How To Easily Improvise Awesome Guitar Licks
Your guitar improvisation skills will massively improve once you understand how to seamlessly integrate phrases together within a solo while expressing exactly what you want to express. To do this, you need to give yourself more time to think while soloing rather than merely trying to think of what to play next during the final notes of a phrase.
Watch this video to learn how to improvise amazing guitar licks by understanding how to give yourself more time to think during a solo:
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Here are some more tips on making your guitar solos awesome:
Tip: How To Play Guitar With Shred Speed Without Sounding Like A Robot
Playing guitar with speed isn't just a way to show off your skills - it's also a great tool for creating tension in your phrasing.
Combine these two tips together to get powerful results in your phrasing and soloing:
Tip #1: Make playing with speed a lot easier
To push your guitar speed to another dimension take a very small segment of any scale lick, arpeggio, or drill and perform it at a much higher speed than you can play the full phrase at.
For instance, if you are playing this part at 140 bpm, work on these small fragments at 5 bpm more.
This will sync both your hands and your mind used to faster speeds but still keep it manageable for you to play (since you are only practicing a handful of notes at a time).
Then slowly extend the phrase until you are improving the whole guitar part at that faster tempo.
However, when doing this don't let your two hand sync to get off at the faster speeds.
Work on this by double picking the notes at a much slower bpm.
Tip #2: Make playing with interesting phrasing easier
Just like with guitar speed, using a limited amount of notes also makes it easier to improve the quality of your phrases.
Choose any 3-5 notes from a scale, lick or arpeggio pattern.
Improvise freely with these notes for several minutes while using as many techniques as possible to make each phrase sound very expressive and unique from the others. This improves your ability to play with emotion and think on your toes.
Bonus tip: Alternate using slow, melodic phrases with fast bursts of speed to get better at building and releasing tension. This gives you the power to control the level of emotion and intensity in your phrases.
Guitar Practice Exercise For Avoiding Sloppy Mistakes At Fast Speeds To Keep Your Phrases Clean
No doubt, your guitar phrases will always sound bad if you are unable to play with both speed and accuracy.
Don't let sloppy notes ruin your solos!
Work on listening your mistakes as you play at faster tempos.
As an example, when you are playing a fast lick at or near your highest speed and find that your hands aren't in sync, you need to be able to determine which note( s) are not clean as you are actively playing.
To do that, your listening ability needs to become much more polished.
Get going by breaking up challenging guitar licks into small portions of a few notes at once. Then work on these few notes at your greatest speed. This makes it less complicated to locate your mistakes.
Another approach that will help you during faster tempos (particularly with legato) is to move between faster playing and slower, more melodic playing numerous times (in 25 second periods).
When you only play fast for a few minutes at a time, inevitably your hand becomes tired and your technique gets sloppy (strengthening bad habits).
So if you go back and forth between slow and fast playing in quick bursts of energy you are able to develop your muscle memory by assessing perfect slower technical motions before playing again at your max speed.
This is great for helping you to learn the proper motions quickly and ingrain them into your top speeds.
As you make improvements to your listening, you will begin noticing the particular missteps you make at higher speeds (with all things you know how to play) and you know precisely how to fix them.
How To Improve Rhythmic Timing For Tighter Phrasing
Often we play a bit in front of or after the beat.
This produces guitar playing that doesn't sound very good.
This just shows you need to train becoming more tight with your rhythm playing. Timing is a very vital skill you will need to develop, even more for playing in bands and/or doing any kind of studio work.
So, what do you do when you need to improve on playing with better timing (tighter)?
Very first step is to set up your metronome.
The very best way to improve at it is to try recording yourself with a metronome and listen back to what you played.
Listen closely for defects in your timing.
As you learn to hear where the timing issues happen, it is somewhat simple to fix your mistakes and play very tight.
The tighter your playing is, the better you become at staying in-time with your phrases while improvising or playing solos over backing tracks.
Note: Don't use lots of guitar effects such as flange, chorus or reverb during your practice.
These types of effects often mask mistakes in your technique (such as poor articulation for instance) and they don't get corrected them. Also, when playing fast, if there is some effect being combined with overdrive, it becomes very difficult to pick up all the notes making your playing sound more sloppy than it really is.
It's extremely easy to find yourself stuck in your guitar playing and oblivious of what must be done to make improvement without someone experienced to educate you.
This makes practicing to get better at guitar seem tedious and demotivating rather than awesome - just like it should be.
This reason is why I highly recommend all guitarists take lessons with an excellent guitar teacher.
This is very essential for helping you make tons of progress, because a really good guitar teacher is efficient at helping you to acquire new insights about playing guitar that you may not have heard about if you learned totally by yourself.
Not only does this make achieving your guitar playing goals more enjoyable, it makes it far less frustrating.
In addition, you become a better overall guitarist, at a faster rate.
