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Thread: Share Your Personel Improv Ideas

  1. #1
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Share Your Personel Improv Ideas

    This is a thread that probably won't go any where but I must try.
    I want to share some of my improv ideas in the hope that someone will read it and get a new spin on things, then reply with their spin.

    Say you are blowing over A in a blues context.
    So I might use some Am Pent/Blues Scale stuff over the I chord.
    On the IV chord I might use the Am Pent with a lowered 7th ( Major Sixth) it out lines the D9 chord nicely.
    Over the V chord I would likely use E7sus4 or what I call the Hindu Pentatonic (Eminor Pentatonic with a major third instead of the minor third).

    Now if this was more of a Jazz Blues Context over a Am7 Vamp.
    I would start out with A Dorian Minor (5th pos) then A minor Pentatonic then using the Blue note (b5) as a pivot tone, I would move into B Phrygian Dominant (7th pos) , Back though the Blue Note (Eb) to Am Pent (5th pos) then to A Aeolian (5th pos) then to A harmonic (5th pos) then add the Natural 7th for the minor Bebop scale (this is usually at 9th pos), from here you can migrate to D Dorian (10th pos) ( if the chord change goes to the IV [like in a blues prog] you can star all over up a forth).

    I think if someone actually tries this they will be pleased with the results.

    Your Turn!
    James

  2. #2
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Cool Idea !

    I often do have some rather weird ideas or try to experiment with all new stuff. A while ago I felt kinda... bored and figured Iīd try something else.
    So I went through my old folders containing all kinds of exercises and theory-material, and I found a sheet from the MI, which had a list of different eastern scales.

    I played through one or two, and I immediately liked the sound.
    So I picked three of them.

    1. Japanese Pentatonic: 1-b2-4-5-b6 or, in the key of C:
    C-Db-F-G-Ab-C

    2. Hirajoshi: 1-2-b3-5-b6
    or: C-D-Eb-G-Ab-C

    and 3. the Chinese Pentatonic: 1-3-#4-5-7
    or: C-E-F#-G-B-C

    I made up some finger patterns and started to play over a static bass note from my synth. Guess what ? It helped a lot to really break out of common patterns and licks, instead I was actually trying to come up with melodies focussing on the beautiful sounds of these scales... it was a really refreshing feeling.

    Next I harmonized those scales, making up chords, and I programmed some simple jam tracks with those chords... when I jammed over those, it really was cool, simply because I was discovering some new melodies and stuff.
    I also did that with scales like the "Hindu Scale" etc.

    I am not saying that I will actually use those a lot in the near future, or write songs for my upcoming album based on those scales, but it definitely was very nice, and very refreshing to step into that other place and experiment with that...

    So, that would be one of my ideas regarding improvisation and "stretching out" a bit... or was that too off-topic ?
    Warm regards
    Eric


    NP: Alex Skolnick- Filet Of Soul ( track )

  3. #3
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Cool

    Eric,
    Cool pentatonic scales.
    I especially like the the Frank Zappa quote, it is often easy to forget that the purpose of music is not to astound or confound, but to emote and make others FEEL. This is exactly why I quit
    the quest for speed years ago, also when I realized that genetics plays a big part and I could practice every day all day for the rest of my life and never be as fast as Gilbert.

    Hopefully others wil follow suit and post there 50 cents ( or half a n Euro) worth here.
    James

  4. #4
    I sleep with my guitar TaikaJim's Avatar
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    I especially like the the Frank Zappa quote, it is often easy to forget that the purpose of music is not to astound or confound, but to emote and make others FEEL. This is exactly why I quit the quest for speed years ago, also when I realized that genetics plays a big part and I could practice every day all day for the rest of my life and never be as fast as Gilbert.
    That exact same thing happened to me too. For a while speed was everything that guitar playing has to offer. I guess it was the influence of these "guitar heroes" that had me think that way. At some point i figured that i suck at this. I noticed that i sound better just playing few chords with emotion than playing a speed lick. I still get these "i suck" days but overall i think i made the right descision(sp?) for me. I guess i figured that im not just playing guitar but also trying to be a musician.

    As for that A blues thing, i always try not to play "straight" blues anymore. My goal is to add that jazz feeling to it or sometimes gospel feeling.
    "Im just gonna see what this guitar playing thing gets me. If i get Arthritis and a horrible tinnitus.... thats fine by me." -me

  5. #5
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    The speed-thing is a discussion that pops up a lot.
    I used to spent a gazillion hours to practise that stuff. But after every practising-session, I made sure that I put in a tape with a jam-track or a song I liked and improvised on that.
    That had two purposes:
    1. To apply immediately what I had been working on. If you donīt, itīs useless information you achieved IMHO ( if you know what I mean )
    2. to not forget about PLAYING. I mean, playing fast is cool as long as you donīt overdue it. So by jamming after practising, I tried to integrate that fast stuff into my usual playing, combining it with melodies etc.

