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Thread: Improv From Scratch

  1. #1
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Improv From Scratch

    I am posting a series of videos aimed at players who dont improvise but want to learn. So far there are 8 videos with more on the way. The first is here:

    https://youtu.be/1_e9m-KqsBE

    My suggestion is watch them in numerical order as they tend to build on each other. If anyone has questions, ask them here and I will attempt to answer.

    This series would also probably help folks who are not happy with how their improvising sounds now.

    Have fun!!!
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  3. #2
    Registered User Toni Schula's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Improve my improvising, that's what I need.
    Thank you Pete, that sounds very promissing! I'll start with the videos right after work.

  4. #3
    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Thank you, Pete! I go to jams frequently and really want to be able to do a simple improv. I am learning to pick out the basic melodies by ear but this sure looks like it will help.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Just started out with video #1 last night. As a hopeless improviser, I found it started off at exactly the right level. Good stuff. Look forward to working through this material. Thanks for your effort here.

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    Registered User LongBlackVeil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    I really need to spend more time with this.

    I cant be sure, because ive never gotten there. But i swear the thing that holds me back the most is fear of messing up. I know what notes to play over which chords for the most part, its just like an invisible wall that keeps me from letting loose.

    It seems, just from watching the first few minutes, that you try to address that
    "When you learn an old time fiddle tune, you make a friend for life"

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  8. #6
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Quote Originally Posted by LongBlackVeil View Post
    But i swear the thing that holds me back the most is fear of messing up. I know what notes to play over which chords for the most part, its just like an invisible wall that keeps me from letting loose.

    It seems, just from watching the first few minutes, that you try to address that
    LBV, I hear this all the time from students. That is why I start with "free" improvising, just making things up playing by yourself, not worrying about fitting in with others. Get some confidence in yourself, then add playing against a play along. After you get confidence with that, then play with other musicians. Kinda ease yourself in...

    Another thing: EVERY improvisor makes mistakes. You just play through it and keep going!!! 2 seconds after your solo is over, the ONLY one who remembers it is you! Everyone else is in the moment, what is happening now.
    Last edited by Pete Martin; Nov-16-2018 at 10:09pm.
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  10. #7
    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Pete, I’ve already been enjoying your chord tone scale ebook. I like theory (surprise, surprise). It helps me understand and remember what I am suppose to be doing. I enjoy the supplement of videos but need that written material to really absorb and internalize things. I just started watching this free improv series and really finding it useful just practicing the ascending and descending CTS played over a chord progression. I am driving my husband crazy but it is definitely helping me. Mandolin is sitting next to me and I grab it and practice them every few minutes, all day. I am gonna keep at it until I really have it under my finger and am able to pick those scales up to speed, within the context of a song, before I move on to video#4. Thanks again!

  11. #8

    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Quote Originally Posted by LongBlackVeil View Post
    I really need to spend more time with this.

    I cant be sure, because ive never gotten there. But i swear the thing that holds me back the most is fear of messing up. I know what notes to play over which chords for the most part, its just like an invisible wall that keeps me from letting loose.

    It seems, just from watching the first few minutes, that you try to address that
    Crashing and burning is, in my opinion, the best way to learn improvisation. There's nothing that gets your attention more than messing up and hearing what doesn't work in the context of an actual jam. Messing up sucks, but everyone does it.

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Martin View Post
    I am posting a series of videos aimed at players who dont improvise but want to learn. So far there are 8 videos with more on the way. The first is here:

    https://youtu.be/1_e9m-KqsBE

    My suggestion is watch them in numerical order as they tend to build on each other. If anyone has questions, ask them here and I will attempt to answer.

    This series would also probably help folks who are not happy with how their improvising sounds now.

    Have fun!!!
    The Master teacher !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  14. #10
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Pete Martin
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    Private lessons in Seattle and Issaquah WA, Skype lessons to anywhere
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  16. #11
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Wow, Pete, that is awesome ... all your videos fit that adjective, but in this case I'm referring specifically to your having given links to the PDFs here in one place. Thank you very much.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  17. #12

    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Quote Originally Posted by LongBlackVeil View Post
    I really need to spend more time with this.

    I cant be sure, because ive never gotten there. But i swear the thing that holds me back the most is fear of messing up. I know what notes to play over which chords for the most part, its just like an invisible wall that keeps me from letting loose.

    It seems, just from watching the first few minutes, that you try to address that
    This is why I am not enthusiastic about the “copy great solos” approach to learning to improvise—especially for beginners—because it puts the focus on achieving a “correct” result. Likewise, the great majority of school time is spent on generating “correct” results. I think the first order of business for improvisers is to abandon “correct” and replace it with “compelling”. Even a train wreck of a solo, if you really commit to it, can be compelling.
    Object to this post? Find out how to ignore me here!

