If you want to step up your game a bit, and take your playing to a new level (both for writing and for jamming), you may want to consider writing some riffs.
Riffs are the basic part of every song. In fact, they are what makes up each and every song that you have ever heard (so long as it includes guitar).
In this article, we will talk about how to improvise with riffs.
So how do you improvise with riffs? Well you may be surprised, but back before the creation of Guitar Pro, guitarists actually had to sit down and write music using their guitars. Crazy, right? But honestly, this is how improvising works; take an idea and running with it, not sitting behind a computer and clicking a piece into existence. If you are used to doing this, then you are going to have to change a bit in order to successfully improvise.
You don’t necessarily need to have some grand scheme to sit down and improvise riffs; in fact, many guitarists just sit down and let themselves play. This is very helpful, as it allows you to take what you have learned and play it in different ways without consciously thinking about doing it.
For instance, you may have a really cool melody that you love, but it may not sound good as a riff. If you sit down and just mess around with it, you may find that moving it to another string or playing it in another way makes it work perfectly.
Well, there is no right or wrong way to improvise, unless you are using a computer program to write what you are improvising; that isn’t improvising. That’s using a computer to write what you can’t yet play and then forcing yourself to learn it.
This has its benefits, but it also has a lot of downsides, one of which is creating the inability to actually write music with your mind and not with something preset and clickable in front of your face on a screen.
This means that if you are ever without a computer or a tabbing program, you may not be able to write anything. This is the equivalent to a writer’s block, only you aren’t blocked because you are out of ideas, but simply because you never learned to use the ideas that come into your head in their natural form.
In the end, there is absolutely no way that you can go wrong learning to improvise riffs. Simply sit down, plug in, turn on your amp, and start playing. You may be surprised by what comes out when you really let yourself go, but that is part of the creative process that most of us like best; that feeling of being taken away by an idea, riding it until it is whole.
If you feel tempted to use the computer, stuff the feeling; it’ll only hinder you later on. If you like something you’ve played, be sure to either make a scratch recording or tab it out in shorthand. Have fun, and good luck!
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