#1
Ok, in my eyes there are two aspects to improvisation, technique and creativity. Technique covers, knowing the scales, slides etc.. creativity is being good with it.

I am crap at creativity, my solos.. suck.. I play them note by note and just do pentatonic runs out of ability to one, think fast and two, actually come out with something good. I need your help?
#2
Here's the best method I've found.

Think of riffs or solos you know that you really dig.

Try to figure out how to play them on your guitar by ear.

Do this a lot until you build up a decent ability for it.

Now go fetch some rhythm backing tracks. There's a bunch on the Harmony Central electric guitar forum. These are just simple chord progressions you can solo over.

Listen to the progression and think about what a cool solo would sound like.

Try to figure out how to play that solo over the track.

Eventually you will get really fast at this. When that happens, you'll be a good improv-er.

Most people who are good at improv have their skills up enough to where they just hear something in their head and then they play it on the guitar. The time it takes for them to hear the next note in their head to the time they play it is nothing.
#3
yeah, i can whistle world-class jazz solos. from there i'll record it and transcribe it. voila! instant solo.
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#4
I think a 3rd aspect is knowledge.. Because you may have the technique and ability to play, and the imagination to create something that sounds amazing.. But if you don't know a little bit about theory it will be a lot harder to get it all together

I can hum sweet solos, but I lack the speed and playing ability to get fast parts, and the theory knowledge to know where the notes I need are.

Really though, the more you practise at it, certain things stick in your head, a lick here and there and some cool combinations, then eventually it will all come together and you'll have your own cool soloing style. That's what I've kinda noticed anyway.
#5
A great thing to do is play with other guitar players and swap riffs and little bits. I've learned plenty of stuff just from other guitar players I know.

Also, like they say in jazz, the best way to learn it is to listen to it. Find a guitar player you like and listen to them extensively, learn some of their solos, and try to come up with your own stuff in a similar style.
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#7
Quote by TheDev01dOne
I think a 3rd aspect is knowledge.. Because you may have the technique and ability to play, and the imagination to create something that sounds amazing.. But if you don't know a little bit about theory it will be a lot harder to get it all together

I can hum sweet solos, but I lack the speed and playing ability to get fast parts, and the theory knowledge to know where the notes I need are.

Really though, the more you practise at it, certain things stick in your head, a lick here and there and some cool combinations, then eventually it will all come together and you'll have your own cool soloing style. That's what I've kinda noticed anyway.


+11110000000
#9
Quote by matth05
Ok, in my eyes there are two aspects to improvisation, technique and creativity.


Well, I think your basic premise is wrong.

Technique, is only the physical ability to play what you intend.


At any rate, when you're actually improvising, everything melds into a kind of
feedback loop where you really can't separate one thing from another.

What most people miss I think is that, to the improvisor, music IS motion. It's how
you move your fingers in interesting ways. If you only practice a scale straight up,
the back down, why do you think when it's time to improvise that your fingers won't
want to do anything else? It's what you trained them to do. For most people that's
thier "scale study". But, really that's only the basic beginning of scale work. There's
millions of interesting ways to move your fingers through a scale. If you practice
enough of that, your fingers will spontaneously start doing that in solos.
#10
Quote by edg
Well, I think your basic premise is wrong.

Technique, is only the physical ability to play what you intend.


At any rate, when you're actually improvising, everything melds into a kind of
feedback loop where you really can't separate one thing from another.

What most people miss I think is that, to the improvisor, music IS motion. It's how
you move your fingers in interesting ways. If you only practice a scale straight up,
the back down, why do you think when it's time to improvise that your fingers won't
want to do anything else? It's what you trained them to do. For most people that's
thier "scale study". But, really that's only the basic beginning of scale work. There's
millions of interesting ways to move your fingers through a scale. If you practice
enough of that, your fingers will spontaneously start doing that in solos.


I like you, you talk differently.

I want to hear a jam, can someone perhaps record one and send it to me? My email is matthew_haworth@hotmail.com.. a simple one..
#11
Quote by edg


What most people miss I think is that, to the improvisor, music IS motion. It's how
you move your fingers in interesting ways. If you only practice a scale straight up,
the back down, why do you think when it's time to improvise that your fingers won't
want to do anything else? It's what you trained them to do. For most people that's
thier "scale study". But, really that's only the basic beginning of scale work. There's
millions of interesting ways to move your fingers through a scale. If you practice
enough of that, your fingers will spontaneously start doing that in solos.


That is so true, I just learnt modes in my lesson yesterday and I got asked to improve over a continious A minor with the Dorian mode, which just confused me. I know the scale shapes, but I've learnt them in C, in order. So having to just imrpovise in A starting with the second shape freaked me out. You don't know your scales until you can play anywhere beginning with anything.
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#12
Quote by matth05
I like you, you talk differently.

I want to hear a jam, can someone perhaps record one and send it to me? My email is matthew_haworth@hotmail.com.. a simple one..


