#1
I am using the Am Pentatonic scale to do improv solos and they sound bad on their own....When I have a backing track it sounds ok i guess but it is frustrating when I'm playing by myself because It just sounds the same...How should I fix this? Is this normal?
Last edited by RounderIII at Sep 18, 2008,
#2
Use the full minor scale, and the mix it with the full major scale.

Dominant chord progressions for the mf win.


Also-play the changes.
#4
be glad you can improv at all i cant do it without any thing i play sounding boring and dull, and dont just go down one or 2 string work you A-e strings and throw the E in there every now and again if you limit yourself to just a few strings you make everything sound the same. and if worst comes to worst just write a piano solo in C... it always sounds good
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#6
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If all fails, listen to some Joe Bonamassa.


I concur, his soloing is never dull to me
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#7
Quote by imgooley
Use the full minor scale, and the mix it with the full major scale.

Dominant chord progressions for the mf win.


Also-play the changes.


You mean all the keys or the Blue notes of the minor scale?

My teacher is just teaching me by playing 12-bar blues.

How would you mix the minor and major?
#8
Quote by RounderIII
You mean all the keys or the Blue notes of the minor scale?

My teacher is just teaching me by playing 12-bar blues.

How would you mix the minor and major?

Most blues progressions use dominant chords.

Made up of- 1 3 5 b7, or 1 3 5 b7 9, etc.

So the major or minor scale works over both.

And I'm talking about in key.

Listen to Hidaway by Freddie King. Classic example of what I mean. Slide guitar does this, though to a far lesser extent.

As far as using the full major/minor scales, do it in key. So in the key of A, use both major and minor scales.

You want to emphasize the changes, though. If you're on the IV chord in an A blues, emphasize the D, or use the blue third of D, which is F with a 1/4 bend.

Another thing about blues- It's all about rhythm. You can do infinitely more with rhythmic phrasing than with pitch.
#9
You CAN make an interesting solo over a blues progression using just the
minor pent scale. However a lot of people will have trouble with this because
what you want to land on/emphasize//hang on is different over each of the
I, IV or V chords. So, you really HAVE to be chord-aware to do this well.

Try this little bit of analysis: take your minor pent scale and compare the notes
you'll find in the I7, IV7 and V7 chords. You should find about 4 notes from the
chords that aren't in the pent scale. Those are all GREAT notes to add to the pent
scale over the right chord (additionally, the notes in the scale AND in the chord are
also good ones over the right chord). Find where those "extra" notes are in your
pent box and try adding them in. It'll seem a strain at first, but if you keep it up
you'll start finding the "right" notes without thinking.
#11
Slow everything right down to the point where you are not playing your usual licks. And focus on creating new licks there and then. That is the point of improvising, its not supposed to be premeditated...so, by slowing everything right down and making sure you are letting your ears do the work and not just your fingers, this should help you improvisation techniques.
And the best way to get your ear better prepared for improvisation is by training them always. Practice working out intervals/songs. This is really crucial when you are trying to come up with your own musical ideas. If you would like me to elaborate on this, Id be happy too.
Andy
#12
change up your melodies.

I started by playing the same i-ii-biii triplets all over the place, then I changed it up to i-biii-ii

Really gives a different feeling. Then I started playing quads, then quints, then full sextuplets at a moderate speed. Learn your chord shapes all over the neck and arpeggiate them when you feel like it, this adds dynamics to your improv. And start with a hexatonic if you're not comfortable with adding two notes yet

Minor Hexatonic is i-ii-iii-iv-v-vii

Hendrix used it a lot in his solos.
hue
#14
Well some tips i may suggest:
-Dont limit yourself to pentatonic, expand. star by using the blues note, later add some chromatism and if you know modes.. use myxolydian.
-What i find most important when improvising blues is to hit the change of the chords, it makes a really nice sound and feels like your going with the track
-Learn licks and apply them.
-When playing the pentanic, dont just go up and dow and up, skip strings, hit the note more than 1 time, etc.
#16
Quote by RounderIII
I am using the Am Pentatonic scale to do improv solos and they sound bad on their own....When I have a backing track it sounds ok i guess but it is frustrating when I'm playing by myself because It just sounds the same...How should I fix this? Is this normal?


spend some time learning solos from guitarists you like before trying to write your own or improvise over BT's.

at this point learning different scales or incorporating theoretical ideas that are over your will not help you. You need to learn how to solo, and the best place to do that is by listening to, learning, playing, and studying existing solos. Once, you've cut your teeth on those, you'll have something to work with, and will likely not be asking this type of question in a forum. be patient, it takes time, and most importantly...... just enjoy doing it.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Sep 19, 2008,
#18
Quote by CHOCOmoney
its five notes, ofcourse itll sound repetitive

Nope. There are a ton of ways you can come up with licks using the minor pentatonic. Learn different positions. Throw in the blue note. Use chromatics, double stops, bends, pre bends, slides. Just mix it up. Practice.
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#19
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was something I read from a John Petrucci column.

