Don’t fear improvisation is near. Part 2

So, back to my blog with the dumb title about improvisation! ….Since we last spoke I’ll assume that you found yourself a backing track and started having a go at tying simple melodic and musical ideas together to make beautiful sounds on your axe! If you did that for a while and found that, like so many people before you, you started running out of ideas and repeating yourself, then here’s some ideas to take it to the next level.


Learning guitar solos.

So here’s the best place to start, learning other people’s guitar solos. Like so many other pursuits in life one of the best ways to improve is to learn from the best. The great writers of the world didn’t write their first book without having read the classic novels from the past, just like great songwriters all learnt how to play the songs of others before writing their own. In short, to build your own musical sentences you need the musical vocabulary to do so.

Learning by ear.

This can be a tough ask if you’re just starting out. Trying to imitate and find the exact pitch of the notes of a solo can seem like a task that’s beyond difficult for a lot of students, especially if they don’t have a naturally good ear to begin with. But, if you have the key of the song or knowledge of what scale is being used you may be able to pick up a little lick here or there.

Learning from transcription

There are generally a few solos I refer students to when they are learning how to improvise. The sheet music or transcriptions can be found all over the place, the internet is obviously a treasure trove of lessons, a Google search too will lead to books to buy, which is generally my preferred method as the internet is awash with incorrectly transcribed music. ‘Sultans Of Swing’, ‘Shook Me All Night are great for rock, ‘Texas Flood’ by Stevie Ray Vaughn for blues, anything from the Miles Davis ‘Kind Of Blue’ album is great for jazz and incidentally has no guitar on the whole album, which leads me to my final point. It doesn’t need to be guitar solo, feel free to learn a solo from any other instrument, saxophone, trumpet or piano, it makes things interesting and in the long run will help develop a more unique sound and ‘voice’ to your playing.

Ok, as I write this I’m thinking that possibly a third instalment needs to be written on this subject……mmm. Chat soon.


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