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Thread: Are you an improv player?

  1. #1
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    Are you an improv player?

    Reading a thread about the Experience Jam stage spurred this thought. I considered myself a guy who concentrates on song structure and forming my parts whether they are rhythm, melody or leads. In my band, I'm the only guitar player and while I feel I write and improv well in that dynamic, I wouldn't consider myself a jam improv guy that is great at ripping a guitar solo for 5 minutes straight. Part of that is due to my position and just never having or taking the time to focus on that specifically.

    I'd consider Chris (crgtr) great at that type of thing. What about you? What type of player are you?

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    Improv
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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I have never been a good improv solo ripper. I was never really interested, it never suited my music. People that can play lots of notes really fast are impressive, but there's a lot more to good music than that.

    When our band is writing, we start with a riff and jam on it. We have a little recording setup where we record the jams direct to MP3. Excessive guitar soloing or drum filling is frowned upon because it's masturbatory and doesn't ever move the jam forward. If the jam isn't moving forward, we're just spinning wheels. Many times we end up going four or five different places with the music. Often is descends into something ridiculous we'd never use, sometimes it's awesome. You never know how it's going to go. The MP3s are uploaded to a shared gmail account and we listen back before the next practice. From there, the best parts are identified, and we start formatting a song.
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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Improv player for the most part. There was a thread on practice time earlier and one of the things I do for practice is to take a backing track I have - or find one - and just improv over it. The trick is to find a BT that challenges you and forces you to think a little more about what notes you're going to play.

    When i'm recording something then i'll use whatever approach is necessary. If it's a fairly standard blues then I might just wing it. But more often than not i'll improv over it a few times and take note of what licks seem to work. I can quickly build a solo that way and just improv the filler.

    But, I don't think there's anything wrong with working something out note for note either. And I have used that approach when I want to create something with more structure.
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    Improv.

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    Despite years of trying to study and practice different scale patterns, when I'm improvising, I always fall back to the pentatonic scale and all of my hamerons/pullofs sound a like after a time. I just feel that all of my improvised solos sound very similar. I'm in a cover band and mostly just learn the solos note for note to the original and don't have to worry about it. But we do a lot of modern/current "dance" music and most of the time there is no guitar in the song and I have to create my parts. Also we will throw in a solo from time to time. When I can sit down and write something, I feel like it's pasable. Everyone who comes to see us tells me I'm good, but I think I have everyone fooled.
    Last edited by Norseman; 03-18-2013 at 07:18 AM.

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    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    Despite years of trying to study and practice different scale patterns, when I'm improving, I always fall back to the pentatonic scale and all of my hamerons/pullofs sound a like after a time. I just feel that all of my improved solos sound very similar. I'm in a cover band and mostly just learn the solos note for note to the original and don't have to worry about it. But we do a lot of modern/current "dance" music and most of the time there is no guitar in the song and I have to create my parts. Also we will throw in a solo from time to time. When I can sit down and write something, I feel like it's pasable. Everyone who comes to see us tells me I'm good, but I think I have everyone fooled.
    Sometimes illusion & deception is the most important part of the game

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    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Improv for me, but shorter solo sections of songs revolve around a relatively standard theme. I will write a set melody if the passage needs it

    I've always idolized the great jammers like Clapton, Hendrix, Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule, etc. and improv jazz. I've spent a lot of time listening to, and ripping off, those guys.
    --Garrett--

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    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    If that means too lazy to learn a song properly, then perhaps.

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    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    I generally noodle about with some amount of purpose.
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    Senior Member Dirty Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinbuster View Post
    If that means too lazy to learn a song properly, then perhaps.
    This is funny!!!...many times true...but is extremely piece dependant...some songs are meant to be played within the structure and others can be expanded upon. I would classify myself as improv.

    It's a matter of degree of structure or lack of it.
    -Bob

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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Improv + copy & paste.

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    My basic stance toward the world, musically speaking, is improv.

    A lot of the time, I sit down and what comes out is what comes out. For example, here's a snippet of what came out one day a few weeks ago: https://soundcloud.com/kingsley-dura...-and-not-found

    Sometimes I work on writing new tunes. Sometimes I work on getting better at playing my own tunes I've already written. Often I'll use my looper to make my own "backing tracks" to practice on or develop ideas for tunes. I end up playing a lot of bass in the course of doing that, which I'm finding I really enjoy.

    Sometimes I work on learning tunes, which for the last bunch of years has mostly been standard tunes 'cos I've been doing the jazz thing, but in the last year or so has also been old classic rock tunes (a lot of times it's actually RElearning) 'cos I'm in a rock band playing that stuff. I still try to put my own spin on those tunes though, at least to some extent. I actually work suprisingly hard at the rock stuff. It's definitely non-trivial getting to the point where I'm happy with the quality of what I do in that context.

    Sometimes I just work on harmony. (stuff out of Mick Goodrick's books mostly) That's a lifetime of work there, and I'm WAYYY behind.

    A lot of times I just get out four or five guitars and play to listen and compare what the guitars can do.

    I started playing in 1966, when I was 8 years old. The second tune I learned to play was one I made up myself. Just how I'm wired.
    Last edited by kingsleyd; 03-12-2013 at 10:38 PM.

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    I suck. At improv and copying (or attempting to) what other have done.

  15. #15
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad monk View Post
    I suck. At improv and copying (or attempting to) what other have done.
    If that's the really the case, it's ok, just keep working at it. It's about the enjoyment a guitar gives you.
    Sometimes I'll listen to music I don't even like much purely because I like the guitar tone.

  16. #16
    Senior Member thieves&foxes's Avatar
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    I am a never play the song the same way ever kinda guy.
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    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Note that I'm not exactly great with either of my instruments:

    Flute - improv (I still have many improvised moments in my song arrangements)
    Guitar - not so much, I'm basically a rhythm guitar player
    Keyboard - never. Once the arrangement is made, it stays until it's changed, but never by means of improvisation (on the other hand, I don't play keyboard live anymore, I use it to compose, record and sample)
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  18. #18
    Senior Member jfine's Avatar
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    Improv, but I've also been in many situations where i had to play worked-out solos, mostly in cover bands or show gigs where playing the part the same way every time is paramount. If left to my own devices, like in the studio, I prefer to improvise my solos--I come up with better stuff than if I have to simplify it down to where I can remember it later! I have been in the situation of having to learn my own solos to play them live if that's what the artist wants.

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    Improv.

    Neil Young is my god, and I pray to solos like "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down by the River".

  20. #20
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    I consider myself a i suck at improv, improv player. Actually i suck at guitar but i love playing

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