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Good books about (advanced/fusion) improvisation

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by c_tecks, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. c_tecks

    c_tecks TDPRI Member

    Sep 7, 2020
    Hi all,

    I've never been really good with improvisation, but I do have some basic understanding and ability to improvise.
    Right now I'd like to focus on it every day, because I really enjoy the ride to learn this.

    I'm personally interested in more advanced and fusion related playing like this:

    For example on 0:40 in that YouTube clip, that's something that interests me.
    Sounds like he's playing a few seconds one fret too high on purpose to get that tension.
    I'd like to understand how I should see this from a theoretical perspective and how I can put things like that in my playing.

    Now my question is do you know any good books that explain some theory or show how I can play certain things?
    I'm especially interested in the more complex way to break out of the standard ii-V-I Ionian-dorian-mixolydian playing where we're actually just playing the same notes from one scale.
    I'm able to play scales such as all the modes, pentatonic scales and blues scales.
    I'm ok with using them but still have to work on them for sure.

    One thing that's on the list to learn is the diminished WH and HW scales to accompany the diminished chords.

    Any good tips for books is highly appreciated.
  2. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2011
    europe endless
    I'm no expert, but if you like those licks, then slow them down and transcibe them, steal them, know where to use them. Eventually using only fragments or the general motions will seep into your playing so that you're not just regurgitating them.

    They all seemed like they were doing things with mostly pentatonic and dorian as home base, but adding in passing tones or as you noticed, "side stepping." I think if you have a basic grasp of diatonic and pentatonic improvising, it's within your reach.

    I have banged my head against the wall with jazz theory education for a long time, understanding it on paper, but always having trouble actually getting the spicy stuff under my fingers. Of course, there are all sorts of chromatic enclosure or passing tone exercises, and there's even some stuff out there about side stepping. But I think a problem with them for me was that they're general exercises for all jazzers, and trying to figure out fingering or not using them in context gets in the way of moving quickly or recalling them quickly. Hard to register/hard for my brain to latch on to like that.

    I find it a lot easier to get that sort of stuff under my fingers by transcribing guitar players, because things are phrased in a way that's friendly to us, and a lot of times you can just straight up steal the fingerings. Of course it's good to transcribe horn players or piano players too, and that can lead to more interesting lines, but it's easier to start developing a vocabulary with guitar transcriptions. You can develop a lot of material just by making little changes to others' lines. I made more progress in a few months transcribing stuff from the incredible jazz guitar of wes montgomery or smokin' at the half note than i did in some years of studying things on paper.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
    c_tecks likes this.
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