Here's Why You Can't Improvise & How to Fix It

There are commonly two principle reasons behind why guitar players can't improvise /play solos. In this lesson, we will explore both of those reasons along with ways that you can practice that will aide in fixing them...

Players who’ve learned a few scale shapes and how to start making musical riffs from them already know how difficult it can be.

Leaning to take those scale ideas to the level of improvised music isn't something that is easily done. When first attempted, it may have felt like you were unable to build smooth lines with strong melodic phrasing. If it did, then that's normal. But, with the right practice, it becomes easier.

Not being able to solo very well is one of the most common problems that guitar players experience when they start trying to improvise.

The good news is that there is a path to success with being able to play guitar solos and I’ll be discussing it - in this video...


If you’re a guitarist and you want to learn to improvise and play decent sounding lead guitar, there’s a group of things that you’ll need to be able to do first.

These skills will need developing before you’ll be able to improvise guitar solos. They include;
  • good left and right-hand playing technique
  • a knowledge of the guitar neck’s general note layout
  • a feel for time and an ability to create rhythm
  • melodic knowledge (from other people’s solos)
  • a fairly good ear for musical movement
  • time, dedication, practice and patience

Being able to play a nice smooth sounding melodic guitar solo isn’t something that happens easily for most guitar players. It generally takes time to learn how to do this successfully.

But, out of that soloing skills list (above), there are two other very important elements - that (when focused on intently) will give you the best and the fastest results when it comes to developing the ability to learn how to play guitar solos.

The first thing to understand is that learning to play solos has a lot to do with actually starting out with the practice of writing melodies first. When you stop and consider the whole process, improvisation is nothing more than spontaneous composition.

Start your path toward soloing by first spending time composing melodies. Work with jam-tracks, write your own riffs, and maybe even try using a looper pedal to makeup your own original loops - that you can go over with your own composed – pre-written, worked out melodies.

Once you get going in a decent way for being able to compose well-orchestrated worked out melodies, you’ll discover that improvisation is really just around the corner.

The other area that will help you become a great musical improviser is the study of, “Ear Training.” This means doing a lot of singing.

You’ll need to sing; scales and arpeggios, plus you’ll need to learn to match-pitch to chords and also to fully understand how to recognize the intervals used in our musical language and do it all by ear.

I’m going to leave you with a practice idea to work on. It involves recording a riff and then using a group of just five notes to compose your own original melody.

I’m going to ask that you create an original composed melody using these five notes all based around the key of the chord progression, (key of, "A Minor").

Start by learning the chord progression for this exercise…

After learning the key of "A Minor"  progression shown above, start work on composing a performance piece that contains a few lines of a composed melody that is using the 5 notes (of the "A Minor" scale), shown in the example given below.

 If you’d like to learn more - visit my website and start looking through my Guitar Soloing course. There are 20 lesson plans all with very detailed videos along with PDF worksheets that you can download and print out to start learning more on performing guitar solos.

The lessons on my web-site are all well planned and easy to follow and they all work in a very organized way so that in the end, you’ll increase your knowledge of guitar soloing, and you’ll be able to start incorporating higher end guitar skills for the music that you enjoy.

If you’d like to learn more about topics like this one and many others, join my members site as a free member and start looking through my, “Guitar Courses.”

I’ve spent years creating hundreds of detailed step-by-step guitar lessons for my website members that cover beginner to advanced ideas to help you improve your playing.

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