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Is There a Method to Improvise Solos On Guitar?

There are many methods and approaches on music improvisation, however none of them are meant to actually help you get your own sound. If you like your solos to sound like some legend guitarist there is no easier way than learning some of their licks then know a scale or two to connect them together to sound like an improvised solo 🙂

I have been playing for 17 years now self taught mostly.

I will share with you 7 tips of what mainly helped me achieve some progress as an improvisation lover. Then I will leave a guided backing track from my YouTube channel with improvisation tips and scale charts. This helped a lot of people starting. It could useful for you as well.

1- Improvisation is like talking to a friend or a group of people. you want it to sound interesting and simple with enough clear ideas and not too much blab/boring sentences.

2- Understand the main qualities of the major and minor sound first. Those are the essential two sounds of the melodic music. In short they are happy or sad (generally speaking). You can express these qualities with the chords or the melody lines you play on some scale.

3- Understand that improvisation is like preparing a snack or a tasty meal. This is where the term “licks” actually came from. There are ingredients that taste good together and you will get to know them with time and experience. But the basic music tip derived from this example is that harmony sounds good and easy for most of people most of the time. Learn to play harmonically first then you will learn to break the rules. Simply a minor scale will sound good along with a minor chord in the same key

4- Understand that time in as important as harmony. It would not taste good if you add a glass of mango juice to a roasted chicken, I don’t know, never tried it 🙂 and so it would not sound good if you play with a funky feeling along with a sad ballad background. It is like showing up dancing in a funeral. Most important tip out of this is to always listen to the beat, feel it and internalize it until the cells of your body and the waves of your soul are moving with it. A good start to feel the difference is to try a blues straight beat then a shuffle one. Know very well the basic beat of the music style you want to play it will make you sound 100x better.

5- Don’t rush to learn everything at the same time and get overwhelmed. There are a lot of scales and modes. If you want to have scrambled eggs at dinner you don’t need to study how to bake a cake. Plan your progress to cover what you need first. If you intend to play punk rock for example it would not be necessary to learn the melodic minor scale. After you have covered what you need and feel like to explore then go ahead. Just remember the difference between what will help you in playing right away and what will be fun to explore but would take long time and focus before you can utilize in your solos.

6- Train yourself not to play automatically when you grab your instrument. If you are with a friend who is playing a groove or some chords, listen first. As I said before focus on the beat first then feel the quality of the chords. Are you feeling cheerful or sorrowful. Would you think happy thoughts or get inspired with some sad ideas. That will help you choose between major and minor rather than striking the minor pentatonic right away then try to make it fit whatever chords are playing.

7- Best/Favorite tip I always give my students and friends, closely related to the previous tip. Don’t play on autopilot! Train yourself to listen to the music inside your head first. If you have some melodies in your head don’t rush to grab your instrument. Slow down, listen carefully, focus and try to simplify the melodies you have in mind, hum that melody with your voice. Until one line is clear then slowly see how to play it and extract it on your instrument. Line by line and with time you will build the skill to play what is on your mind on the fly. That is exactly like the way you speak. You do it the same way and it takes a few milliseconds perhaps before you pronounce that words you have in your head. It’s not a good idea to just allow your mouth to speak whatever without really meaning or intending it.

There are many ways that could help achieve this level but it’s kind of too tight to talk about everything here, so maybe in a different post later. I will leave you with this guided backing track. Hopefully you will find it useful

Learning to improvise as easy as you speak takes time and dedication. It’s a very broad topic. But it’s achievable by many ways. Some guys need a teacher, others prefer books and magazines, others only progress with applied exercises, others prefer video lessons, software apps, some people prefer to study alone, others can only progress in a group…etc

Just focus on what exactly you want learn. Explore different methods and do as much trials. The best way to serve you will then appear after sometime and you will spread your wings and fly from there.

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