"Play with ATTITUDE!"

Also, try coming up with interesting arpeggios. I use a lot of 3-4 string sweeps and I pretty much stay in the pentatonic scale.
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#20
Do you think the Grateful Dead didn't practice licks and then do them live? It's only called improv because you are using a listful of licks you learned in private practice and applying them to what is going on in the mix currently. . . so you may change the key.. . . . If that makes sense. Kinda like that quote "Practice time isn't meant to be taken on stage."
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#21
Quote by CHOCOmoney
its five notes, ofcourse itll sound repetitive

Its all about phrasing, movement (around the fretboard) and note choice (does I play 1 note higher or 2? How do I accidental?).

Once you've learnt a few shapes (2 or 3 is fine) of the pentatonic scale, you probably should try to focus on what you feel is the right next note and play REALLY slow. Try to listen to some of those slow expressive blues solo's to get what I mean. Whilst doing this, try to become proficient at moving around the fretboard and between shapes. Aim to be able to slide between 3 or 4 notes on the same string.
Copying a singers phrasing and rhthym is generally a good idea to when learning how to improvise. And I dont mean metal singers/screamers, who sing really fast. Copy something slow. This is how people started writing those slow blues solo's. Think of improvising as singing with your guitar.

Doing this will get your phrasing (by copying those singers) and your technique (by moving between shapes) ready for doing some real solo's (as in, stuff that sounds good).

Than after you've got all that down and when you're good enough to say that you personally enjoy what you're playing (it took me a couple of years to enjoy my pentatonic wankery), you'll be ready to move on. Than study the major scale, the intervals behind it, the way these intervals create harmonic/melodic consonance and dissonance and watch melodic control by marty friedman. Pretty much look for and study as much theory as you can eat. And analyse solo's, ask yourself, why do they sound good?
At this stage you should start realising that the same note can sound better or worse over different chords and some notes sound better or worse when followed (or preceeded) by some notes. Exploiting this will enable you to control what you're solo's are going to feel like, instead of blindly looking for the right note.
#22
Quote by notsee
It's only called improv because you are using a listful of licks you learned in private practice and applying them to what is going on in the mix currently. .



Oh, that is pretty wrong. Some of it's a matter of degree and who's playing. Some
will have nearly all, parts or none of an "improv" solo planned in advance. You
picked a particularly bad example with the Dead.

What you DO rely on in all the skill you've learned up to the point and faith in that
skill.
#23
learn others musics and get pieces of their song (solos)
i do it...
Jimi
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#24
A lot of the time they sound repetitive when you start. Improv is a skill like sweep picking and economy picking, you start off sounding like crap and eventually you get better and better.
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#25
Quote by edg
Oh, that is pretty wrong. Some of it's a matter of degree and who's playing. Some
will have nearly all, parts or none of an "improv" solo planned in advance. You
picked a particularly bad example with the Dead.

What you DO rely on in all the skill you've learned up to the point and faith in that
skill.
I couldnt agree more. Improv=/=A bunch of copied licks
#26
Slow it down. Play with your note choices. Play a phrase, then play it again with one note changed. Slowing down helped my note choices quite a bit. I had a tendy to play fast, to make up for crap note choices. (It doesn't work too well, by the way)

Quote by notsee
Do you think the Grateful Dead didn't practice licks and then do them live? It's only called improv because you are using a listful of licks you learned in private practice and applying them to what is going on in the mix currently. . . so you may change the key.. . . . If that makes sense. Kinda like that quote "Practice time isn't meant to be taken on stage."


This is all true.

If you suck. If you like your solos firmly inside the box and bland, this is for you.
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#28
Use alot of space, make a statement or a lick or w/e u wanna call it, let the audience kinda digest it and then, make another statement, don't always play loud and fast, use a wide range of dynamics and speed of notes, play some stuff slower and some faster just depending on what you feel like playing and the song you are on,
#30
Quote by CHOCOmoney
its five notes, ofcourse itll sound repetitive

No not neccisarilly. Everyone wants to knock the pentatonic or thinks playing different scales is going to make them sound a certain way. Learn how to play in key. Dont just learn one box shape of a min pentatonic. Learn all 5 shapes and learn how to play the scale in key over differnt progressions. You need to know what key your in and what notes are in hte chords your playing over and be able to find the notes in key in more than one place. If you can find the scale notes of whatever scale your playing in all over the fretboard in key and follow the chords that are backing you then you can sound fantastic and diverse with the pentatonic scale. If you know one shape and arent thinking in terms of playing in key or accenting the chords you of course will sound like your playing in one box wanking.

Simply put if you sound boring and repetitive blame yourself not the scale.