it'll be tapping, another it'll be sliding, another it'll be bending. Then after you have an arsenal of techniques at your disposal, you can start mixing them up and before long you'll be saying "Hey, that was a good solo!"
#7
just don't tap and do other show-offy, unneeded stuff when inspiration is gone. that'll ruin you. keep it simple and have fun
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#8
Improvisation is basically playing off the top of your head from a scale in key.
Start practicing with the major scale, major, and minor pentatonic.
Have a gander at this:
http://www.cyberfret.com/improvisation/index.php


Also, learning theory helps alot. Search theory in the lessons section and look at the beginning theory lesson.
#9
Learn your Pentatonics first.

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#10
learn pentatonic sclaes and throw some more notes in it, that gives the scale more personality
#11
cheers guys, particularly fretboarddragon for taking the time to help in such detail. i really appreciate it and will check out some more info on blues scales and what not, currently on the scales front i am learning minor and major pentatonic, and also two others whose names escape me atm. i suppose it probably makes sense that it takes time to be to improvise, i was just worried that the way in which i learned the guitar was, to coin my dads phrase, "a bit arse about face" (wrong way)

once again many thanks guys


Mike.