Wednesday, April 15, 2009



I'm between lessons again, waiting for a bowl of ramen to finish, and darn FedEx to bring me some gear. I'm chomping at the bit for this stuff!

So, I bring you the latest insight of the week. I was showing one of my clients my patented wicked cool five step solo-in-a-box lesson. (See "A Beginner's Guide to Soloing.")

In a nutshell, how I usually get students to turn a scale into music is:

1. Play the scale (usually A minor Pentatonic), while I play chords.

2. Play the scale, but vary the duration/value of the notes. Play some fast, play some slow.

3. Repeat some notes several times in a row.

4. Mix up the order.

5. Add "croutons" to the sonic salad - bends, pull offs, etc.

Bam! Music! And be sure to check out the article for a more detailed perspective.

But anyway, interestingly enough, step two proves to be the hardest for people to get expression into.

Nobody uses enough space. They play notes fast, but are unable, or unwilling, to play them slow.

Check it out - In my opinion, contrast is a vital part of improvisation. We all have a speed limit as to how fast we can play. Yngwie's is a bit higher than mine, but hey, he's got one, too. So, if one constantly plays at the speed limit of their particular ability, well, it will sound dull. To quote a client - "If you do something special all the time, then it's not special any more." (Thanks, Brian! A great thought!)

If you want to soup up your soloing, and let's face it, who doesn't, try adding contrast. And add contrast with space.

Really let a note ring. Let it sing! It takes a lotta guts to sustain a note for two measures or so. But it can be very effective. It'll give the music room to breathe, and make the blazing runs all the more incindentary.

Just as a flashlight in your eyes bursting suddenly out of the darkness seems brighter than staring at the sun on a hot summer's day, contrast sets us up beautifully.


And rock on!

- Josh

PS. My own MOTHER has 11 followers on her blog, and I only have 8. And one of 'em is her. Follow my blog, PLEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSEEEEEE! :)

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