Stefan's Improv and Blues Learning Log

I’ve decided to create a learning log for my blues and improv guitar adventure.

Critique is most welcome from members to help improve my freestyling.

In my first video I’ve incorporated the licks from @Richard_close2u First steps in blues improv thread. So thank you for those Richard. I’ve also tried to create a laidback vibe. Bit of an abrupt end on the first video as well. Not sure if this would be classed as blues and please excuse some of the bum notes. :flushed:

I’ve been using the Am pentatonic, incorporating three positions.


Your making the same mistake that most people do when learning how to improvise.
Learn to bend your strings to pitch first. Learning to bend is the most important part that everyone seems to neglect.
It will make a huge difference in your playing both in how it sounds and how your phasing sounds.

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Oh crikey! Thanks Rick, I thought I was bending them to pitch. I’d best go back the the drawing board.

I think you are doing great Stefan!
Work on those bends, it is hard as h*ll and im almost avout to give up :rofl:
Blues suits you just fine!

@stitch a very stupid question Rick… does it have to bent a full pitch everytime??
1/4» and vibrato sounds good too… asking for a friend.

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Have you watch Justin’s videos on using your wrist to bend? You seem to be using mostly you finger.

If you look real closely at your fretting hand you’ll see you tend to bend your wrist backwards when you bend. If you straighten out your wrist you’ll be able to use your hand as a pivit point making your bends easier.

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Bends need to go up either a tone or semitone to sound right. You can do what is called a curl which is usually a 1/4 bend that sounds really nice but is used in a different context.
A bend is a statement it will grab your attention for being great or out of tune.
Justin explains it in this video


Thanks Rick. Yeah allready seen that vid. Yep. I see youre point :grin:

@tRONd Thanks Trond. Yes, they do seems to be. Onwards and upwards.

@stitch Thanks Rick, yes I had watched the videos but I obviously need to revisit them. Thank you for your feedback. I guess this is a downside of self-teaching but thankfully there are people like you out there the help. Thank you, I really appreciate your help.

Hey Stefan - while I agree with Rick on the bends, I would say that you did a great job of using space in that improv. Loved the single note start, that takes confidence!

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Certainly one of the trickiest aspects of advancing beginner / G3 stage Stefan, and as you’ve seen from some of my more recent posts I’m not in any expert position to offer advice, apart from maybe one thing, considering the length of the backing track, perhaps segmenting the time a little and having a slightly higher energy section or two at a couple of points?

Above all I’m here to offer encouragement and also take some tips from your playing here, in particular the use of space and switching positions, not something I’ve dared get to yet!! :rofl:

Good work man.

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Stefan…I’ll just come here to listen and enjoy because Improvisation is not really my cup of tea and I ignore all those cool techniques. This sounds really nice to my ear!

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Interesting log you opened up, Stefan. Hope you don’t mind me just following on here as some future inspiration. Not yet down that path, so I won’t be helpful. But watching progress of others around here is always inspiring. :slight_smile:

I liked your phrasing, the room you gave your lines. :+1: Tone was nice, too.

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Yeah nice one Stefan. Good idea on a separate type log. While I’m here, let me say there’s not enough improv on here anymore. Used to be a while back as a few of us fumbled around. Anyway, enough of that. Keep em coming. I’ll keep listenin :+1:

Good to hear you giving it plenty of space, and taking it slow, rather than stacking notes. Sounds much better. Plus its a better learning method. Some good use of motifs there too, using different octaves.
Also defining your fretboard areas pre performance, as you did, is also a good idea. Provides focus, and saves the temptation of wandering around aimlessly, which rarely works.
Have to agree on the bends I’m afraid. You’re using your fingers rather wrist action》lack of control. Just revisit JG lessons and you’ll sort it with some focused practice.
Keep em coming Stefan. Love listening to others’ improv.

Cheers, Shane

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Thank you everyone for taking the time to listen and for the feedback, it is appreciated.

It is good to get feedback on my bends as I thought I was doing them okay but now I know I’m not and will get back to working on them.

@Notter Thank you Mark. I did think my backing was a bit long but you kind of get lost in it and it goes really quick, until you then see how much you’ve recorded :smiley: and I like the idea of a couple of high energy sections.

@Lisa_S Not at all Lisa, it will be nice to have you following and getting your feedback.

@sclay Thank you Shane, I’d not thought of pre-defining the fretboard before I start. I’ll give that a go. Also I’d like to thank you again for the help and advice you have given me on books and YouTube people and to say that it was watching you play that really inspired my to go down the blues track and want to really get into the improv.


Kudos to you, Stefan, for going off-piste on a freestyle freakout :sunglasses:
Most of us newbies have given it a lash, and even though it is usually not a pleasant experience for the listener- that’s not the point!
It is simply great fun :smiley:
You know yourself that it will just take countless hours of practice to get really good at it, and with the helpful pointers from folk like @stitch et al, you’ll be flying.
Tbh, not hitting the bends properly doesn’t really bother me that much. (My ears are not that attuned or it’s my love of dissonance :rofl:).
For me the low-hanging fruit would be to keep the notes going for longer (till you play the next one), but most of all to practice for hours, but only share a minute or two of improv at a time.
Even 6.49 of Gilmour would be a marathon listen :rofl:
You rock on, bro!

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Nice! Improvisation is mostly about time on task. Practice it everyday and you will see great improvement. This is especially true with bends, vibrato, etc. The thing to nail from the get go for bluesy tracks is a fat, buttery tone. I would suggest rolling back your tone and volume knobs a bit and try the middle pickup position. If you can throw on some slapback delay and/or a touch of reverb, it would go a long way as well. Play on playa!

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@brianlarsen Thanks Brian, it’s always nice to get words from you. Yeah, I agree is it a bit long. I need to learn how to fade in and out the video then I could just pick a couple of minutes that I find the best.

:rofl: :rofl: I don’t even need to read between the lines on that one Mr Larsen. :smirk:

@CT Thank you for the advice Clint. I really do need to start having more of a play with the tones as I’m just okay with it at the moment but know it’s lacking something for me.

Improv is now part of my daily routine and hopefully one day I’ll show up and blow peoples socks off.

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You are in the right headspace and well on your way. :slight_smile:

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Great work, Stefan! Great use of space. Looking forward to where you’re heading!


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