    Playing fast IMHO still is cool, I like to do that too. But I only do it combined with playing melodies, trying to play solos that are interesting, melodic and kinda have a "story" ( start - build-up - climax - end ). And combined with other stuff, some fast licks sure sound great.
    I mean, if you play 32nd note for 16bars every time you solo, it gets boring. If you throw in some fast lick somewhere in your solo, itīs way more musical and hopefully, more interesting to the listener. That is what I mean by combining speed with the other aspects of soloing.
    I still do practise it, to both maintain the techniques and to come up with new, interesting stuff ( otherwise Iīd get bored by playing the same three note per string-lick every time )

    And although I spent quite a bunch of time working on speed, it today only is one aspect of my playing. If you listen to the pre-production-versions of "Canyon Of Spirits" and "Atlanta Dawn", you wonīt hear a bunch of shredding. Simply because it wasnīt appropiate for those songs.
    The new one weīre currently working on has a combination of both melodies and some fast licks... there it was appropiate and supports the rather "emotional" playing in the rest of the song ( itīs a ballad, by the way )
    Eric

    NP: Frank Zappa- Läther

  6. #6
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Rhythm....

    I guess I forgot the part about timing in improv.
    I usually start off with a straight 8th or 16th feel, but almost always move in and out of some triplet feel, much of the time in 1/2 time ( triplet half notes), the rhythm section needs to be strong for this, also I like to use 2 over 3 feel ( 2 notes in the space of 1 beat) 3 over 4 ( 3 notes in the space of 1 beat) and the opposite of these last two.
    This point here is go with the flow of your inner creativity the audience is much more tolerant of odd rhythm changes than outside scale and note choices, so you can prett much use any rhythm you want but make sure it has SOME repetition or you will lose the audience's interest. Beside that the changing of rhythm patterns is much easier on your brain!!

    Sometimes just use no variation in rhythm to emphasize your note choices / phrasing in straight 8ths or triplets with no rests, this is a good exercise to work on the melody side but should be used sparingly in actual playing situations.

    James

  7. #7
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Thread revival

    I thought with the larger audience we have now at Ibreathe there might be some interesting responses to this old thread.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  8. #8
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    Speed can be incredibly cool if used effectively.
    Something I discovered after gaining some dexterity & speed is that playing fast will not sound very good if you don't play w/ taste, discretion, & in RHYTHM.
    At College saw an instructional video of a Jazz Guitarist by the name of Emily Remler. The advice she gave is still a major influence on myself as a musician & guitarist.

    1st- she emphasized practicing w/ a Metronome in RHYTHM.
    she would set the metronome to click on 2 & 4 primarily because this emulates a jazz drummer w the High hat.
    What's great about learning how to use the metronome in this way is that the majority of all Popular styles of Music-Rock, Blues, Country, etc are in 4/4 and practicing with the Metronome in this way is like practicing with the PERFECT Drummer. The Metronome being Perfection.

    2nd- Learn a 2 octave scale in a single position, in her example she would use the Bb Blues scale in 6th position, but you can use any scale, Maj, Min, Dim, etc.

    3rd- now playing with the metronome clicking on 2 & 4, using the scale of your choice, (in Emily's case to demonstrate her point the Bb Blues scale) improvise using the scale, especially concentrating on creating melodies, also you can create licks, riffs, etc.

    I know this advice could be perceived as basic & corny, but nothing is corny if it is played in RHYTHM. Timing is very important regarding Improvisation.
    This strategy reflects the Kiss method(Keep it simple & singable) I would also recommend that the Improv's are short & slow at first.

    I know this strategy helped me become a better more creative improvisor & musician. Thanks Emily!!!!

    Hope this is helpful!
    "Success is arriving at a Personal Satisfaction within yourself"

    Dedicated To Guitar!!!

  9. #9
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    You are correct playing in time and with a good sense of rhythm is vital. That is one of the reasons I started the thread on Accent Displacement. http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...t+displacement
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  10. #10
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    Accent Displacement

    Great Advice on this thread, Vital IMHO to being a creative musician.
    Thanks for keeping this knowledge alive!
    "Success is arriving at a Personal Satisfaction within yourself"

    Dedicated To Guitar!!!

  11. #11
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Yeah, great advice she gave away there...
    Emily really was a great player and is missed by many in the guitar-playing community ( she passed away while on tour in 1990 )
    Thanks for sharing that piece of advice
    Eric

  12. #12
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    Thanks,
    Just as many of you have & continue to help me with your Questions & Excellent advice,
    if I have advice, knowledge, experience, etc I feel & know to be important, I will always try to share this advice, knowledge, experience, etc with you! Ideally this will be helpful!!
    Last edited by Schooligo; 12-16-2002 at 07:21 AM.
    "Success is arriving at a Personal Satisfaction within yourself"

    Dedicated To Guitar!!!

  13. #13
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Distraction from Flame Warz

    I resurected this thread to see if it would generate some interest in the wake of our first flame war.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  14. #14
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Even though your first post is now well over a year old, it's still way over my head. So I'm trying to acknowledge that yes, it's an interesting thread and I'm paying attention, but I'm also saying that no, I'm not ready yet to participate.

    Yes, I DO improvise...but anyone listening would just call it mindless noodling. Well, it's not mindless at all, but it IS embarassing as hell.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  15. #15
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    Do you actually think of all that when soloing szulc? My guitar teacher (jazzer) always told me that the idea was to not think at all while playing (obviously an exageration but you get the idea) that seems awfully in depth to be thinking on the bandstand.

    I try something similiar to the emily remler excercise. I've come up with a bunch of neat melodies which I think are interesting because they don't sound like anything I've heard outside of my own playing (not that it's earth shattering or anything I just think my tastes are a little odd) maybe I'll try to post some of them later.

    -Dan

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