Lead Guitar Improvisation – Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of our mini-series on improvisation.  Today’s post is 5 tips to improve your improvising ability and practice methods.

1)  Don’t just use instrumental backing tracks designed for soloing practice, use backing tracks of songs as well where possible, to practise soloing in context.

2) Record some of your improvisation sessions and listen back later.  What are you doing well? Where are you going wrong?  Pause at any nice phrases, figure out what they are and add them to your bag of tricks.

3) Practise switching back and forth between rhythm and lead during improvisation practice.  This works on your timing, listening awareness and gives you a chance to practise some experimental, improvised rhythm guitar playing too.

4) Practise the discipline of giving your phrases definite endings, so they don’t become one long ramble.  It’s especially good to consider ending each phrase on a targeted note (ie.  one that occurs in, or fits well with the chord happening underneath at the same moment)

5) There’s a “good” note on either side of every “bad” note.  (ie.  If a note on the 7th fret does not fit with the music, the notes on both the 6th and 8th frets will).  This knowledge gives you 2 opportunities.

Firstly – You can use it to never be lost when improvising in an unfamiliar area of the neck.  After a few bad notes you will have discovered enough good ones for a whole solo

Secondly – For added flair, and to avoid that period of having to play bad notes to find good ones, when you land on a note that doesn’t fit, just quickly slide or bend up to the note above that you know will fit.

Part 4 in our Improv series to come early next week.