#1
Hope this is in the right spot.
Anyway, i've been playing for four years now and i got the SRV down and the blues licks etc. down. But when I try to improvise, over anything, not just blues tracks, I'm just playing meaningless licks and riffs that don't flow or sound very good. I've read Tom Hess's articles and he explains that when you're playing you have to play "where you want the song to go," rather than what your fingers spit out from other people's playing. I've tried and tried, but I just can't understand how to dictate the sound I'm making while playing. I basically have a guitar playing identity crisis. Any opinions on how to help??
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#2
Stop mechanically following patterns and instead start thinking about what sound it is you want to produce...if that means playing slower then so be it. Don't just think about it when you're holding the guitar either, if you hear a song on the radio, ANY song, think about what you would play over it - try to construct lead and rhythm parts and solos in your head. If you can't do that you're going to struggle to produce anything meaningful on the guitar too, it's a skill like any other and it needs developing.
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#3
Quote by V-type
Hope this is in the right spot.
Anyway, i've been playing for four years now and i got the SRV down and the blues licks etc. down. But when I try to improvise, over anything, not just blues tracks, I'm just playing meaningless licks and riffs that don't flow or sound very good. I've read Tom Hess's articles and he explains that when you're playing you have to play "where you want the song to go," rather than what your fingers spit out from other people's playing. I've tried and tried, but I just can't understand how to dictate the sound I'm making while playing. I basically have a guitar playing identity crisis. Any opinions on how to help??


it wouldn't surprise me if your playing actually sounded better than you think it sounds... we all strive to move away from 'playing shapes' and 'finger wiggling' towards only playing what you hear in your head... and we're all somewhere along that line... it's natural to beat yourself up a bit for not being as good at it as you'd like... to my mind it's THE most important part of being a musician

my suggestion is to slow right down... when you're improvising, ONLY play notes you've previously sang to yourself a split-second ago.. and slowing down will stop your fingers falling into those patterns we all spend hours hammering into our 'muscle memory'

so slow down... one note per bar if necessary


one thing that I do is to semi-improvise a solo, blues or whatever, to a backing track in Cubase... I say 'semi-improvise', because instead of composing licks in real-time, I sing the lick, then find it on the guitar, then record it... then analyse it and work out WHY it sounds like it does... and then try to apply its characteristics in the future... so I may have refined the lick 4-5 times before playing and recording it...

this way of 'semi improvising' stops you, under the pressure of having to come up with something that very second, from just grabbing for a pentatonic box... and results in a vocabulary that comes from within
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Last edited by inflatablefilth at Aug 28, 2008,
#4
Wow, thanks for the great replies. What I did try last night was as I'm just noodling around, after I play something I usually play, to think of a riff or lick that I haven't heard or that sounds more original. It wasn't perfect, as in I'm still having trouble transfering my thoughts to the fretboard, but it's a start. I'll try the semi-improv idea and playing really slow. Maybe I'm just thinking about it too much, but I don't wanna be just a normal blues player, playing the normal blues licks, in the normal pentatonic box.
XBL Gamertag: toasty10
#5
Do what I did, throw away everything you know. Do something completely different, start listening to flamenco, jazz, classical, anything. Never write something down anymore, and play for hours watching tv at night so your mind isn't on the guitar. You'll start enjoying it again, and the patterns you always follow will change but it works cause all of your regular practices will eventually fade away leaving you with a blank sheet ready to be written again whenever you start to play.
Wise Man Says: The guitar is obviously female, she's got hips, breasts... and a hole.
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