Want to know something I do with my students that helps a lot with improvising?⁠

We take a chord progression with a good few changes in it and workshop a phrase to play over each chord.⁠

By the time we get to the last chord – the student has built a solo to play over the progression.⁠

Once they memorise this solo and all the phrases within it, we’ll workshop another solo for the same progression.⁠

Once that solo has been memorised – we’ll mix them both up.⁠ ⁠

This helps a lot with the students improvising.⁠

I often tell my students that, improvising – the act of improvising a guitar solo, has a misleading name.⁠

The term “improvising” makes you think the guitarist is coming up with brand new things on the spot each time they play an unplanned solo.

This is rarely the case.

Most of the time when guitarists improvise they use the same 25 or so licks again and again – they usually have 3 or more variations of those licks at their disposal, too.⁠ ⁠

This means that rarely do guitarists play new things right there on the spot each time they improvise.⁠

Sometimes they do, but most of the time they rely on tried and tested licks and variations of them.⁠

Building a vocabulary of licks is an important part of being able to improvise.

Rock Guitar Lessons