Philadelphia Guitar Lessons-Improvisation
The Basics of Improvisation
Many guitarists learn to play solo by mimicking technical licks and riffs from their favorite artists into their own playing while adding their own personal style. The result of this approach is that they learn to improvise this particular style of playing but they lack the technical understanding of why these plays work. There are many basics of improvisation in the guitar world that can help you gain the technical knowledge you need to help you become a better artist.
Ok, so you have practiced guitar and know your scale positions and fingerings well but, all the solos you improvise don’t sound quite right. Some people can play just three notes and it sounds like music, while others just can’t, not matter how hard they try. The reasoning is that many things can go wrong while trying to improvise. Learning some basics can help you go farther with improvisation.
Learning the basic form for a blues scale, major and minor chords, pentatonic scale, etc – basic knowledge of music theory is important for successful improvisation.
Being able to identify different rhythms and chord progressions – Knowing what rhythms are unique to each genre of music will help you express the piece.
Know what emotion you are experiencing – if you are happy, sad, confused, excited, your playing should reflect back to song.
Thinking ahead – be prepared for every move and know what to do at every chord switch.
Sometimes less is more – you don’t have to shred a full solo. For example, blues pieces often require slow licks.
Play, don’t think – use your emotions to play and don’t think about what you are doing. This often leads to the best solo playing
Keep going – keep playing no matter how bad you think you sound. Every guitarist hits a bad note, they don’t stop though, they just keep going.
Ask for help and advice – if you aren’t sure you sound good, ask someone you trust. Getting sound advice, criticism and help is the best way to improve your playing.
Feel the music – one of the best parts of improvisation is when you are actually feeling the music. Audiences feel the music when the musician is feeling it also. You feed off of each other and that is what makes great music.
A good solo is an expression of emotions and an expression of technique together. Learning to improvise requires both of these things in order to do it well. One of the best ways to learn improvisation is to first learn technique and apply emotion to it. Knowing all the chords and where they do, you can later piece them together to learn what goes well together and what doesn’t. That is a basic of improvisation.