Guitar - Beginning to Improvise

Covers beginning to improvise on guitar in a blues context. Over a 12 bar blues in the key of A. Electric and acoustic.
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (111 ratings)
11,656 students
Guitar - Beginning to Improvise
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (111 ratings)
11,656 students
Learn to improvise over a 12 bar blues progression in A
learn to create musical phrases
learn the differences between improvisation and composition
distinguish between guitar licks and scale patterns and improvisation


  • this course will require a guitar
  • an electric guitar is preferable but an acoustic will work with some modifications to the techniques discussed.

This course looks at the basics building blocks of improvisation for guitar. We will use a 12 bar blues in the key of A as the foundation for the lead guitar in this course. The course will be taught on electric guitar but the principles work for acoustic guitar as well. The course is centered around improvising over an audio backing track provided for students. Course content is video and audio. Students with a basic knowledge of Pentatonic Scales should be able to work through the exercises with some improvement in a few weeks. Beginners may take 2-4 weeks before they are familiar with the Pentatonic scales before they begin to advance to a meaningful application of the exercises. Any guitarist who has wanted to try improvisation but was reluctant to try should benefit from this course. The course begins with background information on the 12 bar blues progression and scale patterns on the guitar. The bulk of the course comprises on hands on practical exercises that will improve and encourage your improvisation and creativity on the guitar.

Who this course is for:
  • students should have a minimum of 6 months to 1 year guitar playing experience.
  • students should have an interest in blues guitar or a willingness to learn
  • ideal candidates will have knowledge of pentatonic scales and I IV V chord progressions
  • ideal candidates will be comfortable with playing the chord changes to a 12 bar blues and able to hear when the chords change
  • basic technical proficiency on the guitar will ensure you get the most out of this course. Although anybody is welcome to try.
  • you should be willing to practice at least 20 minutes a day to get the most out of this material
Course content
6 sections • 25 lectures • 1h 26m total length
  • Course Overview
  • What is Improvisation?
  • The Chromatic Scale and Notes on the Guitar
  • The Structure of a 12 Bar Blues
  • THE I IV V Dominant 7th Chords
  • Dominant 7th Chords
    3 questions
  • The 12 Bar Blues Chord Progression
  • Our Backing Track
  • You know the notes, now go find them on the fretboard.
  • The A Minor Pentatonic Scale
  • The Minor Pentatonic Scale
    1 question
  • Your First Try at Improvising
  • Sing away
  • Limiting Note Choice
  • Rhythm Handcuffs
  • Call and Response
  • You say you want a resolution?
  • The Blues note.
  • Putting the right notes over the right chord.
  • Right notes Right Chords Example 2
  • Rinse and Repeat
  • Playing with Dynamics
  • The Major Pentatonic
  • Mix em up!
  • A little flash
  • Position Playing
  • Final Example

Guitar Instructor
Dave Ward
  • 4.2 Instructor Rating
  • 111 Reviews
  • 11,652 Students
  • 1 Course

Guitarist and musican with over 20 years experience playing and teaching guitar. I've been teaching guitar online since 2006. I've recorded music for use in apps, soundtracks and recordings. I run a guitar blog and am currently designing a new guitar teaching website 'Get into Guitar'. My expertise is in blues and rock guitar but I've dabbled in genres from Country and Celtic to Jazz, Funk and African. My YouTube channel 'VideoGuitarLessons' has exceeded 2 million views and counting .