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> Don't Understand How People Just "improv"
shellshock1911
post Jan 4 2008, 05:22 AM
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Yea so I've been looking around the collaborations lately I just want to know? How do yall come up with this stuff? I know it is a pretty broad question but I just don't get it. I can recite theory from a textbook 24 hours a day, I knowledge ridiculous amounts but don't know how to put it to use?


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FretDancer69
post Jan 4 2008, 05:30 AM
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maybe you should dedicate more time to playing than styding theory, not that its not important, but in the end, what will matter is how good your playing is. I find that a very strange question, i mean, if you practice and learn any lesson from here, you learn tons of licks and if you apply the theory knowledge you have, those licks can even be multpilied...


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shellshock1911
post Jan 4 2008, 05:32 AM
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QUOTE (FretDancer69 @ Jan 4 2008, 05:30 AM) *
maybe you should dedicate more time to playing than styding theory, not that its not important, but in the end, what will matter is how good your playing is. I find that a very strange question, i mean, if you practice and learn any lesson from here, you learn tons of licks and if you apply the theory knowledge you have, those licks can even be multpilied...


Yea I've been thinking that too..but how do you just "learn licks" because then you are copying someone. I don't understand how that works.

EDIT: I hear someone people that say they "play what is in their head." Is that what the primary way is? Because for some reason when I think improv I picture someone thinking, ok they are playing Dm7, let me start on D, hit F, D, some more notes, land on D, next chord Fmaj, ok same process.

This post has been edited by shellshock1911: Jan 4 2008, 05:35 AM


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Robin
post Jan 4 2008, 05:36 AM
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Improvisation needs just as much practice as anything else. Learn new licks, make variations of those licks, create your very own licks and then use them for your improvisation. Jam an hour or two every day inside a scale.


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JVM
post Jan 4 2008, 05:36 AM
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QUOTE (shellshock1911 @ Jan 3 2008, 04:32 PM) *
Yea I've been thinking that too..but how do you just "learn licks" because then you are copying someone. I don't understand how that works.


You just do whatever sounds good to you. You're not copying someone when you take a lick from them, it's almost expected in the beginning that you learn what other people do, then make it your own. Take any lick you think sounds good, play around with it, maybe change the rhythm of it, add a note here and subtract one there, etc. In time you just learn to come up with cool sounding stuff on the fly - I'm not there yet but I can tell I'm approaching it. Learning to improvise is my #1 goal right now.

This post has been edited by JVM: Jan 4 2008, 05:37 AM


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shellshock1911
post Jan 4 2008, 05:41 AM
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QUOTE (Robin @ Jan 4 2008, 05:36 AM) *
Improvisation needs just as much practice as anything else. Learn new licks, make variations of those licks, create your very own licks and then use them for your improvisation. Jam an hour or two every day inside a scale.


Thats the thing though I don't understand how to "jam inside a scale" without just playing the scale or making up random crap to the point to where it is obvious that you are purposely trying to avoid playing the scale note for note.


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The Uncreator
post Jan 4 2008, 05:45 AM
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When i improv i take in to advice what the great Billy Sheehan told me

"When i Improv, All i do is know the key im in, and think patterns, i dont think of notes, just patterns"

Try that, you know a few fingering pattern that form cool licks, as long as you know the key youre in, try to apply it to that, mess around just play what you feel, sounds stupid, but just play almost like....Organized Randomization.
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Zephyr
post Jan 4 2008, 05:45 AM
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QUOTE (shellshock1911 @ Jan 3 2008, 08:22 PM) *
Yea so I've been looking around the collaborations lately I just want to know? How do yall come up with this stuff? I know it is a pretty broad question but I just don't get it. I can recite theory from a textbook 24 hours a day, I knowledge ridiculous amounts but don't know how to put it to use?


Hmm... maybe you are spending too much time on theory? Theory is important, but no where near as important as the music itself... that sounds strange, but it's true, in my opinion!

You don't need to know music theory to play amazing music. Having soul and creativity in your music doesn't come from knowledge, but just from you. Theory is a tool that can help you understand why music works and sounds the way it does, but knowing hows it works isn't the same as knowing how to play it!

I would advise that you just try to not worry so much about theory for a while, just sit with your guitar and play what comes to you. See what happens. I don't mean that you can't think about theory at all, but, for example, find a backing track/song, find what key it's in, and just mess around. See what sounds good and what doesn't. The rules of music are just made to be broken, anyways, in my opinion... laugh.gif And, most importantly, have fun, and play what you're feeling!

