Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Music > Musician Talk
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 10-06-2013, 07:36 PM   #1
buckmazter
Grimoire
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Michigan
Unhappy Soloing/Riffs using Modes/Scales

So I have been playing guitar for about 14 years so I am not a newbie to terms about guitar and music. When I was in high school I took choir for 4 years and one year of music theory. Awesome classes to take for understanding how music is made. Generally I play guitar by myself, never been in a band, and I record all the time. I use Sonar Producer edition 8 and guitar pro 5 for writing/recording. Lately I have been reading about scales and modes and soloing. My question is, how do you use the chords and scales to create solo's? Am I thinking too hard about this or what? Am I suppose to kind of mess around with them and use what I like to hear or is it easier than that? Could I NOT be as creative as I think I am? Is there a lesson for this that I have not seen that someone found very useful? Any help or advice would be appreciated.
buckmazter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2013, 10:07 PM   #2
deltadaz
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
if you did a year of music theory,
was the major scale and scale/chord harmony not explained
__________________
But this goes up to 11
deltadaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 06:21 AM   #3
steven seagull
not really a seagull
 
steven seagull's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Southport, UK
You're not supposed to "mess around" with them, no.

You're supposed to understand them. Understand how the different scale degrees function, how the sounds work together and then see how those things you've learned apply in the real world by studying music.

Moved to mt.
__________________
Actually called Mark!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
steven seagull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 08:09 AM   #4
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
Use your ears. You don't just want to mess around with the scales and hope for a good result. Experimenting is of course OK but try to think when you play solos/write riffs. Play what's in your head. You should learn about keys. First of all, the key you are in is determined by the harmony. If you know what key you are in, you know what scale to use as the base of your solo. Sometimes playing notes outside of that scale sounds better, sometimes some notes inside that scale sound bad over some chords. You want to learn the sound, not just the fingerings.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Digitech RP355
MXR Micro Chorus
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Hartke HyDrive 210c
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 08:49 AM   #5
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
 
mdc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Do you know what I ii iii IV V vi viio is/are?
mdc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 01:48 PM   #6
HotspurJr
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckmazter
My question is, how do you use the chords and scales to create solo's? Am I thinking too hard about this or what? Am I suppose to kind of mess around with them and use what I like to hear or is it easier than that? Could I NOT be as creative as I think I am? Is there a lesson for this that I have not seen that someone found very useful? Any help or advice would be appreciated.


Develop your ear and your mind-fretboard link, so that you can hear something and then play it. If you can't hear something and then play it without hunting and pecking, then you're going to struggle to compose a solo. If you can only hear and play simple stuff, then you're only going to be able to compose simple stuff - do not expect to compose better than you can hear.

Then start by learning some basic solos. I like to talk about the solo to Muse's Madness here, but there are lots of examples of this type of solo in, say, the catalog of Nirvana or Green Day. Go listen to that solo now. Come back.

So basically, what you heard was that the soloist mostly played the melody, with some embellishments. It got more and more embellish as he went on, adding energy. So start by practicing and learning this type of solo: play the melody, then play the melody with interesting embellishments. Viola, solo! The better your ear, the more interesting embellishments you're likely to come up with.

Another solo to look at is Duane Allman's solo in "Blue Sky." His is the first long solo, which ends (Dickey Betts takes over) when the two guitars play the same lick a few times, synching up. I want you to listen to this solo as a series of variations on a motive. Do you notice how this solo is a bunch of two-bar phrases? Can you hear how each two-bar phrase informs the next phrase? How he's taking the same idea and manipulating it in new ways? The final phrase is very far removed from the first one, but none of the phrases is that far removed from the one that came before. Again, having a good ear will help guide you with these variations.

The same thing is going on in Slash's solo in "Sweet Child of Mine" (except for the last one). Notice how he's got a simple melody: one melodic idea repeated three times, then he ties it off with in the last measure. Now notice how this is the basis of several of the song's solos. This little four-measure melody is the basis of everything he does until the last solo. He plays the four-measure bit once. He plays it twice. He adds variations (like Duane did, above).

He's not just "messing around" until he finds something he likes. He's got a melody, and he is playing it with variations. This is sort of a combination of the prior two methods - he's not playing the melody of the song, but it's more than just a simple motive like Duane uses in his.

Study. Practice. Develop your ear.
HotspurJr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 06:48 PM   #7
buckmazter
Grimoire
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdc
Do you know what I ii iii IV V vi viio is/are?


