One step Towards Improvising.

Many top jazz guitar players think of chord shapes when they are soloing to help them identify the chord tones needed to give the solo the melodic content needed. This technique is built on the foundations we have outlined in this book and especially on the previous section. This way of approaching solos is especially useful if the chord progression is unfamiliar or awkward. You may not come up with the greatest solo of all time but you should be able to at least come up with something that works and doesn't make the audience or other musicians cringe.

Sing What You Play!

We all have music in our heads and in our hearts, no matter what level of player we are. We can also think of tunes and hum melodies in our heads even if we cannot form those notes with our mouths by singing or humming. The very best advice I have heard came from Herb Ellis when he said 'Sing what you play'.

You should try singing your solo to yourself as you play and see how many new ideas come to you as you do so. By following your own ideas, you will forget about scales and patterns learned parrot fashion, and your fingers will start finding the melodies your own mind is creating, not ones that came from a book.

It doesn't take much time to associate the notes on the fretboard with the notes in your mind, and as time passes you will become better and better at this technique. If you don't want people to hear your own voice, sing the melodies in your head; it will work equally as well. It really doesn't matter if you can actually sing what you are thinking, just that you can imagine what you would like to hear and play it as you are doing so.

Intelligent improvising starts with a good knowledge of the fretboard, chord harmony and your own imagination. As we have progressed through this book you will have picked up the method needed to apply yourself to this task. It is now a question of working at these new skills as often as possible to incorporate them into your style of playing. There is no substitute for the hours you will need to spend on the instrument and you will only get ou what you put in.

Copyright Dale Churchett © 1995. All Rights Reserved.