That I've been practicing wrong all this time! I had a great lesson with a local pro a couple of days ago and it has really changed how I practice. Regarding improvisation, scales, arpeggios and modes, I would do the basics of learning the shapes, playing them in two octaves, different hand positions and all that stuff... But I was always counting on my fingers and mental map of the fretboard to select the notes I played, not my ear. I know that having a mental map of the fretboard and seeing the matrix of notes all over the fretboard is a good and necessary thing, but I always stopped there. I've been encouraged to try and hear the differences, such as what the difference between the 6th note of Dorian sounds like versus the 6th note of Aeolian. This has revolutionized improvisation for me. No longer do I just 'discover' what the melody sounds like as my fingers run around the map of 'allowable' notes, but instead I'm learning to hear the notes first, then put them onto the fretboard. No more surprises, the sounds are in my head first, and then into my fingers. This has caused me to be more judicious in my note selection, and gives my solo's more space and meaning. I can stop pouring a hot bowl of note-meal all over the fretboard, and just hear the melodies that my ear wants to enjoy. This means that I am singing the notes before playing them... Because if you can't sing a solo in Dorian over a static minor chord vamp, then you don't really 'know' Dorian... I know many of you know this stuff already, but I felt like sharing it. Anyone else have this experience? Was I the only guy living under a rock?