Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Guitar lesson: Melodic Improvisation: Aiming For Roots

https://banjobenclark.com/lessons/melodic-improvisation-aiming-for-roots-guitar-intermediate

Hands down, #1 question I get: how do I learn to improvise? I believe that improvisation is hidden in each of us to some degree–we just need to have it unlocked, and THAT is what this lesson is all about! If you’ll apply yourself with me right now, I’ll have you doing simple improvisation by the end of this lesson and fired up ready for more!

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What with that geetar your playing? That yours or is it on your wishlist? :wink:

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So is it a bad thing if I’m trying to learn the Banjo and I get a wild hair and go down the rabbit hole to the Melodic Improv for Geetar ( I couldn’t help myself) wich kinda blew my mind!!! by the way. Just don’t want to confuse my feeble mind??? :sunglasses::sunglasses:

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Tis mine, a Hooper Guitars J-45 copy, it is outstanding!

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This is so sweet! I’m now beginning to understand what improvisation is! I have heard about modes and I have even tried practicing it sometime ago not fully knowing how it can be used. And here goes in the key of G, G-scale is Ionian, and C-scale using G is Lydian, and D-scale using G is Mixolydian! I guess most songs can be tackled on the fly using these 3-scale patterns. Cool. Thanks so much!! :slight_smile:

And Ben, your guitar is sounding great, unbelievable!

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@BanjoBen, this lesson just blows me away!! :rofl: I practice the G scale often, but I have never thought to improvise with it!! This lesson just once again blows me away!!:rofl::rofl:

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Hello Jon,

Personally would see no issue with doing that as I often shift electric guitar solos about from higher up the neck and see if I can put them into the first five frets of the acoustic. It is for me a good exercise in note awareness and offers a different view on the sound/Tone of the solo. For me this was down to a comment/quote from Norman Blake “Not much money beyond the fifth fret”

I know that I have drifted from your original question but these things work or offer some theory / exercise.

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There is obviously much more to learn and consider when we talk improvisation or creating solos, but this lesson allows someone who has never improvised to have the tools and boundaries to then let their improv muscle begin to work. I appreciate all the feedback!

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Great lesson! I’m still on the G scale exercises so far as I needed to hear Ben’s “straight talk” about learning the scales and the notes. 25+ years of playing (at the) guitar and I’ve never even learned what notes the open stings are. That’s gonna change starting right now!

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outstanding job! Love it, love it, love it! Having fun with this and looking forward to more. Me and my Tele are twanging away on this stuff.

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@Mr_G! You have tons of fans around here!!! Thanks, brother.

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@Mr_G You were lost and now your found. Great to see you back on the Forum

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I have so many thoughts bouncing around my brain right now! I’ll try to look at this through the lens of “things I learned at Cabin Camp”.

  1. I want to believe once I learn scales or patterns, then “ta da” I can improvise a solo. Not true. Ben called them boundaries and targets in the lesson. This takes focused practice. At Camp we worked through Amazing Grace improvising from melody note to melody note. I try to do that with other songs now - usually ones I know someone will want to play at a jam. I see this in the Build-a-Break lessons. Add structure to this practice even though it’s something improvised. This single aspect of targeting a note unlocks so much down the road once it seeps into your soul!

  2. In the Kenny Smith guitar session he said “what you practice for 5 minutes Monday through Friday comes out in your playing Saturday night.” I spend a few minutes improvising over some chord changes when I practice. I’ll pull in some licks from a few sources, etc. but generally just try stuff out. I can’t go too small on this - one measure, two measures, one chord change, etc. I’m sure my wife is in the other room rolling her eyes while I do it! Progress is not instant, but I’m seeing it show up when it’s my turn for a break. Sometimes it’s awesome. Sometimes not so awesome…

  3. Hearing this stuff against other instruments makes it make sense in my brain. I use Strum Machine and FBBTS.com for accompaniment while doing this to control the tempo. I also use the jam tracks. So later (on Saturday night) when I’m fumbling through a break but I hear the bass start to walk up to a D I suddenly know where I want to go. Man this is the secret weapon for me getting better at improvising.

Anyway, those are my initial ramblings. I hope it helps something click for you! Improvising has been a real struggle for me and something I’ve worked at for a while - I finally feel like things are clicking technically. The next step is to express some thoughts/feelings/moods with the notes.

Stephen

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@cassell90, that’s sounding good. keep going down that road and experimenting and you’ll soon be the master improver…(is that a word???)

Great to see you again @Mr_G!! I thought maybe you wearn’t comfortable on a forum with mere mortals doing most of the talking. :rofl::rofl::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::crazy_face: Great to see you here again

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Thanks Ben for this inspiring lesson! After watching the whole thing I’m excited to try out these ideas on my guitar. I’ve been working a lot lately on the 5 up-the neck CAGED positions for the key of G, and I think your backing track for this lesson - along with the improv exercise - would be perfect for me to try in those higher positions. I love how you make improv look easy just by targeting the root notes at the right time! :musical_note:

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You might even end up looking at Open Tuning Rich. There is a player called Charlie Starr does a lot of work out of Open G.

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@cassell90 totally agree with everything you said as far as the camp perspective and this lesson. @davidgear thanks, I will look into that.

This lesson (combined with what I was exposed to at camp) is like the very first door (of many to come I hope) has been unlocked and opened for me to go through and enter into the outer room of a treasure vault. This lesson for me was so clear, helpful, productive, and practical. It also has given me a framework that helps make other lessons more impactful. I went to the guitar second most important lick lesson and I could see so much more and got more out of that lesson having been through this one. Great teaching @BanjoBen!

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Dang Mr. G…Where have you been?? I hope youre doing well!

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I will have to say this is harder that I thought it would be when I finally sat down to do the lesson.

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