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Old 04-05-2013, 08:39 PM   #1
rich2k4
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Tip for getting different sounds over chords.

I just want to give a tip that I use that for me simplifies the way I think when it comes to improvising. Hopefully others can find it useful.

I'm not sure how most of you view the fretboard, but I tend to look at it in terms of the 12 different keys. I split up the fretboard into 5 shapes, which you know as the major scale. Within these, I have all the tones of the key as well as arpeggios, and i can mix and match between them to allow me to seamlessly play across the entire fretboard. I view each key as a different map of these 5 positions laid out in different spots on the neck.

I tend to see a lot of books put an emphasis on assigning names to a lot of different scales, and I don't know about you but it always confused me because I felt like I needed to learn something new for each chord.

I'd see for example a progression like Dm7-G7-Cmaj7 and a teacher would tell a student, ok over Dm7 you play a D dorian, over G7 you play G mixolydian, and Cmaj7 you play C ionian. For the longest time, I would struggle because my brain would be fooled into thinking I had to switch to a "different scale" when improvising. Until I realized that those 3 scales contain the same notes and are in the key of C.

I knew how to play all over the neck when someone told me to play in the key of C. So if i view that entire progression to be in the key of C, i don't have a problem. Within the key of C map that I know on the fretboard, are all the arpeggios of the different chords in the key, that allow me to emphasize the notes of each chord. I don't have to think of different scales.

Another example is if you have a static Cmaj7 vamp. I've had previous teachers tell me you can play C ionian over it, or if you want a hipper #4 sound, you can play C lydian over it. C ionian was easy for me because I already knew how to get around the neck in the key of C. However, C Lydian threw me off. I would spend a lot of time "learning" how to stay in C Lydian all over the neck, and thought it was something new that I was learning. Until I realized that the fretboard map of C lydian that I came up with looked identical to the G major map that I already knew!!!

As soon as I realized this, my improv became much better because I felt more free, because I was using something I was already familiar with. Within my own G major fretboard map, I had all the notes and arpeggios I needed to emphasize the #4 sound. Now when I want a #4 sound over a Cmaj7 chord, I just think "Think in G major" or a general rule for any Maj7 chord. "Play in the major key up a 5th from the maj7 chord you are playing"

It's the same for things like C Melodic Minor for example. I use what I already know to help me navigate this sound throughout the entire neck. The way I think of a melodic minor is a major scale with a flatted 3rd. In the past I would spend a lot of time trying to "learn" C melodic minor all over the neck, but now I take something I already know, like my fretboard map of the key of C, and just make sure all the E's are Eb's, Makes it much easier to navigate.

This is just the way I think of this type of stuff. May not work for everyone. Take it or leave it.
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Last edited by rich2k4 : 04-05-2013 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:54 PM   #2
GuitarQ33r0
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It sounded like you thought too much theory IMO. I got lazy after a few times practicing modes and said "**** it, I'm just playing one scale" I did this until I was proficient enough playing one scale over a chord progression, then I started mixing scales. I just figure it's music theory, not music law, so I can play whatever feels good to me.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:49 AM   #3
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I really dig your ideas here. To clarify your method exactly, you're saying you've based all this specifically on the box shapes (as opposed to the spread out, 3nps shapes, for example) of the major scale, and that everything is a product of that? You've memorized the five connected shapes of the scale and the way they're "offset" or "rotated" down the neck depending on the key you're in (shifting the entire set of patterns up one fret as you switch from E to F, and F to F#, for instance), and everything you do, from modes, or even to natural minor, is a question of simply cuing up a different key of that same major scale map. Do I have that right?

I'm in the process of trying to truly "absorb" the fretboard myself at the moment and am working out which scales I should be practicing most often. I really dig your approach and will give it some thought. Thanks very much for sharing.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:38 PM   #4
rich2k4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragnet99
I really dig your ideas here. To clarify your method exactly, you're saying you've based all this specifically on the box shapes (as opposed to the spread out, 3nps shapes, for example) of the major scale, and that everything is a product of that? You've memorized the five connected shapes of the scale and the way they're "offset" or "rotated" down the neck depending on the key you're in (shifting the entire set of patterns up one fret as you switch from E to F, and F to F#, for instance), and everything you do, from modes, or even to natural minor, is a question of simply cuing up a different key of that same major scale map. Do I have that right?

I'm in the process of trying to truly "absorb" the fretboard myself at the moment and am working out which scales I should be practicing most often. I really dig your approach and will give it some thought. Thanks very much for sharing.


That is pretty much it. You can use the spread out 3nps patterns if those work better for you.

Do you have aim, or msn messenger? I can help you with this stuff privately if you want
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:32 PM   #5
mdc
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Triads.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:04 AM   #6
cdgraves
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Chord tones on the strong beats, non-chord tones in between. Pentatonics as needed.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:31 AM   #7
ha_asgag
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One way to get a different sound is to play just 1 note or maybe 2 or 3 chord tones or passing tones and just concentrate on your PHRASING when you play over chord changes.

However, there are times when you need not be hyperconscious of what scale or mode you should be using next especially when you already have some musical ideas in mind and a good momentum going.

Last edited by ha_asgag : 04-10-2013 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:24 PM   #8
dragnet99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich2k4
That is pretty much it. You can use the spread out 3nps patterns if those work better for you.

Do you have aim, or msn messenger? I can help you with this stuff privately if you want


Thanks man, but for the time being I'm really just drilling scale shapes across different positions (since I've kept myself in the first position of each scale for way too long). So I've got a bit more ahead of me before I'll really be able to put more specific guidance to use. I appreciate the offer though.
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