View Full Version : Lots of questions

12-01-2002, 01:51 AM
1. I was wondering which approach to improvisation people use... by memorizing scales or by using chords? memorizing scales is pretty self explanatory, but by using chords i mean memorizing arpeggios and memorizing what sounds good with them (like approaching the third from both sides and so on).

2. I can't play a solo worth ****. I practice arpeggios, technical stuff, sing melodies and try to play them on the guitar, and play along with cd's and stuff, but when it comes time to take a solo when playing with others or recording it is absolutely horrible. The trouble I think I have is mixing my ideas together. I was wondering how I can fix this and the only thing I came up with is memorizing solos of other people that I like.

3. Last, this one has to do with greg howe. He said that the original ibanez tube screamer was important to his sound. I was wondering how much the TS9 sounds like the original one.

12-01-2002, 02:49 AM
Soloing is just composing a melody instantly. The concept is the same whether or not it is instant. What is the chord progression you are trying to play over? That is a good question to ask first.
Then you need to be thinking about how to make something work over the chords. My suggestion is record two chords 8 beats for each one. Start with something simple like Em and D and repeat it for about 5-10 minutes. Then think about what you can get away with over these two chords. ( Modes, scales arpeggios, open arpeggios substitutions, motives, chromaticism)
List out your choices. Then listen to the two chords relax and let you mind become empty. You will start hearing lines in your head that should work with these two chords, when you have strong feelings about a particular line in your head start trying to play it. Now if you are inspired, continue (record it, if it is worthy, or better yet record everything and KEEP it, if it is worthy). Now stop playing and analyze what you did. Which of your choices does it use (from your list)?
I would make sure I have at least 4 or five different approaches to playing over these two chords, try to come up with an idea using each approach.
Every chord change can be broken down into 2 chords at a time. Use this approach to learn how to create ideas that work over ANY 2 chords ( this could take a while).
You could try an emulate your favorite player but then the ideas wouldn't be yours then. Wouldn't they? And this leads to riff based playing and not real improvisation just stringing together various riffs and licks. The real key is to hear the melody in your head, then you work the rest of your life trying to play it.

There are no shortcuts.

12-01-2002, 02:14 PM
1. It depends ( DŽuh... ).
I tend to think in scales, but I also like to approach melodies by thinking in arps etc. I structure solos, trying to create themes etc.
In the beginning, IŽd recommend to focus on one approach, and maybe only one or two patterns.
If you memorize billions of arps, scale patterns etc, youŽll most likely too busy finding them on the fretboard, instead of creating an actual solo.

2. Did you read "Be Creative" ? I tried to explain some approaches to soloing, i.e. starting with a very simple melody, and then elaborating and building on that...

3. The original Tube Screamer brings in a lot of money on the vintage market... I am not quite sure, but I think the difference was that it had Germanium transistors. It is supposed to sound better and have a nicer overdrive than the newer models and reissues.
Check this out:

Link (http://www.legendarytones.com/TubeScreamerReview.htm)

Link 2 (http://www.guitartrader.com/itm.icl?pid=1434&orderidentifier=icat_orderID)

Hope this helps

12-01-2002, 06:04 PM
My point here is:
If you don't hear interesting things in your head you will never be able to play interesting things. So first learn to listen to the sounds in your head then work at trying to bring them to life on your instrument. Soloing is literally, learning to listen and imitate the sounds you hear in your head.
How do you learn to hear cool sounds in your head?
Listen to lots of different types of music on different instruments and voice, then try to understand the ideas behing the stuff you are drawn to. Then try to invent your own ideas based on similar concepts. This can all take place in your head ( and should). Then try to apply the ideas to your instrument. This is why it is so often stressed to sing melodies becaues your voice is directly linked with your brain and no translation needs to occur to make your voice do what your brain wants. I believe you should cultivate the sounds in your head then try to under stand the theory behing these sounds, instead of making sounds based on theory and then trying to create ideas based on those.

12-01-2002, 07:43 PM
Woah Eric,

The introduction to Be Creative describes me perfectly. I'll definitely spend time working on those different approaches.

Also concerning the arpeggios, I went to the National Guitar Workshop over the summer and they emphasized the arpeggio method. They said to memorize what sounds good to your ear concerning the arpeggio (like approaching the third). I think the main advantage was that you could at more chromatic notes into the solo. But I don't understand why you can't do that with scales, but they said that it would be much easier to hear the chord progression through the solo the arpeggio way.


I've spent hours going back and forth between two chords. Not only did I do this, but I also worked on switching between different keys with two chords.

I have a question about the singing thing. I want to know the different steps to this approach. Tell me if mine are accurate: 1. Sing a solo to a song; 2. Sing a solo, then figure it out on the guitar; 3. Sing a solo while playing it. The problem area for me is between steps 2 and 3.

Thanks for your comments

12-01-2002, 07:54 PM
1. Hear a solo in your head
2. Sing a solo
3. Play a solo

The arpeggio method is better for jazz and complex changes because you don't stay in one key long enough to use scales.