#1
When improvising on a guitar are you supposed to follow the chords in the song by playing the root note of each chord change being played for the start of each phrase or lick you play? In other words if a A chord is being played then should I start the phrase or lick with an A note. And when the chord changes to say D should I start the next phrase or lick on a D note?
#2
try the Musician Talk forum
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#3
You don't have to, as long as you stay in key. You could get some interesting sounding licks by starting on the third or fifth of the chord being played.
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#4
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on subject this is wrong forum, but here's ur answer. Basically u always harmonize/play in harmony (or not)

if u have a C major chord and u play a B note over it, u imply a Cmaj7 chord (c,e,g,b) which is a major chord, therefore a b note sounds major over that particular chord. So u can experiment.

If ur lead is driven by a rhythm, then u could try out "wrong" notes, given that the rhythmic motif is so strong the notes don't matter.

Although u really need too know the rules on basic harmony before u think of using odd notes (Advanced harmony) over chords. Hence go musician's forum.

basic harmony = example i gave above

advanced = using odd notes over normal chords but ussualy used over an odd chord.

If u play F# note over a Cmaj chord. It will sound of. If u however change the chord into an cmaj7b5 it won't. If you don't understand this, learn basic harmony first.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Aug 14, 2008,
#5
You mean Maj7#11?
A good basic place to start is thinking of chords as modal opportunities.
The chord I just mention contains the notes C E G B F#--thats more or less begging for the lydian mode to be used.
A dominant 7th-- C E G Bb--contains a major third and a minor seventh which create a tritonal (flatted fifth) relationship, so logic dictates the Mixolydian.
A 1minor to 4-7th (messy nonclemature i know...) ie Am7 to D7 progression gives you the notes--A C E G--and --D F# A C--which is the Dorian mode, try it and it will give sound like instant Pink Floyd.

Again, I know this is very basic stuff, but i feel people worry far too much about the rules and the dos and donts. You can play whatever you want, hit and hold a Bb note over a progression that goes nowhere near Bb--even within the chords---and see wat happens, but it sure helps to know the rules before you break them.
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#6
If you are a real beginner, which you may well be since you have to ask this question :P
Then you might do well to start with by going through lead lines of players you like, then looking yourself at the notes they use, playing them yourself, then changing some notes to try and experiment.
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#7
Quote by wil
You mean Maj7#11?
A good basic place to start is thinking of chords as modal opportunities.
The chord I just mention contains the notes C E G B F#--thats more or less begging for the lydian mode to be used.
A dominant 7th-- C E G Bb--contains a major third and a minor seventh which create a tritonal (flatted fifth) relationship, so logic dictates the Mixolydian.
A 1minor to 4-7th (messy nonclemature i know...) ie Am7 to D7 progression gives you the notes--A C E G--and --D F# A C--which is the Dorian mode, try it and it will give sound like instant Pink Floyd.

Again, I know this is very basic stuff, but i feel people worry far too much about the rules and the dos and donts. You can play whatever you want, hit and hold a Bb note over a progression that goes nowhere near Bb--even within the chords---and see wat happens, but it sure helps to know the rules before you break them.

A good basic place to start is modes?? You may know alot of theory but you dont know a lot about teaching. You think this guy knows what the hell your saying? Stop trying to sound smart your not helping him but you are probably doing a good job of discouraging and confusing him. Honestly read his post and tell me you believe he has a theory background.
#8
basically no you can play in the key of the song and thats fine.
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#9
A great way to start off when learning how to improvise is to find a slow, basic chord progression that hangs on each chord for a measure or two and then write down all the notes that are in each chord. Then when you start playing, play licks using only the notes from those chords (try even using just the notes from the triads) and try to move smoothly from the notes in one chord to the notes in the next chord. Pay attention to what notes might appear in both chords and hang on those notes at the time of the chord change to make the transition smoother.

If the song has a melody, try using the notes from the melody instead of looking at each individual chord's notes. Vary and develop the melody.

Just a couple basic ideas to start. If you want to start out very basic, you can do exactly what you said and target each chord's bass note when each chord changes. Then while hanging on that chord, incorporate the other notes of the chord until the next chord comes around. Then target the root note of that next chord. You'll slowly get a solid feel for this and begin targeting other notes. There are a lot of different ways to approach improvising for the first time, but your idea is a sound one using the roots of the chords.
#10
Quote by englishpro1989@
When improvising on a guitar are you supposed to follow the chords in the song by playing the root note of each chord change being played for the start of each phrase or lick you play? In other words if a A chord is being played then should I start the phrase or lick with an A note. And when the chord changes to say D should I start the next phrase or lick on a D note?



