Creating my own riff library
My New Guitar teacher has given me the task of creating my own Riff library :? , i have come up with a couple, 1 ok 1 quite poor, i've hit a brick wall, all that i do seems to somehow become one of the 2 i've come up with already :x , any hints or tips for me??? :D
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Are you recording your practice? If you don't it is quite easy to lose a lot of interesting riffs. My instructor has had me working on improvising over certain chord patterns with different limitations (one string, only 8th notes, etc) and I was practicing this at home for 10-20 minutes at a time. You don't have to do the limitations thing it's just something I was working on. As you do this improv practice you will repeat the same thing or variations for some of the time but if you press on new ideas will come. Not every repetition through the pattern nor even every day but over time they will and the more you do this the easier it will become. If you record this practice then you can go back and get the good ones.
So, record a chord progression or even just a single chord and loop it (tape, computer, looper, etc) and then work at improvising over top of it and record that improvisation. If you want to direct it then you could even try and imagine an emotion and play that - i.e think sad and play a sad solo or happy or angry.
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I really cant understand the concept of having a "Riff Library". A pre-contrived set of licks as it were. To me, different harmonies bring out different melodic ideas when I solo. I'd rather be in the moment when soloing and simply surrender to the harmony and my emotional state at the time and play whatever pours out of me. *Bold statement alert!* The use of a riff library to me seems just a bit lacking in musical integrity. Especially, (perhaps exclusively) in an improvisational setting.
However, I think that all of us (professionals included) naturally have a bit of a melody library that we use -- at times unconsciously -- out of habit and convenience. I'm sure it can even come in handy most of the time depending on the genre of music you play. I don't think it would be very beneficial in the long run to spend much time on riff libraries though.
But, anyway. Simply, go to one of those backing track sites or put on some of your favorite tunes and start attempting to play what you hear in your head. A thorough understanding of intervals will come in handy here. Then memorize/write down/record/ or what have you the licks that you like, and dispose of the rest.
In an interview once Joe Satriani, when asked what was the best method to practice soloing said to pick a pattern and start playing ... when you play something you don't like, try to never play it again ... when you play something you do like, play it as much as possible...
He gives a nod to both patterns and conscious lick memorization. Two concepts that I am very much against. But, he's freakin' Joe Satriani! Maybe I should reexamine my musical philosophies... :?
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On the other hand I heard that metal fans want to hear the same solo in concert that they do on the record. I have heard that on the jazz side many of Jaco's solos were prewritten and much of his greatness was as a composer in the studio once given the basic track.
Verdine White of Earth Wind & Fire also said he was given the chords and worked out his bass lines in rehersal but once recorded as a profession it was his obligation to play it the same way every time for the fans and he still does 30 years later.
It does seem to be a tool. Something to reach for when the magic of the improvasational spirit fails us. The same as learning a song, just shorter in a way.
On the other hand I heard that metal fans want to hear the same solo in concert that they do on the record.
I can't speak for all metalheads, but i'm about as metal as they come as far as music preference and yes, the solos have a lot more impact for me if they are consistent for the most part. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Rush, Sabbath, Metallica, and mucho more .. wouldn't be the same if the main riffs and solos changed each time you heard them.