#1
I am playing electric guitar now (used to play acoustic a ton) and I am working on songs (to increase skill) as well as theory/scales to work on improv.

I know the Major Scale and Major Pentatonic Scale, basic chord construction and modes, how to derive the key of a song from chords.

Where do I go next? I know what scales to solo in if my brother is playing a song composed of chords.. but I can't make it really sound like a solo..

What can I do to get better at improv solos?
What is the next thing I learn.. what scales.. what anything?

Thanks
#3
Diatonic is good and so is the Pentatonic minor scale (2 notes less than a diatonic scale)
Lyrics: Time wasted between solos.

After a mindboggling 3-hour Steve Vai concert, I had to listen to some brainless guitar playing... so I put on Nevermind...

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#5
Quote by RichieJovie
Learn about chord construction. Understand the progression you are playing over. Arpeggiate those progressions. Then start to build melodic ideas over the chords.

^ what he said.

Once you know how your chords fit into your scale you can start targeting certain notes on chord changes and strong beats. You have probably noticed that when you listen to a solo certain notes stand out and that these notes tend to fall on strong beats and chord changes.

To begin working on improving your improvisation you may want to target hitting certain notes on the strong beat or chord change. To begin with aim for notes that are a part of the chord played on that beat. Lead in to the strong beat either from above or below with a short scale run.

Learn how different notes sound against different kinds of chords and how different intervals sound against each other. That way you will know in advance what you are going for and what notes will achieve that over the right chord.

To practice hitting specific notes at the right time work your scales with a metronome and 8th notes. Work through the scale targeting each note in succession on beats 1 and/or 3 with descending and ascending runs of 2, 3, 4, or 5 notes.
E.G. Practicing your C scale in ascending runs of 3 you would do something like this:
....A.B.C...B.C.D...C.D.E...D.E.F...E.F.G...F.G.A...G.A.B...A.B.C...G.A.B...F.G.A...
1.+.2.+.3.+.4.+.1.+.2.+.3.+.4.+.1.+.2.+.3.+.4.+.1.+.2.+.3.+.4.+.1.+.2.+.3.+.4.+.1 .+etc.

Work out how to play this through all your scale patterns then work on
Descending runs of 3 and Ascending and Descending runs of 2 3 4 and 5 notes through all your scale patterns. Yeah It's a lot - at least five weeks worth.

When you improvise and can comfortably target a certain note at a certain time leading in with an ascending or descending run start adding notes after your target note. Arpeggio's always work well for this.

Then play around with different patterns and intervals as lead in's, and come downs to and from your strong notes rather than just straight diatonic runs (which work well but are a bit "safe" and less exciting).

Pay attention to your phrasing and how everything fits together. You want to know how to keep your solo at the same intensity for a while how to increase it's intensity and how to releive that tension through different phrasing and note choice.

Hopefully you will get to the point where you can play a series of 20 or more notes that all lead your solo up (or down) to that one note that just rips through the soul of your listeners. Then you wail away with some great phrasing and and fill what's left of them with some more great searing notes before letting them off the ride easy so they can stagger away dumbfounded by your awesomeness.

Something else that will improve your improvising is sitting down before hand with a chord progression and writing simple little phrases then Picking up your guitar and playing with what you've written. Doing this regularly as part of your practice will get your mind used to automatically mapping out scales to fit a chord progression rather than just going up and down the scale hoping something will fit.

This is how I'm practicing anyway and what I'm aiming for.
Hopefully I've given you something to at least think about.

Cheers.
Si
#6
Read lesson 4 in my sig. Also, rather than pushing on to "next" just develop and consolidate what you know now, which is more important tbh. If you know those scales and chord construction it's a matter of knuckling down and seriously getting them down cold in every context - that's what makes people sound good - doing simple things really well, not ten hard things badly.
#7
Thank you everyone. I am working hard but struggling. It's tough to learn theory and get good at improv. I really want to learn it though because all my peers (age of 14/15) are working on copying songs and **** and think they are so great.

I want to make real music and be able to play full songs like them, but at the same time not be stuck with their 3 song setlist over and over. I want to be able to sit down and play what I feel and make up what I want and just chill out.

Anyways thanks all.

Working hard when I get back from vacation next Saturday.

Thanks
#8
The deceptively simple answer is to stop thinking about the scales themselves and instead think about what you can do with them.

Obviously it's not quite that simple, but it's very easy to get bogged down in theory for theory's sake and forget what your ultimate goal is which is to play music...scales are musical, but they aren't music.

If you're planning to play over a chord progression then pay close attention to the chords themselves and experiment with the notes of the scale to see how they interact with the chords underneath and in turn influence the sound and feel of the piece as a whole at that particular moment. Obviously you also need to listen to hear how the notes themselves work together, both when played sequentially and together.

All you need to start doing is approach scales differently, don't look at them as something to play, look at them as something to work with and manipulate. Noodle around with melodic ideas and phrases that you've constructed and really get a feel for the sounds you're making. There's no shame in having a few pre-concieved licks to hand when soloing, it helps to at least have an idea of what you want to play in your head before touching the strings. The better you get the less you have to rely on that kind of stuff and the easier it is to put things toogether on the fly simply because the mental association between the phyisical action and the resultin sound is that much stronger.

However, in the early stages it's far more benefical, not to mention easier, to do a little planning beforehand when it comes to soloing. You don't even need the guitar, just think something up in your head...that's the first step. If you can't even do that quickly then ask yourself how in the world are you going to create something on the guitar? It'll take a while at first but keep at it, think to yourself "What would I want to hear from a solo over these chords?". Don't over complicate things, keep it simple and make sure it's something you can pull of - concentrate more on making it melodically interesting as opposed to technically interesting. Once you've got an idea in your head hum it to yourself to get an idea of how it actually sounds ,then look at translating it to the guitar.

If you've got decent ears then you'll naturally gravitate towards the correct key so you should have a pretty good idea of where to start looking. Likewise if you listen to a lot of music you'll have a load of commonly used phrases and licks stored away in your head, they'll pop into your head if you start thinking about creating something similar.
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