Watch the Chapter 9: Playing Melodies online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar
Songs and melody have everything you need to know about improvisation. All the intervals, scales, arpeggios and phrasing are in songs and melodies. Learning to play melodies in all positions of the neck not only helps you to internalize a particular song, but also is a great way to learn to "sing" with your guitar. In this segment of the course we will apply the same principles to melody that we used to play the major scale.
1. Learn the melody of a song on the guitar. We use the song "All of Me" for our study.
2. Sing the melody.
3. In my opinion, basing solos on melody is the best way to approach improvisation.
4. When learning melodies, try to analyze the melody. For example the first notes of "All of Me" outline a C triad, followed by a fill and a second phrase that outlines and E chord. Next we outline the A7 chord and end on the 3rd of the D minor.
5. Learn to play the same melody in different positions by using the first note of each phrase as a starting point. Finger the note with your 1st finger and play the phrase. This is the same approach we took with our scales and our arpeggios.
6. Next, start the phrase with your 2nd finger and play the phrase of the melody.
7. Next start with your 3rd finger and play the phrase.
8. Finally, start the phrase with your 4th finger and play the melody.
9. Apply this approach to all of the phrases and at all of the starting notes all over the fingerboard.
10. Play the phrases horizontally on each of the strings.
11. Work out the melody in different keys and in all positions.
12. Add expression to the melody by using bends, vibrato and slides.
13. Spice up the melody by adding other notes and expression, which results in an improvised solo based on the melody. The key is to learn a lot of melodies.
14. Another exercise is to pick any note on the guitar and hunt down the melody starting on that different note. This helps connect your ear to your fingers.