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Thread: What's the Step between Learning Scales and Improv Soloing?

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Nashville, TN


    There's a good post on this subject over on the always-reliable

    "Talent is just a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do." -- Bob Ross

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Oop North in England


    Good thread.

    I have taken grade exams for recorder and always found practising scales and arpeggios, which were necessary for the test, to be a somewhat sterile exercise. Playing melodies is much more productive as far as I am concerned.

    Song tunes are a good place to start, but also look for tunes that are written purely as instrumental pieces as they often have a different shape and can introduce other aspects of playing.

    I tend to improvise by starting with a fragment of melody (aka riff) and exploring its possibilities to see where it took me. I've not done that with the uke as I am too busy getting chords down and haven't explored its melodic possibilities beyond picking out basic tunes of songs I am learning so I can get the melody for the song right.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    You Tube Channel:

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Carlsbad California


    To get started try learning the basic patterns for the major and minor pentetonic scales. Start with the root note (if you're playing in C start on C) and play any of the notes in that pattern. Just play them in any order you want and start to listen to the progression. As you play the notes in the pattern you will begin to FEEL when the notes should change...start from there and you will get it...

    Go to YouTube and search for slow backing track in C and start practicing...have fun


  4. #44
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    National City, San Diego, California


    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele JJ View Post
    There's a good post on this subject over on the always-reliable


    Thank you SO much for this resource!!!!!! they view jazz the way i do! a Feeling!

    I took a jazz and blues almost history type class in college, and first day the professor asked What's Blues, and this uptight chick in the front row answered blahblahblah 12 bar blues blahblahblah. And i was Immediately irritated with her because of her Absolute tone she spoke with, because Music isn't about 'intellectuals' discussing it after, its the Feeling- it the Heart

    I recommend that link Ukulele JJ posted!
    Mango Lanikai LU-21p, Pineapple Soprano (picture)
    Korra KPK Solid Wood Acacia Concert (pictures)
    Ukulele simply makes me smile. :]

  5. #45
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Irvine, CA


    I've been playing ukulele for 10 years, ever since I was 6. For me, it was learning how to "feel" the song. Like, how many notes I should play during a run and how I should play them. Before, I would usually play a ton of notes because I wanted to show the audience that I was a legit soloist. Then I realized that it sounded like crap. Learn how to play your notes in moderation. Another important thing to know is how to attack the solo. Sure, picking notes is alright, but don't forget you can do a lot of stuff with those notes. You could do hammer-ons and pull-offs, bend the note, slide into the note, pick two notes at the same time...the list goes on and on.

    In conclusion, I think the step between learning scales and improv soloing is learning how to understand how the song works and then using the proper "attack" with your scales and playing techniques.
    Mililani, Hawai'i // Irvine, California
    UC Irvine c/o 2018
    Yes, of course you should watch Shigatsu

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Oak Park, Illinois


    As all your responses may suggest, there are many paths to all the varied destinations. But, the only answer to your question is once again summed up in the old joke:

    So the tourist asks the fireman "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" and the fireman says "Practice, practice, practice."
    If everybody wanted peace instead of another TV, then there would be peace.
    -John Lennon-

  7. #47


    I am probably repeating some of what has been said of my old music teachers taught me to play any note on your instrument then sing a short melody starting with that note. Play the note again and then try and play the melody that you sang on your instrument. Do this over and over, starting on different notes and playing different melodies. Eventually you will be able to play whatever you can hear in your head (which is what improvisation is). It takes time and is initially a little frustrating but it is one key that can open the door.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Roanoke, Virginia USA


    Quote Originally Posted by Uke Whisperer View Post
    I am very far away from there, but I will share something that seems to have helped me. Perhaps some of the experts (all those that have replied are included as are many, many more).

    I have a large diagram (looks like a giant organization chart [somewhere about 6 ft long) of "common" and some "un-common keys" spaced across the top. Under each key I have a side by side list of all chords in those keys. Below each chord name I have a copy of a fret board showing note locations, strings and fingering of the chord above. Below the fret board, the strings continue and I have the note information of each string for the chord being played. This may seem weird and may not help your, of anyone else’s need, but it helped me learn relativity of keys, chords, fingering and notes.
    Wow! It sounds amazingly helpful. Any chance that you have it or any parts of it available to share electronically?
    Just an old dog trying to learn new tricks . . .
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