#1
While I do improvision I notice I make a lot of mistakes like missing notes, playing out of rhythm, sloppy technique and other things. So how do I improve? Just practicing improvision over and over or do I practice the scales and other exercises to improve my technique?

Here a video of me improvising so you get an idea of what I'm talking about
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQsphPnp9JU
#2
yeah, practicing is the best way of minimizing mistakes.

making sure you know the scales and licks is always a good thing, but being able to just play on the fly is a skill itself that needs practicing.

so just jam on top of backing tracks or whatever as much as you can.
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#3
Try improvising with a metronome, and making that metronome take any rhythmic qualities of the music. For example, if the music swings, make the metronome swing. That should help your rhythm, and so long as that falls in place you'll probably find the other aspects will as well.


EDIT ---> Just watched the video, and what I immediately noticed, besides the weak rhythm, is that your phrasing, and playing in general for that matter, lacks any peaks or valleys. I recommend you take that same backing tack, and concentrate on developing a motif throughout the whole so that you have a melodic context which can then be used by various means (dynamics, repetition, syncopation, variation etc.) to create climaxes within your phrasing.
Last edited by Erc at Aug 24, 2008,
#4
Quote by Erc
Try improvising with a metronome, and making that metronome take any rhythmic qualities of the music. For example, if the music swings, make the metronome swing. That should help your rhythm, and so long as that falls in place you'll probably find the other aspects will as well.


EDIT ---> Just watched the video, and what I immediately noticed, besides the weak rhythm, is that your phrasing, and playing in general for that matter, lacks any peaks or valleys. I recommend you take that same backing tack, and concentrate on developing a motif throughout the whole so that you have a melodic context which can then be used by various means (dynamics, repetition, syncopation, variation etc.) to create climaxes within your phrasing.


Thanks

So just how bad was my rhythm? I have to admit I'm not a good rhythm guitarist and clearly that is hurting me. What about my technique?
#5
Quote by Erc
Try improvising with a metronome, and making that metronome take any rhythmic qualities of the music. For example, if the music swings, make the metronome swing. That should help your rhythm, and so long as that falls in place you'll probably find the other aspects will as well.


EDIT ---> Just watched the video, and what I immediately noticed, besides the weak rhythm, is that your phrasing, and playing in general for that matter, lacks any peaks or valleys. I recommend you take that same backing tack, and concentrate on developing a motif throughout the whole so that you have a melodic context which can then be used by various means (dynamics, repetition, syncopation, variation etc.) to create climaxes within your phrasing.


This. Basically relax a little in the beginning, you don't have to play a lot of notes, the rests between phrases are what make your solo memorable.

Also vary the rhythm of your runs a little more. Everything felt like it was in a groups of four. Try practicing triplets, they're another basic grouping but are pretty easy.

Also work on your vibrato and your bends.. and I didn't really hear any legato, if you want to work on technique, practice those things
#6
The latest issue of the Guitar Principles newsletter had a pretty good response
to the question "Why does my improvisation suck?" I'll post part of it:


Okay, here's the deal on becoming a good "improviser".

First, there are a few things EVERYONE does wrong at the beginning. Actually, it's not so much that these things are wrong, they are just the beginning stages of the process of learning how to improvise. However, they must be "grown out of". You have mentioned the major "wrong move", which is the tendency to play too many notes. In the beginning, everyone thinks they must keep their fingers moving all the time, like they are going to get in trouble if they don't look "busy". This happens because when we first attempt to improvise, we relate to as a purely physical mechanical process (moving fingers) instead of the EMOTIONALLY based process that it really is.

It's like talking. Imagine someone just learning to speak. They would be so concerned with the mechanics of speech production, making the sounds and having the words clearly articulated, they would forget to stop and ask themselves whether they had anything to say before they spoke!

That's what people do in the beginning of improvising. You are not actually FEELING anything emotionally before you move your fingers, you are just moving your fingers. It is as if I had nothing much to say here, and no thought or feeling behind what I am saying to you, but I like the way it feels as my fingers type these words.

Well, actually, I do like the way my fingers feel when I type these words, but that's beside they point! The point is that without first having something to say, just sitting here and typing words is not going to give either of us much of a fulfilling experience. In the same way, if you are not FEELING something when you play, if you are not getting EMOTIONAL SATISFACTION from the sounds you are making, no one is going to get any by listening to the sounds you are making.

People new to improvising usually feel that the most important thing is to keep making sounds, rather than allowing any silence or space. So at a minimum, they would feel that they should keep making sounds to fill up any potential silence.

Good improvisors don't do that, they are in control of the entire context. They are aware of the sounds they make, and the space in which those sounds take place. They use the space as much as the sound. A painter does not feel that they have to fill up every inch of the canvas with "stuff", quite the contrary, it is the space that gives shape to the content. So it is with music.
#7
Quote by Muscle_Guitar
While I do improvision I notice I make a lot of mistakes like missing notes, playing out of rhythm, sloppy technique and other things. So how do I improve? Just practicing improvision over and over or do I practice the scales and other exercises to improve my technique?

Here a video of me improvising so you get an idea of what I'm talking about
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQsphPnp9JU



do you have any solos memorized that you can play accurately and authentically?

I would highly recommend building a repertoire to "cut your teeth" on. Spend some time learning what it feels like and sounds like to play musically. Pick music that inspires you.

Learning scale patterns, & studying theory will help alot as well. Keep in mind it takes time.

btw, You don't sound bad for someone just who's starting to improvise. keep it at, be patient, and enjoy it.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 25, 2008,
#8
Good post edg thats very helpfull.

Guitarmonkey your post is great advice too. I always learn new licks from solos and think "why didnt i come up with this yet" when its off a scale I know really well like the pentatonic scale. Sometimes you get stuck and think you've tried everything but theres so much you can do even with a simple 5 tone scale. Learning solos gives you ideas and licks and makes you see more possiblities as well as improving your technique.

When I practice solos i try to figure out the scales being used and do a little analisis for theory practice. I'll try to figure out what key the song is in and what scale or scales are mainly being used here. Then I learn the solo in phrases taking my time. In between learning phrases ill jam along with the scales in a similar style or maybe play the solo up to the point i know and try to carry along on my own improvising. This has really helped me with understanding why scales sound good and how to make phrases. Knowing "safe" notes to hit and having "fall back" ideas really helps you not to feel rushed. The more of other peoples solos your learn the more ideas will be sturring in the back of your head. Then when you are more relaxed more of yourself will come out in your playing.

One last piece of advice. When you learn a fast technical part of a song you have to slow it down first right? So when your improvising why dont you slow that down as well. Try a mellow progression or a simple I IV V blues progression and then you wont feel as rushed. Slow blues is great for improv practice. If you dont like blues Im sure you could find something slow to practice on.

EDIT: Sorry didnt watch the vid first because I had no sound so i didnt realize you were already playing blues.
Last edited by /-\liceNChains at Aug 25, 2008,
#9
Ouchies-Thanks I will practice legatos for sure. Would steve vai licks do?

Edg-Very useful article thanks!!!!

GuitarMunky-No I can't play any solos. All the ones I know of are too hard for me. I listen to mostly prog metal/technical death metal

/-\liceNChains-Thanks I'll try practicing slower impros