I have given music instruction for nearly my whole life to thousands of musicians around the world and am very proud of the musical victories I have been happy to get for them.
Right here is what some of my best students say about taking online lessons to get better in their playing:
“Before I took lessons with Tom Hess, I wanted to learn how to do some sweep picking and I also wanted to fill in a few gaps that I thought I might’ve had in my playing. And also I was feeling a little bit frustrated with not knowing where to take my playing. I didn’t really know how to get better. I felt like I reached a plateau, so that’s why I sought out Tom.”
I’ve had a few other guitar teachers before I took lessons with Tom, and most of them weren’t very good. And after reading a few articles online that Tom had written, I could tell that this guy was going to be the teacher for me.
The biggest thing that I really like is the actual guitar lessons themselves. I’m finding that I’m learning new things that I never even considered every single time I get a lesson. Something new to apply to my playing each time. But of course, I really enjoy the forum as well, because thanks to the lessons with Tom, I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world who have similar experiences and similar goals, so that’s been really motivating as well.
Before I took lessons with Tom I really didn’t like improvisation. I knew scales, and I knew kind of how they applied over chord progressions, but I just didn’t like it. Since taking lessons with Tom, some of the lessons are focused on that specific issue, and now I feel really comfortable about getting up in front of people and playing over any type of… in any key any backing track, I feel pretty comfortable doing that.
Tom actually knows what my goals are and gives me specific lessons that will help me achieve those goals. Other teachers that I’ve had before just do it their way… it’s either their way or the highway. And they don’t really care about what I wanted to do, and they didn’t really listen, and they didn’t really look into what I was doing or what my interests were and didn’t really play into that.
It’s really motivating to get to know people who are also students of Tom. It’s really good to have positive-minded musicians around even if I’m just talking to them online, or if I meet them in person, either way it’s still really motivating.
The forum has helped me because I am able to ask any music theory related questions or technique questions and I get those answered very very quickly. And I also like to participate in discussions and help share my knowledge as well with other people, which when I do that I feel that it’s reinforcing the things that I know as well, so it helps with my music theory knowledge when I share as well.
Greg Trotter, Melbourne, Australia
When I started learning from Tom, the main thing that made him different from other teachers was that he was showing me how to excel in all aspects of my guitar playing by applying the skills that I already knew together with the new material that I was learning from him.
He made me aware of both strengths and weaknesses in my playing that I did not even know I had. From there he gave me the knowledge, tools and guidance to literally transform my guitar playing by enabling me to overcome things that were preventing me from becoming a truly creative and self-expressive guitar player. These were the kinds of things that none of my previous guitar teachers and books I studied were able to do for me.
After Tom made me aware of all the things I was missing in my guitar playing and provided me with the strategy and tools for solving them, I began to make very fast progress in all areas of my guitar playing.
I can now write my own music and can create lead guitar solos that I am happy and fulfilled with. I also have the technical skills to confidently and easily play anything that I want to express. I have overcome all of the lead guitar challenges that I struggled with before, and increased my guitar speed to virtuoso levels. More importantly, I have the knowledge and understanding of how to continually improve my guitar playing and musical skills to higher and higher levels to continue expressing myself with my music. Overall, I have definitely transformed in a huge way as a musician and as a person through my lessons with Tom Hess. I am grateful to him for guiding me towards becoming the guitarist I always wanted to be!"
Mike Philippov, Indiana, USA
“When I first heard about Tom Hess, I saw that he was a teacher that was very dedicated and serious about it, and that drew me in immediately. That this is a guy that has a plan, has a goal and really if you’re serious about learning guitar, this guy is equally as serious in a way. So it resonated with me straight away.”
I started out just learning by myself and as many others I got stuck. I had a few issues I wanted to get by, but when I met Tom and talked with him and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of possibilities of what guitar playing can be.
I feel very grateful that I found lessons from Tom since I then did what worked from the very beginning. Many guitarists I see that played way longer than I did, they have build up many bad habits. That from the very start, there was clear instruction of how to practice correctly. You build the ability for high speed and whatever you want from the very beginning and you don’t waste time doing inefficient things. So I’m very grateful that I did that, and now I really feel I am able to reach whatever level I want.
The reasons why I think I feel so motivated all the time is because I know that the thing I’m working on is relevant for me and it’s exactly the direct thing I need to get.
The forum just kicks ass. The people in the forum - it’s just like unconditional help all the time. They love to help out, and you also get very inspired by seeing someone just really getting speed really quick and then you say if he can do it, I can do it. It works on the mental side of being a guitarist and that of course that’s the most important thing. Just being around other musicians like that, is just you learn so much faster, is so much less frustration when you can see that all the people are having the same issues that you do, not anything special or anything. It’s just part of learning process, so it kicks ass.
Magnus Gautestad, Norway
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