Become great at Improvisation Pt.4 – Groups of 4

05 Dec

Hi there,

Thanks for reading my blogs,

So far in this improv series we’ve learned the essential scales that you’ll want to use to improvise with. The last blog introduced a great exercise to integrate with the scales in order to start randomizing the scales. One of the challenges of improvising is to
not sound ‘scale like’ which is why lots of interesting patterns will help solve that issue.

In the last blog we looked at ascending and descending through the scales using groups of 3. Now we can have a look at Groups of 4. You can think of it in 2 ways:

  • Playing 4 notes from the first note of the scale, then 4 notes from the second note of the scale and so on
  • Playing 4 notes, then go back 2 notes and then play the next 4 and so on.

With these patterns it may take a little while to get used to them but after you get the pattern you can then apply to all shapes and scales.

Here’s the 1st shape of the A minor pentatonic using groups of 4: (you can click on the picture to bring up a larger version)


Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:

Here’s the 1st shape of the A major pentatonic using groups of 4:


Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:

Remember to practice these patterns with all shapes and keys. It’s also very useful to play these along to a metronome or drum machine and gradually increase the speed once the accuracy is there. Go for crotchets then quavers, semi quavers, triplets etc.

Hope you’ve found this blog useful – in the next few chapters we’ll look at hammer on’s, pull off’s and string skipping

You can find other excellent free info via Js Music School on twitter. @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic

Many thanks



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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Improvisation


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