Home Alt Forums Daily Practice Routine #1 How To Improvise Over a Major Scale??

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    Hey Johnny, I guess you’ve been real busy on lots of stuff but wondering how far away the new lessons might be. I have been making improvisation part of my warmup by just making up small melodic ideas with a scale and building on that with variations using quavers, crochets and repeating notes. It’s pretty cool when you can tell little stories that sound good but the only trouble is I make up a nice combination but cant remember it the next day. I took to recording them so I could try and play it again by ear.

    Question: I have found the blues scales are much easier to do this with and when I use a major scale, apart from there just being more notes, the ability to make a logical melodic idea seems harder so is this to do with ‘wrong” notes and “right” notes and the correct combinations of these? I gather this might be all answered in the upcoming lessons.


    You’re on the right track Dazza. I’m partial to blues scales as well but as you’ll see with the major scale improve course, it will open up a lot more things for us to play with. As great as the blues scales are, sometimes they either just don’t work over something or they limit us and so getting good with them AND the stuff you’ll learn with the major scale will make you ready for just about anything!

    I would have had it finished and available already but some things came up, the biggest was some required updates for the site which turned into a whole new theme upgrade and revamping of the site which is what I’m in the middle of now. It’s hard to predict how long these things can take because I’m working on it every day plus I have to hire out some technical work to others and have to wait on them etc. Anyway, you will see the fruits of all this work in the coming weak or 2 (fingers crossed). As soon as all is running smoothly again the first thing I will wrap up is the Major Scale Improve Course. Which by the way will be using “What Does It Take” as our working example.

    Michael Bishop

    Hey Dazza–I was having the same problem that you speak of regarding coming up with some cool licks/riffs in improvising only to forget them the next day–it is super cool and great fun when we come up with a lick/riff that works and we can call our own; not so fun when we forget what those licks were the next day though like you so well said…it’s frustrating regardless of what scale we’re working in. I’ve been working on the Green Onions in 2 different keys with a goal to really emphasizing those key notes that Johnny speaks of in Killer Blues and so I started keeping some blank sheet music paper next to me on the desk or somewhere close to me so that I can jot down a lick/riff that sound good and works–cheap and efficient way to help us remember those licks/riffs.

    I’m so thankful that Johnny is coming out with another Blues course–combine that will the Killer Blues he already has and that’s A LOT to take in, but that’s all the much better too. If you look on youtube for videos dealing with Improvising, you’ll find videos on where they will show you the scale, tell you what it is, etc. but they leave it at that. They don’t break it down and show you how to apply those things in your own playing like Johnny does.


    One thing that I think is awesome to do in a major song is something you can do at the end. If you’re in the key of “C” for tenor or whatever, and the band or track ends on the Bb concert chord, an awesome note sequence to do is to play the third, then go down to the minor third, major second, and then end on the tonic. The notes in “C” would be E, Eb, D, C in a sort of quick sequence. It’s different than just playing the pure major stuff, and it sounds really cool! 🙂


    ya good one… you can even add the Db between the D and C and make it a chromatic run.

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