<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>JeffroFiddlemaster wrote on Mon, 04 September 2006 03:38</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
First of all, apologies in advance to anyone who will be offended by this post. You all who have responded are so off the mark. Let me begin by saying that i am a professional player with over 30 years of experience. I play every week, usually 3-4 nights, I have a crack band that performs over 600 songs. (www.theconvertiblesband.net). I also teach both classical violin and rock guitar. So here's the real deal:
First of all, those posters who suggested learning theory are absolutely right. Scales and arpeggios are the basic building blocks. Scale patterns and little fragments of melodies are advanced building blocks. You guys who claim to practice "improv" are full of crap. You cannot improvise if you don't know what you are playing. It is partially true that it "doesn't have to be in the scale to sound good"....but who is to say what sounds good? Some composers in the 20th century thought that if you sat down on the piano keyboard and simultaneously struck 30 adjacent keys that cacophony sounded "good".
The key is to play melodies, melodic content. Raw improv usually sounds like garbage...sorry if you spend 5 hours a day making up crap. I probably shouldn't say that because if you truly spend 30 -35 hours a week you are bound to come up with SOME good stuff. But it's like the analogy of 100 monkeys sitting at typewriters randomly typing...eventually they are going to type the Gettysburg address.
Melodies are made up of scales, arpeggios and other compositional techniques...inversions, reversals, elongations and truncations of little melodic ideas....
Scales are very useful in learning how notes function with regard to each other and how they fit over a chord progression, but don't over simplify the word "scale". You must remember (here'a a bit of theory): Each scale has 7 MODES affiliated with it, and each mode is a scale and a "key center" unto itself. Each mode has a "flavor"...each mode conveys a "mood".
The legendary players DO play what they "feel", and they are able to do this because their technique is superior and they DO know what notes will fit over a certain chord. Part of this is the result of hours of practicing, and part is connection with what we call "the muse"....the creative force of the universe that infiltrates those of us who call upon it. (Sounds goofy and corny..but it is true.) However, you can hum the most coolest melody, the most awesome riffs that you hear in your head and FEEL, but without the technique to bring them to life, you are dead in the water.
I encourage all my students (24 in all) to practice with records they like - learn other people's licks, learn the signature licks to your favorite songs, to practice with a metronome (time keeper) so they can start slowly and day by day crank up the speed.
Playing music is like telling a story. You have to have a good vocabulary to tell a good story. Imagine if you only knew 15 words. What kind of a story could you tell? NOT MUCH. And those of you who think you are "improvising" and making stuff up, try making up words that don't exist and see what kind of story you can tell....
There is only one way to get better....PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.
Good Luck to you.
when i was talking about playing notes that break the rules or dont fit in the scale i was talking about jsut using the scales as a base.
I mean look at EVH what are most of his songs
you got it minor pentatonic with a bunch of random accidentals thrown in that sound incredible
im not saying that he put them there randomly no but you got to remember EVH said often times hed sit on his bed and practice from 7pm till 3am instead of going and partying with his brother so maybe he was just playing a lot of shit that turned out sounding good but i doubt that.
i may have only been playing for oh idk 8 months but my teacher tought me before id been playing 2 months how to use the scales and how to use the notes outside the scales with them
in music rules are there to be broken