How to Master Guitar Improvisation with An Improviser's OS by Wayne Krantz
If you are looking for a way to take your guitar improvisation skills to the next level, you might want to check out An Improviser's OS by Wayne Krantz. This book is not your typical guitar method book, but rather a guide to developing your own unique voice on the instrument.
Wayne Krantz is a renowned jazz-fusion guitarist who has played with artists like Steely Dan, Michael Brecker, Billy Cobham, and John Scofield. He is also known for his uncompromising and original approach to music, which he shares in his book An Improviser's OS.
The book is divided into two parts: the first part contains every possible combination of intervals on the guitar (2048 in total), which Krantz calls \"formulas\". The second part is a dialogue with the author about how to use these formulas to practice improvisation.
The idea is not to learn the formulas as scales or patterns, but to use them as a way of exploring different sounds and possibilities on the guitar. By limiting yourself to a certain formula and a certain area of the fretboard, you are forced to be more creative and expressive with your note choices, rhythms, techniques, and dynamics.
Krantz also suggests recording yourself while practicing with a metronome, and listening back to evaluate your progress. He encourages you to experiment with different formulas, different tempos, different keys, and different styles of music.
The book is not for beginners, as it requires some basic knowledge of music theory and guitar technique. It is also not for those who are looking for quick fixes or shortcuts. It is a book that demands dedication, patience, and curiosity from the reader.
However, if you are willing to invest some time and effort into this book, you will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of the guitar and music in general. You will also discover new ways of expressing yourself on the instrument, and develop your own improviser's operating system.
If you are interested in getting a copy of An Improviser's OS by Wayne Krantz, you can download the PDF version from his website[^1^] or buy the paperback version from Amazon[^2^]. You can also check out some reviews and videos about the book on various guitar blogs and YouTube channels[^3^] [^4^].
But what makes Wayne Krantz such a remarkable improviser? How does he approach the guitar and music in general? What can we learn from his philosophy and practice methods?
In this article, we will try to answer some of these questions by looking at some of the key aspects of Krantz's style and mindset. We will also provide some tips and exercises to help you incorporate some of his ideas into your own playing.
The Importance of Rhythm
One of the most striking features of Krantz's playing is his rhythmic sophistication and accuracy. He is able to create complex and syncopated lines that groove hard and fit perfectly with the drums and bass. He is also able to switch between different subdivisions, accents, and time signatures with ease and fluidity.
Krantz attributes his rhythmic skills to his extensive practice with a metronome. He says that he always practices with a click, even when he is working on harmony or melody. He also says that he tries to internalize the pulse and feel it in his body, rather than counting or relying on visual cues.
Another important aspect of Krantz's rhythmic approach is his use of motifs. He often develops his solos by repeating and varying a short rhythmic phrase, creating a sense of continuity and coherence. He also uses motifs to create contrast and tension, by playing against or across the beat, or by using odd groupings or polyrhythms.
To practice your rhythm like Krantz, here are some suggestions:
Practice everything with a metronome, but experiment with different settings. For example, you can set the click to half-time, double-time, quarter-note triplets, dotted eighths, or any other subdivision. You can also set the click to accent different beats, such as the 2 and 4, or the 1 and 3.
Practice feeling the pulse in different parts of your body, such as your foot, your chest, your head, or your hand. Try to tap or nod along with the metronome without looking at it.
Practice creating rhythmic motifs with different formulas from An Improviser's OS. For example, you can choose a 4-note formula such as 1 b3 4 b6 and play it in different rhythms over a backing track. Try to repeat and vary your motifs by changing the order, direction, octave, or articulation of the notes.
Practice switching between different subdivisions within a solo. For example, you can start with eighth notes, then switch to sixteenth notes, then switch to eighth-note triplets, then switch back to eighth notes. Try to make smooth transitions and keep track of where you are in the bar.
Practice playing odd groupings or polyrhythms over a steady pulse. For example, you can play groups of five sixteenth notes over a quarter-note pulse, creating a 5:4 polyrhythm. Or you can play groups of three eighth notes over a 4/4 pulse, creating a 3:2 polyrhythm. Try to accent the first note of each group to make it clear.
The Power of Simplicity
Another characteristic of Krantz's playing is his ability to create captivating music with simple materials. He often uses only one or two formulas for an entire solo, exploring all the possibilities within those constraints. He also avoids using complex chords or scales that might obscure the essence of the music.
Krantz believes that simplicity is the key to creativity and expression. He says that he tries to avoid using too many options or tools that might distract him from the musical moment. He also says that he tries to focus on the sound and feel of the notes, rather than on their names or functions.
Another reason why Krantz favors simplicity is that it allows him to communicate better with his audience and his bandmates. He says that he tries to play music that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone, not just for musicians or critics. He also says that he tries to play music that is honest and personal, not just impressive or clever.
To practice simplicity like Krantz, here are some suggestions:
Practice limiting yourself to one or two formulas for an entire solo. For example, you can choose a 5-note formula 0efd9a6b88