From scales to improvising

Some thoughts on making the jump from playing scales to improvising in no particular order.

  • Play melodies and slowly start to embellish them.
  • Sing your ideas and try to mimic them on your instrument.
  • Play short melodies landing on chord tones.
  • Pentatonic melodies.
  • Have a conversation. Make a statement and then answer it.
  • Give yourself a specific length to play over, such as 16 bars.
  • Use as few notes as possible.
  • Use common tones to quickly sound more sophisticated .
  • Listen to the greats and and imitate (even if it’s just the phrasing… or simplify the line).
  • Explore intervals within a “sound” (b3, sus, M6, b5, b7).
  • Outline 3rds and 7ths.
  • Start with only 2 chords.
  • Explore scale patterns (in 3rds, 6ths, 123,234,345).
  • Listen to you favorite artists. When you hear something that moves you find out why and use in your own playing.
  • Listen to the blues.
  • Pick a simple rhythm and play it exclusively.
  • Start simple. Build. End confidently on purpose.
  • Use phrasing techniques such as bending, sliding, and legatos to make your melodies more emotional.
  • Play with dynamics.

Gary’s Blog

The Blog of Guitarist, Gary Lee

Gary Lee

Written by

Gary Lee

Professional guitarist and musician | www.garyleemusic.com

Gary’s Blog

The Blog of Guitarist, Gary Lee

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