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Kristofer Dahl
How do you improvise forever and avoid repeating yourself? Tough question! Here is my attempt to answer it:




Do you struggle with improvising? Why / why not? Do you have tips?
Gabriel Leopardi
Excellent video Kris! As always very inspiring.

The first time I did something similar was when I got a "play like Vai" book that had some transcriptions from his songs but also scale and chord progression analysis. The book included a CD with backing tracks (this was priceless on pre-youtube days) and the cool thing was that the backings didn't have the structure of the songs. The different parts from the song were looped and the book suggested you to start playing Vai's licks, but then create your own variations of them, and mix with other phrases using the suggested scales.

This was pure gold for me.

Phil66
That's a great video Kris,

It's one of the hardest things about being a musician, to keep coming up with ideas, I said to Gab, it's the same as the fact that we can all read and write but we can't all create a novel. Maybe that is why there are so many covers bands and tribute acts rather than original material acts.

I find I struggle to keep coming up with ideas and the backing really makes a difference. I tend to come up with different ideas when I change backing but then I can't seem to migrate those ideas to another backing if you know what I mean, they stay specific to that particular backing.

I guess it's too big a subject to have a box set course about it?

Regarding box sets, I think you may have missed my comment HERE wink.gif

Cheers
klasaine
Xlnt advice from Kris.
"If you wanna make new stuff up, you gotta practice makin' stuff up".

Probably stemming from my inherent laziness, every new lick I learn or make up - I try to find at least 3 or 4 chords that it'll work over. A simple example is that most any A minor (minor penta) type line will usually work well over C major and E minor chords and also probably D minor and F major chords. Sometimes the lick just needs a one note adjustment.
I noticed early on that the best "improvisers" recycled a lot of their licks and lines within their solos but masked or tweaked them in ways that didn't make it so obvious ... until you really started paying attention. This is the stuff that gives players their sound and style.
Todd Simpson
As ken already noted, great adice.
"If you wanna make new stuff up, you gotta practice makin' stuff up".
Anything you want to get good at, you have got to practice. It won't always sound good, especially at first. You don't have to subject friends and family to bad playing, save friends and fam for "recital playing" or for when you have a bit recorded that you are really proud of. Just a side note smile.gif
Gabriel Leopardi
QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jun 10 2019, 10:43 PM) *
As ken already noted, great adice.
"If you wanna make new stuff up, you gotta practice makin' stuff up".[i]




That's also my favorite part, followed by this one:


"Here is a question for you... How do you keep improvising forever and never run out of ideas?... mmm I don't know" laugh.gif
Todd Simpson
Hah!! Loved that too smile.gif Hehehehe.

QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jun 10 2019, 10:12 PM) *
That's also my favorite part, followed by this one:


"Here is a question for you... How do you keep improvising forever and never run out of ideas?... mmm I don't know" laugh.gif
Monica Gheorghevici
Awesome video Kris!!! smile.gif


I want to add something that it works great for me when we talk about improvisations.
I think the most easier way to stop repeating the same patterns in improvisations is by starting and thinking more as a musician and less as a guitarist. I will explain what I want to mean.

Usually people who play at guitar try to learn and copy the same patterns as their idols. Don't get me wrong, this it's a good thing mostly for beginners because they learn how to use a bunch of tools. Unfortunately, doing only this thing, at some point when we want to improvise, we will realize that our ideas are limited. Everything sounds too familiar, boring, and we start asking why.
The answer it's easy...if we want to come with fresh things in our improvisations, it's time to think like a musician (i suppose that we already have a good base of guitar techniques and we know some musical theory).
So, listening different kind of music and trying to emulate different instruments on the guitar will help us to rely less on our memory muscle and more on our ears. This is a good and very efficient way to think out of the box. Also it help us to develop our musicality.
From my point of view, this method really has many advantages:
- expanding our musical vocabulary
- a bunch of ideas that we will have each time when we hear a beat
- at some point we will see that we already can think like an entire orchestra not as a single instrument.
Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (klasaine @ Jun 11 2019, 02:50 AM) *
Probably stemming from my inherent laziness, every new lick I learn or make up - I try to find at least 3 or 4 chords that it'll work over. A simple example is that most any A minor (minor penta) type line will usually work well over C major and E minor chords and also probably D minor and F major chords. Sometimes the lick just needs a one note adjustment.
I noticed early on that the best "improvisers" recycled a lot of their licks and lines within their solos but masked or tweaked them in ways that didn't make it so obvious ... until you really started paying attention. This is the stuff that gives players their sound and style.


