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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: newcastle.england
Posts: 2,575
need advice on improvising

hi folks.ive been playing guitar 14 years AND STILL CANT IMPROVISE i know its shocking.i know the musical alphabet E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E and i know lots of rock scales.but cant put them to any use.i know its my own fault cos i didnt eat my greens at first,just wanted to play songs (i can read tab) but im bored of playing songs.but ive always found improvising complicated..anybody got any ideas, very much appreciated thanks guys rob.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 08:11 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Hilversum, The Netherlands
Posts: 3,274
Re: need advice on improvising

I think it isn't "that" shocking. I can still barely improvise with any form of quality that I see on youtube. It takes much more mental work than I thought ("no natural talent" comes to mind when I play).

What I have found useful for myself is to simply copy from other players by playing sections of different "real" solos (tabs) on my own backing tracks. You tend to pick up certain techniques and playing qualities when you do that, and eventually you'll be able to phrases and note progressions "automatically".
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,847
Re: need advice on improvising

My best advice, because I am the oposite of you, (I never learn anyone elses playing at all to my detriment) is to take a break from listening to stuff and take a break from practicing technique and such. Get your guitar and play some licks here and there and just let the sound absorb you and free solo, not worring about mistakes, until your sleepy. Now dont use a backing track at first, this way you'll develop some of your own ideas. Then work into using backing tracks on and on.

If only I could be more like you and learn from some one elses playing. I can't ever get past a few bars before I am bored and then I start doing what I told you was a good idea to do.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 258
Re: need advice on improvising

I think an excellent way to work on improv is to play over all styles of music. Say, for example, you hate country. Then turn on a country music radio station and attempt to play over it. I'm not saying you necessarily have to "solo" the whole time. But add something to the song. A double-stop riff. A few bends and releases. Whatever. But make it fit the style, rhythm and feel of the piece. You learn so much about what is possible that way because the song forces you to phrase differently in order to sound decent. Then, when you go back to the styles of music you enjoy, you will have developed some new phrasing ideas that you will be able to incorporate in your improv. If we love rock and always just play over rock, our phrasing and licks etc. can remain stale and boring and never really develop much.

Other things to try are limiting yourself when soloing. Solo for an entire song on just one string. You'd be surprised how much more creative you can become when you have fewer choices. You have to become more rhythmic and work on the tone and/or dynamics of the notes. Limit yourself to just 4 notes on two strings (like the top two strings in a minor pentatonic) for the same result. It really pushes your brain to come up with new stuff and incorporate bending etc. where you normally might not put it.

Paul Warren is offline  

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