The ability to jam over backing tracks (or even with a live band) probably gives me more satisfaction, guitar-wise, than anything else. Sure it takes some time to master, so that is why I like to encourage my students to start at the very basic level, usually with a guitar improvisation lesson in the e minor pentatonic scale and build up their fretboard knowledge slowly but surely.
Whilst considering another special edition on improvisation, I recorded a backing track to begin planning a series of lessons. When I started messing about with some riffs, I found myself playing something that sounded like Sultans of Swing, which gave me an idea.
Why not play some other famous licks and riffs that will fit over the backing track, even if they are in a different key to the original and link them together, so they can be played one after the other. Following a bit more twiddling, I also came up with the idea of including Black Magic Woman and Phone Booth – well versions of them anyway.
The beauty of the backing track is that it has a swing feel to it, so the phrasing and feel of the licks will differ from the originals and stretch your mind and make you think outside the box. I have tabbed the licks, but the way I teach them are only suggestions; so add your own phrasing, sounds and energise using your own style. And, as with all these types of lessons, it will keep on training your muscle memory. This is cool.