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How to learn to improvise on a guitar

If you are reading this article, then you want to achieve something more in music than to play the A-minor sequence in a circle, and therefore, you should be ready to work hard. Improvisation is a serious step in mastering the guitar, which will open new horizons in music, but it should be remembered that there is no quick way in this matter. Be prepared to devote a lot of time to classes and be patient, only then can you succeed.

WHERE TO BEGIN?

So, what do you need in order to learn how to improvise on a guitar? First of all, of course, the guitar itself. An acoustic or electric guitar does not matter much, only the material that you have to study (but not completely) will differ, and what you will play as a result. Due to the differences between an acoustic guitar and an electronic one, the playing methods also differ, in addition, where the acoustics fit perfectly, the electric guitar will simply be inappropriate. But this does not mean that if you want, for example, to play heavy, you need to throw out your acoustics and run for an electric guitar. By learning to improvise in one style, you can easily master another. The main thing is to master the basic principles. First of all, it is necessary to master the basic scales. For starters, you can limit yourself to pentatonic.

In pentatonic, unlike ordinary modes, there are no half-tones, in this regard, in such a gamut there are only 5 sounds. In order to get a pentatonic scale, it’s enough to remove the steps that form a semitone from the usual gamut. For example, in C major these are notes of f and si (4th and 7th steps). The notes of si and fa (2nd and 6th steps) are removed in A minor. Pentatonic is easier to learn, it is easier to improvise, and it is suitable for most styles. Of course, her melody is not as rich as in other keys, but for a start it fits perfectly. You need to constantly replenish your supply, except for scales, with musical phrases – learn standard phrases, learn solos from your favorite songs, learn all kinds of clichés, just listen and analyze music. All this will become the basis, which in the future will help you feel free and confident during improvisation. In addition, it is important to develop a sense of rhythm and harmonious hearing. For the development of harmonious hearing, you can additionally do solfeggio, sing two-voice dictations. For example, you can play the scale in C major (or any other that suits your voice) on the guitar, while singing a third higher. Also ask one of your friends to play or play pre-recorded chords to you in random order. Your goal in this case is to determine the chord by ear. To develop a sense of rhythm, a repetition of all kinds of rhythmic patterns is suitable. It’s not necessary to play – you can just clap or tap.

STEP 2. FROM WORDS TO ACTION

Learning improvisation, it is important not only to have a rich arsenal of scales and musical phrases, but also to constantly play. Roughly speaking, in order to learn how to improvise on a guitar, you need to improvise. You can, for example, turn on your favorite song and, adjusting to the music, try to improvise your own solo, while you need to listen to yourself, analyze whether your game fits into the big picture, whether you play the rhythm or the key. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, this is an integral part of training, moreover, even experienced guitarists often make mistakes during improvisation. You can not only play songs, but also record your own sequence in one of the keys and improvise for it. Do not set unrealistic goals, work in those tonalities with which you are already familiar. The sequence should not be a chaotic set of chords, it should sound, and preferably sound good. But it’s also not worth inventing too complicated. If you are fond of rock’n’roll or blues, you can try the following sequence: tonic-tonic-subdominant-subdominant-tonic-tonic-dominant-subdominant-tonic-dominant. It will look something like this (for example, tonality in C major was used): You can slightly change the rhythmic pattern, so that the sequence sounds better. For example: And so on. You can try your own rhythmic pattern options. The main thing is to maintain the sequence of chords and make transitions between them in time. This sequence is good in that it is simple, easy to hear and easy to improvise. In addition, such techniques as “suspenders”, “hammer-up” or “pull-off”, “slip”, “vibrato”, and many other techniques characteristic of rock music will fit well into it. It would also be nice to record everything that you play. This will help to more deeply analyze your game, pay attention to errors that you have not noticed before.

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