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What kind of music do you improvise to and how?

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Dayvenkirq View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2015 at 23:46
Dear diary, 

Today was a good (not great, but good) day for my elgtr playing (that's an abbreviation I use for my notes when I write something or figure out a playing technique). By the way, we should probably share notes on the techniques of playing an instrument, guitar, piano, and whatnot. In fact, I think I'm going to put something up on my Soundcloud and see what you think.

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Yeah, it's really hard to improvise lead without any rhythm back-up.
I should probably take that back. Tongue ... Your head just has to really be in the game.

-----------------------------------------------

All of my elgtr notes currently (that I've written for my own style): 

Single-note improv.
Muted notes improv.
Riff improv.

Most useful tips:

 - single-note solo (focus on rhythm/accentuation, not notes)
 - "logical phrasing" (incl. call and response)
   = singing the phrases in the head (thinking something free-style, close to Coltrane)
   = "scaling" (asc. / desc.); see "La Villa Strangiato" and "Your Gold Teeth".
   = principial notes: R, 5th, 2nd, 7th
   = fast picking (of a single note/notes in a chord)
   = quick up-slides
   = octave jumps
   = (alternating) chromatic tones
   = controlled noise
   = dissonant phrases
   = include chords (dyads/double stops) as exclamation points every now then (they dictate the rhythm)
   = arps* with all notes ringing
   = anacrises
 - think about rhythm (note groups): duplets, triplets, or quadruplets
 - character: dissonance, noise, mid-tempo to fast, (riffing)
 - soloing not just with notes: dyads, etc. (Don't rely too much on the chords!)


* My shorthand for "arpeggios".




Edited by Dayvenkirq - January 22 2015 at 00:48
"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock
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Dayvenkirq View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2015 at 00:07
Question to fellow improvisers: what player/group of players would you like to sound like? And what kind of sound do you prefer (or what brand of instrument, if we are talking acoustic instruments)?

Since my interest is currently set on the electric guitar, I've been recently listening to the guys Steven Wilson, Scott Walker (the two SW's of music), and Steely Dan recruited to play lead on their tracks. I'm talking Hugh Burns, David Rhodes, Dean Parks, Larry Carlton, Mike Outram, etc. They came up with some pretty mean lines. Plus, ... Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young/Danny Whitten. In fact, I pulled the intro to Neil's "Albuquerque" very well. Easy to play, and it sounds cool. I try to visualize the important scale tones as well as chord shapes on the fretboard and make heavy use of the root, 5th (a very important one when it comes to rock music), 2nd, and 7th notes. Sometimes I lower the 5th and the 2nd, and sometimes it works. The 4th (unless it's the root of the subdominant chord) and 6th did not work out for some reason. The 3rd didn't really cut it for me; I don't particularly feel happy or sad, but I have mixed emotions.

I have to admit: I probably won't have a style unless I assimilate one. There's this group of musicians, and you don't have to play exactly like them, but at least follow their ideas. Don't get too close to the sun; just close enough.

As for the sound, think "No Twilight In The Courts Of The Sun" and Camel's "Summer Lightning". I try to get other timbres for the electric guitars, but either my choice of the guitars is wrong or the choice of the amps is wrong ... or both.


Edited by Dayvenkirq - January 22 2015 at 00:41
"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 24 2015 at 14:58
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Question to fellow improvisers: what player/group of players would you like to sound like? And what kind of sound do you prefer (or what brand of instrument, if we are talking acoustic instruments)?

I do a lot of my own thing, exploring scales and stuff as we already discussed. I've always had this idea of going for some sort of blend between Frank Zappa and Steve Hackett's very different guitar styles, and wondering what such a thing might sound like. Ultimately I sound like myself, probably because I don't spend a lot of time with other people's material. It normally doesn't take me long to forget the two-thirds of someone's piece that I may have taught myself on some odd occasion, remembering only some peculiar highlight in the phrasing that I try to incorporate elsewhere.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TeleStrat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2015 at 15:01
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Question to fellow improvisers: what player/group of players would you like to sound like? And what kind of sound do you prefer (or what brand of instrument, if we are talking acoustic instruments)?

I do a lot of my own thing, exploring scales and stuff as we already discussed. I've always had this idea of going for some sort of blend between Frank Zappa and Steve Hackett's very different guitar styles, and wondering what such a thing might sound like. Ultimately I sound like myself, probably because I don't spend a lot of time with other people's material. It normally doesn't take me long to forget the two-thirds of someone's piece that I may have taught myself on some odd occasion, remembering only some peculiar highlight in the phrasing that I try to incorporate elsewhere.
On electric guitar I would like to sound like some of my favorite JRF guitarists like John Etheridge, Gary Boyle, or Allan Holdsworth. My preferred electric guitars are my Fender Strat and Gibson Les Paul Studio.
On acoustic guitar I would like to sound like Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine on Twin House which is an all acoustic album. My preferred acoustic is an Ovation Collectors model (acous/elec) that has been set up with a low action to play leads high up on the fret board.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2015 at 15:11
^ I've always wondered what "action" means (hard to find the right definition on Google).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TeleStrat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2015 at 15:37
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

^ I've always wondered what "action" means (hard to find the right definition on Google).
This guitar was set up by a guitar tech in Hollywood and is very easy to play. 
When I play it through an amp my leads sound like they're being played on one of my electrics.
The only drawback is the typical Ovation round back that is awkward (to me) to play while standing up.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2015 at 18:27
^ Interesting. Didn't know you could do that.

Anyway, nice setup you got there. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2015 at 20:32
Anything musically, arpeggios.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2015 at 20:34
^ What about passing tones?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 hours 1 minutes ago at 11:30
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

^ I've always wondered what "action" means (hard to find the right definition on Google).

Action refers to the distance between the strings and the fretboard. The advantage of having low action is that you don't have to raise your fret hand fingers as high when moving from string to string. I used to like low action. My older guitar, an Aria Pro II RS Ina Zuma V (silly name), still has the action set really really low, but it bothers me now when I was playing on it extensively a month or so ago. I'm more comfortable with a somewhat higher action now that I have on my Les Paul. I'm not sure why except that it's just what I've gotten used to in the last few years.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 hours 58 minutes ago at 12:33
^ Ah, gracias. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 hours 23 minutes ago at 13:08
I now feel comfortable playing in different keys on the piano, and I like unpredictable chord progressions, so that makes for a fun improvisation free of over-thinking: http://soundcloud.com/andrey-gaganov/edited-improvisation-1

Too bad I can't identify the styles I was incorporating. There is some classical, and I don't know about jazz, but I'd like to know those specific sub-genre names.
"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock
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