#1
I am very frustrated of late with my guitar playing. I have a few problems. Number one, I am not good at improvising. I can do ok with the pentatonic scale, but with scales with more notes like major and minor I'm not very good. I practice playing the scales ascending and descending, in triplets, playing every other note up and down the scale, but I still need help. When I try to solo over a chord progression its not usually very good.

The second problem is harder to describe. I am having trouble playing things cleanly. I see people who can play things effortlessly and without mistakes, and while I might be able to play the same thing, I make mistakes and am never as comfortable with something even if I practice it alot. My fingers always feel like they don't do what I want them to do somehow. I had gotten in a bad habit of not using my pinky on my fretting hand at all, and though I broke that, I think maybe my pinky is still kind of weak, that might be part of it. I don't know how else to describe it, but its very frustrating.

If anybody has any suggestions, I am open to them.
#2
listen to some blues, or anything else with a lot of licks that are easy to take apart and learn. play along and mimic whatever the guy on the recording is doing, but don't actually try to learn it note for note. you probably need to learn how to play by ear a little better and that's pretty much how i did it.

if that's a little too basic for you (which it very well may be) then fool around with the scales you're having trouble with and find things that sound cool, then when you try to play it over a certain chord progression find what works and what doesn't. if a lick sounds good by itself then there's definitely a chord progression that it'll sound good over, you just need to find it and be able to recognize it by ear.

oh yeah for that last part find songs that you know have solos in a major or a harmonic minor scale, that way you can practice playing in that scale and be sure you can find some cool sounding stuff.
Last edited by vantage4 at Mar 7, 2007,
#3
you know when oyu were a kid, and oyu had a box of crayons. i remember i only had a box of eight and one of my friends had a box of 64. it wasnt fair cuz i was limited in what colors i could use. its the same thing with guitar playing, you need lots of colors, or licks. the longer you play and the more you practice the more licks youll have. you just need to get more crayons in your crayon box.
#4
I know completely what you mean. It's like, I can play a song note for note, but no consistently. It's all just practice. Also, it's way easier to play something you wrote than something someone else wrote. Try playing standing up more, You'll be surprised at how muuuuch it helps your playing. As for solos. I'm no good either, just use the penatonic scale as best you can. You can play most blues/ classic rockish solos from that. As for improvising. That comes from just knowing the guitar and how all the notes sound, so when you here it in your head you can play it no problem.
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#5
Listen to music 24/7 when you're not playing guitar. By listen I mean ANALYZE and take apart parts of the songs to find licks you like then put them in your solos when they seem to fit. I dont mean stop writing your own licks and steal other peoples phrasing, but theres no crime in studying the works of another guitarist and learning from them. Any good guitarist would know that he can learn something from anyone, and shouldn't have boundaries set to a specific genre. That way it opens doors to new playing styles and overall better musicality. For example, I am a diehard 80's pop metal fan, but I listen to Trivium just to learn some licks, and I listen to Protest the Hero, to again, learn some licks. Try that, and don't only practice the scales, practice actual dynamic soloing with them by jamming with them to a CD thats in the key you need. Good luck to ya!
#6
Yeah dude...I'm glade I started using my pinky at a very young age.

Learn arrpeggios. This way you kind of playing around them or use them
to accent/stress your scales/riff so you harminize with the backing chords.

At the very least you already know 1, and 5...el power chord

add the 3rd.......for maj chord

example;

A--------------6 (3rd)-------------7---- (5th)
E-----------------5-------------- (root)

For minor...3b....drop the 3rd 1/2 pitch or fret

Slow down...it dosn't have to be all fast.
This way your imporv is more dymanic...the slower notes actually
sets up the faster notes. U know if you see quanity of notes being played
on a graph....It's not a flat line.

Playing slowers notes are actually harder for me...in a sense to make them sound
good verse just ripping through a scale. Practice simple inflections.
hammer on's, pulls, bends, accending slide, decending slide.
I listen to the sath becuase the way he plays those notes and it's not all fast.

And yes... get a recorder and listen to yourself on play back.
Try to focus as you play and not let your mind driff.
Make proper corrections if you hear sour notes.
The more you listen to yourself and make corrections as you go
the better you'll sound. And someday a person would think the same
about you..wow he plays that great sounding solo with grace.

Mix it up with picking techs...stigato , legato..etc
Us your fingers to pick , pluck, flick or pmi the pentatonic or whatever instead
of using the pick all the time.

Try not gripping the neck or notes so hard.
Let the guitar breath or sing.

Try the question and answers methode for phrasing
Most blues player do it.
this way your solo make sense and gets resolved and don't leave the audience
hanging and fustrated.
Last edited by Ordinary at Mar 8, 2007,
#7
Quote by rixills
you know when oyu were a kid, and oyu had a box of crayons. i remember i only had a box of eight and one of my friends had a box of 64. it wasnt fair cuz i was limited in what colors i could use. its the same thing with guitar playing, you need lots of colors, or licks. the longer you play and the more you practice the more licks youll have. you just need to get more crayons in your crayon box.


Yeah....but there only three basic colors (the same gose for music)
If you mix those three colors you can obtain any type of colors and shades of it.

You can glitter and sparklies and what not....that'll be amps and FX.
Last edited by Ordinary at Mar 8, 2007,
#8
Thanks for the advice, does anybody have any other tips on just feeling more comfortable playing, and playing things cleanly? I tried not gripping the neck as hard and that seems to help, and I've also discovered I can play faster with a lighter pick. Most of the problems come when I'm playing a scale with whole-half steps or hard fingerings that cover alot of ground on the neck.
#9
tap those bad boyz

Not sure what guage string you use , but try going to a lighter guage.
Check your action....stupid question but you never know. One of my students
had his action way the heck off....no wonder he was having trouble.

Check your innotation, you need a tuner, but it made a lot of difference
for me.
Basically, even if I tune my guitar...the notes are not truley tune or the
same if I play the note on a different string. it depends on how a guitar
is out of innotation. There's instructions on the web I'm sure. it's not
that complicated, just takes time.