Yes I know what that is. Based off the Major scale, the first I is a major chord from the first note in the scale, so if we were in the key of A, A Major would be played. It is also Ionian I think. The next would be B minor, C# minor, D major and so on. I can't remember what the last one is, maybe a 7th? What you wrote is great for chords in a major scale. It is also a base for modes beginning on whatever note you start from, I mean like V would be mixolydian I think is the 5th mode, would also be a E major chord from my example.
buckmazter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 07:02 PM   #8
buckmazter
Grimoire
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by deltadaz
if you did a year of music theory,
was the major scale and scale/chord harmony not explained


It was explained but that was in high school 9 years ago. I haven't been thinking too in depth about it lately but now I am because I think it will build a more solid foundation for writing. Plus it is very fun once you understand it. I use to be great at music theory. My teacher would give us multiple chord to hear on the piano and only give us the starting note. From there we had to write down what key she was in based off the chords she played and starting note. The only scales we learned were Major/minor/ harmonic minor and one other I cant remember. We learned how to build chords using the scales provided and also inversion of chords (basically arranging the notes in a chord). We did not go over modes in that class unless it was an off topic thing. I did buy a book called Grimoire, a book of scales and modes. It was literally nothing but scales and modes for every key and it included scales from Romanian to Asian to regular major and minor. It had everything! I lost that book but I can probably download it somewhere I'm sure. It was like inch and a half thick too.
buckmazter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 07:10 PM   #9
buckmazter
Grimoire
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
Develop your ear and your mind-fretboard link, so that you can hear something and then play it. If you can't hear something and then play it without hunting and pecking, then you're going to struggle to compose a solo. If you can only hear and play simple stuff, then you're only going to be able to compose simple stuff - do not expect to compose better than you can hear.

Then start by learning some basic solos. I like to talk about the solo to Muse's Madness here, but there are lots of examples of this type of solo in, say, the catalog of Nirvana or Green Day. Go listen to that solo now. Come back.

So basically, what you heard was that the soloist mostly played the melody, with some embellishments. It got more and more embellish as he went on, adding energy. So start by practicing and learning this type of solo: play the melody, then play the melody with interesting embellishments. Viola, solo! The better your ear, the more interesting embellishments you're likely to come up with.

Another solo to look at is Duane Allman's solo in "Blue Sky." His is the first long solo, which ends (Dickey Betts takes over) when the two guitars play the same lick a few times, synching up. I want you to listen to this solo as a series of variations on a motive. Do you notice how this solo is a bunch of two-bar phrases? Can you hear how each two-bar phrase informs the next phrase? How he's taking the same idea and manipulating it in new ways? The final phrase is very far removed from the first one, but none of the phrases is that far removed from the one that came before. Again, having a good ear will help guide you with these variations.

The same thing is going on in Slash's solo in "Sweet Child of Mine" (except for the last one). Notice how he's got a simple melody: one melodic idea repeated three times, then he ties it off with in the last measure. Now notice how this is the basis of several of the song's solos. This little four-measure melody is the basis of everything he does until the last solo. He plays the four-measure bit once. He plays it twice. He adds variations (like Duane did, above).

He's not just "messing around" until he finds something he likes. He's got a melody, and he is playing it with variations. This is sort of a combination of the prior two methods - he's not playing the melody of the song, but it's more than just a simple motive like Duane uses in his.

Study. Practice. Develop your ear.


So basically what you are saying is to create a melody and build off of it. My question to you is, and this might be different but, If I use multiple chords in a song for example we are in the key of A major, so I use a simple rhythm for A, Bm, DM, and EM, do i create a melody for something that sounds good in A and then transpose those notes from A major scale to say phyrgian mode for Bm? I suppose there is no wrong answer here but could that be a suggestion in the multiple variations in writing?
buckmazter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 08:55 PM   #10
macashmack
Maskcashmack
 
macashmack's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Transcribe a little Wes Montgomery and you'll be soloing like a boss in no time.
__________________
I've been selling crack since, like, the fifth grade
macashmack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 01:05 AM   #11
HotspurJr
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckmazter
So basically what you are saying is to create a melody and build off of it. My question to you is, and this might be different but, If I use multiple chords in a song for example we are in the key of A major, so I use a simple rhythm for A, Bm, DM, and EM, do i create a melody for something that sounds good in A and then transpose those notes from A major scale to say phyrgian mode for Bm? I suppose there is no wrong answer here but could that be a suggestion in the multiple variations in writing?