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  19. #13
    Registered User Carl23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Posted in wrong thread, removing. (see post about learning Jazz in the Jazz area)

  20. #14
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Made a few more videos for this series. I suggest working through them in numerical order as they build on each other.

    9) https://youtu.be/XDBCigi4dp0


    10) https://youtu.be/Wysl_X9BkP0


    11) https://youtu.be/FoQ2QAcgRpA


    12) https://youtu.be/wVkOLrTRhdI


    13) https://youtu.be/UHistKbhqUE


    Enjoy!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Improv From Scratch #12 Dominant CTS 2.pdf  
    Last edited by Pete Martin; Mar-14-2019 at 4:31pm.
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    Private lessons in Seattle and Issaquah WA, Skype lessons to anywhere
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  22. #15

    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Thank you, Pete Martin.

    My very personal experience: Forget tabs!!!!!. Tabledit provides a very helpful tool. Go Options, advanced, other options, tick note names instead of fret numbers. Know your fretboard. With note names improvising is much easier. Relations in mind. For help use "The chord Wheel".https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2mggm2
    And great John McGanns' book on Improvisation, inserting scales, Riffs, arpeggios, easy with knowledge about them. https://www.amazon.de/Developing-Mel.../dp/0786650990
    Tef from Jane Austen. Triad blues. I use this to transcribe it into in all keys. The whole piece is basically chords. I use the function "note names" only for all music.

    Of course I also have Pete Martins' wonderful work on this subject, very much recommended. Mandolin and Fiddle Improvisation Using the Chord Tone Scale. Great work!!! Thank you, again, for that one.

    But, one could just simply doodle around the fretboard and do what sounds good.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Werner Jaekel; Mar-17-2019 at 4:00am.

  23. #16
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Had a hard time attaching PDF files for the second set of videos. Ill try again here:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Improv From Scratch #11 Dominant CTS 1.pdf 
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ID:	175579Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Improv From Scratch #10 Dominant Arpeggios.pdf 
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Name:	Improv From Scratch #12 Dominant CTS 2.pdf 
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Name:	Improv From Scratch #13 Improv Against I and V7 Chords.pdf 
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ID:	175581
    -----------
    Pete Martin
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    Instruction books, videos: Bluegrass, Jazz, improvisation, ergonomics
    Private lessons in Seattle and Issaquah WA, Skype lessons to anywhere
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  25. #17
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    #15 Dominant Improv Practice here


    PDF hereClick image for larger version. 

Name:	Improv From Scratch #15 Dominant improv Practice.pdf 
Views:	12 
Size:	140.3 KB 
ID:	176322
    -----------
    Pete Martin
    www.PetimarPress.com www.Jazz-Mandolin.com
    Instruction books, videos: Bluegrass, Jazz, improvisation, ergonomics
    Private lessons in Seattle and Issaquah WA, Skype lessons to anywhere
    Pete Martin Plays Wes Montgomery free download
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  26. #18
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    #16 Surround and Target Notes


    PDF file
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Improv From Scratch #16 Surround.pdf 
Views:	5 
Size:	91.2 KB 
ID:	176326
    -----------
    Pete Martin
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    Instruction books, videos: Bluegrass, Jazz, improvisation, ergonomics
    Private lessons in Seattle and Issaquah WA, Skype lessons to anywhere
    Pete Martin Plays Wes Montgomery free download
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  27. #19
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    #17 M O U S E


    PDF file
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Improv From Scratch #17 MOUSE.pdf 
Views:	10 
Size:	100.6 KB 
ID:	176327
    -----------
    Pete Martin
    www.PetimarPress.com www.Jazz-Mandolin.com
    Instruction books, videos: Bluegrass, Jazz, improvisation, ergonomics
    Private lessons in Seattle and Issaquah WA, Skype lessons to anywhere
    Pete Martin Plays Wes Montgomery free download
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  28. #20

    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Thanks! I need it and will watch soon when I have time. Thanks for reminding users to click the notification bell.

  29. #21
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improv From Scratch

    Missed posting #14, it is here:



    No PDF file for this one.
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    Pete Martin
    www.PetimarPress.com www.Jazz-Mandolin.com
    Instruction books, videos: Bluegrass, Jazz, improvisation, ergonomics
    Private lessons in Seattle and Issaquah WA, Skype lessons to anywhere
    Pete Martin Plays Wes Montgomery free download
    http://www.jazz-mandolin.com/PetePlaysWes.xht

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