Video: How To Improvise Better Guitar Licks & Solos By Training Your Ear
Want the power to express the thoughts and emotions in your head musically using your guitar skills?
This doesn't take forever to do - you just need to work on your "ear" as a guitar player.
The better you are able to hear notes in your head and re-create them on guitar instantly using your fingers, the more smooth and expressive your guitar solos and licks become.
Watch this video to learn how to improvise amazing things on guitar by developing a better musical ear:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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Training your ear helps make your guitar solos sound creative and emotionally expressive.
Here are some other ways to improve your guitar playing and play the way you want to:
How To Improve Your Guitar Playing Faster By Correcting Your Weaknesses
Want to make tons of progress on guitar fast?
Identify the weak areas in your guitar playing. Here is an exercise to help you get started finding and correcting them:
Step 1: Choose a guitar lick you want to improve.
Step 2: Perform the following techniques/actions while playing the lick you chose:
Picking every note with a lot of power – This forces you to articulate every note. By doing this, your hands must stay in perfect sync with each other, otherwise you will miss notes or play them unclearly.
When you are struggling to do this, you know that you need to improve synchronization between both hands. To get an even clearer picture of where your skills are at, practice your lick with no distortion.
Double pick every note – Double picking means picking each note of the lick two times. When you do this, your picking hand moves two times as fast as your fretting hand.
This makes it more difficult to keep your hands in sync – helping you to see where your skill level is at in this area.
*Play the guitar lick ten times continuously while using distortion settings – Playing with distortion settings quickly reveals any mistakes that are occurring due to inefficient string muting.
When you repeat your lick ten times, you are able to see if work is needed to improve your consistency of playing (by tracking how many mistakes you make). Improving consistency is crucial for helping you play better while performing live or when you need to record a track in the studio.
*Use directional picking technique rather than strict alternate picking – Directional picking refers to: whenever you change from one string to the next, your pick attack continues moving in the direction of the string you are changing to.
When you have a hard time using directional picking without making mistakes, this demonstrates a lack of efficiency in your picking attack. Correcting this makes it easier to play fast and clean.
When you’ve completed each part of this exercise and identified your weakest areas, create a guitar practice schedule to help you improve these areas.
This keeps your weaknesses from slowing down your overall guitar playing progress.
Want to get amazing results from every guitar practice session?
How To Start Improving A Lot More With Guitar Practice
It’s frustrating when you practice guitar several times a week but never seem to get better.
The following are three reasons why this is happening:
Reason #1: Thinking That Practice Needs To Be Boring
Too many guitar players think that practice must be boring in order to be effective. Reality is, guitar practice needs to be fun to be effective. This is because you should be feeling more and more motivated as you get closer to your musical goals.
When you don't, this is an indicator that something is wrong – either you are practicing ineffectively or are practicing the wrong things. Make sure everything you are practicing is leading you towards becoming the player you want to be.
Then make sure to apply the things you are learning in a musical way so your skills aren’t only good when used in the form of exercises.
Reason #2: Only Practicing Freely Without A Schedule
False Myth: guitar practice schedules limit your ability to play creatively. Believing this is a huge mistake that causes you to miss out on making tons of progress!
Practicing guitar with a regular routine actually helps you become more creative. In reality, creativity is a musical skill to be improve just like any other skill… and using a specific schedule helps you improve this skill over time.
When you don't use a schedule, you only make progress sporadically. Practicing with a regular routine makes it much less difficult to determine a goal and achieve that goal in the least amount of time as possible. You become the guitarist you always wanted to be in less time.
Reason #3: Practicing Too Many Hours At A Time
It’s not true that practicing as many hours as possible is the best way to become a great guitarist.
It’s about practicing in a way that gets the best results – regardless of how much time you spend doing it. It becomes harder to focus when you practice 3 or 4 hours at once every day.
Rather than doing this, split your practice time into smaller intervals during the day so you are able to stay focused and get the most results from every session.
4 Ways To Practice Away From Your Guitar & Still Become A Great Player
There exist many methods to help you improve your guitar skills when you don't have your guitar close by. The following are four methods to help you improve your playing fast
1. Improve Your Fretboard Visualization
Do you sometimes struggle to find your way on the fretboard while soloing?
Improving fretboard visualization solves this problem, and you can do it anywhere.
Practice improving your fretboard visualization by quizzing yourself on note names and writing out scale patterns/chord patterns on fretboard diagrams. Look for creative ways to practice this by combining different adjacent scale patterns together, such as: Ionian and Dorian.
Learn to visualize yourself moving between each pattern interchangeably.
