Guitar lesson on improvising with emotion, creativity and rhythm to tell a story

SoundCloud link to hear our new episode on improvising with emotion, creativity and rhythm to tell a story. How to express yourself and communicate meaning.

Dan always has such brilliant nuggets of information to share with us and this episode holds some immensely valuable and powerful thoughts and ideas. After a brief recap we have a round of improvisation which leads our discussion to pickup choice and tonal differentiation. Dan shares some ideas about how you can gain different sounds with your technique and touch.

Then we discuss rhythmic motifs and grouping notes to gain interest and be more sensitive to what the track is doing. This leads us to discuss how you must listen actively and deeply to a track to really consider what the tone of the piece is and how the instrumentation of it allows space for improvising. First Dan talks about trying to label the emotion of a track and then he really highlights to me that the main driver of a musician is that they have something to say and want to express themselves through their music.

Dan talks about how you can use  rhythm, volume, dynamics and tone as the vehicle to deliver your story. Phrasing is key but nuance and subtlety can be very effective for really giving the listener something to grasp onto.

My apologies for the slight delay on this episode: sometimes the editing process can be a little more tricky, but I have finally got it to a sound which I am happy with.  I really hope that you enjoy this too.

Timings for the podcast:

00:01:22Brief recap
00:04:09Last couple of episodes we were adding the 2nd / 9th, Blues note and 6th
00:06:33How can we add a little style and technique
00:07:26First round of soloing over the backing track
00:11:12Be your best judge – look at your playing and be honest
00:12:59Pickup choice for tonal differentiation
00:13:53Playing 12 frets higher over the fingerboard to get a clarinet like sound
00:14:47Jingle jangle – play near the bridge
00:15:18changing your pick up is a good way to change your tone
00:18:09Rhythm of playing a melody – grouping notes, Dan demoing a noodling shambles
00:19:12You have got to listen to the track – what’s the track saying?
00:19:24Gary mentioning Dan tells a good story when he improvises
00:20:07Labelling the emotion of a song
00:21:48Funkadelic – Maggotbrain
00:22:25Bowie’s guitarist
00:23:13Tell a story through the guitar melody and improvisation
00:23:33e.g. Imagine you’re in a disaster scenario
00:23:56Think about what you’re playing over and be sympathetic to what you’re playing over
00:24:28Second round of improv
00:31:36Talk techniques next time
00:32:41The main driver of music is we have something to say and want to express ourselves through our music
00:34:01Think of a song like a book – a beginning, a middle and an end
00:34:58Dan’s advice for Gary is to remember that the biggest difference you can make in improvising is through rhythm, volume, dynamics and tone
00:36:37Dan demoing how the dynamics can be controlled by a mix of volume and playing lightly or digging in
00:37:36Use nuance, subtlety and change your tone through your technique – playing softly and disguising the gain
00:38:51Leave yourself headroom and limit your finger noise using the volume knob and nuance in your playing
00:39:55Homework: play over a backing track focussing on volume, subtlety and different sounds
00:41:14Try to tell a story in your playing and practise trying to play with emotion

Please use the timings to visit and revisit this episode

Last ten lessons for new arrivals or those who want to brush up on this content

Curt Mangan Strings / Website: 9 of our older videos – a format we are veering away from to focus on our audio podcast releases.




Keep watching, listening and getting in touch.  We really want to hear from you!

You may want to check Dan Davies out in action.  You can find Dan’s album on Spotify and other streaming music sites, like Apple Music (click the links to take you to his album ‘Flight’)

Enjoy your musical journey and be in touch!

Gary and Dan

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