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marinoFret

Improvising vs. Learning songs

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marinoFret    0
Are you still with the "Smell like teen spirit solo"? Have you jumped to Metallica´s "Nothing Else Matter´s" solo or are you still on the "Stairway to Heaven" period? :laughingg:

I can play NEM's solo easily...

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Ledhead V-2    0
And along the way you 'discover' quite a few familiar songs too.
I'm glad someone mentioned this. I myself "discovered" (stumbled upon) the intros to "Heartbreak Hotel", "Catscratch Fever", and "Sunshine of Your Love" while noodling. Thought I was being very original and then it would gradually dawn on me: Hey, I think I've heard this somewhere before... :unsure:

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Stratrat    0
....rather than trying to pick a bunch of no-flavor notes as fast as I can. I've been trying to incorporate bends, pull-ons and -offs, slides, vibrato, etc. more into my improvisions...

Don't forget to think about phrasing as you're playing also. Sometimes what you DON'T play is just as important as what you DO play. Give your licks some breathing room here and there.

Think about listening to somebody talk.....if they just drone on and on endlessly in the same monotone without pausing, it'll put you to sleep in no time. If they punctuate their speech with pauses, emphasis, changes of inflection, tone and speed, it makes it much more interesting. Combine that with the above techniques you mentioned and you'll probably find much more interesting sounds.

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Ledhead V-2    0
Don't forget to think about phrasing as you're playing also. Sometimes what you DON'T play is just as important as what you DO play. Give your licks some breathing room here and there.

Think about listening to somebody talk.....if they just drone on and on endlessly in the same monotone without pausing, it'll put you to sleep in no time. If they punctuate their speech with pauses, emphasis, changes of inflection, tone and speed, it makes it much more interesting. Combine that with the above techniques you mentioned and you'll probably find much more interesting sounds.

Timely and excellent advice. Til just recently, I was incorporating bends, slides, hammers, etc, w/o giving any consideration whatsoever to pauses and pace -- just picking notes as fast as possible. It does sound rather bland. But hey, I am learning... :winkthumb:

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benji07    0

I think it's even more useful to improvise then just learning things from a book or learning song.

Everything comes more from yourself if you just improvise.

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Stratrat    0
Timely and excellent advice. Til just recently, I was incorporating bends, slides, hammers, etc, w/o giving any consideration whatsoever to pauses and pace -- just picking notes as fast as possible. It does sound rather bland. But hey, I am learning... :winkthumb:

Me too! :) I'm far from an expert, and fit into the "beginner" category more closely than the "beyond".... I'm just picking up nuggets of wisdom along the way and doing my best to pass them along.

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zappa    0

i think improvising is a very important quality in musicianship.

but it is a very difficult task to accomplish without some sort of abstract melody formed to begin with .

learning other peoples music is a very good way to get to know some of the key factors such as key signatures , scale patterns , runs licks etc but it takes time to be able to capture a feeling and be able to respond emotively to rhythm and bassline.

i think a little of both aspects - impro and repro are a good thing.

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Ledhead V-2    0

Think about listening to somebody talk.....if they just drone on and on endlessly in the same monotone without pausing, it'll put you to sleep in no time. If they punctuate their speech with pauses, emphasis, changes of inflection, tone and speed, it makes it much more interesting. Combine that with the above techniques you mentioned and you'll probably find much more interesting sounds.

Well for a "beginner", Stratrat, you sure do have a way with words when it comes to giving advice such as the above. Again, very well put...

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Dewy    0

Can't have all of one and none of the other. Improvisation and "Learning" are both part of the beast. Neglect one and the other will suffer. Feed both and you will gain from the experience.

Of course, as has been mentioned, You will find a different path for each guitarist, so you must find your own balance between the two. I recommend Learning tunes, then improvise over them. It gives you insight as to what the artist was working with. Thus you will find things you do better, or can do in place of something giving you difficulty.

Your not going to "Learn" everything from a book, or from Improv exclusively, the sooner you embrace both and take from each what they offer, the sooner you'll ... what... I don't know. 26 years and I know nothing... struggle everyday, still can't tune the damn guitar to my satisfaction. Yet ask my friends, fans and family and they all swear I'm the hottest thing since sliced Bread.

Don't know about all that... I heard every mistake, string clank and late channel change. Bit I do know this... I had a BLAST!! Crowd was hot and loving it, Rythym section was tearing it up, and I was humpin to do my part... and it was GLORIOUS!!

So which should you focus on? Both.

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bolerama    0

Hi,

I'm pretty new to the forum, but I've heard a lot about "chord tones." Are we

talking about arpeggios here, and if so, one really needs to know the structure of a song in order to know the direction your improvisation is going to take. Am I right about this? Does this also mean then that arpeggios from chord substitutions can be used as well. I have to tell you what I just asked is actually beyond my abilities, although I've dabbled in this area. Most times its blues scales, pentatonics and some different modes. Often it's hit and miss and some pretty sour sounding notes. Can anyone enlighten me?

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knight46    2

Hi bolerama, wish I could post links but haven't quite qotten the hang of that yet. There are some great links describing Chord Tones by Kirk, Fretsource and other, do a search of the site and I am sure you will find an answer to your question. Good Luck;)

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Dewy    0

What I understand about the "chord tones" concept is that you shouldn't just "wail away" in the Emin scale just because the song is in Emin.

But rather use Emin scale to run from chord to chord that the rhythm is playing underneath the solo part.

