Ztevie - Improve Your Improvising SI Lesson
I am Ztevie... Well, my real name is Stefan and I live in the north of Sweden.
I've been a member at GMC about a month now, but have been playing guitar on a hobby basis a bit longer, ok, many many years. I am completely self-taught, and haven't been playing much the last years, but found new inspiration here at GMC. If GMC would have existed 10 years ago, I'd might be a rockstar now!?
I thought to myself, what should the lesson be about. My first thought was: Play as fast as you can and try to impress with splendid technique and lightning-speed Yngwie licks.
Well, since I couldn't do neither, I decided to show you another thing I've had problems with before...
Have you ever feel as if you are stucked while improvising? That is, everything you improvise sound the same and the same licks pop out over and over again?
I have. As a mainly hard rock/metal player, I was stuck in the minor Aeolian mode, and whatever I played I was stuck in the Aeolian sound of things. So what did I do? I forced myself to not play Aeolian for a while, I started playing very awkward notes and scales that didn't seem to fit very well with different backing tracks. On occasion though, some lick would really shine through and I got that WOW-feeling when something really sounded different, AND nice...
That's when I discovered Phrygian Major. I didn't know this was the scale at the time, cause I am really no theory-magician in any way. However, these notes sounded "exotic", if that is the word?
At an internet chords/scale site they described what I played as Phrygian Major and also Spanish Gypsy scale and Jewish (Ahaba Rabba) scale. However, I don't think anyone playing the 2 above music styles would consider me a style-collegue, I am still hard-rockin, but with a different tool-set... So, my recipe for getting out of old routines are: Try other scales, choose something completely different, you'll be surprised of what you'll be hearing from your guitar.
I hope my short little tune here will help and inspire someone to break out of their routines.
It is a very simple 45 second backing-track with no chord changes and other fancy stuff, but it works well with the B Phrygian Major.
I would urge anyone interested to play the backing and improvising the scale over it, very soon you will get a feel for the scale. Where you stop, bend and fly away in speed, and I think you, like me, will find it to be a very "exotic" scale indeed once you get the hang of it...
If you'd like to learn the licks I play here, go ahead. They are probably on an intermediate level as far as I can judge. No long stretching or ultra speed things, but some 1-string skipping, 3-string arpeggios and a few places where the speed accelerate a notch.
Since this is my first attempt doing a lesson, or even video-record guitar playing and editing video, I apologize for the amateurish feel of the videos. Also, the backing track is not mixed or mastered, just recorded with guitars over EZdrummer loops clean.
Please consider the tab images as guidance to placement of fingers only, the time signature of notes on tabs are not accurate...
OK, let's go!!!
Main Video & Backing Tracks
Backing track goes roughly as this all the way:
B Major Phrygian Scale: (also known as B Spanish Gypsy and B Jewish (Ahaba Rabba)):
Lick 1: ztevie_lick1.wmv ( 3.37MB )
No strange things here, but you can already hear the "exoticism" shine through...
Lick 2: ztevie_lick2.wmv ( 4.87MB )
Here I go a little faster in the box at 14th fret, starting at 5th string working my way up to 3rd, and finish it off with some arpeggios...
Lick 3: ztevie_lick3.wmv ( 4.67MB )
Some string skipping and bending, but fear not, it's simple and not too fast.
Lick 4: ztevie_lick4.wmv ( 6.35MB )
OK, the speediest part of the whole thing, and in the end, some "exotic" stuff which I really like! Note the very wide and slow vibrato(bending) at the end
Lick 5: ztevie_lick5.wmv ( 5.72MB )
Some 3-string arpeggios followed by 2 very short speed-licks with tap harmonics.(That don't sound through so nice on main video?)
Lick 6: ztevie_lick6.wmv ( 4.86MB )
Speed at the end, but still not Yngwie-fast...