Only improv.

Guitar Tricks Forum > Songwriting > Only improv.

Registered User

Joined: 03/28/02

Posts: 569

When me and my band get together, we write songs on the spot. For example, last Saturday we had a gig at an Easter party and we threw together a simple chord progression to start - A, E, D, D. As the song went on (while the other guitarist was playing lead), I fooled around with the chords a bit. It ended up Amaj7, E, Dmaj7, Bm7-C#m7. We kept jamming then I got my turn to improvise a lead. This was fine and everyone enjoyed the song and were really impressed when we told them it was made up on the spot.

This is great for live performances, but now we want to make a little cd, since one of our friends has a little recording studio, but we don't have any real songs. Also, I'd hate to record an improvised lead onto a cd, because it's so binding. What should I do? Sit down and write a lead to the songs we do occasionally when we practice (althogh we rarely do a song more than once)? Or just go into the studio with nothing and make it up. The excitement of fully improvised songs is cool, but I want us to sound decent, and songs improvised from the bottom up can be a bit rough around the edges...

#1

When me and my band get together, we write songs on the spot. For example, last Saturday we had a gig at an Easter party and we threw together a simple chord progression to start - A, E, D, D. As the song went on (while the other guitarist was playing lead), I fooled around with the chords a bit. It ended up Amaj7, E, Dmaj7, Bm7-C#m7. We kept jamming then I got my turn to improvise a lead. This was fine and everyone enjoyed the song and were really impressed when we told them it was made up on the spot.

This is great for live performances, but now we want to make a little cd, since one of our friends has a little recording studio, but we don't have any real songs. Also, I'd hate to record an improvised lead onto a cd, because it's so binding. What should I do? Sit down and write a lead to the songs we do occasionally when we practice (althogh we rarely do a song more than once)? Or just go into the studio with nothing and make it up. The excitement of fully improvised songs is cool, but I want us to sound decent, and songs improvised from the bottom up can be a bit rough around the edges...

Guitar Tricks Moderator

Joined: 03/13/02

Posts: 3826

Always sit and think about it or record an improv listen to it and decide what can be done to make it better. Good luck it's a painstaking process.
Magicninja
Guitar Tricks Moderator

"If it feels right, play it. If it feels wrong, play it faster” - Magicninja
http://www.GuitarTricks.com - Home of Online Guitar Lessons

#2

Always sit and think about it or record an improv listen to it and decide what can be done to make it better. Good luck it's a painstaking process.
Magicninja
Guitar Tricks Moderator

"If it feels right, play it. If it feels wrong, play it faster” - Magicninja
http://www.GuitarTricks.com - Home of Online Guitar Lessons

Big as Elvis, Baby

Joined: 11/29/01

Posts: 899

Track 1, Take 99

What you might want to try, is to take some of the stuff you have improvised, edit it down, write an intro, an ending, a bridge, a solo section, whatever, but take the bare bones of the improv, and build a song out of it, practice that, work out the kinks and bumps and then record it. Improvising is great fun, but it's a lot more fun to do, than to listen too. I don't know what kind of goals you and your band have, but building a repertoire of your own material is usaully high on the list. Also once you write out a tune, you can always stretch it out anytime you want, Whatever you do, enjoy it.....

#3

Track 1, Take 99

What you might want to try, is to take some of the stuff you have improvised, edit it down, write an intro, an ending, a bridge, a solo section, whatever, but take the bare bones of the improv, and build a song out of it, practice that, work out the kinks and bumps and then record it. Improvising is great fun, but it's a lot more fun to do, than to listen too. I don't know what kind of goals you and your band have, but building a repertoire of your own material is usaully high on the list. Also once you write out a tune, you can always stretch it out anytime you want, Whatever you do, enjoy it.....

New Member

Joined: 04/17/02

Posts: 8

I agree with a lot of what the others have said Dirt. All I do is track. The most important thing I look for is feel. The all important groove. I recently did a track where I had worked out a partial break and when I tracked it it sounded pretty good, but there was a pretty sloppy run right at the end. As opposed to recutting and taking the chance on losing the feel I let it go. Benoit I definitely agree with. If you have extra tracks dedicated cut several solos, pull from or use the one that seems to feel right to you. Try some improv and some worked out material. Always remember that most of the listeners don't play guitar so what they lock in on is feel. This kind of skirts your question. I hope it helps

#4

I agree with a lot of what the others have said Dirt. All I do is track. The most important thing I look for is feel. The all important groove. I recently did a track where I had worked out a partial break and when I tracked it it sounded pretty good, but there was a pretty sloppy run right at the end. As opposed to recutting and taking the chance on losing the feel I let it go. Benoit I definitely agree with. If you have extra tracks dedicated cut several solos, pull from or use the one that seems to feel right to you. Try some improv and some worked out material. Always remember that most of the listeners don't play guitar so what they lock in on is feel. This kind of skirts your question. I hope it helps

Moderator

Joined: 09/25/01

Posts: 1887

There's a tradition in the south of France on vocal improvisation. A guy has transposed it on the guitar, and he has tunes written out, but he usually divides his albums in 2/3 improvised tunes, and 1/3 jazz standards or written tunes... And he rocks!!!
His name is Sylvain LUC, check him out if you want to hear his stuff http://www.sylvainluc.com
http://www.lalimace.net

#5

There's a tradition in the south of France on vocal improvisation. A guy has transposed it on the guitar, and he has tunes written out, but he usually divides his albums in 2/3 improvised tunes, and 1/3 jazz standards or written tunes... And he rocks!!!
His name is Sylvain LUC, check him out if you want to hear his stuff http://www.sylvainluc.com
http://www.lalimace.net

New Member

Joined: 04/21/02

Posts: 4

If you are going to waste time and money (?) on recording, you might as well be a little prepared. Some of the great songs that have ever came out my have been improvised, but as far as doing a whole thing, it might not be so good.
Be prepared with a certain format, then you can tweak it later..depending on studio time. I was in an original band that would tape EVERYTHING in practice, and just pick out stuff if we liked it, and started praticing it with the new stuff in it.
Good luck.

#6

If you are going to waste time and money (?) on recording, you might as well be a little prepared. Some of the great songs that have ever came out my have been improvised, but as far as doing a whole thing, it might not be so good.
Be prepared with a certain format, then you can tweak it later..depending on studio time. I was in an original band that would tape EVERYTHING in practice, and just pick out stuff if we liked it, and started praticing it with the new stuff in it.
Good luck.