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Thread: Improvising Lead Solo's ...

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Improvising Lead Solo's ...


    Basically, i *SUCK* at improvising solos. big style. Everything about them just seems to go wrong.

    Problem is, im a good guitarist, grade 8 material isn't exactly hard for me to play, which is were my problem comes in!

    the piece i've just learnt over the last 3/4 days ("667" by hussein boon for rockschool grade 8) has an improv solo part, and i need help with comming up with some ideas >.<

    its 4 bars repeated twice using these chords.... (4/4 time at 145 bmp)

    Em .....| D...... | C.... D | Em..... |
    / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / |

    (the dots are just to keep it all lined up)

    Question is, what scales could i use, what arppegios? should i use modes?

    i know going for grade 8 i should be able to work this out myself, but i just cant >.<

    i'd of said Em pentatonic would go over all of it? or E minor? but which modes could be used?

    Also i think i could use E minor, D major and C major arp's, but would this be only when that chords playing?

    cheers for any help! i just dont want another senseless scale shreding solo, i want to write something with a decent hook, melody and maybe abit of shred at the end, and this is the first step to it!


    Last edited by jammiey2k3; 01-06-2008 at 09:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    yea your on the mark with your comment about arpeggios. Have you tried simply singing over the chords? usually ideas will pop up when you sing that you previously hadn't considered.

    As for scales.
    It would all fall into a G major scale for starters. I would begin playing over each chord separately to get the feel for playing over that particular chord. You can look at it modally if you wish... E aeolian, Dmixo, Clydian.. and so forth.

    Write some little lines or licks for each chord on its own. Then try and play from an Em to a D and get a feel for playing from one chord to the next. Then do it with C to D. Then play over the whole progression.

    Improvising is supposed to be about creating music on the fly. But it doesn't hurt to write a solo out, then improvise on the solo you wrote. Its quite common to do it that way. Although you will get some musical snobs trying to tell you thats not improvising. Who is going to know anyway? And once you get the hang of it.. you write another and another and another... thats when you wind up having such a musical vocabulary you can solo for days over those chords and people will marvel at how great an improviser you are. When in fact your just un-consciouly playing things you have pre arranged. Only, to you it wont feel that way anymore.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    My best advice is to start by singing your improv. However good you may be with your instrument, you're still better with your mouth. Your voice shows no preference for fingerings, nor does it make allowance for comfort or technical ability. In my opinion, every ounce of theory and minute of practice should be in pursuit of the ability to master your instrument with the same ease and control you exercise over your voice.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Cheers for the quick response!

    I just need somewhere to get started really, i guess grade 8 isn't the best place, but getting thrown in at the deep end you either sink or swim =]

    i'll have a go at singing over them and see what i come up with! trouble is i have *alot* of difficulty pitching, but then again i guess it doesn't matter too much aslong as i know in my head what i want and i can put it onto guitar (but thats another weak point of mine aswell >.< !)

    I know its not technically improvising doing it this way, but its actually why i chose rockschool grade 8 over RGT grade 8 - i'd rather play a few peices and get graded on those than have to improve a 3 minute piece on the spot with loads of key changes and the like! Hopfully once i get the hang of it (2/3 years down the line) i'll do that one too!

    Thanks for the help so far!

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