I don't know why you would even think of modes here. (Did you perhaps mean Dorian, not Phrygian? If you're playing B Phrygian over the Bm then you're just playing in A major the whole time. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be).

Listen to examples of solos you like. It sounds like you are trying to compensate for musical understanding (an intuitive sense of how things sound) with technical theoretical understanding, and that never leads to good music.

What you will probably find is that as you develop your ear, you start "hearing" more and more musical ideas. This is hard to talk about it because if I talk about the concepts, it'll sound like it's coming from the theory but it's not. It's literally a sound in my head that I want to play next. (Theory can be used to describe that sound, and studying theory will help you learn more complex sounds more quickly, but theory is the description, not the source, of the idea).

If you're in the key of A major, chances are that most of the notes in your solo will be in A major. But you always have access to all 12 notes - how you play your notes matters as much as what notes you play. And melodies usually have a relationship to the underling chords.

eg, a lot of songs are written melody first, and the chords then come along to harmonize strong notes in the melody, and can change how they feel. (eg, if I'm in the key of G, and the melody ends on G note, but for most of he song I'm supporting that with a G major chord, but on the last time through I support it with an E minor chord, that changes how the resolution of the song feels, a lot!) You need to understand the process of harmonizing a melody.

But you may already have a chord progression based on the vocal melody, but you want a new melody for the solo, you have to make a solo that fits the chord progression.

Well, for a beginner, everything in the scale of the key fits. eg, we're in A major with your A Bm D E progression. Everything in A major sounds basically okay. Everything outside of it sounds a little off. That's fine.

But as your ear develops, you'll discover that some notes in the scale don't always word. For example, C# doesn't can sound wonky over the D chord or the Bm chord. Both of those chords have a D note in it, and the C# and D can feel dissonant. So you start avoiding, or at least de-emphasizing, certain notes to avoid clashes you don't want.

But then you continue to develop, and you realize something else. Playing chord tones on strong beats tends to help create very melodic-sounding solos. You won't only play the chord tones, but you'll pay special attention to them. If you understanding how to harmonize a melody, you'll know why this makes sense. So you'll develop a better sense of your chord tones, and write melodies that take advantage of the impact a chord tone on a key beat can have.

And you might explore the power of dissonances - what do outside notes sound like? How does that change as the chords change?

None of this has anything to do with modes, and it's a very deep rabbit hole. But one crucial key here is that it all has to flow from your ear - you use your understanding of theory to help you train your ear, so that you can hear this stuff in practice. Then it'll begin to flow naturally out of you when you try to create. Don't think of academic justifications for variations when you're composing a solo - listen, and try to think of the sound you want to hear next. The better your ear gets, the quicker this process will be.
HotspurJr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 03:36 AM   #12
buckmazter
Grimoire
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
I don't know why you would even think of modes here. (Did you perhaps mean Dorian, not Phrygian? If you're playing B Phrygian over the Bm then you're just playing in A major the whole time. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be).

Listen to examples of solos you like. It sounds like you are trying to compensate for musical understanding (an intuitive sense of how things sound) with technical theoretical understanding, and that never leads to good music.

What you will probably find is that as you develop your ear, you start "hearing" more and more musical ideas. This is hard to talk about it because if I talk about the concepts, it'll sound like it's coming from the theory but it's not. It's literally a sound in my head that I want to play next. (Theory can be used to describe that sound, and studying theory will help you learn more complex sounds more quickly, but theory is the description, not the source, of the idea).

If you're in the key of A major, chances are that most of the notes in your solo will be in A major. But you always have access to all 12 notes - how you play your notes matters as much as what notes you play. And melodies usually have a relationship to the underling chords.

eg, a lot of songs are written melody first, and the chords then come along to harmonize strong notes in the melody, and can change how they feel. (eg, if I'm in the key of G, and the melody ends on G note, but for most of he song I'm supporting that with a G major chord, but on the last time through I support it with an E minor chord, that changes how the resolution of the song feels, a lot!) You need to understand the process of harmonizing a melody.

But you may already have a chord progression based on the vocal melody, but you want a new melody for the solo, you have to make a solo that fits the chord progression.

Well, for a beginner, everything in the scale of the key fits. eg, we're in A major with your A Bm D E progression. Everything in A major sounds basically okay. Everything outside of it sounds a little off. That's fine.

