Improvisation: High & Low Contrast

by Ivan Zecic

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  • Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a rut while improvising? Let me introduce you to improvisation concepts which will open your eyes, so you'll never ever have to repeat the same thing twice in your playing!

    In this lesson we are going to work on contrast between high and low notes. There are many different types of contrast and that's why it's so popular in art in general, but today we are going to stick to this high/low type of contrast.

    It is a really simple thing and it can be extremely easy to apply it. The easiest way to do it is: take a simple phrase, play it in the first position of A minor pentatonic scale (if you are playing over this backingtrack) and then repeat the same thing 12 frets higher! See how simple it can be? You only need to know a single scale position and you can already apply it.

    If you are a little bit better, you can play it anywhere on the neck, not only in the first position and 12 frets above. It can become even more interesting if you change the first phrase just a bit, so it doesn't sound exactly the same.

    But those two phrases don't have to be similar at all. You can play two completely different things, but if you arrange them so one phrase is high and the other phrase is low, it surely won't sound dull.

    You don't even have to apply this contrast only on phrases. You can play one whole part of the solo really low, and the other part high, and it will also sound cool. You can even divide it into bars (2 bars high and 1 bar low, for instance), or you can actually divide a single phrase into high and low part. This one could sound really cool, but it could be a bit tricky because you'll have to be precise and fast when jumping from one place to another.

    At the end of the solo I played a faster part where you have to jump over 12 frets. It will be a great excercise for you to improve your left hand coordination and precision, because being precise when jumping around can be very important when you are playing around with high/low contrast.

    And like I always say: Pay attention to your vibrato and bending!!!

    Have fun with this lesson!


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