A few weeks ago Tim (aka ‘Bluesguitarlvr’) raised a subject on this Forum entitled ‘Soloing over Chords rather than just a Scale’ The enthusiastic responses totalled 27 which gave me to believe there was a considerable amount of interest in this subject. After all, I do believe we measure ourselves on how much we’ve progressed as players, by how comfortable we are at sitting in on an impromptu or open-mic session with other guitarists. A defining moment for us all.
And that is where I think Brian could help in so many ways. I would love to see a series of lessons on ‘How to Start Improvising’ and ‘How to Develop your Improvising’
A good few on-line tutorials already cover this subject on YouTube etc. but Brian’s teaching expertise is way out in front of that competition and I believe his teaching on ‘Soloing Over Chords’ would be invaluable and definitely the ‘go to immediately’ lessons for players looking to improve.
Every week we welcome new members joining ActiveMelody, many of them mention they’ve played before and are looking to revive or improve their guitar blues playing. A regular question that’s often asked is ‘Where do I start’ ……and the answer is often, the Blues Lead Course but wouldn’t it be great if there were also some lessons on ‘Starting and Developing Your Improvising Skills’
I’d be very interested in anyone else’s viewpoint or opinion on this subject …….
I think that’s a great idea. Even though I wouldnt condsider myself competent at following other pre composed pieces, ive often thought that I’d like to be able to begin improvising and develop that as a skill as my other guitar skills develop.
I agree with absolutely every point that Richard has raised. It surely would be one of the most popular series, yes series, that Brian has ever done and I can think of no-one better to do it.
My limited improv consists of a lot of scale runs with the occasional lick or two which please me but also surprise me…
Please Brian this must be a serious consideration.
A lot of that is already here. The first to understand is blues has almost no rules. Well, sort of. I think of terms of the three things that make it work. The rhythm, that blue note, and phrasing. These elements are all over the blues style lessons here. It’s the knowledge of the phrasing that makes it possible to sound like you are improvising.
Listen to this song .. This was my very first song I ever posted here for the January 2015 Challenge. I used several of the lessons combined into this one song. Not all, but almost every 12 bar segment was a lesson here prior to this song being posted. I forget exactly which lessons, but, I think they were the Jimmy Vaughn, Elmore James, a couple of the licks from the blues course, etc.. It is just knowing the phrases and how to apply them to the particular rhythm..
Well, that's blues to me!.... 😛
Interesting idea to have a lesson series specifically on developing improv skills. But does Brian have the time?
As for me, what improved my improv skills was when some member a year or so ago pointed out that the only way to get good at improv was to do it. So I decided to spend about half my practice time just noodling around trying out improv over different jamtracks. You can develop a lick library, but as BluGenes says, what you really need is to become good at phrasing. And how do you teach phrasing? My approach is to pause the jamtrack, then try to work out a phrase in my head, then work out how to play it. The limiting factor here is “work out a phrase in my head”. In the end, what I’m doing is recalling parts of licks and melodies from blues songs that I’m familiar with, then splicing them together in harmonious ways to come up with something unique. How can I do this on the fly? So far I don’t know the answer.
Of course I’m all in with whatever Brian or whomever can come up with that can help us all really learn how to improvise. I have been trying to spend more time on improvising to jam tracks rather than learning Brian’s lessons note for note and what I have found is that you really need a good understanding of some music theory as a foundation to become good at improvisation. Understanding intervals and the CAGED concept really helps but it all takes time finding the right lessons on Youtube or some book to tie it all together. Brian does a great job at explaining the theory behind each lesson he produces but as you say it would be great if all those lesson snippets of info were combined into some lessons that we could reference as more of a one stop shopping exercise.
Ok, enough of me ramblin on here…. I’m sure I’ll go to my grave still trying to figure this all out….
Thanks for raising this subject again.
I agree with everything u said about scales I k ow them inside out but where can u start to use them for improving the knowledge of them so they won’t sound like scales this sort of holding me back from open mic Brian teaching is awesome in his knowledge of the scales but when u r in open mike u need to when use them best regards john
Hi Paul from Ireland here……….hope someone can help me…………ive recently joined and this active melody is great…….however I’m trying to learn how to improvise………in the blues lead course it’s all licks……..do I learn all these licks and then change then up a little bit IE…….add a note…….play the lick a bit different ………maybe leave a note out………is this how I learn to improvise?
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