I need help improvising!!!!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by FumandoV, Nov 27, 2004.

  1. FumandoV


    Nov 13, 2004
    Puerto Rico
    In the matters of groove, I can hold my own. But have a hard time improvising, all I do is patterns I learned along the years and scale patterns but I lack of that internal groove or soul. Maybe I should get drunk and play...... I don't know ... :help:
  2. Start out with the blues scale or the pentatonic scale. Just play what you hear and feel.
  3. do a search on the forum. you'll find alot of threads about improvising and stuff. also try the newbie links on the General Instructions forum.
    hope this helps.
  4. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Nooooo. Improv isn't about scales, it's about soul :cool: .

    In order to really improv well, you need to be kind of crazy. When I improv, I hear it in my head and play along. :smug:
  5. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Agreed about playing what you hear in your head, but its not easy..Therefore I suggest you sing a easy melody outloud, a couple of notes and try to play the exact thing on your bass..That should help you play along with what you hear in your head..If you practise this alot, one day the melody you sing and the melody you play will become one :)

    (mind you, I'm in the learning process too ;) )
  6. Scales are a tool to help you improvise. You need to start out with scales. You've got to know your theory before you can start breaking rules and such. Pretty much make music theory your instincts so you don't even have to think about it while playing.

    Trust me.
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    All ive been doing lately is working on improv and just overall running around the fretboard. I dont think ive learned a new actual song in several months. I do favor the blues scale, but dont just stick to scales. I usually do a mixture of blues scale and just randomly walking up the neck. I kind of do power runs where i kinda speed my way around and sometimes when i f*** up, and miss some notes or something, it gives me an idea for a melody :)
  8. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    Also, remember to use non-chord tones (neighboring tones, passing tones, etc...) and chromatic runs. This is what takes your improvising to the next level. Especially taking ideas/patterns and running them down (or up) the neck chromatically. That gets 'em every time! :D

    Improvising is ALL about playing what you hear inside of your head, even if all of the notes aren't in the scale. But that obviously doesn't mean start playing in a different key! :smug:

    Learning all of the modes of all of your scales is a BIG help. The dorian is a common mode for jazz. I've found that it works really well in funk as well, along with the mixolydian mode. You can also create some really interesting licks by combining those two modes as you solo along in a funk song. Scales are great tools to have for playing anyway, regardless of whether you're improvising or not.

    This is all theory talk though. The trick to improvising is to play what you hear. Singing the same thing that you're playing when improvising is a GREAT way to build up ideas. The more you improvise, the easier it gets. It's also partly building up the confidence to play something no one's ever heard before (in a sense).

    Start out slow. Don't try to rush into playing like the greats. Just take it step by step and you'll get it. Once you do, you'll be able to play whatever you want, whenever you want and you will thank yourself for learning how.

    I hope some of this helps. These are some of the things I've come to realize over the few years I've been improvising. More than anything though, everyone does it differently. Once you find a way that works for you, you've got it.
  9. I agree with the playing what you hear in your head
    I do this all the time and it's second nature to me
    How did I do this ?
    No big secret that I'm sure alot've TBers have done
    Ear training - simple as that although I suppose you can combine that with music theory but they are only tools
    For starters learn intervals ( one octave for a start )if you have not done already
    This will help alot with learning songs off CD or radio which is another good way to improve your ears
    A good exercise is to play a scale or your patterns that you use but before you play the note hum or sing the note before you play it if you do this exercise everyday for say 10 mins your ear will start to become familiar with the interval relationships both with your ear , and finger coordination
    I mean I've seen students of mine that when I say do you know your major scale and they reply easy and burn through the scale but when I get them to play a simple bassline off a record which has notes of the major scale in it
    ie: Keep on moving - UB40 It takes them a while to figure it out then I told them hey you know your major scale don't you
    it's just that ( 1,2,3,4,5,6 notes of the major scale are used ) but in a different sequence
    So now they don't just play the scale up n down they play it slowly trying to listen to each pitch before they play the note
    And boy there playing has suddenly gone up a few notches
    just by doing a simple exercise
    This helps with there improvisation emmensly
    This is the same principle for learning tunes off CD too before you have your bass in your hand sing the line then pick up your bass to see if your correct
    But sadly you do have to learn your scales I know it could be boring but if you do that simple exercise ( BTW goes to every other scale ) you could play scales in your head by humming or singing scales without your bass
    Then that's about 80% of your scales done just have to get the technical part of actually playing it
    Damn I've gone on too long which is a first for me
    Anyway I won't hog this thread and let some other TBer have their say

  10. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    If you can sing it then you can play it. Think about this, try it, work yer butt off learning how to do it. There are a lot of different aspects to improvising fluidly but this will do you more good towards that goal than any other single thing you can learn. That being said learning as much theory from as many different sources as you can sure ain't gonna hurt. Breathing exercises and staying relaxed will help a lot more than you might think at first too.