#1
I have been playing guitar for only about 4 months now, and I want to learn to improvise. Can anyone give me a good place to start, a lesson, or advice? Any help would be great, thanks.
“My vocation is more in composition really than anything else - building up harmonies using the guitar, orchestrating the guitar like an army, a guitar army.”- Jimmy Page
#2
Yup check out some of the lessons offered by Chris on UG and learn a ton of scales
#3
i think its a bit ambitious to start improvising after 4 months lol

as said above just learn scales and use the notes in the scale and it should sound good
#4
Quote by samtewari
i think its a bit ambitious to start improvising after 4 months lol

as said above just learn scales and use the notes in the scale and it should sound good



Well, even if I cannot improvise very good now, learning music theory is never a bad thing.
“My vocation is more in composition really than anything else - building up harmonies using the guitar, orchestrating the guitar like an army, a guitar army.”- Jimmy Page
#5
1. Blues backing track
2. a few scales in that key
3. a miracle as you have only been playing 4 months.
#6
Yeah basically i've just been taking lessons for 3 years with theory and stuff so i love improvising, but i suck at tabs for some reason lol
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#7
Which scales are used most in improvising?
“My vocation is more in composition really than anything else - building up harmonies using the guitar, orchestrating the guitar like an army, a guitar army.”- Jimmy Page
#8
Well pentatonic scale is like the basic one, which is used mostly in classic rock and blues. I only play the pentatonic tbh.
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#9
learn the pentatonic scale, and just play in it. Its really quite easy.
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#10
practice your scales, keys, and finger speed. in time it will come. it takes about a year or two to get a decent improvising skill down. you dont just pick up your guitar one day and be able to improvise. believe me it will come.

also, get a guitara teacher if possible. people always say that they're completely self taught and thats usually a load of BS. my guitar teacher is 40(has been playing for 25 years) and still takes lessons every now and then.
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#11
yea its all with the scales with improvising. i think starting with the blues scale is best. it doesnt sound too crappy when you try playing random notes with it
#12
Quote by kingjiyoon
yea its all with the scales with improvising. i think starting with the blues scale is best. it doesnt sound too crappy when you try playing random notes with it


yeah dude learn the pentatonics (AC/DC's angus yound does pentatonics in every one of his solo's) and the majors and minors.
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#13
I'm entirely self taught, my uncles taught me the basic chords at age 5 and I took 2 lessons at age 12. The guy wanted to start me from scratch, I already knew what the strings were, already knew how to play rythym, I wanted to start into lead. He insisted on:

This is the E string, this is the A string...

I quit after 2 days, never thought about another lesson.

I highly recommend you learn to be a good rythym player before concentrating much on lead. Good rythym players are not easy to find, even a lot of lead players aren't good at rythym. Most of the best professional lead players are awesome at rythym.

I still practice rythym parts, to be able to play a lead I have to know the chord structure of the song inside out. Then I just play what seems right for the song. For some songs, it seems the original lead is the only way to go so I'll pick it out, note by note. For others I'll improvise, never the same thing two nights in a row, whatever comes into my head at the time.

If you want to learn leads, yeah practicing scales might be a good idea, I hated practicing scales on sax in high school though and won't advise anyone to do anything I hate doing.

I learned by picking out each note of whatever lead I wanted to play, copying Clapton, Jimmy Page, Joe Walsh, Billy Gibbons etc and gradually moved into improvising my own stuff. I'd find the first and second notes, then try to make my fingers go there, then add another note or two. I play entirely by ear, I learned to read music in school band but always sucked at it. I'd still learn by listening as we played the piece and memorize my part.

Take your time, be patient, it takes years to become a good lead player. Practice scales all you want to, it still takes time, practice and patience to be able to get the notes in your head through to your fingers and onto the guitar neck. From the time I learned Stairway to Heaven, the first lead I ever learned, until I could call myself a "good" guitar player was at least 15 years.
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#15
I don't think you normally do, but I guess you could pick chords from a scale.
#16
Three pieces of advice that really helped me

1. Learn about 5 scales, in all keys (In other words, don't lookup an assload of scales that you will never use) and learn them well. The scales I suggest are Major, Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Major and Minor Pentatonic, and the Phyrgian Mode.

2. Get a drum machine (or at least a metranome). My keyboard has one, and it really helps.

3. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!! Improvisation skills are not magical gifts you suddenly recieve after playing for a certain time. You have to really work for it. Dedicate at least an hour to practice a day.

Edit: Here are the intervals for the above scales

W = whole step (two frets)
H = half step (one fret)
3 = three frets (lol)

Major W W H W W W H
Minor W H W W H W W
Harmonic Minor W H W W H 3 H
M Pent. W W 3 W 3
m Pent. 3 W W 3 W
Phyrgian H W W W H W W

You might want to hold off on the Phrygian mode for a while, as you really need to LEARN these scales, not just look at them and play them a few times.
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Last edited by SG Man Forever at Sep 10, 2007,
#17
Learn scales, chords and stuff.
The best bet for any newcomer IMO is to transpose songs, even if it's just simple nirvana or Alice in chains songs.
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#18
If you want to learn this kind of stuff PROPERLY, and I get the impression that you do, then just take it slowly.

Start learning the notes on the fretboard and learn the major scale. Most of the people telling you to "learn" the pentatonic scale probably don't actually know it themselves. If they did they'd be telling you to learn the major scale first as it's what the pentatonic is derived from - kind of like trying to learn French slang before you can actually speak French.

The major scale is what all other scales relate to, and it's also your "toolkit" for chord construction. Once you know it you'll find that all the other thoery stuff makes a lot more sense and sinks in a whole lot quicker.
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#19
Quote by electricsnake
Yeah basically i've just been taking lessons for 3 years with theory and stuff so i love improvising, but i suck at tabs for some reason lol

I was never good at reading music

I could never look at a sheet of paper and then apply it to my fingers, doing it that way makes everything extremely slow for me. I'm better of just listening and then finding the tones myself. I know a lot of people are the exact opposite they can sit down and look at a sheet and play it instantly.

With that said a good grasp of music theory, chords and scales and notes is essential. That way if you are sitting down trying to learn parts by ear you'll know what key.. what scale they are using ect ect. Or if you are looking at sheet music or a tab you'll instantly recognize the patterns or chords which will help you along much faster.
#20
Learning scales won't help improvise, learning how to use them will. Fact is posting scales and learning the fingering and such won't get you very far.

And, it's not so ridiculous to be improvising after four months. Coming from jazz trumpet the only thing I did for the first few months of owning a guitar was improvise.
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#22
Quote by samtewari
i think its a bit ambitious to start improvising after 4 months lol

as said above just learn scales and use the notes in the scale and it should sound good



How'd you figure that? I've been improvising since I started a year ago its not that difficult :S