The Best Way To Practice Improvising On Guitar

By Tom Hess



The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick
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What’s the #1 reason most guitarists never become good improvisers?

Is it because they lack talent?

Or maybe, because they don't know enough scales or music theory or don’t have a great ear?

Nope.

It’s none of these.

The real reason is:

They rarely (if ever) “practice” improvising.

And before you ask:


The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick
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EMAIL TO GET ACCESS
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By submitting your info, you agree to send it to Tom Hess Music Corporation who will process and use it according to their privacy policy.


Casually jamming over backing tracks is NOT “practicing” improvising.

Just like playing a song over and over is not the same as practicing to play the song better.

A huge part of practicing improvising is refining the skills (guitar licks, techniques and ideas) you already know and making them sound great.

Watch this video to see what I mean:
 



You now know one (very effective) way to practice improvising on guitar. Are there more? 

You bet! Here are a few more of my favorite ways to practice improvising:


Improvising Practice Idea #1: Bring Out The Emotions Of Each Chord You Play Over

Here is something all great improvisers know:

Every chord you solo over has a certain emotion. When you know what that emotion is, you can make it stronger with:

- the notes choices you make

- the phrasing you use to play the notes.

This is one of the secrets to making your solo “fit the song” (instead of sounding like random notes that just happen to be in key).

Want to see an example? Watch this video:
 



Improvising Practice Idea #2: Use The “H2O Trick” To Make Your Guitar Solos Better

If you ever had a guitar lesson on soloing, you probably heard the advice to “target chord tones”.

For example: when playing over a C major chord, target the notes: C E G.

These “safe” notes ALWAYS sound good… right?

I don’t fully agree.

I see chord tones like water (H2O).

We all need water to survive. And you need to play chord tones to make your solo fit the song.

But drink too much water & it will literally kill you.

Same way overplaying chord tones makes your solos boring and “kills” any desire to hear you play :)

So, if you can’t play chord tones all the time – what can you do?

You need a simple way to make “wrong” notes (like the 9th, 11th #11, and 7th) sound good too – even while playing rock & metal.

Here is how to do it:
 



Improvising Practice Idea #3: Create Variations

This is my favorite idea from the ones covered so far. Here is how it works:

Take guitar licks by other guitar players. (Or better yet: learn a guitar solo within your skill level.)

Then create variations from each lick in the solo.

This can mean:

  • changing the rhythm (but keeping the notes the same).
     
  • changing some of the notes (while staying in key), but keeping the rhythm the same.
     
  • changing the phrasing (how you play the notes).

This makes your improvising better fast & gives you new ideas for writing your own solos (and guitar riffs).


Guitar Practice Circuit

Improvising Practice Idea #4: Focus On One Phrasing Element At A Time

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you need to practice to improvise well.

So, what can you do?

Answer: each time you practice, pick 1-3 improvising elements to focus on. Then create as many licks (and variations) as possible that use these elements.

Check out this video to see what I mean:



Create as many lead guitar ideas as you can from each element and watch your improvising skills skyrocket.

Next day, pick a different set of improvising elements & focus on those. Over time, you will master them all.

Want to get even more ideas for adding fire & emotion to every guitar lick (and solo) you play? Download my free guitar solo eGuide & learn the secrets of playing guitar with feeling most people never know.


Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

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