No you don't have to, you can land on any note in the triad.. so A C# E, or D F# A. The root is the most stable but they are all stable enough to hold out.

Also, you don't have to hold out a note every time there is a chord change, just feel it out. But whenever you do want to stop and hold out a note, the safest notes to play are the chord tones.
#11
Quote by englishpro1989@
When improvising on a guitar are you supposed to follow the chords in the song by playing the root note of each chord change being played for the start of each phrase or lick you play? In other words if a A chord is being played then should I start the phrase or lick with an A note. And when the chord changes to say D should I start the next phrase or lick on a D note?


well, you could do, but you don't have to

my suggestion is to spend a few hours improvising over a chord change like A to D... just set it going round and round and try playing anything at all... play every note on the fretboard... listen for what makes you go 'urgh', and listen for what makes you go 'oooh'... the notes that make you go 'oooh' are the RIGHT notes, and you should use THOSE frequently

once you've found which notes you like and dislike, make a note of what they are, and sit down and work out how they function over the chords and the key you're in... if you need any help working out what function your fave notes have, come back here and we'll tell you how & why they work

now THAT's the way you should use theory.. not to tell you what notes to play, but to help you play your favorite notes whenever you need them you use theory to give a name to your likes & dislikes...

so... always let your ear be your guide!!
Last edited by inflatablefilth at Aug 14, 2008,
#12
Quote by inflatablefilth
well, you could do, but you don't have to

my suggestion is to spend a few hours improvising over a chord change like A to D... just set it going round and round and try playing anything at all... play every note on the fretboard... listen for what makes you go 'urgh', and listen for what makes you go 'oooh'... the notes that make you go 'oooh' are the RIGHT notes, and you should use THOSE frequently

once you've found which notes you like and dislike, make a note of what they are, and sit down and work out how they function over the chords and the key you're in... if you need any help working out what function your fave notes have, come back here and we'll tell you how & why they work

now THAT's the way you should use theory.. not to tell you what notes to play, but to help you play your favorite notes whenever you need them you use theory to give a name to your likes & dislikes...

so... always let your ear be your guide!!


i think u summed it up pretty good here. i used to use this technique until i mastered where all the notes were i needed. This is the best way imo.

I always try and start on the root note and then feel my way through the improvising.

Another thing that i think would help is play the same lick or solo harmony at different points on the neck. Remember the neck starts over at the 12th fret. So an E would be on the 12th fret and so on. So if you play a lick say in the key of a in the pentatonic scale at the 7th fret on the D string the same note is at the 19th fret on that same string. 12+7=19
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#13
Quote by englishpro1989@
When improvising on a guitar are you supposed to follow the chords in the song by playing the root note of each chord change being played for the start of each phrase or lick you play? In other words if a A chord is being played then should I start the phrase or lick with an A note. And when the chord changes to say D should I start the next phrase or lick on a D note?

This is a good way to start learning your phrasing and how to improvise/solo over chord progressions. But you might want to try ending a phrase on the chord change. So you play a phrase that ends with a D note at the same time the chord changes to D.

Then add little bits after you hit the D. (arpeggio's work great here (and pretty much anywhere for that matter) )

Start with the hitting the Root on the chord change. Then try the same thing with thirds and fifths then go through all the other tones to see what effect they create against a chord. Inflatable's advice is solid.
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#14
Quote by /-\liceNChains
A good basic place to start is modes?? You may know alot of theory but you dont know a lot about teaching. You think this guy knows what the hell your saying? Stop trying to sound smart your not helping him but you are probably doing a good job of discouraging and confusing him. Honestly read his post and tell me you believe he has a theory background.


Sorry mate, but this originally appeared in the 80s RockShred, Progressive forum where people tend to be more theory inclined. I also think it is a good place to start, and tell me why the hell it isnt??? There is NOTHING scary about the modes, Im NOT showing off, Im trying to explain stuff in a clear and practical way and I think all ive done is reveal YOUR own insecurities.

Seriously, the longer players leave it, the longer they build up this mysticism around the modes and feel they are too difficult when the dont realise theyre already using them in the songs they learn. Pink Floyd, Sabbath use the Dorian Mode, Alice in Chains and Faith No More use the Phrygian mode from time to time, Green Day use the Mixolydian for Chrissakes. Just learn WHY they are what they are, you dont have to sit down with a notebook full of bloody exercises, just learn the major scale and then look at the progression you want to play over and see how it differs. A major to G major implies the mixolydian, sure you could just play A major, but if you unintentionally land on the A's Major 7 it will sound pretty bad, unless you want to use it as a chromatic tone into the G. Reverse that to Gmajor to A major and you are implying the Lydian mode and listen to the difference. Mixolydian is bold, brash and knows exactly what it is, the Lydian soounds fragile and somewhat insecure in comparison.

