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  1. #1
    More Blues
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    Default Improvisation Techniques

    Hi All,

    So I am just bored to death with guitar and I'm lookin for some inspiration. Thing is, about every 2 years or so I get like this and then just stop playing for a while.

    I am wondering what is the mentality behind soloing. Some folks work off the scales or the arpegios, others string together a bunch of licks that they know and or a combination.

    The licks approach doesn't seem to work for me. At the moment of playing I more or less just play an intro lick or two and then go off on the scale.

    I am wondering if anyone has any methods for incorporating licks into a solo and or any advice on how to spice it up.

    Honestly, Love the blues but if it isn't inspired then it's just playing in circles and that gets dull.

    Thanks,
    Stoney
    Live from the woodshed!!

  2. #2
    BluesLover
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    Default

    I have a bit of a corny approach that I sometimes use- it kind of works for me and keeps it interesting: I imagine I am telling a story with my guitars and play as if to say something. I might use the lyric of the song to act as a guide using the syllables of the words. I also do some string skipping-jumping across strings rather than working up or down the scale. Just a few ideas you might want to try. Best of luck. Of course you could also listen to Robben Ford-he goes to some interesting places.
    History is only important when you are making it

  3. #3
    BluesLover
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    Default

    When I get in a rut like that, I tend to use the other boxes in the Minor Pentatonic Scale or use the Major Scale. Also, I do the same thing: I base the melody of the solo off the lyric, which seems to work really nice. Also, playing along with jam tracks works nice two because it gets you used to playing licks with a different melody than songs you already play. Another thing I like to do is play an entire solo with double stops or do a lot of slides (rather than just bending notes all the time). It keeps it fresh.

    I read an interview with Buddy Guy once and he said he gets to feeling like he is playing the same solos and licks all the time. But he said that when he feels like that, he records his solo and listens to it back and is surprised that it actually doesn't sound stale at all.

  4. #4
    BluesLover
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    Default

    There's a million ways to get around it. Scales and arpeggios played by themselves over a song are just scales and arpeggios. Try playing the melody, then dressing it up using partial scales and arpeggios between phrases. Then try it playing a third up or two frets down (b7). Try playing in a different style (jazz, flamenco, classical). Anything will work, or can be made to work and sound good. Think outside the box (literally - especially the pentatonic box!). :wink:
    Yer guitar pickin' friend,
    Brown Bad Boy McGee (aka Herb)
    "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, 'n stuff!"


  5. #5
    More Blues
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    Default

    Thanks guys.

    Since yesterday things have actually taken a turn for the better. Made contact with another guitarist and we are now working on getting a Rock / Blues thing happening.

    I must be doing something right. The guy plays a lot better than me but he is still interested. I guess you are always your own worse critic.

    Thaniks again, great advice.

    Stoney
    Live from the woodshed!!

  6. #6
    BluesLover
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    Default

    Another thing: I force myself to learn a really hard passage by playing it over and over one measure at a time. Then I find that lick will work its way into my playing from time to time without ever even thinking about it.

    Herb, I hear what you say about boxes, but if you're creative enough, they can sound pretty good. It worked for, SRV, Coco Montoya and B.B. King! 8)

  7. #7
    Blues Crazy
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    Default

    I grab a piece of music sometimes. You know, the kind on paper? And I work off that, and since I'm not a real good reader, I'll come up with something, but the timing will probably be off here and there. But at least if will give me a new string of notes to work with that I probably wouldn't have found just left to my own devices.

    A friend of mine who is a songwriter, has another interesting trick. Sometimes he gets into ruts and uses the "same ol' chords" like he has before. So he'll take somebody else's chord chart from about anywhere, and then play the chords in reverse order from the way they are written and try to put a melody over that.

    Anything that can get you out of a rut is usually a good thing.
    If you find somebody to love in this world
    You better hang on tooth and nail
    The wolf is always at the door

  8. #8
    BluesTalk Member
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    This guy has some pretty good chops that I never heard before check him out:


  9. #9
    BluesTalker
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    Listen to T-Bone Walker and steal every lick you can...from the sax player.

  10. #10
    BluesTalk Member
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    Default

    i was about to say something similar: when in a rut, I will often listen to different instruments for ways to get creative juices flowing.....Although I am a multi-instrumentalist, bass is my forte and first love, and although I love playing blues and supporting great players and locking in with a drummer to create the 'phat' groove, its a music form thats very easy to get caught up in a rut with on that instrument (Especially if Im at a gig and a guitar or harp player throws a bunch of moderate shuffles at me in a row --- guitarists, keep that in mind at a blues jam: For you, these songs may all be different but for rhythm section guys, its like playing the same song for 20 minutes )

    So I look at other instruments, like sax, for inspiration....Honky-tonk piano chops have been my latest bag to cull from...these translate well to bass so I imagine they would be even better on guitar

 

 

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