Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations

Welcome to the Guitar Challenges. Each ‘challenge’ is basically an open invitation to anyone and everyone to play a song, an improvisation, a study-piece etc and post a recording – just for the fun of it.

So, whether you are a relative beginner learning the basic chords and strumming pattern of a song, a more experienced player adding a little fancy fretwork, if you want to do a little finger-picking, or you want to sing and play at the same time … you can join in with these challenges.


  • The challenge is to yourself.
  • These are not competition threads.
  • There are no prizes for making the ‘best’ recordings.
  • There is no shame for being at the beginner stages.
  • This is for FUN!


If you do want some constructive advice and feedback on your playing then that is cool. Just ask. Otherwise this is all about positivity, encouragement and having a go.

This challenge is prompted by a video lesson on ActiveMelody : Chill, J.J. Cale style lead using just 3 fretted notes- Focus on dynamics instead of scales! - ML075 - YouTube

It informs the title: 3 fretted notes, a 2 chord backing and 1 bend.

Have fun.


  1. @DavidP Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #2 by DavidP
  2. @TheMadman_tobyjenner Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #33 by TheMadman_tobyjenner
  3. @sclay Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #74 by sclay
  4. @twistor59 Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #91 by twistor59
  5. @DavidP Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #98 by DavidP
  6. @TheMadman_tobyjenner Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #115 by TheMadman_tobyjenner
  7. @DavidP Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #117 by DavidP
  8. @Mari63 Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #130 by Mari63
  9. @jkahn Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #181 by jkahn
  10. @bblak Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #193 by bblak
  11. @liaty Guitar Challenge (Improv) - 3, 2, 1 improvisations - #213 by liaty

As promised, here’s a loodle that features my new Caline Pure Sky overdrive pedal.

For this one, I recorded a two layer backing which is played through the amp’s clean preset with some added reverb and delay. Lead tone created with the pedal though the vibe was such that the gain is quite low.

The loodle itself is based upon a lesson on ActiveMelody that was shared with me by @stitch that informs the title viz 3 fretted notes, 2 chord backing, and one bend. It’s a great exercise in that it changes the mindset going in and invites one to try to keep it interesting using more lead techniques and mixing things up.

Anyhow, I enjoyed myself and you can be the judge and jury on the results so far.


Thanks for posting the link it was an interesting watch. I think he’s right, lots of dynamics in your play there which I guess is down to getting into the grove rather than thinking about which note to play next. Nice one ! :+1:

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Well done, DP! Both in concept and execution. Keeping things focused (I did not say simple or easy, which are relative terms) is often the best approach.

I’ve been a member of the community for a while now, which has been a home away from home for me. Brian has a lot of excellent lessons that are well worth checking out. I’ve recorded a number of tracks based on his lessons. Very accessible teaching style that meshes well with what our community approach and standards are here.

Well done sir! And I must say you seem a lot more comfortable and expressive with this new rig.


Works for me David, though I think you violated your own rule of no more than about 3 minutes in length! lol

Not a big deal and the PRS is looking good and sounding good!

Keep it up and all the best!

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Very nice, I like the idea of exploring how much expression you can get out of just a few notes. I saw a link go by as we were traveling about your new guitar. It looks and sound great.

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@EndlessRepetition thanks Leon. I think staying in the position does make it easier to work on other things without worrying about hitting good notes.

@CT thanks Clint. I’d say that was probably the most expressive I’ve ever played. Next is to try and play more notes in the position and still try to throw in the bends and vibrato, etc. The guitar feels really comfortable to play and liked the sound of the Pure Sky

@LBro thanks LBro. You got me there. That was a second jam and while I was trying to watch the time I failed miserably. I did like the lead tone with that pedal.

@TheCluelessLuthier thanks Mark. It is a fun exercise and definitely dragged me out of my usual ways.

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Great stuff David. It certainly focuses the mind when you only have 3 notes and a bend to make music from! :grinning:
New guitar sounding good too.