But as your ear develops, you'll discover that some notes in the scale don't always word. For example, C# doesn't can sound wonky over the D chord or the Bm chord. Both of those chords have a D note in it, and the C# and D can feel dissonant. So you start avoiding, or at least de-emphasizing, certain notes to avoid clashes you don't want.

But then you continue to develop, and you realize something else. Playing chord tones on strong beats tends to help create very melodic-sounding solos. You won't only play the chord tones, but you'll pay special attention to them. If you understanding how to harmonize a melody, you'll know why this makes sense. So you'll develop a better sense of your chord tones, and write melodies that take advantage of the impact a chord tone on a key beat can have.

And you might explore the power of dissonances - what do outside notes sound like? How does that change as the chords change?

None of this has anything to do with modes, and it's a very deep rabbit hole. But one crucial key here is that it all has to flow from your ear - you use your understanding of theory to help you train your ear, so that you can hear this stuff in practice. Then it'll begin to flow naturally out of you when you try to create. Don't think of academic justifications for variations when you're composing a solo - listen, and try to think of the sound you want to hear next. The better your ear gets, the quicker this process will be.


Great! I know exactly what you mean. A few years ago I got into Steve Vai. If you haven't listened to the album called Passion and Warfare, I seriously suggest you listen to it. His melodys are all a picture painted for the song name. All of the songs are almost literally painted when you start thinking about the song name, you can hear what it would look like but that is impossible. My point being that this is what you mean. I know your saying to hear what to play before you play it but he said the same thing. Hear a melody in your head and then play it. I guess I should slow down into creating a solo and do like you said. I just have never made a solo that I liked and I think that is due to the fact that I am a perfectionist which kind of sucks. I am a good guitarist and can play many songs but I never quite think anything is right when it comes to creating my own because I focus more on the technique of every note, making each one sound great and that is more fun to me than the songs sometimes but that doesn't make a good song. I'm not in a band and never have been like I said in the post. Recording and writing things out helps me remember songs I figure out that are my own.

I have been through some of the lessons in here about modes and scales but I can't seem to get a grasp on it. Now for that aspect I am a noob but a pro for playability and diction. I guess I should take some songs and break them down to get a better understanding. Of course I wont be able to learn how the melody was created because that was the composers own but maybe I could figure out what scales they used over what chords etc. I just don't want to learn other peoples music because I'm affraid if I make my own, it will sound like someone elses.
buckmazter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 09:12 AM   #13
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckmazter
I just don't want to learn other peoples music because I'm affraid if I make my own, it will sound like someone elses.

Without learning other people's music, you won't really be able to write your own music. You are the sum of your influences and that's why you won't sound the same as Steve Vai for example. Parts of your songs/solos/melodies will sound a bit like Steve Vai but it won't sound completely like Steve Vai. Don't focus on being different. That way you just won't write good songs. Just write what's in your head. It may sound like somebody else but so does all music. All music uses some parts from other songs. You can't invent something from out of nowhere. New stuff is invented by using things you have learned and adding something new to it. So your songs can never sound completely new. They will have something new to them of course, otherwise they wouldn't sound like new songs.

If you look at how new genres were born, people were just playing their favorite songs and adding something to them. For example Black Sabbath started playing heavier and heavier bluesy rock and they kind of invented heavy metal. But they wouldn't have invented it without their influences - as I said, it was just heavier bluesy rock. So don't ignore your influences. The more music you listen to, the more variety you will have as a songwriter.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Digitech RP355
MXR Micro Chorus
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Hartke HyDrive 210c
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 09:33 AM   #14
macashmack
Maskcashmack
 
macashmack's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
You gotta transcribe stuff if you want to train your ear.
__________________
I've been selling crack since, like, the fifth grade
macashmack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 09:54 AM   #15
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
 
mdc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Seriously, you need to get in to a band. Interacting with other musicians will improve your ideas and creativity.

You can't just spend your time reading about scales. You need to play with other people, and no offence, but try and find players better than you, cuz you will learn more. And they won't stoop down to you, you will have to raise your game.

It will also improve your musicianship.

Last edited by mdc : 10-09-2013 at 09:56 AM.
mdc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 10:05 AM   #16
macashmack
Maskcashmack
 
macashmack's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
__________________
I've been selling crack since, like, the fifth grade
macashmack is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:38 AM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.