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Lessons in Guitar Improvisation.

All Lessons by Kirk Lorange

Melodic Improvisation - Lesson No 1
This is the first lesson in this melodic improvisation series. All these improv examples will be played over the chord progression that you hopefully learned in the last lesson. If you haven't yet heard that, check it out here.


Melodic Improvisation - Lesson No 2
This one ventures up the neck a bit and incorporates some bends. Once again, though, the bulk of notes, and certainly those that land on the strong beats, are chord tones even if sometimes I bend up to them.


Melodic Improvisation - Lesson No 3
Here is the third in the series of improvisation lessons I have been putting together for you. It's the same progression and backing track as the last two examples but with different lines. In this one I use most of the fingerboard, still targeting chord tones as the main 'strong-beat' notes as the chords change.


Melodic Improvisation - Lesson No 4
Here's the forth in the series of improvisation lessons. It's the same progression and backing track as the last three examples, same progression, same vibe, new line. This example has a double stop bend to open it up and a neat little high register line for the IV. All based on chord tones, of course, and all easily 'seen' down there on the fingerboard if you know the trick.


Melodic Improvisation - Lesson No 5
This one starts with a few double stop bends and works its way down the fretboard for the finish. Once again, all based around the progression, following the changes rather than a scale or a 'box' of dots.


Melodic Improvisation - Lesson No 6
It's a pretty straight forward one this time‚Äč, easy to follow the chord tones and easy to hear how they glue the whole thing into the track. Dust the previous 5 Melodic Lessons off and try to make up some hybrids with the bits and pieces. The aim is to get your fingers away from those boxes and scale patterns and more familiar with the fingerboard as a unit. Note clusters and patterns are fine, there's certainly nothing wrong with that approach, but in that mindset you're always dealing with set patterns in set positions.


Melodic Improvisation - Lesson No 7
This one starts out way up the neck with some bends, then a neat lick over the C, more bends and an ending down low. All lines, as always, are based around chord tones but in this one I make good use of the flat 3 over the D chord, the 'blue note'. Even though the chord is D, which uses an F#, I use the F instead. That's allowed in the Blues. It's better in a sense to rename this note 'sharp nine' (#9)  rather than 'flat three' when playing the blues.That's because the underlying chord (D7) can include both the major third AND the minor third. It then becomes a D7#9 chord, otherwise known as the Hendrix Chord because Jimi used it often. Same note, different name.


Melodic Improvisation - Lesson No 8
This example uses the same progression, same mindset: creating lines from chord tones for each of the three chords in the progression. When you can see the fretboard as an array of chord tones for whatever chord is in play, this is a piece of cake. There is literally no limit to the number of paths through the matrices of 'right notes' and no limit to the way you can insert them into the time line. The only limits are our taste, dexterity and imagination.


Melodic Improvisation (with slide)- Lesson No 9
Don't let the slide throw you, you can play the line without it if you want. This is actually my favorite way of playing guitar: standard tuning with a slide on my pinky. My fretboard layout is the same as ever so I don't need to re-map anything but if I want to throw in a bit of zing, I can grab notes with the slide. If you're interested in this way of playing I have a DVD available that shows you everything I know about the technique.


Melodic Improvisation (with slide)- Lesson No 10
This is the last one in this Melodic Improv series. This one is also performed with a slide on my pinkie but, once again, if you're not into slide it would worth tracking the lines anyway to see how they fit the fretboard, how they fit the chords.


About these Improvisation Lessons


These improv lessons are hopefully going to help you see the fretboard as one big long array of chord tones, a matrix of 'good' notes from which melody emerges with ease. Remember that ALL chord tones are the 'good' notes and that all are equally usable. The trick is being able to see that matrix shifting around as each new chord comes into play. You can have a wonderful time coming up with your way of 'seeing' it all down there on the fretboard ... or you can save yourself many years and learn the fool-proof way I came up with years ago and turned into my PlaneTalk Package. For the 'trick' to being able to see them all there, all the time for all progressions, filling the whole fretboard ... I think you know by now: order my PlaneTalk Package.