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I feel like I need to take the next step with my improv. Right now, I really base everything off of the blues scales, because that is all that I know. After a while, my solos become predictable. I know there are other things to incorporate other than blues scales! Unfortunately I don't know what to do. Do you have any suggestions?

How can I take the next step?
 

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You will get three answers to this question - transcribe, study theory and practice your @$$ off.

These, along with playing with as many people as possible, are the correct answers.
 

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Arpeggios
 

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Take a note out of the scale...then a different note...
 

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Right now, I really base everything off of the blues scales, because that is all that I know.

How can I take the next step?
I'd suggest learning chords and some basic chord progressions. Start with the blues, especially since you already know the blues scale. The next step would be to learn to sound the harmony by using certain chord tones and then learn how to incorporate the blues scale effectively.

Check this link out for a start on the blues. The blues is the foundation of jazz, also, so this doesn't just apply to the blues/R&R players:

http://www.saxontheweb.net/Rock_n_Roll/
 

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I feel like I need to take the next step with my improv. Right now, I really base everything off of the blues scales, because that is all that I know. After a while, my solos become predictable. I know there are other things to incorporate other than blues scales! Unfortunately I don't know what to do. Do you have any suggestions?

How can I take the next step?
As an initial step to spice up your blues improv (assuming you're playing over a standard blues progression), incorporate the major third of the tonic chord instead of the "blue" note of the scale (i.e. the minor third of the tonic chord).
 

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You could probably also profit a lot from online lessons. From my personal experience, I can recommend you Steve Neff and Bob Reynolds.
 

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I feel like I need to take the next step with my improv. Right now, I really base everything off of the blues scales, because that is all that I know. After a while, my solos become predictable. I know there are other things to incorporate other than blues scales! Unfortunately I don't know what to do. Do you have any suggestions?

How can I take the next step?
The next step is language.

Find some solos you like, and learn one measure at a time. DO NOT opt for transcribing full solos, just learn some cool lines you like, and get it down to be able to play it along with the record.

Your problem is a lack of information in your playing, lack of vocabulary just like my own playing over b5 chords, I enter a predictable set of phrases, so inorder to break that, I have to dig into the records and find a tune that has that progression then learn what guys play over that, and what they DONT play over that.
 

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Kind of depends on how you think and hear music. Can you hear/sing what you would play? If not, then you're playing mechanically. Doing exercises that replace one mechanical device with another isn't improvising, it's just another form of painting/playing by the numbers. If you want to be able to play what you'd like to hear then this requires becoming "one with your instrument". There are lots of ways to do this and some achieve this via mechanical means, but that can be a long way around (check out other similar posts for more info).

If all you can hear in your head are blues scales, then it's like saying your sick of eating hamburgers. What's the solution? Stop eating hamburgers! Listen to, and get into, other types of music. Transcribe (preferably by ear) and incorporate whatever you like and try to sing whatever phrases/melodic lines you want to play. If you can't hear them in your head, don't expect much to come out of your fingers. You still need to have technical skills (be able to play in all keys) with some dexterity.

The mistake to be avoided (IMHO) is to approach everything as though it can be fixed by a mechanical prescription. Improvisation, if it's good, always comes from within. This requires ears that are trained as much or more than fingers and your instrument becoming your voice. Seems obvious that one can't sing if you can't hear in your head what you intend to sing. Same is true for improvising convincingly with an instrument.
 

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The mistake to be avoided (IMHO) is to approach everything as though it can be fixed by a mechanical prescription. Improvisation, if it's good, always comes from within. This requires ears that are trained as much or more than fingers and your instrument becoming your voice. Seems obvious that one can't sing if you can't hear in your head what you intend to sing. Same is true for improvising convincingly with an instrument.
I totally agree with this, Wade (and everything else you said). However, I think it's helpful and important to have some knowledge of chords and harmony for anyone who wants to improvise music. Maybe that's the 'mechanical' part, but you need some tools and a canvas to start with.

The OP says; "Right now, I really base everything off of the blues scales, because that is all that I know."

That's a direct quote, and I salute him for giving us a specific idea of where he's at now (I wish everyone who asks for help here did this). The blues scale is a very useful tool, but as you say and he realizes, by itself it's very limiting. He asked for the next step. Maybe I'm taking it too literally, but if he ONLY knows and uses the blues scale, then I'd say the next step is to learn some chords and harmony. That can help spark some of the creativity you refer to. It's hard to improvise in a vacuum. At least imho.

I would add to learn some tunes, but I think someone else mentioned that above.
 

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Instead of launching into YABBS (yet another blues scale solo), lead off your solo with the melody of the song. Then start to embellish it. Then depart from it here and there. And when you are improvising away from the melody it is very cool and often startling when you return to it for a while.

Another melody trick (which must be used like some spices in cooking) is quoting from other melodies (or famous solos) with a similar chord structure. Do NOT overdo this, but done sparingly it shows that you've done a bit dues paying.
 

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After working for many years to become a better improvisor and failing (nothing "stuck" except blues scales), the only thing that has really worked for me is stop trying so hard and instead focus more on improving my sound. It can be boring (at first) frustrating, defintely difficult and requires blind faith and perseverance. The idea that improving your sound somehow makes you a better improvisor also doesn't seem to make sense at first, but eventually it does. That's really the only thing that has made me a better player. Sorry, but there is no shortcut. Eventually you'll enjoy working on your sound more than practicing improv, and that's when the improv happens, that's when it improves. Music is weird.
 

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Two good books I've found helpful. For the theory aspect- The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine, and for chord study and learning to actually read chord nomenclature is Patterns for Jazz by Jerry Coker.
 

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Hey dunkit, are any of these suggestions getting through? Sometimes it helps to follow up and let us know if we're addressing your issue or if you need to clarify your question.
 

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What style do you want to play?
Scales are important, but if you tend towards R'n'R, you can get a long way with blues scales, but you have to work on a special sound a lot. If you want to play Funk, you won't achieve funkiness with scales, you will have to work on syncopation, articulation and 16ths-feel. Most people seem to assume that you want to learn Jazz, and learning Jazz is probably the best foundation for any improvised style, but don't think that you have to do everything in a certain way. Listen to your idols and try to find a sound that you like. Unless you have a teacher you will have to find out on your own what practice is most beneficial to you.
 

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Don't play a blues 'scale'. Tell a story.
 
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