This post has been edited by Zephyr: Jan 4 2008, 05:46 AM
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Robin
post Jan 4 2008, 05:50 AM
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QUOTE (shellshock1911 @ Jan 4 2008, 05:41 AM) *
Thats the thing though I don't understand how to "jam inside a scale" without just playing the scale or making up random crap to the point to where it is obvious that you are purposely trying to avoid playing the scale note for note.

I recommend starting with GMC's blues lessons. Even if you don't like blues it's a great way of starting out with improvising. Use those licks and jam. Later you can make your own licks and get better at phrasing etc.
But in the start I think copying licks is important, gotta start somewhere.
It takes months/years to get good at it.

QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Jan 4 2008, 05:45 AM) *
"When i Improv, All i do is know the key im in, and think patterns, i dont think of notes, just patterns"

Of course.


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FretDancer69
post Jan 4 2008, 05:57 AM
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QUOTE (shellshock1911 @ Jan 3 2008, 10:41 PM) *
Thats the thing though I don't understand how to "jam inside a scale" without just playing the scale or making up random crap to the point to where it is obvious that you are purposely trying to avoid playing the scale note for note.


Ok, to jam inside a scale is to stay inside the key of the scale, i mean, if you're playing over a backing and you want improvise with the G Major scale, what you're gonna do, is , use the notes of the G Major scale, not in a Box pattern (like you do when you practice the scales up and down) but simply making licks out of those noets, maybe some arpeggios, tappings, some speedpicking runs, vibratos on root notes, stuff like that, phrasing that will just spice up your improvisation.


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shellshock1911
post Jan 4 2008, 05:59 AM
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QUOTE (Zephyr @ Jan 4 2008, 05:45 AM) *
Hmm... maybe you are spending too much time on theory? Theory is important, but no where near as important as the music itself... that sounds strange, but it's true, in my opinion!

You don't need to know music theory to play amazing music. Having soul and creativity in your music doesn't come from knowledge, but just from you. Theory is a tool that can help you understand why music works and sounds the way it does, but knowing hows it works isn't the same as knowing how to play it!

I would advise that you just try to not worry so much about theory for a while, just sit with your guitar and play what comes to you. See what happens. I don't mean that you can't think about theory at all, but, for example, find a backing track/song, find what key it's in, and just mess around. See what sounds good and what doesn't. The rules of music are just made to be broken, anyways, in my opinion... laugh.gif And, most importantly, have fun, and play what you're feeling!


Shouldn't have said improv, I meant just soloing, whether pre-planned or improvised.

My guitar heros are Michael Romeo and John Petrucci I watched Romeo's instructional video and he is like "Ok now we are gonna use HW Dimished over Emadd9, then play F#11 arpeggio over this Phrygian Dominant cycle of 4ths progression, etc, etc, etc." So after seeing that it really inspired me to learn theory all day, because I want to play like him. Blues, jazz, and funk soloing is cool and all but it just doesn't do it for me sometimes. I like progressive and neo-classical soloing mainly, so when I make my first attempt at making a solo or something, that is sort of the sound that I want to come out.

Kinda got off topic but yea, I don't see how you can just mess around and come up with progressive and neo-classical style licks, they always end up sounding pentatonic and bluesy to me, which is the sound I am trying to aviod.

EDIT: Actually the post I just wrote kinda reminded me of David Walliman's lessons, maybe those will help me understand how to "jam."

EDIT again: And, forgot to say, the main reason I like to read about theory stuff all day because I can instantly see progress. For example I read something that says Major chord= 1-3-5. There in 2 seconds I just learned a huge thing instantly. When I try to go back to actual playing that "instant" progress that comes in learning isn't there in playing so I tend to just drag back into more theory stuff.

This post has been edited by shellshock1911: Jan 4 2008, 06:10 AM


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Robin
post Jan 4 2008, 06:03 AM
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Pick a scale you like, find the root note and play tongue.gif Others might want to make it theoretically correct though(I personally don't see the point as long as it sounds good).

