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Guitar Lesson Two
Should Be an Auditory Sensation!
Jordan Warford here, Editorial Manager for
It's been an extremely
busy Summer here at Guitar Tips and things are just starting to heat up. I have
had the pleasure of hearing back from some of you with great suggestions and
ideas, which are now being implemented.
Over the last few
months, we have been taking a closer look at how to practice arpeggios, chords
and scales. This week's edition is going to use every aspect of those skills
as we dig into a new frontier... Improvisation!
how the greats conquered their fretboard and played riffs in front
of millions that they had never played before. You too can be this
good and we're going to show you how!
In this week's
Feedback Booth, we will give you an inside glimpse at what we have in store
for you over the next few months as I personally answer some of the most popular
We also have a
brand new section of the newsletter called "The Severe Gear Premiere".
It will be giving you some great gear ideas and show you how to get it through
our friends at Guitar Trader. We also have a new contest to tell you about!
Whew, that was
a mouth full so let's dive right in.
The Musical Organization
it's all about.
the last few years, improvisation (hence forth known as "Improv")
has become a personal favorite that has taught me the most about my fretboard.
I began my journey to learn how to master my fretboard, I had little
knowledge on improv and didn't understand how important it really
was. What I failed to see was that all of the greats, such as Van
Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck used imrov
as an important tool.
would start their original songs with a little lick that they found when practicing
or jamming with the rest of the band. Then, they began to expand on it using
different techniques and key signatures. Before they knew it, they had a hit
song waiting at their fingertips.
may be known by the common public as composition, which is writing songs. Improvisation
is a form of composition, the main difference being that you don't know exactly
where you're headed with the song other than the key that you're in. In other
words, you don't prepare for it.
is common place in many venues. For example, if you're going to jam with a couple
of your friends, you probably won't have enough songs to fill three or four
hours. So you use what you have and change it around, mix it up and add on.
That's a form of improv.
scenario is that your band is holding a concert and thousands of people show
up to see you play. Maybe you get a little tense and when you're performing
a solo, you slip up. Then you jump into action and use a beautiful lick in that
key and save the day!
could go anywhere you want it to and sound completely different every time.
Jazz and blues made improv famous but don't kid yourself, it's a tool that can
be applied to every genre.
to begin when there is no start.
be honest with you, there is no "correct way" to teach improv. Many
purists would say that you need to know music and music theory, how to perform
over harmonies and chords etc. This once simple idea of having fun and playing
your heart out just became a lot more complicated and now there are all these
I read articles in famous guitar magazines, I'm often left shaking my head.
They have the right concept and the music is certainly correct but the medium
that they deliver it over is quite complicated and hard to understand for the
I started out, I just looked at the tabs and played them because I simply didn't
know music theory to that level for guitar. It doesn't have to be like that
for you to sound good!
improv truly involves putting together a good balance of technique, chords,
scales and emotion in a mix that reflects you. It's not that hard at all.
I have three rules that I use when playing improv. They are as follows:
If it's good
enough to play once, it's probably good enough to play three or four times.
Use the techniques
that you have in your toolbox and apply them in different ways.ggggg
Put your heart
Notice what I said
with #2. Use what you currently have. No one ever said that you need to be professional
to make up cool riffs. If you know how to do hamer ons and pull offs , then
try to incorporate that. If your strength is chordal work, then improv with
chords. Use your current strengths and add on as you learn more.
In doing this you
not only get experience with practical applications of your skills but you also
polish them and learn new things along the way. This is why improv is so helpful
to a guitarist.
Over the last few
articles, we've covered a range of material that is essential for improv. The
most important aspect that we've covered is scales.
a look at the sounds you want.
Everyone has their
favourite type of music. Some of us love to play it all, while others are drawn
to one particular sound. To make your guitar sing to the style that you prefer,
there's some ground work to cover.
our last scale lesson, different scales tend to be used for different types
of music. However, one aspect that we didn't look at was different forms of
the same scale.
I have received
a lot of emails asking why I didn't include more variations on some scales and
the reason is simple, too many scales at once can be confusing.
What we're going
to do now is take two identical scales that are in different positions on the
fretboard. This will take your knowledge a level higher as you will not see
patterns when playing these scales, even though they are the same notes. The
reason for this is the location of the notes on the fretboard changes.
Take this E Mixolydian
scale in fourth position for example:
... Now compare the scale above to the scale below:
E Mixolydian(1st posistion)
different note sets and different root positions. This makes them similar yet
gives them a different tone. Perfect for improv. You may have noticed how certain
notes overlap one another, making them ideal "links" between the scales.
This not only gives
you a nice working space on the fretboard with lots of options but your fingers
are there in the correct spaces, only a slide away. Here is an example of the
two scales in action:
The riff above
uses some relatively simple techniques that spice things up. In our next edition
we'll go more in depth on using these techniques.
Putting It Into Practice...
that we have an understanding of the frame work evolving around improv, let's
see it in action. Here are some riffs that I've written for you that will give
you the leading edge. Change them and make them into something that you like
to listen to.
off of an E minor pentatonic scale:
off of an A natural minor scale:
off of a D harmonic minor scale:
common re-occurance throughout all of these riffs are the techniques. Slides
and bends are relatively simple things that truly add to a piece of music. I
encourage you to learn some new scales and play around with them.
listed above is written off of a scale. You may have noticed that in the D harmonic
minor riff, the "5" on the G string shouldn't be there.
called an accidental, which is a great tool and you can do that when playing
improv. You will know it's an accidental by the sign in front of the note. For
of those sharps in front of the notes are examples of accidentals because there
are no sharps in the key of C. More on this will covered in a future lesson.
accidentals will allow you more room to use the fretboard and give you the desired
sound you are looking for.
Editorial Manager Guitar Tips Pty Ltd
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