Should I follow the chord progression?

So I’ve been trying to learn theory on and off (for quite a while) and have some scales memorised but what I usually tend to do when I try to improvise is to just go with what I feel and think will sound good and ignore the scales I memorized… Most of the time it works but I also get some bad notes here in there and it gets repetitive sometimes

My question is for example I have a progression of I-IV-V in G major

I will use G major to improvise on that progression. Should I follow the progression while I improvise (meaning using only I-IV-V positions and follow the progression while I improvise) or should I use all 7 position (as what is in the 7 factor course) and improvise randomly using all 7 positions?

Sorry for the example but I want it to be as simple as it can be


When I’m soloing I tend to “forget” what I’ve learned. Haha. But I guess that’s where the muscle memory from your practice kicks in. In a sense, I always go for what I hear rather than what I see or memorized.

Primarily, I visualize the fretboard in intervals rather than full scales. From what I notice, when I see the intervals I somewhat can hear or “pre-hear” what it will sound like. But just a note, I’m slow in this that’s why I asked in one of the topics I created on how I can easily visualize full scales. So my thought process is, when I wanted to be more melodic, extend or superimpose a chord I visualize via intervals but when I want to play fast I’ll visualize via full scales.

In regards to the soloing/improvising, if the progression is diatonic and possibly blues or rock in genre, then I’ll go for 7 positions but starting and/or ending my note in one of the triads of the next chord. For example we have a G-C-D progression in G major. I’ll use G Ionian 7 positions for the whole progression but everytime we switch chord I’ll hit the root or the third or the fifth. If the genre is jazz, fusion or I somewhat wanted to have more of a different sound or personalized touch for each chord then I’ll think about every chord or follow the progression and possibly change scales as I go along. For example, we have G-C-D, maybe on G I’ll start on a triad and continuously hit the major second to have a Gadd9 sound, then when C comes in I’ll play a C triad then add a flat 7 to have a Mixolydian sound, then when D comes in I’ll play Mixolydian scale too. The overall vibe I’m giving for the whole progression is somewhat blues or jazz blues.

Again, it always depends on the players goal or the sounds you hear in your head. Following the progression and/or not following the progression is just a thought process on how you’ll get ths sound you like. From what I noticed, this is generalization and not necessarily true, but for rock and blues they tend to go by positions while jazz and fusion players tend to think by following the progression.

Apologies if this is confusing.


Also, I would like to suggest @kiko Youtube Live #13 - How to apply the modes (advanced). He discussed there the options you have when soloing a particular progression. For the YouTube live, he used a progression from Sertao from his latest solo album, Open Source, as an example. You can also checked the topic I opened in this forum in regards to this live. The title of the topic is plainly Kiko’s Youtube Live #13.


Thanks for the reply man it helps

Yeah I also think it muscle memory plus having the note/sound imbedded on my head due to repetitive use/practice that helps

What I think I am doing is instead of visualising I am trying to feel the music (if that makes sense?) when I try to improvise… Is it a bad thing? I don’t know but what I can say is ever since I started the 7 factors and complete workout I’m starting to see improvements but I still have a long way to go…


@hezetabry yes, somehow after playing the shapes/positions of a scale and its intervals several times, we remember it; thus when playing or improvising we can now somehow know how to play the sounds in our head. :slightly_smiling_face:

I guess it’s not a bad thing in feeling it rather than visualizing it. I believed I watched somewhere that somehow too much visualization impedes or hinders our execution of the sounds in our head. This is because when we visualize too much, we also rely too much on the shapes. Unlike, when you’re feeling it then somehow you’ll be dictated by the sounds you hear then translate it, through numerous practice, in the fretboard.

Yes, me too! A big revelation to me was the workout strategies fundamentals and out of the plateaue. :slightly_smiling_face:


Great discussion here. I think this Saturday 20th I could approach this topic and show different possibilities
See you guys this Saturday


Wow! Thanks a lot @kiko! Looking forward to it! :slightly_smiling_face:

A bit late to the discussion here and I am sure Kiko has answered your question during you session way better than me.

When working on a new chord progression I initially stick to the diatonic scale and get used to the track. Also I find improvising on one string to start with forces you to stay melodic. Once you’re used to the track try focusing on the key tones for each chord when they change, 3rds, 7th but also 5th. Map out the key tones. Once you’re comfortable with all of the above then maybe look at different modes over the chords.

Some ideas.

Yes!! I agree 100%! Thanks!!

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Thanks Kiko. Hope you’re well!