This post has been edited by Robin: Jan 4 2008, 06:08 AM


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JVM
post Jan 4 2008, 06:20 AM
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The thing about patterns is totally right. If you think in playing scalar notes, you'll just end up plunking around playing something that has no direction. I've done my share of this tongue.gif

What thinking in patterns is useful for is that when you see a pattern and play it, you can then do a variation on it. You don't have to play it twice - say you're playing in triplets, you might do a quick run through a pattern you like, then do it again but in a different arrangement and when you're done with that it sounds like one cohesive thing.

Use the scale to know the strong notes (at least to start with) and build patterns around them, like chord changes and such.

[edit]

And robin is right that improv takes practice like anything else.. it's kind of a mental practice. For the love of god, don't shred when you're trying to learn to improv. Play slowly, if you play too fast you won't be able to think why what you're doing sounds bad. Thats why the blues is a great place to start. Eventually you'll be able to make "patterns" and licks up quickly and you can start improvising at your maximum speed. But until then take it slow.

This post has been edited by JVM: Jan 4 2008, 06:23 AM


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Jerry Arcidiacon...
post Jan 4 2008, 11:12 AM
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Mmmm... Think to patterns can be useful but the ultimate step for me is to have the notes in your head before you play them.
If someone turn off your amp you should sing the rest of the impro. smile.gif


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Spiderusalem
post Jan 4 2008, 11:16 AM
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QUOTE (Jerry Arcidiacono @ Jan 4 2008, 02:12 AM) *
Mmmm... Think to patterns can be useful but the ultimate step for me is to have the notes in your head before you play them.
If someone turn off your amp you should sing the rest of the impro. smile.gif


agreed. I'll go as far as to think up a melody/over-arching pattern before I even pick up a guitar, then just try to play what was in my head. I think a good sense of intervals is important too.

Btw Jerry, love your new profile pic


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Dejan Farkas
post Jan 4 2008, 11:33 AM
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QUOTE (shellshock1911 @ Jan 4 2008, 05:22 AM) *
Yea so I've been looking around the collaborations lately I just want to know? How do yall come up with this stuff? I know it is a pretty broad question but I just don't get it. I can recite theory from a textbook 24 hours a day, I knowledge ridiculous amounts but don't know how to put it to use?


You need to develop your 'imagination' skills, to hear the melody in your head. The theory will help you to 'copy' the melody from your head to music that all others can hear. Try to listen to backing and to 'imagine' your melody over it, and then to improvize the melody.

Of course, you can learn various licks in varios keys and scales, but that is something similar to LEGO BRICKS, you don't make the melody, you actually assemble it smile.gif

Improvization is nothing more than creating a melody on-the-fly wink.gif


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Spiderusalem
post Jan 4 2008, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE (Dejan @ Jan 4 2008, 02:33 AM) *
You need to develop your 'imagination' skills, to hear the melody in your head. The theory will help you to 'copy' the melody from your head to music that all others can hear. Try to listen to backing and to 'imagine' your melody over it, and then to improvize the melody.

Of course, you can learn various licks in varios keys and scales, but that is something similar to LEGO BRICKS, you don't make the melody, you actually assemble it smile.gif

Improvization is nothing more than creating a melody on-the-fly wink.gif


very well said Dejan. I'm going to steal your metaphor about the lego bricks =P


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mattacuk
post Jan 4 2008, 11:47 AM
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For me when I started It was all about patterns! But recently ive noticed I just pick up my guitar and play!! My fretboard knowledge is alot more "intimate" since i learnt all of the pitches on the fretboard. Typically I can find a scale/key *alot* quicker than I used to smile.gif

I agree with what Dejan has said about imagination, I find it very usefull in creating melodys biggrin.gif


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Chris Evans
post Jan 4 2008, 12:03 PM
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agree with Matt here, if you can learn your patterns and box shapes, find the key and play around within those boxes, it takes practice like everything else, for me theory doesnt play a major part of the solo, more a "feel" of what fits and what sounds good, however a knowledge of theory for what scales/patterens etc you can play within the keys is of course helpful, sometimes melodies will come into your head that you can transpose to the fretboard,I usually improvise around with the collab backings until I come up with a "set" solo that fits and hopefully flows.


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mattacuk
post Jan 4 2008, 12:09 PM
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Good advice smells !!

I belive theory is very important to suppliment your guitar playing !! But actual composition should come through the creativity in your mind and on the fretboard. (just my humble veiw though wink.gif )

You can then use all things youve learnt theory wise to spice things up. If im jamming in a key I then see what techniques I can fit in with it, like sweep arpeggios or tapping etc.


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