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> Soloing/improvising Advice., Improvisation.
ndk
post Jan 12 2009, 01:04 PM
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Hello all,

I have been at this for a while now, a few months (intensive) and I've made tremendous gains in terms of learning licks and improving speed in my execution. I have been playing for 32 years and I know I can get better by practice and then more practice and then, even more practice and it has paid off.

I imagine that you guessed that I was interested in lead (blues) guitar. My questions are the following and any answers or pointers will be greatly appreciated.

I have mastered the mixo, dorian and obviously the blues scales and am able to picture each scale as I play and switch from one to another. This is very close to just playing blues scales or the major scales and throwing in b7, for example. And I know that the mixo goes very well over the I in a I-IV-V chord progression etc, etc. But I need something more. Pro lead guitarists seem to know which "tonal" notes to hit over chord progressions.

What I need to know are the tonal notes when soloing over a progression, in other words, which notes to hit when soloing *over* the progression in order to sugest the change more emphatically than just switching modes.

Secondly, is there a resource that teaches licks with bends, pull offs and hammer ons on all 5 blues boxes? So far, I have only been able to find licks that span the 1st and 2nd box.

Thirdly, melody is also a sticking point. how can some artists accomplish the "feel" of a melody within the solos. Is there a method to this? I've also notices that most solos have a melody, if one can call it that, similar to the riff of the song. Any comments on this?

Thank you so much for any help. This is where I'm stuck at at this particular time and it's very frustrating given my resolve to get better and the fact that I practice many hours/ day and I'm stuck on these points.


Again, thanks
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David Wallimann
post Jan 12 2009, 05:27 PM
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Those are great questions you ask, but as it often is the case with such great questions, there is no easy answer...
To be honest those are questions I keep asking myself too, and I think any guitar player is in constant search of better melodic, smoother improvisation.

But here are a few suggestions that might help a bit. Pick a certain note in your scale and try building licks that will end on that specific note. If you are playing a blues in A for example, let's pick the 9th of A Dorian which will be the B note. Play along the track and try to really accentuate that 9th by leading all your musical ideas towards that direction landing on that B. Using some chromatic notes can help too.

Another idea would be to build licks with a rhythm idea in mind. Have a constant rhythm pattern looped in your head while improvising and build your lead over those percussive notes. That will help your improvisation sound a bit more structured giving the listener something to follow.

Last but not least, start preparing your improvisation without your guitar. The best ideas come from your heart and sometimes the guitar can limit your ability to truly express yourself. The idea is to listen to the track and sing over it a few times. After a while you'll hear something that you like that most likely will not be built around a particular guitar scale pattern, but from you hear. That's when you need to transcribe that idea and apply it to your fretboard. Doing so on a regular basis will create a stronger connection between what the music within you and your guitar.

I hope thse inspire you a little bit. Keep us posted on your progress!







QUOTE (ndk @ Jan 12 2009, 07:04 AM) *
Hello all,

I have been at this for a while now, a few months (intensive) and I've made tremendous gains in terms of learning licks and improving speed in my execution. I have been playing for 32 years and I know I can get better by practice and then more practice and then, even more practice and it has paid off.

I imagine that you guessed that I was interested in lead (blues) guitar. My questions are the following and any answers or pointers will be greatly appreciated.

I have mastered the mixo, dorian and obviously the blues scales and am able to picture each scale as I play and switch from one to another. This is very close to just playing blues scales or the major scales and throwing in b7, for example. And I know that the mixo goes very well over the I in a I-IV-V chord progression etc, etc. But I need something more. Pro lead guitarists seem to know which "tonal" notes to hit over chord progressions.

What I need to know are the tonal notes when soloing over a progression, in other words, which notes to hit when soloing *over* the progression in order to sugest the change more emphatically than just switching modes.

Secondly, is there a resource that teaches licks with bends, pull offs and hammer ons on all 5 blues boxes? So far, I have only been able to find licks that span the 1st and 2nd box.

Thirdly, melody is also a sticking point. how can some artists accomplish the "feel" of a melody within the solos. Is there a method to this? I've also notices that most solos have a melody, if one can call it that, similar to the riff of the song. Any comments on this?

Thank you so much for any help. This is where I'm stuck at at this particular time and it's very frustrating given my resolve to get better and the fact that I practice many hours/ day and I'm stuck on these points.


Again, thanks



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Pedja Simovic
post Jan 12 2009, 06:15 PM
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Hi !

I am glad you posted these questions as they are very common and will benefit to a lot of members on GMC.


First thing regarding tonal notes...

Your best choice of targeting notes is 3rds and 7ths - especially in Blues soloing. The reason for that is because these notes are called GUIDE TONES and they determine the type of chord that is being played !
Imagine soloing ending your melodies on roots and fifths ? That doesn't give you the sound of complete chord !
So what you should do is practice resolving your lines into guide tones (3rds and 7ths). That will make your playing much more stronger wink.gif


Second question was a good one as it is connected to your third question !

When you learn one lick in one shape you should learn it in all 5 boxes + all 12 keys. When you have done that, now you take that same lick and edit rhythm and melody and now you got totally new lick or variation of previous lick !

I recommend listening to blues players like Robben Ford, Gary Moore and Scott Henderson. If you try to play things that they play, you will see that they have a wide range of licks and ideas all over guitar neck. Of course I am not referring to one song but rather checking out whole album from each and see what you can get from their playing.

