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One Rule For Improv, Keep It Simple


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#21 OFFLINE   scotty_b

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 07:44 AM

Robben Ford's version of Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues is anything but simple, but still very bluesy and emotive.

#22 OFFLINE   chorizo

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 02:12 PM

View Postscotty_b, on 19 September 2010 - 07:44 AM, said:

Robben Ford's version of Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues is anything but simple, but still very bluesy and emotive.

The complexity comes from jazz, the blues element is still simple

#23 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:25 AM

Monte Montgomery is anything but simple and still has an amazing amount of feel and emotion in every lead he plays.
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#24 OFFLINE   chorizo

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:12 AM

View PostRandom Robot, on 13 October 2010 - 08:25 AM, said:

Monte Montgomery is anything but simple and still has an amazing amount of feel and emotion in every lead he plays.

But classical guitar also has an amazing amount of feel and emotion.

Monte is obviously very skilled and has a pretty unique way of playing but i personally wouldn't use him as an example for someone wishing to learn to play blues. He has his devoloped his own style.

#25 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 10:14 AM

Right. But the title of this thread (one rule for imrpov, keep it simple)doesn't mention the blues.
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#26 OFFLINE   chorizo

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 03:10 PM

View PostRandom Robot, on 14 October 2010 - 10:14 AM, said:

Right. But the title of this thread (one rule for imrpov, keep it simple)doesn't mention the blues.

That is a very good point, i'm getting swayed by discussions further on in the thread and i think my personal pref for simpler styles is coming into it.

My points above apply to my views on blues improv. :smile:

#27 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 03:53 PM

I've got a jam session, rehearsal type thing for a show I've got coming up in a few weeks with a guy who I just realized is on a completely different level of musicianship than I am. He saw my old band playing out (we were very rehearsed) and told me that if we ever needed someone to play keys let him know and he'd love to jam with us. I thought I'd give him a try on this deal and he was all for it. Then I asked him if he anything he'd like to play and he told me to check out his myspace page and maybe we'd try some of the stuff on there. http://www.myspace.com/tmsproject Dang, I'm in trouble. I plan on keeping it real simple and try not to over stretch myself.
Exotic is just people talk for awesome...which you are!

#28 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 11:37 PM

Don't worry RR - he asked you if he could jam with you, not the other way round so he knows your level and still wants to jam with you - it sounds like you're going to make some fast progress - well done. It's an opportunity not to be missed.
One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain - Bob Marley

#29 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:37 AM

Thanks for the words but I'd be a lot more comfortable if we were doing the same music I was playing when he saw us. We had worked on that stuff for a long time to get it right and tight. This is going to be high brow improv so I need to be on my A game to stand a chance. To relate this to this thread I plan on keeping it simple. I don't think there are any rules for improv but keeping it simple will probably be a very good mind set going into this. It's not going to look super hip and cool but I plan on taking a pen and some paper and just try to play nice melodic lines.
Exotic is just people talk for awesome...which you are!

#30 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 06:11 PM

That sounds like a plan RR. Personally I'm always impressed with very fast (emotionless) soloing, but I don't like it and would never listen to it from choice. Keeping it simple doesn't have to be boring, and usually it isn't anyway.

Also, I'm sure that he will see that you care about turning up on time and doing your best, and that is like gold for most bands. Let us know how you go. Do you have any means of recording it? You don't have to post the result, but it might be useful to listen back to after-wards so you can know what worked well and what needs to be practiced more.
One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain - Bob Marley

#31 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:32 PM

Good idea, maybe we should record it so we can see what worked and what didn't. This is going to be are only "rehearsal" before we play a show so that should be interesting.
Exotic is just people talk for awesome...which you are!

#32 OFFLINE   zonshti

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:51 PM

I think scales are just another tool in the tool box, arps (chord tones) , upper structures, subs, digital patterns, side stepping etc all are tools which the improviser needs to internalize improvisation is all about internalizing in the woodshed and then the unconscious will feed you the lines (you hear in your brain)

#33 OFFLINE   MarkHenry

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:54 AM

Thanks for sharing this very useful post. I agree with this simple rule.

#34 OFFLINE   philTHEthrill

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:16 PM

View Postdeltabluesman, on 09 November 2009 - 08:00 PM, said:

................ but I KNOW from experience when you over complicate things you ruin them..


When given the choice, simple is better.

There is genius in simple.

#35 OFFLINE   scotty_b

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:32 AM

But there is also genius in complexity. Miles Davis was the master of understated phrases and this served as a wonderful contrast to Dizzy, Bird and Trane who were every bit as innovative as Miles but chose to express themselves in different ways.
Simple might be better or it might not be. Too many variables and it is entirely subjective anyway. What is a mess to one person is a thing of beauty to another.

#36 OFFLINE   philTHEthrill

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 07:23 PM

Yes, I have to agree, there is genius in complexity.

But you have to admit that complex things can always be broken down to simple steps. Therefore, everything is simple.

An old baseball player named Yogi Berra said "Its easy if you know how to do it"

#37 OFFLINE   Marks graph paper guitar

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 07:09 AM

I'd like to chime in on this. Not to argue one way over the other, just to tell about where I'm at. I use the parent scale when it comes to soloing in most tunes*... My ear guides me to to the chord tones, which are always included inside the parent scale. - of course as long as the chords are diatonic to one key. Knowing the entire scale across the fretboard lets me be able to chose the 'outside/tension' notes on-demand and as needed.

Let's say a chord (usually chordS) shows up outside the parent scale...I treat that as a simple key change, and the way I learned scales (see my graph paper learning method) I find switching keys on the fly isn't all that hard. Quite a few key changes only require changing the 'guts' of a typical pentatonic box shape.

Another trick I might use to make the lines flow through the new chord, is to determine the interval distance of the new key center from the old one.. lets say the key moved a flat 3rd up...(random tidbit: shares 4 notes) simply be in the middle of a line and shift your line up a flat 3rd as you roll through it. Your now set up in your new key center. This works if the new key hangs around for a while.

*Most tunes, meaning anything but serious jazz, where chord tones are going to be a better way to get you through fast moving non-diatonic or altered chords...

And this would explain why I've gotten much much better at improv over the past few years, but still have a mountain to climb to get to jazz.

But as I get comfortable at improv....learning chord tones and seeing them up and down the neck is easier to see and understand.

#38 OFFLINE   KendoSurf

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 08:11 PM


Excellent discussion. No complaints. Many views on guitar playing and music, worthy of considering. :yes:

My perspective: YNGWIE, superlative speed and accuracy running scales. Soulful, no.

HENDRIX, maybe the best guitar player of the 20th century. Didn't read or write music. FEELINGS! COLORS! He frustrated his band mates at times with extreme SOULFUL musical goals in mind.

MEGADETH, one of the top speedmetal bands ever. According to ELLEFSON, they never "sat down and wrote out" a MEGADETH song. However, he said it REALLY HELPS to have basic knowledge of composition, and the ins and outs of music.





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