New set up sounding good and some lovely tones in there. I think you are certainly getting into the exercise, which I have yet to investigate with all the OM prep. What I would say is let some of those resolved notes hang out a little longer. You are starting to breath, now its time to breath deeper and longer, just MHO of course.

The four minute plus rule out weighs the 3 minute one when exploring like this
Will be dabbling with this in the course of the week and looking forward to how it goes.
Anyway, I feel like getting down and funky :rofl: Dorian Backing Track Am7 - D7 - YouTube

Thanks for sharing.


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David that was great and I think this was a really cool approach focusing only on 3 notes, thanks to that I feel your mind wasn’t all over shapes and what to play next thanks to which your accuracy, bends and vibrato were really best so far and in tune. So definitely seems you are on a right track sir! And guitar sounded fab, would you say it was easier to play on this guitar than your old Epi?

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Pedal sounding awesome there David, another lovey loodle, beautifully chilled :+1:

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Really cool, chilled and sounding great as always David. Very enjoyable!

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Sounds good David. Your lead play is definitely improving from noodle to noodle. Not that I know anything much about that yet besides what I like the sound of.

Took me a while to figure out the 3 meant only 3 notes total. I thought surely it must be 3 notes at a time? Nope. Unbelievable to think that’s all it was.

I do agree with Toby that adding longer pauses would add interest (would not have thought of that myself though).

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@sairfingers thanks Gordon. It made a big difference to being able to focus on trying to make use of bending and vibrato as well as mixing up the note lengths, rhythm of phrases, and just trying generally to get more of a vibe going than when playing up and down the neck and worrying about the scale patterns and notes.

@TheMadman_tobyjenner thanks Toby. Good call on letting notes ring still longer, deeper breathes. I am still inclined to want to keep these recordings below three minutes but am not doing well in that regard. As for your BT, fast and furious, as well as funky.

@adi_mrok thanks Adrian. The approach is Brian’s from ActiveMelody and works a treat. Delighted to hear you hear some improvement in technique. I think having a pedal in front of the looper and into a clean amp delivered a much better overall sound than when dialing the lead tone into the amp and then cleaning up the sound using guitar controls. I haven’t noticed it being especially easier to play. Certainly more comfortable from a weight and body shape perspective. And I think overall the quality of pick-ups and electronics is better than the model Epi I had. I do notice that difference between the pickup selections, coil-tap, and tone control.

@Notter @Eddie_09 thanks Mark and Eddie, glad you enjoyed it and chilled was the aim.

@jkahn thanks JK. If it sounds better then it is better … hmmm … not quite the rule but I think it works :grin: And the real kicker on this exercise is to include the bend, so you have four notes using two strings, two frets, two fingers. And can anchor the index finger on the 5th fret, which helps. I also agree with Toby and didn’t consider it :laughing:


I acquired another 3 BTs from YT so now have around 40 minutes to jam over with this 4 Note Noodle :rofl:

This may suit you. Still funky but a bit more laid back. [Backing Track] Funk / bpm 90 / Am7- D7/ for guitar - YouTube

Good to explore different styles, :sunglasses:


Hi David,
Good on you for setting yourself this ‘limitation’ of a few notes, :sunglasses:…it’s the best way to move forward with these lessons/stuff,…becoming better with little than too much variation is what we often hear from Justin. …i try to limit myself too, but that’s so hard when you’re going and going on :innocent:,…the first time after your surgery i said your video wasn’t too long and you thought that that was just nice given the circumstances,…but it wasn’t,i meant that,…this one could be a little shorter :blush:
Greetings and go one with the fun :guitar: :sunglasses:


Hi David. The time/length factor has nothing to do with the skills on display. I feel that due to the number of posts on the forum nowadays, no more than 3 or 4 minutes is a realistic time to expect people to watch anything.


Hi David, I think this sounded really cool! You were into it, feeling those few notes and the rhythm you were playing them at. Bravo! :blush: :raised_hands:

I’ve had a go at playing over your backing tracks Toby. They’re a bit too funky for me but fun nonetheless. :smiley:

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Was just about to plug in and have a James Brown moment ! :rofl:

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