May 14, 2019 by Klaus Crow
Okay, you know your blues scales inside out and are confident improvising with these scales.
But you might not be aware that you always practice improvisation with a drum backing track using the same drum beat over and over again.
You tell the drummer of your band to play a slow blues shuffle because it feels so good. Or could it have anything to do with the fact that it feels safe? Does it sound familiar to you?
Then the day arrives you have to play in a new band or with a different drummer and this lunatic starts playing an uptempo country blues. Huh? What’s this? Suddenly your phrasing doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit the groove and you have a difficult time keeping up and putting it all together. That’s a hard truth to be confronted with.
It’s because blues (as any other genre) can be played in many different styles, variations and tempos. Something you may not have focused on. This is a scenario you want to avoid. You want to build the confidence to handle every common drum groove that is being dished up.
You want to play in a band and feel free to solo over every blues, rock, country, pop song like a real pro. It’s something a lot of guitar players struggle with and it’s good to work on this and make sure you get this under your belt.
To make sure you do, take on a 30 day challenge to keep yourself at it! Here’s what to do:
30 DAYS CHALLENGE
– Get a big wall calendar and hang it on a prominent wall.
– Use a fixed times to practice each day for the next 30 days.
– Write your practice time on your calendar and set an alarm on your phone.
– Practice time: 30 minutes.
– Practice in a private space where there are no distractions.
– Mark an X on a calendar each day you practiced for 30 minutes until you accomplished your goal.
– Put on a backing track, listen to the drum beat and start improvising.
– Practice with as many different drum beats, tempos and styles as possible.
– Be aware of the different time signatures 4/4, 2/4, 6/8, etc.
– Find accountability to help yourself stick to your goal.
– Tell your musician buddy’s and friends that dinner is on you when you fail to commit.
– Write down your motivation: Capable of handling every drumbeat or tempo. Being a pro.
– Reward yourself when you accomplished the 30 days challenge. Write down the reward.
– Wait a couple of bars before you start playing, pay attention and listen carefully to the rhythm and the feel and how you are going to apply your phrasing.
– Start with just a few notes to get the feel going and play more notes once you get the hang of it.
– Listen to famous guitar solos using the same drum beats. Analyze and study them. Copy some of the licks, twist and turn them around and make them your own.
– If possible jam with a band or a real drummer once a week to check your progress and see how you are doing. Let the drummer surprise you and choose a drum beat.
If you want great sounding blues backing tracks, these are awesome:
Briggs/Marangoni (different blues styles)
Briggs/Marangoni/Occhipinti (different blues styles)
Briggs/Marangoni (different blues shuffle tempos)
You can also use apps like:
Guitar Jam Tracks
Have fun and enjoy the challenge!
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Hi Klaus sir,
This is a new kind of guitar improvisation. The challenge is also something different. The tips are useful. I enjoy the challenge. Thanks!
Klaus Crow says
Even experienced guitar players are not always aware of their limitations. Try playing over different drumbeats and see if you can manage.
Valéry H says
Great advices. Thx for that!