#1
I'll have been playing guitar for two years this christmas. I've never taken a lesson, I've learned by looking up tabs on this site. My theory knowledge is minimal, I'd like to learn more but I have tons of AP homework this semester and it would feel like added work. I play mainly metal, and the best songs I can play are Bed of Razors by Children of Bodom and I'm Charming by the Black Dahlia Murder, although my alternate picking could be more clean.

After witnessing several classmates and my awesome drafting teacher play guitar, all of whom are light years ahead of me and capable of improvising, all I've wanted to learn how to do is improvise instead of just play the same song over and over. Can anyone tell me how I should go about learning to do this? I've been playing the major and minor scales up and down to improve my alternate picking, and I looped a simple 12-bar blues riff and tried to solo over it, but quite frankly, it was complete crap. What scales should I learn for metal? What techniques should I practice?
My band, Escher
My progressive rock project, Mosaic

Quote by Lappo
clearly, the goal is to convert every thread into a discussion about BTBAM

BTBAM IS ALWAYS RELEVANT
#3
Quote by CloserToTheSun
For you, I'd say try looking up the minor pentatonic scale.


Although the minor pentatonic scales are very popular and useful for improvising and soloing, you have to know how to use them. Go to the Musical theory sticky and go to the link about improvising. Also, you could buy some books for guitar, like The Complete Guitarist by Richard Chapman, which is a good book for any player to have.
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Dunlop Crybaby Wah
Boss DS-1 Distortion
Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor
Marshall JCM2000 DSL401
#4
Also, try recording your improvising sessions. You can replay it and here your mistakes. Then you can work on those aspects.
~ Gear ~
Epiphone Les Paul
Crate GX-80
Quote by Guitarist132
Finish the quote

"This is _______"
Quote by Aqua Dementia
SPAAAAAAAARRRRTTTAAA! No?
Quote by Guitarist132
Incorrect, the correct answer was papua new guinea

Quote by Aqua Dementia
Whoa, I'm in your sig.
#5
Quote by philipp122
Although the minor pentatonic scales are very popular and useful for improvising and soloing, you have to know how to use them. Go to the Musical theory sticky and go to the link about improvising.



I'm sorry I didn't look there first, it seems somewhat obvious and contains some useful links. I hope I don't come across as some annoying moron who doesn't read the stickies... even though that's kinda what I am...


So most of that seemed to say that I should get a feel for the rhythm and then incorporate the notes of the rhythm chords into the lead, yes? With power chords, that's only two or three notes, which doesn't cover a lot of ground for me...
My band, Escher
My progressive rock project, Mosaic

Quote by Lappo
clearly, the goal is to convert every thread into a discussion about BTBAM

BTBAM IS ALWAYS RELEVANT
#6
The most theory-free way to start is with a minor pent/blues scale over a blues
progression. For example A minor pent/blues over A7 - D7 - E7. That will at
least get you starting to feel the types of things you do when improvising. You
can use the same scale over all 3 chords.

The major scale is also used, but you'll need more knowledge to use it. But, you
can acquire that knowledge as you go.

Learn the 5 positions of the minor pent/blues over the neck. To jumpstart your
improv, learn some standard blues licks and play them over the changes. Then
start changing them around and using the scale.
#7
How much theory do you know?
You should know with which scales over the underlying chord progression first, and then practice it and learn more, and more.
When you learn those basics, it's really about the practicing.
The more you practice, your ''feel'' will be better. (''feel'' - you know, impro without thinking)
Quote by Johnljones7443
my neew year reslosutions are not too drikn as much lol.

happy new yeeae guyas.
#8
If I know the rhythm, I can figure out the scale by going through the rhythm note by note and writing them down and then referencing them to my theory book... it takes some time. I can't simply listen to rhythm and know what scale it's in...
My band, Escher
My progressive rock project, Mosaic

Quote by Lappo
clearly, the goal is to convert every thread into a discussion about BTBAM

BTBAM IS ALWAYS RELEVANT
#9
Quote by GodofCheesecake

So most of that seemed to say that I should get a feel for the rhythm and then incorporate the notes of the rhythm chords into the lead, yes? With power chords, that's only two or three notes, which doesn't cover a lot of ground for me...


Those 2 notes in the power chord are just 'safe' notes, if you will. Notes that won't sound awful if you hit them. You can extend them without trouble. For example:

You're in the key of C.
A C5 chord - C (the root) and G (the fifth). Fifth chords (power chords) have no major or minor tonality (no third) as you probably already know. But that shouldn't stop you. A C chord in the Key of C is major. So add the third and you get C E and G - E being the third (sorry if this is patronising at all, I'm just trying to keep it all clear). This means that you could also play an E over the C5. And that's not all there is to it either. You could add the Seventh (B) if you wanted to.
I guess I'm just trying to say that Fifth chords shouldn't limit you. In actual fact, because they have no major or minor tonality, you can play pretty much any scale over them, depending on what key you're in, obviously.
My improv sucks. I've been working on it for a while, and I'll be getting in on the next UG Jam. You should too.
I think I have a decent enough grasp of theory to manage some simple things, but there's so much more to it than knowing what it takes to stay in key. Experiment I guess.
#10
improv is a very deep subject. invest in lessons if you can fford to. it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. tell the teacher that this what you want to learn. your progress will be much quicker vs trying to figure it out on your own.
#11
(sorry if this is patronising at all, I'm just trying to keep it all clear).


Not at all, when I said I have minimal theory knowledge, that's what I meant. Feel free to spell things out, it helped me understand. Since creating this thread, I've learned several of the pentatonic shapes and found a better way of practicing now. I looped the intro to Metallica's Fade to Black on audacity and simply tried to improv over that, since I'm already familiar with the solos in it. It sounded considerably better than the 12-bar blues thing, but I wouldn't exactly call it 'good' yet...
My band, Escher
My progressive rock project, Mosaic

Quote by Lappo
clearly, the goal is to convert every thread into a discussion about BTBAM

BTBAM IS ALWAYS RELEVANT