Hey, I'm just getting to the point after a few years of playing where I feel really comfortable with my guitar and my technical ability. The problem is that when I improvise, I often fall into the habit of just playing uninteresting, quick patterns up and down the neck and repeating phrases.

Does anyone have any advice on how to avoid repetition or overindulgence when soloing?

Also, does anyone have any advice on following the chords? Is it a matter of memorising the chords that you're playing over in your head so that you'll know for sure where to go, or what?
Last edited by kthxbi at Mar 1, 2008,
I usually dig through all genres of music in search of good licks-- not even bothering to learn the entire song. It's also good to check out things that are not originally done for guitar, like piano and violens. Look at some classical music, blues, and jazz even. Then just modify some of the licks a bit so your sound is in them. Zappa, Vai, Santana are my main guys.
Ha! If you listen to any of my improvised recordings, you'll notice they sound a lot alike. I have that problem, but it's mostly that I always do it in Em pentatonic. I don't know why. It's always a minor pent. but mostly Em when my band just wants to jam with a solo. If you just listen, there's a lot of similarities.

I guess the best way to compensate for this is to just try and learn more scales and find little things that sound right, and fit them in with other stuff. Improvising is one of the hardest things to do, because everything is happening as it happens, and you can't really plan anything that's improvised. Or, come up with a basic solo, and just improvise with it, but stick to a general pattern. That's what I do, and I try adding variation. There's only so much that can be done with one scale, though.
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Yeah, I guess I see what you mean.
Time to beat myself senseless with the practice stick.
might be a good idea to get the guitar book Amazing Phrasing for Guitar
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I get that as well. Whatever I am listening to, or whatever I have just figured out, I tend to repeat in all of my solo's.

It's not a bad thing though. If you listen to SRV, you'll eventually come to notice that almost every solo he plays sounds similar to another. He has a certain lick that he throws in almost ever solo, even in Riviera Paradise, which is supposedly a jazz type song .
High as tits
just know what key your playing in...then you can play leads in that key to...don't overcomplicate it