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Here's a cool concept that I'd learned from Pat Martino. He's not the only one to use this idea ... John Coltrane has used it as well. It's really good for improving your improvisational technique, and it has a brain teaser as well.

Take any scale, and match the notes within the scale to the alphabet ... European alphabet in this case, but feel free to transpose it to any alphabet of your choice. Match the notes to a letter in a cyclical, repeating fashion, until the alphabet is complete. Here's an example in the key of C:

C = A
D = B
E = C
F = D
G = E
A = F
B = G
C = H
D = I
E = J
F = K
G = L
A = M
B = N
C = O
D = P
E = Q
F = R
G = S
A = T
B = U
C = V
D = W
E = X
F = Y
G = Z

Now, spell words and phrases using the alphabet, and play the corresponding notes in whatever time or feel that you want. If you want to say, "I'm feeling the blues today.", then you play the notes of the scale according to the letters of the alphabet. What makes it even more fun, is that you can add accidentals, (sharps and flats) as you see fit! Bend, slide, glissando ... whatever you need to make your statement, while saying a sentence, or a full blown paragraph or soliloquy, based upon how you feel at any given time! If you get to know this system really well, you can speak poetry through your improvisation! And, there's still more! You can transpose this system into ANY given scale ... melodic minor, harmonic minor, symmetric diminished, whole tone ... ANY scale works with this, in any given key! Granted, you have to REALLY think about what you want to play and how you're going to play it, but it is a very good workout for coming up with original lines that only YOU can say! You won't sound like anyone else, and you will come up with your own original style of phrasing ... GUARANTEED!

We all know ... at least really good improvisational players know ... that phrasing is the most important aspect of playing a good solo. With this technique, you will be able to stand out above everyone in how you say what you want to say, in a way that NO ONE ELSE can say it! Practice with a metronome or a drum machine, and get those licks down, and then ... with A LOT of practice ... you can say what you mean in your soul, through words, translated to music! Thank you for reading this post, and keep practicing!

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Replies to This Discussion

awesome!

this is great...I will try it today

:)
Thanks Carly! Here's another tip ... this formula can be used with numbers, too! Think Pi ... have fun!

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