This is def a solid way of looking at it. But for me this method was never inspiring when I tried it. Many years later I feel like it somewhat overcomplicates things - unless you are really fast at visualising theory.

I realised that if you are playing an Am lick over an Am chord, and the next chord is D minor - then chances are if you change the last note to anything it will sound like you adapted the lick. And if you are unlucky, just keep playing one more note and that one should be ok.

The explanation is that most of the times in pop/rock the chords belong to the same key - so the underlying harmony is typically 3 notes out of 7 possible. So if there is a chord change you will probably be ok - or you might need to move up and down one step in the scale.

What I am describing is not something to try on your first gig - but for practicing I think this can be a very smooth way of looking at things - without needing to understand lots of theory. I also think looking at it this way will give you free ear training.

QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jun 11 2019, 04:12 AM) *
That's also my favorite part, followed by this one:


"Here is a question for you... How do you keep improvising forever and never run out of ideas?... mmm I don't know" laugh.gif


Anything else wouldn't have been honest 😅
klasaine
QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jun 11 2019, 04:45 AM) *
This is def a solid way of looking at it. But for me this method was never inspiring when I tried it. Many years later I feel like it somewhat overcomplicates things - unless you are really fast at visualising theory.


I noticed it (same lick fits over several different chords and keys) long before I knew anything about theory.
Think about it, the guitar is pretty visual - an Am looks a lot like a C.
Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (klasaine @ Jun 11 2019, 04:10 PM) *
I noticed it (same lick fits over several different chords and keys) long before I knew anything about theory.
Think about it, the guitar is pretty visual - an Am looks a lot like a C.


Yes, it feels almost like the same chord but with different root note.
Rids
Another winner video.
Thanks Kris!
Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (Rids @ Jun 12 2019, 11:38 PM) *
Another winner video.
Thanks Kris!


Thank YOU Rids cool.gif
Adam
Great video, very nice to watch! smile.gif

It's maybe unrelated but I have a thought in my mind: do blues players grimace so much (especially when bending) because they express their mood or because they are afraid of the high E string breaking while bending and get injured in the arm? rolleyes.gif
Todd Simpson
Many players, not just blues, often make "Guitar face" when playing. It's just a natural response in most cases. I do it myself without realizing it. You may even notice that there are corrleations between what is played and what face you get. Watch for pinch harmonics and high bend notes and see if the guitar face looks like a bit of a painful scream. Then low notes you might get lips pursed together. Paul gilbert gives great guitar face smile.gif

Here is Stevie T explaining it all smile.gif


QUOTE (Adam @ Jun 13 2019, 06:44 PM) *
Great video, very nice to watch! smile.gif

It's maybe unrelated but I have a thought in my mind: do blues players grimace so much (especially when bending) because they express their mood or because they are afraid of the high E string breaking while bending and get injured in the arm? rolleyes.gif
Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (Adam @ Jun 14 2019, 12:44 AM) *
Great video, very nice to watch! smile.gif

It's maybe unrelated but I have a thought in my mind: do blues players grimace so much (especially when bending) because they express their mood or because they are afraid of the high E string breaking while bending and get injured in the arm? rolleyes.gif


As we learn to interact with other people as young children - we also learn to convey emotions through our facial expressions.

It would be very strange to aspire to convey feelings through our playing, but still somehow disconnect the usual physical channels for emotions.

Guitarists who disconnect their facial expressions when playing, usually don't have a very intriguing playing style.
Adam
QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jun 14 2019, 09:18 AM) *
As we learn to interact with other people as young children - we also learn to convey emotions through our facial expressions.

It would be very strange to aspire to convey feelings through our playing, but still somehow disconnect the usual physical channels for emotions.

Guitarists who disconnect their facial expressions when playing, usually don't have a very intriguing playing style.

I usually keep these to myself. I've always been bad at expressing emotions.
Todd Simpson
You wont' get any better at it unless you practice and then share for some feedback smile.gif Don't let anything stand in the way of becoming a better player. Even yourself.
QUOTE (Adam @ Jun 15 2019, 12:24 PM) *
I usually keep these to myself. I've always been bad at expressing emotions.
Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (Adam @ Jun 15 2019, 06:24 PM) *
I usually keep these to myself. I've always been bad at expressing emotions.


Ok, as cliché as it may sound - if you see your playing as a means of channelling those emotions you keep to yourself, it will benefit both your playing and life. Whether you make funny faces or not - that does not matter.
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