I talked about a song called Blue Jean Blues by ZZ Top... its a good illustration of the concept.

http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12270

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solidwalnut    5
Hi,

I'm pretty new to the forum, but I've heard a lot about "chord tones." Are we

talking about arpeggios here, and if so, one really needs to know the structure of a song in order to know the direction your improvisation is going to take. Am I right about this? Does this also mean then that arpeggios from chord substitutions can be used as well. I have to tell you what I just asked is actually beyond my abilities, although I've dabbled in this area. Most times its blues scales, pentatonics and some different modes. Often it's hit and miss and some pretty sour sounding notes. Can anyone enlighten me?

bolerama--

Simply put, using chord tones is a way of playing solo notes when using the tones found within the chord formation. As Dewy says, it's not about blazing away some scale formation using the em scale. It's about recognizing the simple 1, 3 and 5 within the chord shape and moving forward from there.

Check out Kirk's lesson, The Power of Chord Tones, and other lessons in Kirk's General lesson forum to get an idea of the concept.

Keep firing away with question, anytime.

Steve

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bolerama    0

Thanks for the link to Kirk's lesson. Yes, it seems like I understand. I always seem to degenerate into the safety of a scale of some description when I get lost. I suppose arpeggio is not exactly the right term either as that implies, to me at least, a structure in which the notes are played. My birthday's on Monday and I expect some cash, so I guess I'll have fork out for the Plane Talk Instruction video.

Thanks for your help.

Dave MacLachlan,

Bolerama

:smilinguitar:

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solidwalnut    5
Thanks for the link to Kirk's lesson. Yes, it seems like I understand. I always seem to degenerate into the safety of a scale of some description when I get lost. I suppose arpeggio is not exactly the right term either as that implies, to me at least, a structure in which the notes are played. My birthday's on Monday and I expect some cash, so I guess I'll have fork out for the Plane Talk Instruction video.

Thanks for your help.

Dave MacLachlan,

Bolerama

:smilinguitar:

I saw where you've been playing for a long time. You're going to love PT then. It's going to turn on some major light bulbs for you, I'm guessing. When I ran into PT it smacked me upside the head. I mean, here I've been playing forever and trying to explain to myself how to move around the fretboard without trying to define the playing field first. That might help (d'oh!). Sure, I had the big picture in my mind but this helped cement it for me. PT is not complicated, and for experienced players it can be a major bonus because it drills it all down to fretboard basics.

Steve

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doveman    1

I liked the lesson on chord tones ... still poking around. Is the DVD lesson that is sold here set up basically the same way? The books?

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Kirk Lorange    128

Hi, doveman.

I sell two different products:

PlaneTalk - a book and DVD set that teaches a very succinct way of thinking about music and dealing with the fretboard maze. It describes the 'other way' of improvising, namely following the changes. The book comes with a slide-rule and is in comic strip format. Silly as that sounds, it proved to be the best way to impart the info, the lesson. The DVD demonstartes it all and uses real footage and a virtual fretboard to make it all very clear.

Slide in standard and Dropped D DVD - a 70 minute look at the art of slide in standard, basic techniques, muting, chords, double-stops, vibrato, playing behind the slide etc. There's no book, just the DVD. It was in fact learning slide in standard that made me 'see' the simple PlaneTalk mind-set, so it's good to know what Planetalk is all about.

It sounds to me like you could be writing your own books, though. I'm heading back to your SoundClick site for more.

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doveman    1

Thanks for the kind words ... but as you well know. The more you learn, the more you know ... and you become more aware of what you don't know.

I started bouncing around the forums less than a year ago ... and it's astonishing ... the learning ... from equipment to music to methods.

I'm almost 51 years old and have always played slide in regular tuning. I really enjoy Derek Trucks and have been playing around with Open E but it just doesn't work for me. But this Drop D is something different ... I experimented with that today and that just opens up the low end of the guitar. 51 and never tried that tuning ... still learning everyday. Life's great ain't it! :winkthumb:

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Jomi    1

I know absolutely nothing about music, I'm just beginning to learn now, here at this site and it isn't easy I've found myself a few times now biting my lip trying to follow Kirks 'easy' lessons.

My personal belief is that your music should be from your heart and just for the joy of doing it, if you're happy to improvise then stay with it.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

John

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My situation is exactly the same as MarinoFret, I love to improvise, I'm not too motivated to learn songs, and hearing from other guitarists in this thread that that's perfectly okay makes me feel a lot better about it.

There are many songs and solos I love that I'd like to learn but not necessarly so I can just play them, I'll learn them because I want to play like that player does. I'll want to solo in a similar way, or play with a similar tone etc. And that's part of the reason why I like them I guess...I think "Wow, wouldn't it be cool to play like that?" But of course I know all guitarists think that about the players they like.

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Its funny you bring this up. I was just thinking the other day about this. You know, its been years (really) since I've wanted to, or cared to learn an actual song (outside of instrumental guitar). Thats not to say I haven't picked up some parts here or there, but I DO spend most of my time creating new progressions and solos. I have found this to help more than anything. However learning songs has its place, and a very important one at that, especially for a beginner.

Learning songs will help your technique, because it will force you to play stuff that might be a little out of your league. It will force you to learn new chords and strumming patterns. It will force you to learn a new tempo, the tempo of the song. AND MOST importantly, you'll (hopefully) learn songs people want to hear, and that will impress them.

Now adays, if I mess with a song, it is probably to study their application of scales/chords with their techniques (tapping, sweeping, legato etc...).

I'll definitely say this... learning ONLY songs will not help you much when writting your own songs. However only improvisation probably isn't a good idea either. Balance is key. Though I suggest spending more time writting songs than "doodling" or learning songs.

Over time though... songs should become easier to learn, depending on their style.

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