Atomic Improv Vol. 1 is the first of six transcription sets (or improv package, as they call it) currently available from Nick Johnston. This set collects transcriptions of 3 different improvisations. All the transcriptions are by Ryan Fisher. This particular volume was released in February 2015.
The package includes:
- Videos of the 3 improvisation (MP4 video files)
- Transcriptions in Standard Notation & TAB (PDF & Guitar Pro files)
- Introduction & Improvisation Insights by Nick Johnston (PDF files)
Improvisation #1 is a mix of legato, sweep picking & tapped lines along with chords breaking the lines. There’s a mix of nice harmonic minor ideas through this improvisation.
Improvisation #2 begins with nice jazzy sounds before going into some virtuosic fast lines and then into an assortment of different minor ideas. As I listened to this improvisation, I noticed many different smaller motivic ideas that would be great to study individually in small fragments.
Improvisation #3 is a highlight of Atomic Improv Vol. 1 (to me at least) as it contains a wealth of hybrid picked and legato ideas. From blues to harmonic minor (and other minor sounds), there’s a lot to unpack here.
All in all, this first Atomic Improv pack is a good collection of ideas for fans of Nick Johnston’s playing.
Pros: Great modern rock & blues based lines, transcribed for study. The additional “Improvisation Insights” PDF is valuable & yes, very insightful.
Cons: Does not include any video instruction or breakdown/demonstration of the lines. This is strictly a transcription pack. However, the additional notes are very helpful to understand the thinking behind the improvisations.
TLDR: If you’re a fan of Nick’s playing, this series provides a valuable tool to dissect and understand his playing.
You can get Atomic Improv Vol. 1 here: https://nickjohnstonmusic.com/atomic-improv
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