I dont even think modes are THAT important, and a good knowledge of chord tones and non-chord tones is more useful, especially when playing over more changes. But im serious here, if the threadstarter is playing over 2 chords, if he listens to you guys then he's just gonna play 'Everybody Hurts' style arpeggios over the top. There is no easy way around it, so dont bloody mollycoddle people. Sure, theres a lot of work involved, but is that a bad thing?
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#15
the TS has to walk before he can run however, and 'Everybody Hurts' style arpeggios aren't a bad thing to start with before talking about modes...

I mean, the guy obviously hasn't yet learned the basics about the use of chord tones (3 or 4 notes) over chords, and we're trying to give him up to 7 notes to play with? you see lots of newbies who don't appear to have the ability to differentiate between the harmonic value of different note in a scale or mode over a certain chord.. so why not start off with arpeggios?

you're right, modes are important and fairly easy to understand, but they're y'know... Step 1c, not Step 1a or 1b
#16
Quote by englishpro1989@
When improvising on a guitar are you supposed to follow the chords in the song by playing the root note of each chord change being played for the start of each phrase or lick you play? In other words if a A chord is being played then should I start the phrase or lick with an A note. And when the chord changes to say D should I start the next phrase or lick on a D note?


When starting out the easiest way (for me) to improvise was to take a progression that was diatonic, then use the respective scale for that progression.

Also, I use to sit with my guitar while watching TV and play along to any music that came on. Same deal when listening to the radio. This helped my ear training.

Improvising is about playing what sounds good. Not what feels good.

....but knowing scales will help you improvise better, period.
#17
playing the d major scale over a d major will sound more melodic but if the key is say a major them you can play a major over all of the chords as they all belong to the a major scale
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#18
Quote by wil
Sorry mate, but this originally appeared in the 80s RockShred, Progressive forum where people tend to be more theory inclined. I also think it is a good place to start, and tell me why the hell it isnt??? There is NOTHING scary about the modes, Im NOT showing off, Im trying to explain stuff in a clear and practical way and I think all ive done is reveal YOUR own insecurities.

Seriously, the longer players leave it, the longer they build up this mysticism around the modes and feel they are too difficult when the dont realise theyre already using them in the songs they learn. Pink Floyd, Sabbath use the Dorian Mode, Alice in Chains and Faith No More use the Phrygian mode from time to time, Green Day use the Mixolydian for Chrissakes. Just learn WHY they are what they are, you dont have to sit down with a notebook full of bloody exercises, just learn the major scale and then look at the progression you want to play over and see how it differs. A major to G major implies the mixolydian, sure you could just play A major, but if you unintentionally land on the A's Major 7 it will sound pretty bad, unless you want to use it as a chromatic tone into the G. Reverse that to Gmajor to A major and you are implying the Lydian mode and listen to the difference. Mixolydian is bold, brash and knows exactly what it is, the Lydian soounds fragile and somewhat insecure in comparison.

I dont even think modes are THAT important, and a good knowledge of chord tones and non-chord tones is more useful, especially when playing over more changes. But im serious here, if the threadstarter is playing over 2 chords, if he listens to you guys then he's just gonna play 'Everybody Hurts' style arpeggios over the top. There is no easy way around it, so dont bloody mollycoddle people. Sure, theres a lot of work involved, but is that a bad thing?

Im not saying not to learn them but they are not a good place to start at all. They are variations of the major scale so obviously learning how to construct major scales would come first. Then after that i think its good for students to imprvise with the pentatonic scale over a simple progression. Once someone knows about key signatures and understand how the major scale affects chord progressions in a given key then maybe modes but definatly not a place to begin. Also just because you hear that an artist is playing around in a mode that does not mean the artist even thought about or thinks modally when playing. Not to say that they are not but just because you analize there songs a certain way does not mean that they used that mentallity to make the song. I play pink floyd and most of the gilmour stuff is pentatonic licks in the given key you're over complicating things.
Last edited by /-\liceNChains at Aug 15, 2008,
#20
and tell me why the hell it isnt???


Because most music isn't modal, and modes very likely won't factor into his improvisation at all.
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#21
wil sorry to say but you are so wrong here. If you are right than all of my books and 99% of music theory teachers are wrong. Never start a beginer playing modally you are thick headed to keep going on like that.