Short improv in A minor pentatonic

So I’ve been inspired by lots of improv and blues posts over the last 12 months so here’s my attempt.

My view:
Pros: I generally like the sound & the bends (they sound in tune to me but might be wrong).

Cons: It’s slow (meant to be but I doubt I can do faster), the timing is off in a few areas, especially the ghost bend at the end. Feels a bit like various licks have been stuck together without much structure.

Appreciate any constructive feedback. Thanks!


Hi Leon,
And again someone is lost forever for the possible interest
to play classical music… have fun with this inexhaustible source of playing…I see some beautiful things happening…

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Well done Leon. I’d suggest using a backing track in whatever key you’re playing. This will help your timing and also engrain the habit of returning to the root note of the Blues track and will give you the structure that you say is missing.


Good job, Leon. Some cool sounding phrases and nifty progression up the fretboard.

The thing I missed most was a backing to give it musical context. Recently, I recorded an improv over a droning G power chord. So it can be from super simple to a 12BB in A.

Then from a structure perspective, I think if you also hung out at certain positions and played a few licks, working in some repetition, and then shifted to the next position, it may help, perhaps more of a structured improv than an exercise in using licks to traverse from one position to the next. Which as I said sounded pretty good and was well done.

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Lots of potential there Leon some nice phrases and the bends seemed ok. I would add my call for a backing track. It puts things into perspective and context. As mentioned it will help with timing and hitting chord tones, which will improve your improve :rofl: A BT will also give you an idea if those bends are where you want them to be, as the won’t clash with the BT progression. If you are interested I can share some YT channels I go to for BTs and many of them are in the 10 minute mark, which is good for practice. Good starter though !

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Nice free form playing! Thanks for keeping things short and sweet as going on too long, even for the most accomplished players can lead to ear fatigue.

It’s not that easy to pull off this sort of thing and something for most of us to aspire toward. I know it is for me. I do this kind of thing to warm up lately, mostly on acoustic because I just pick up the guitar and wail away. The challenge is to stay in time and add some rhythm elements. In my case I want to build the lead sections off of the rhythm elements, using the lead sections as fills and connective tissue. A metronome or drum loop is helpful with this sort of thing, but not necessary if your foot tapping can help keep you in time. There’s no one way to do this sort of thing, but I like what you were after.

EDIT: You inspired me to share my little warm up jam. Cheers!

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You’re on your way Leon. I can’t add to what’s already been said, but I can encourage you to keep going.

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Definitely good way to go Leon, I am also team BT it will make it heaps better both for you and all other folks listening :slight_smile: all the best

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It’s a very good first improv. I like the note selection. I think the small licks and motifs you are using are quite pretty. I like the slowish tempo and for a solo piece with no backing it is enjoyable to listen to. Your extended use of the fretboard is also looking good. Well done!

The biggest problem with it is the timing. CT pointed this out in his post and I want to expand on that a little. There is no obvious beat or tempo to the song. I find it difficult to tap along or sway or nod my head. So when I try to get into the slow groove of the song I just can’t. Some of the phrases seem to end a little abruptly. If the you had let some notes ring out a little longer I think some of the phrases would have sounded better. Also, some of the phrases feel as though they are are coming in a fraction early.

You mentioned that the phrases sounded “stuck together without much structure.” I suspect that it’s mostly because of the timing issues , not the actual phrases.

Watch your left leg as you play. It looks as though you are trying to use it to keep a tempo/beat. But your leg is not tapping continuously! It stops, it starts, it changes tempo. It’s critical to maintain a beat, it’s a very very important part of music. It’s easy to concentrate on playing “the right notes” and lose touch of the underlying beat/tempo/groove.

It’s a difficult thing to do. You are concentrating hard to make sure you are playing the right notes and the licks but the beat is lost. It happens to all of us and it can be overwhelming at first. Stick with it. Try to create a physical beat (foot tapping, nodding, swaying) and maintain it throughout the whole song. It will pay big dividends.

If you played the exact same piece, but it had a consistent beat/tempo to it, I’m sure it would sound a lot better. It really has some hooky licks in it, if you can create a hook then you are doing well!

Good work !

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Thanks for the listen and comments everyone. Some great feedback. I’ll look into recording with a backing track, just don’t know how to technically record me & the backing track at the moment!

@DavidP Good insight, think to a large extent I did see this as an exercise in moving up the neck. I thought it sounded better towards the end when I did “more hanging around” so to speak so suspect you are right on me taking more time in the various positions.

@TheMadman_tobyjenner yes please to the youtube link!

@CT I’m with you on this stuff being inspiring. When I hear someone mixing Rhythm and lead I find it some of the best stuff to listen to. This short piece by Josh Smith always inspires, love how it more a lead with the odd chord fill! Josh Smith - Collings CL - Clean Blues Shuffle - YouTube I tried to learn it from a Paul David’s video but realized I need another 10 years experience! I’m going to give this piece a try with a metronome like you suggest.

@Mat To be honest I kind of figured I didn’t need to think about timing if there was no backing track as at the end of the day without a backing track what am I trying to keep in time with? Would you try to ensure each phrase started on a beat (thinking about it I guess just trying to play more stuff on the beat to emphasise the beat?)? I did notice the leg stop moving watching the vid, I notice it on a lot of stuff, when it gets complex my leg stops and I just go off feel, something to work on. I’ll take the advice and work on this piece with a pulse in the background. When you say some of the phrases come in too early? I guess here you are saying it needs more space between the phrases?

Hi Leon, nice work and as others have said a backing track will make a big difference. There’s always the backing track on the website from Justin’s blues solo module you could work over, although not particularly long.
Nice clean and deliberate intent in what you played, I find I get a little lost from time to time between phrases which I didn’t pick up at all from your recording.

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Lots of good stuff here

and here

Knock yourself out !


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That was nicely done Leon but above my paygrade to be able to pass technical comment. I just know I enjoyed it.

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