Bands that Don't Improvise

Jayson

Well-known member
Apparently, Lynard Skynard - according to their new film biography didn't improvise. Anyone find that strange? Well, do you improvise, not improvise - or both - in your band?
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
Lynyrd Skynyrd does not improvise? I think it is strange. How did they develop their songs if they don't improvise?

Anyway, I improvise often, as the band changes the songs.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Worth a watch:

Studio hilarity with pre-written solos.

Haha when he played the solo in D, my wife looked up from playing on her phone and said "Lynyrd Skynyrd they are not." She knows relatively nothing about music, but her ears knew immediately the solo was off somehow.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
While the form and arrangements stay the same, every guitar player I ever played with never played the solo the same way. It might be strikingly similar, but it's not the same all the time. Is that considered improvising?

I don't play my parts exactly the same way. They are strikingly similar, but for instance, sometimes I'll crash at a certain place in a song, sometimes I won't, depending on how the other players are feeling it and depending on my mood too. Is that improvising? It is a little, but I don't consider myself improvising the entire song. Just here and there, but inside all songs. Is that considered improvising? Sometimes I'll get a flash of humor and I'll try and make someone laugh by something I insert into my playing. For sure that is improvising, but the odd little change I make during a transition for instance...that's gotta fall into the improv category too right? Even if the arrangement stays static.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
While the form and arrangements stay the same, every guitar player I ever played with never played the solo the same way. It might be strikingly similar, but it's not the same all the time. Is that considered improvising?
Many guitarists are phrase players. You play the same phrases time after time, and vary the inflection, enunciation, connections, etc.... So you're improvising with a lowercase "i" instead of a capital "I". I've found it to be the same with pretty much every instrument I play, including drums. Off stage and in the woodshed is where my real improv happens.

When I "jam" with others in a jam-band context, I do themes instead of phrases. Themes roughly correlate to modes.. So I'll do 12 bars of Dorian, handoff to the other guitarist, switch to Phrygian when I get the conch back. It makes it seem like I have all these great/diverse ideas when I'm really playing the same pool of phrases in a different mode while varying the cadence/enunciation slightly... Much like the guy in the above video did with G and D, or like the solo handoffs in "Hotel California". Like learning inversions, it's an easy way to make yourself sound like a much better guitarist than you actually are.

Thinking about it, I think that I picked up this trick from Cream's version of Crossroads.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I think "improvise" can mean a lot of things clearly.

For me, I see no problem with it, and actually encourage it as long as it stays tight within the framework of the song we're playing. A guitar player doing a different solo in the same spaces or me playing my fills with different accents or voicing is completely cool in my opinion. Now, if I were to improvise a brand new rhythmic concept or elongate/shorten a part without communication, things can go bad quick. That's the type of off the wall improv I don't totally get down with.

Another meaning I can be okay with as long as the players can hack it is to jam out to a fairly clear concept or progression. As long as you keep things moving into fresh new directions and it doesn't get boring or train-wreck it can be fun to listen to for short periods.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I don't think most bands improvise.

Yes, it was a thing to do in the 70's and some bands made their mark on it (Grateful Dead, Phish, etc). but for the most part, I rarely ever see a band improvise.

Most bands plan out every note in advance and play it the same way every night unless they make a decision planned to chance.

And of the bands I've been in, no, outside of the writing process, there was very little to no improvisation on stage.
 
I don't think most bands improvise.

Yes, it was a thing to do in the 70's and some bands made their mark on it (Grateful Dead, Phish, etc). but for the most part, I rarely ever see a band improvise.

Most bands plan out every note in advance and play it the same way every night unless they make a decision planned to chance.

And of the bands I've been in, no, outside of the writing process, there was very little to no improvisation on stage.
So do you mean that rehearsals are for practising playing together of the premade material? How do bands compose and improve then? FL-Studio + project sharing ?
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
Since I'm pretty much just a church drummer these days, and there are never written drum parts, I improvise a lot depending on how everyone else is playing, what worked in rehearsal and what didn't. Now, once I've settled on a part, I can usually repeat it.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
In just about all bands I'm in outside of church improvise, which usually consists of adding phrases, guitar leads, an extra chorus or two, etc. At church, however, improvisation is not done. We have click tracks with performance tracks running in the background with auditory cues. We are on a tight schedule every Sunday, so we simply don't do anything that we've not practiced.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
So do you mean that rehearsals are for practising playing together of the premade material? How do bands compose and improve then? FL-Studio + project sharing ?
We're talking about on stage.

In a rehearsal room, behind closed doors, away from the audience is another thing.
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
In just about all bands I'm in outside of church improvise, which usually consists of adding phrases, guitar leads, an extra chorus or two, etc. At church, however, improvisation is not done. We have click tracks with performance tracks running in the background with auditory cues. We are on a tight schedule every Sunday, so we simply don't do anything that we've not practiced.
Yeah, at my old church it was that way. Everything had to be played exactly like the recording. If for some reason someone couldn't make it that day, they'd just pump their portion of the backing track through. It was odd seeing an empty set of drums and still hearing the drum parts just as if he was there. So what's the point of having live music?
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Yeah, at my old church it was that way. Everything had to be played exactly like the recording. If for some reason someone couldn't make it that day, they'd just pump their portion of the backing track through. It was odd seeing an empty set of drums and still hearing the drum parts just as if he was there. So what's the point of having live music?
I think someone put it best when they said that so many churches are becoming Elevation cover bands (or Bethel/Vertical Church/Hillsong/Elevation/etc.). It's a lot like that. Our thing is that we have so many musicians, if someone wanted to "change it up," it would throw everyone else off. Like your church, we do the same thing if the bass player calls in sick or something like that. Even still, I think that there's something about having live musicians up front as opposed to a track.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
both of my original bands "improvise" as we write...which drives me nuts. We "noodle" for hours, and sift through ideas, eventually piecing things together. My drum parts really don't solidify until there is a structure down. I feel like we waste a lot of time, but in the end, both bands have upwards of 100 original songs after 5 or so years

guitar solos are almost always improvised, with some of them "sticking", but usually they are different, which I do like. My drum parts stay solid once they settle, but fills will sometimes change up depending on what I have been listening to...

in my surf punk band, sometimes the phrase structures will change on the fly due to state of sobriety in the front 3 guys, and I really have to be on my toes at gigs for this...lyrics will be forgotten, or a verse will start on the and of 2 instead of beat one, or the last 2 words will be left off going into the chorus...a lot of our songs - which are written in 4/4 - end up in some pretty weird time sig shifts as the night goes....
 

Macarina

Silver Member
When you say ‘Improvise’, due you mean make stuff up on the fly or change a song up?
Supertramp was notoriously known when performing live, to sound exactly like their records. While I was ecstatic at that time to hear their hits exactly like the radio... today I‘ve come to appreciate a change in the songs from the artist... just a bit. I could only imagine a long time artist would tire of playing the same way, all the time.

IMO, Doobie Brothers mix it up just enough to appreciate a great song, but played a little different.
 
Top