All my stuff is in my sig. Mostly it's all improv. I play all the tracks except for the
drums.
#13
improvisation is playing anything but scales. Scales aren't really improvising, they're a known method, a way to play in key but you'll only come up with something that would technically sound good. Improvisation, however, is imagining what you want to play and being able to communicate that thought with your fingers in a split second. There was some interview with slash I read recently where he said something like this and he said you've gotta be able to play stuff by ear before you can really do this. If you're improvising, you'll be playing in some sort of scale unless you create something out of tune in your head. Is it really essential to plan what scale you are going to use first or to know which scale it is you're using and blending in with amount a million others? Sure, scales can be good for creating stuff with time but on the spot, you've gotta think quick and scales just complicate things, ruin imagination and slow you down. It's your choice though. I just know that an improvisation sounds much better when done from your imagination. Listen to jimi hendrix' "let the gods sing"
#14
Quote by untalented
improvisation is playing anything but scales. ...


I'm sorry, no offense, but you are quite full of it. Just about everything you said.
Full of it.

Scales do NOT "complicate things" to use them on the spot. Not if you know how
to use them. I don't think you do and I'd also question your skills at improvising.
#16
Quote by edg
I'm sorry, no offense, but you are quite full of it. Just about everything you said.
Full of it.

Scales do NOT "complicate things" to use them on the spot. Not if you know how
to use them. I don't think you do and I'd also question your skills at improvising.


I am not full of it. It's an opinion and I never said I was right. I don't really know my scales very well and I don't really care and I know there are people that would die without them. It's your choice what method you use. I would rather use my method as a way of being able to play, which is why I do use it. I only stated it as an alternative. I don't think scales complicate things necessarily but I think you can get to where you want without scales much easier. I also never said I was amazing at improvising. I wouldn't ever compliment myself but my methods of learning are just my own theory of learning the guitar.
Besides, it's all about perception of the guitar. For me, the guitar can be very vocal and I think imagination can utilise that. I think scales can be sort of useful to improvising now that i think about it. I have nothing against scales anyway. The thing I always enjoyed learning most on a guitar has been scales... but I don't think they're as important as people make out.
Last edited by untalented at Jun 26, 2007,
#17
just go with the flow dude lol these dudes are kinda over complicating it a little bit, if you want to improve technique just practice your scales, finger exercises. techniques like appegios and such like

As for creativity it develops over time as you get more confident and start drawing influences in style from other artists you listen to .... well thats how its worked for me

Nice and simple

And oh yeah btw i agree the theory is important, like lets say you know the scale shape, you can see where your fingers can go, but if you know what notes are where you'll be much more able to construct phrases and such like that are creative but make musical sense at the same time
#18
I found the best way to get better at improv is to get some Hendrix backing tracks and just go nuts. Keep playing and see what your fingers do. Every now and then you'll play something nice. Remember that lick and add it to your arsenal. All the best players have signature licks that they pretty much always use.
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#19
Quote by untalented
I am not full of it. It's an opinion and I never said I was right. I don't really know my scales very well and I don't really care and I know there are people that would die without them. It's your choice what method you use. I would rather use my method as a way of being able to play, which is why I do use it. I only stated it as an alternative. I don't think scales complicate things necessarily but I think you can get to where you want without scales much easier. I also never said I was amazing at improvising. I wouldn't ever compliment myself but my methods of learning are just my own theory of learning the guitar.
Besides, it's all about perception of the guitar. For me, the guitar can be very vocal and I think imagination can utilise that. I think scales can be sort of useful to improvising now that i think about it. I have nothing against scales anyway. The thing I always enjoyed learning most on a guitar has been scales... but I don't think they're as important as people make out.


Well, as your opinion, fine. But it's terrible advice for anyone to consider following.
I wouldn't really call that a method. Maybe the "path of least resistance" or
something to that effect. I've been improvising quite a while. Scales, once
you understand how to use them, are quite the opposite of limiting. They are
quite freeing. Especially in terms of being in the moment. Because music IS
movement when you improvise, when you creating movements in the context of
scale you can surprise yourself as well as the audience with what emerges. That's
where the real fun of improvisation is -- discovering surprises and exploring them
for more surprises. I doubt any good improviser has a "tune thought out in
thier head" ahead of time. At least conciously. It doesn't really work that way.
At least that's my experience with it.
#20
I have to agree with untalented. It's better to know how to play by ear than to know scales.
#21
Quote by everybreath
I have to agree with untalented. It's better to know how to play by ear than to know scales.


I have to disagree. It's best to know both.

But I only know by ear...so who am I to comment? >.<
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#22
Quote by Kurapica
I have to disagree. It's best to know both.

But I only know by ear...so who am I to comment? >.<


And if you know how scales work, and how they sound, your ear ability will be better, because you'll think 'oh, that's a G major scale', then you'll be able to go away and use that in a certain song, rather than try to figure out the intervals, and thus wasting your own time.