Regarding melody now... There is so many important elements that make a melody. It has to do with the note choice in the first place which is closely tied to rhythm choice! Bad melody won't work with good rhythm and other way around. So these two components are the most important ones when it comes to melody. In order to create melody, you need to use question and answer type phrasing, repetition, sequence, motive development, trough composed playing, time feel change etc

The best way to learn about melody is to transcribe songs by ear and analyze all the melodies and play them on your instrument. While you do that you should also give yourself assignments to create your own melodies over some backing track (one chord vamp, blues all the way to complex harmonies) .


I hope this information helped you in some way.
If you still have questions feel free to ask smile.gif

Thanks

Pedja


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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Jan 12 2009, 07:46 PM
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To know which tonal center to hit, you must know harmony over which you improvise. And then, you also need to know for each chord, from which tones it consist. For example, if you have E7, you have to hit E, G#, B ect. If you do this you will create little or no tension, if you want to create tension, you can try to hit tones which doesn't belong to that chord(but belong to the given scale). For example, if you have, A min, and you hit B, that is tension(You play A minor), if you hit, A that is least tension you can get. Then, even if you focus the notes of the chords, let's say you have C major(C, E, G). C creates no tension at all, E has more tension, and G has the most tension.

This is the stuff with which you should experiment, create backing track with A minor only, press play, get your guitar and play. In the beginning you should stick to the 5th position, so you can relax and experiment freely. Then try some other position, though that is not crucial. What is crucial, to get the FEEL for each chord, so you know what you hit. Later, you just sense it. It is very amusing process, so don't even try to memorize notes of bm7-5 or so, you will get the feel.
Most guitarists have good feel, especially if they play for few years, but you can always improve it.

Create backing track, play over it, and do it slowly, then you can add more chords.

And remember, if it sounds good, you ARE hitting the right notes mate:)


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ndk
post Jan 13 2009, 02:03 AM
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Wow, just...wow!

Lots to absorb and internalize. Thank you all for these answers, they have answered my questions to the fullest. I will be experimenting with them and giving all this great advice a try.

Thank you all.
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Pedja Simovic
post Jan 13 2009, 02:17 AM
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Glad I could help out.
Let me know if you need more assistance with anything. I would really like to hear your playing on audio and/or video to see where you are at currently.

Keep me updated !


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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Jan 13 2009, 07:39 PM
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Also, try to experiments with rhythm, this is a tricky part, and lots of people just jump over it. The thing is that, that we all look at the fretboard all the time, and the rhythm isn't visible, it's more like, knowing when to stop while playing, or, focusing on the "kick drum", snare, accenting the different beat subdivisions, it's very very important, not much of that in books.


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Pedja Simovic
post Jan 14 2009, 12:08 PM
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I agree with Vasilije, phrasing is absolutely essential part of playing.

Thats why I recommended you to transcribe your favorite players and people you can learn from a lot in all areas of your playing. smile.gif


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ndk
post Jan 14 2009, 08:03 PM
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QUOTE (Pedja Simovic @ Jan 14 2009, 12:08 PM) *
I agree with Vasilije, phrasing is absolutely essential part of playing.

Thats why I recommended you to transcribe your favorite players and people you can learn from a lot in all areas of your playing. smile.gif



Thanks to all.

Are ther any resources here on GMC or elswhere that could help me hone these skills?
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Pedja Simovic
post Jan 14 2009, 09:32 PM
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QUOTE (ndk @ Jan 14 2009, 08:03 PM) *
Thanks to all.

Are ther any resources here on GMC or elswhere that could help me hone these skills?


The best advice right now I could give you is to get Transcriber software. In that software you can put any MP3 and slow it down at any speed you want. This will be essential for transcribing and rhythm as well as melody analyzing smile.gif


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Mandos
post Jan 14 2009, 10:40 PM
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BestPractice is a free alternative to Transcribe. http://www.xs4all.nl/~mp2004/bp/


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Pedja Simovic
post Jan 14 2009, 11:27 PM
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QUOTE (Mandos @ Jan 14 2009, 10:40 PM) *
BestPractice is a free alternative to Transcribe. http://www.xs4all.nl/~mp2004/bp/


Really cool !
Didn't know that this existed smile.gif Thanks for sharing

I saw some bugs for that program further down the page. How is your experience with that software?


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Mandos
post Jan 14 2009, 11:32 PM
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I just downloaded it today and haven't tried it much. It worked fine for me when I changed the tempo for Carl Verheyen's Garage Sale to 75% though.


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Pedja Simovic
post Jan 14 2009, 11:33 PM
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Cool !

I will download it and give it a shoot. Thanks for sharing, I love this type of software wink.gif


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-Zion-
post Jan 15 2009, 12:19 AM
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awesome awesome advices from everyone..

Thanks
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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Jan 15 2009, 01:17 AM
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Pedja is right, transcribing solos, or parts of your favorite songs is one of the best and the fastest ways to progress, and it's very amusing once you get into it, not to mention that you develop your ear. Use tab transcriptions also, what you want to achieve is to have the solo under your fingers so that you can play it. Transcribing by ear or reading sheet music, you are getting insight in the real thing, and that feeling when you nail the solo is just amazing. Personally, I love to transcribe music, once I hear something beautiful I cannot settle until I know it all to the end(Right now I am doing Pat Metheny's "Our spanish love song"...). Good music is great motivator.


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