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> Tempo, Improvisation, And Unlocking My Full Potential In A Jam Situation
kyuss
post Nov 4 2010, 08:39 PM
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so a couple weeks ago i came to you guys about my alt. picking and got some great advice and resources, since then my alt. picking has gotten on par with the rest of my playing (thanks so much guys biggrin.gif ) but there is still one HUGE area im lacking in thats preventing me from getting any "real" practice (jamming)

you see, when i dont have a tempo track behind me i can play good stuff, ive played for many people and they always say "you're so good why aren't you in a band blah blah blah" and then it hit me, ive been avoiding jam sessions because i lose direction once i have to think about tempo and melody at the same time. Whenever i have a rhythm track behind me i have to think too hard to count the beats that i lose any real melodic creativity and just end up playing simple stuff- while this would impress most people in a jam session, im not playing at my full potential and i cant stand that. If i do focus on creating melodic lines i can't change my phrasing at all- for instance i can play some interesting 32nd notes lines, but if i want to change over to say a 16th note triplet lead i wont be able to, id have to stop for a bar to count, then go again.

i've been practicing to a metronome every time i pick up a guitar since you guys told me to a couple weeks ago, mostly to get my alt. picking better. but i still can't switch up my phrasing at all-

so i guess what i'm asking for is some help with improvisation and keeping tempo, or just anything you'd think would help me in a jam situation.

ALSO: im thinking about re0subscribing to a guitar magazine, i had guitar player but i let my subscription run out, which guitar magazine would you guys recommend?
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jafomatic
post Nov 4 2010, 10:32 PM
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Simple answer: stop counting. If you have to count to be ready for changes then you may be jamming on something beyond your current ability to truly sense. If you are phrasing coherently then you will already know when 4, 8, 12, 16, bars are about to be complete without actually counting and thus without needing to engage that facility.

Disclaimer: I have no idea if that also works for odd time signatures or progressive style time changes, because I can't improvise so well over those either. I know that this works for me in common time, I don't count the measures at all.

edit: almost forgot! In order to keep the tempo just tap your foot with the quarter notes. If it doesn't work right away, keep doing it until it works because ... it will.

This post has been edited by jafomatic: Nov 4 2010, 10:33 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 5 2010, 04:03 AM
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Well, as long as you are "roughly" in time during a solo you can play around the beat. You don't have to hit everything dead on. You can get some great sounding licks by playing in and around the beat so to speak. As far as actually trying to keep your chops to the beat, always turn on your "internal" metronome. smile.gif Simply get used to hearing a click track in your head that matches the drummer and your hands can catch back up to it if they lag behind or speed ahead. This is a bit
of work at first but you'll get used to it with practice. The more you play with other musicians in the same room, the easier it will get.


Hope this helps smile.gif

Todd


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Nov 9 2010, 07:11 PM
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The thing that helped me to create more fluid playing and not to get stuck anywhere in the bar was practicing several note durations in every exercise I did, while playing with metronome and tapping foot of course. This creates a good feel for beginning and end of the bar, and accenting different notes within an exercises, just because you are using different durations. For example: if you have 8 notes in an exercise, you can play 8 half notes over 4 bars, 8 quarters over 2 bars, 8 quarter triplets over 2.5 bars, 8 eights over 1 bar, 8 eight triplets over 2.5 clicks (2.5 quarters within a bar), etc..
This may not seem that important, but once you start playing, you already created a good feel of where various notes from that exercise can fit while you play. You can start the lick from anywhere and anticipate where it will end, so you can carry on thinking about the melody. Rhythm is all workout as well.
Other important thing that helped me overcome similar problems in the past, is tons and tons of jamming to my favorite tracks, with various people, and with my own material. Once you start to jam a lot, you will get used to the state of mind that this kind of improvised playing force you to get in. The state of mind where you have to compose in real time. This will not happen over night, it takes lot of time to become good at it, but with practice and with lots of jamming it will happen.
All this doesn't come without practice, will to play and improvise, learning music theory, and - patience. Don't rush it, be patient, it will come for sure, and it will get better, if you are willing enough to become good and fluid player.

hope this helps, if you have any questions let us know. smile.gif


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kyuss
post Nov 10 2010, 09:03 AM
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so ive been practicing keeping the things you guys said in mind and i've been making tons of progress. i've been doing todd's alt picking drills which is getting me more comfortable with different note durations; ive stopped putting such effort into counting and got tapping my foot on quarter notes into a habit and things are really starting to flow easier. I can focus on melody but still be in time without wasting any thinking power on tempo which really helps me relax and feel out the music. i really liked you said ivan about the certain state of mind you need to achieve to compose in real time, right now i still feel rushed but every day i work at improvising i can think a little further ahead and give myself more direction.

thanks again guys, you guys are helping me become the well rounded player i didnt think i could be.

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Ivan Milenkovic
post Nov 10 2010, 03:01 PM
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Great! I'm really glad I hear there is progress! smile.gif

The state of mind that is needed for improvising is something that is both melody and rhythm-dependable. Rhythm needs to be rehearsed for this as well, and I'm glad you are making good progress with this. Just take your time, it will only get better and better smile.gif

If you need any help at all, don't hesitate to ask, we will be glad to help you! smile.gif


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