2. Study About Music Theory
Music theory is a tool for helping you express yourself clearly through music. These are some ways to practice music theory when you don't have your guitar with you:
*Study intervals and use them to build scales and construct chords
*Memorize the key signatures for every key including number of sharps/flats and the specific notes that are sharp/flat
*Research how your favorite bands use different music theory ideas to make their music
3. Develop Your Aural Skills
Aural skills refers to being able to identify notes in your head before you even hear them. This helps you play guitar more creatively while improvising so you express yourself emotionally without needing to consciously think about which note comes next.
Here is a great way to practice improving your aural skills: sing scales, arpeggios or melodies. This skill can be practiced anywhere, from your shower to your car to your room.
Another cool way to practice aural skills is to sing notes that harmonize with your favorite song’s melodies or by singing your own phrases to fill in silence during a song.
4. Learn About Healthy Guitar Practice Habits
You save a lot of time and frustration when you learn how to practice guitar in a way that reduces the tension and stress you put on your body from repetitive movement.
A lot of guitarists overlook this and end up practicing in a way that leads to injury and/or makes it difficult to practice for long periods of time.
“When I met Tom Hess, I knew that this is the guy. Just going through the evaluation form, all the questions, different questions, and he was digging deeper and deeper into all my goals and all that stuff... and no one has ever done that with me before, so I felt right away that this is the guy.”
The level that I was at before I went to Tom for lessons was that I could play pretty fast, I could play sloppy, I didn’t know nothing about music theory, so I was kind of unbalanced, I was uneven. I was a good player technically, but I knew very little about music theory. So I wanted to even that out, and Tom has helped me, not only evening that out, but also exceeding my expectations. So now I’m playing at a level that I didn’t expect that I could play at. So that’s... I’m very happy with that.
I like lessons with Tom because of the format basically. He gives a variety of formats... not just one format, like video for example, but also pdf files and audio files that you can take with you if you’re doing something else... you have to do labor that day, laundry or whatever... then you can listen to the sessions and while... you can actually benefit when you’re not even practicing, so it’s a no brainer.
Gottfrid Norberg Waxin, Sweden
“I found Tom Hess on the net through articles, and I read quite a few of those before I went to Tom’s website. Even though I’m not a metal player at all, and Tom is obviously a metal player, I could still see that his ideas and way of teaching could really benefit me. So I pretty much signed up for online guitar lessons with Tom straight away once I’d gone through the website, and it’s just been a real eye opener with the way he teaches…”
... the integration of concepts that he’ll give you and having a really structured strategy… not just week to week lessons, but things that - you can see from one lesson to the next - really develop and continue to work on your technique and your theory and aural skills and those types of things. So I’d played a long time… 20 years before I really caught onto Tom, and I’d had a lot of lessons, and I’d taught and played but I can really see improvements in my technique, sweeping, and picking which weren’t strong parts of my playing.
I feel like Tom has a good gauge of where you’re at as a guitar player and what you need, and there just seemed to be so much more stuff in the lessons week to week than what you’d ever get in an hour or so in a one on one lesson… way more. So yeah I think that and the forum. I think, I’d pay the money just for the forum. That alone would be fine… I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. So that alone is massive!
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Other teachers I’ve had have been good players, and some have become good friends too. But when I’ve started lessons with Tom I’ve got something to compare that to and a lot of it is just sort of teaching songs from week to week… a lot of the lesson will be left up to you… you’ll go to your lesson and they’ll be like what do you want to do today? At the time I said, oh do this song or that song, but with Tom you start to realize that you know, there’s more to it… the goals and you know he’s sort of more in contact with what you want to be able to do as a player, because he’s asking you the questions and then setting up the strategies, so I find that really good.
Yeah I can see more results in 18 months in a lot of areas in my playing than you know 20 years. So it’s sort of, you know, would’ve been great 20 years ago to have met Tom.
Simon Candy, Melbourne, Australia
“I've played guitar for several years and I think I've taken it as far as I could take it and I was going on the internet and found Tom, I take Breakthrough Guitar Lessons from him and I have to say it was the best thing that I've ever could have done. There is nothing better than Breakthrough Guitar Lessons with Tom.”
Tom has the innate ability to hone in on whatever problems you have and immediately fix it for you. The lessons are very goal oriented, very detailed and Tom is very approachable. I consider Tom to be a master teacher. A master teacher is someone who cares about their students, who talks to their students, who shares with their students and gets them to the place that they need to be as a guitar player. And Tom, I will tell you, does all of that and more.
Rovan Deon, Rahway, NJ, USA
Now you know how to improvise better guitar solos and licks. Now it's time to improve the other areas of your guitar playing. How? By taking online lessons for guitarists.