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For Advanced Guitarists - Guitar Improvisation Techniques

Apr 5, 2008
If you have a guitar and want to play live in a concert then you will need to practice your guitar improvisation and work really hard so that play that ultimate solo composition in front of a live audience without risking any embarrassment

There are different techniques involved in guitar improvisation and mastering them would mean that you can get way ahead of your league. Some of the guitar improvisation techniques are being used by heavyweights like Van Halen, John Petrucci etc and there are much more such techniques that are invented right on-stage in a live concert. The crucial element is that you need to know your guitar like the back of your hand and only then you will be able to use guitar improvisation techniques effectively.

There are basically two ways of looking at guitar improvisation techniques and they are:

The Horizontal technique: You play a solo based on your current scale.

The Vertical technique: You play a solo based on your current chord. One of the best examples is that of wrapping the chord where you play specific notes of the current and neighboring chords. Another popular vertical guitar improvisation technique is playing modes based on the chord changes. To master this technique, you will require a specific table chords, extensions, mode and reference scale

The vertical approach is a commonly used guitar improvisation technique and to master it, you will need to have complete knowledge of harmony or melody and you need to think fast. There are times as a solo guitarist when you might have to improvise in such a way that you move further away from the basic key of a particular section of the song. This is where the horizontal guitar improvisation technique comes in. Some of the patterns that you can use include:

2-note: intervals 3-note: triads 4-note: arpeggios 5-note: pentatonic scales 6-note: blues scales 7 or 8-note: scales

Scales to use for Improvising

Guitar improvisation techniques come in handy especially when you need to play a solo. There are plenty of scales that you can try while playing solo but the most frequently used is called improvised soloing. Improvised soloing can be used to play tracks, which are predominantly rock but you can also use it for jazz and blues.

Let us take an example: If you are playing a tune in the C major and are looking for a guitar improvisation technique then there are multiple scales that you can use. The most obvious scale is the C major pentatonic or the A minor pentatonic like the following:

|---------------------5-8----| |-----------------5-8--------| |-------------5-7------------| |---------5-7----------------| |-----5-7--------------------| |-5-8------------------------|
About the Author
Want over 1000 Guitar Backing Tracks? Visit Planet of Rock to improve your lead guitar playing and jam to professional live bands! These backing tracks for guitar allow you to jam at your own time and speed.
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