How To Apply Basic Theory To Soloing And Songwriting

author: LeoKisomma date: 02/17/2011 category: for beginners
rating: 5.4 / votes: 9 
Right then. For this lesson I'll use two easily recognizable modes, Ionian and Aolian, for examples of theory. These modes are better known as natural major and natural minor (respectively).
Up and down the natural minor scale
E||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
B||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
G||------------------|-----------7---9--||--9---7---------------------------|
D||---------------7--|--9---10----------||--------10--9--7------------------|
A||---7---9--10------|------------------||------------------10--9---7-------|
E||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
 
Up and down the natural Major scale
E||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
B||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
G||------------------|------6----8---9--||--9---8---6-----------------------|
D||-----------6---7--|--9---------------||------------9--7---6--------------|
A||---7---9----------|------------------||----------------------9---7-------|
E||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
Now these scales may not mean much to you, but bear with me and I'll explain. Using the notes in these modes/scales allows you to get a certain sound when you you certain notes. For example, there are notes in the natural minor scale that when playing along with each other in a piece of music can most likely produce a sad or mournful overtone. And there are notes in the natural major scale that can most likely produce bright or happy overtones to what you are playing. By carefully selecting which notes in the scale you play you can make the most of the sound of a scale or even in some cases change the expected to your liking. A mode or scale isn't like a rule-book, but rather a book of suggestions of what you can do if you want to get a certain result. Like how jumping gets you higher up and crouching makes you lower in general. One song most people know is "don't stop Believing" by Journey. I'll show you how the entire song was based of the natural major scale in E.
E||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
B||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
G||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
D||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
A||--------------2---|--4--6--4---------||-6--7--0-------6--7---------------|
E||-0------2--4------|------------------||--------------------0-------------|
This is the main riff of the song. Now here's the natural major scale in that key below this text. Recognize the frets mentioned? This shows that the song was written using the natural minor scale to achieve it's happy-no-matter-what tone. Using this scale for the solo will achieve a solo with the perfect tone for the song. That's what Neil Schon does.
E||------------------|------------------||--------------9-11-12-------------|
B||------------------|------------------||------9-10-12---------------------|
G||------------------|-----------6-8-9--||-9-11-----------------------------|
D||------------------|-----6-7-9--------||----------------------------------|
A||-------0-2-4-6-7--|-7-9--------------||----------------------------------|
E||-0-2-4------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
Now if you want to write a song that sounds happy, it's probable a good idea to use at least some of the notes from this scale. The next example I'll show you is a metal-head anthem written by ozzy osbourne and the late guitar hero Randy Rhoads. This song is "Crazy Train".
Opening Riff                               Main Riff
E||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
B||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
G||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
D||------------------|--------9-9--11-11||----------------------------------|
A||-4-4------7-7--2-2|-4-4----7-7--9--9-||-----4---5--2---2-------2---------|
E||-2-2------5-5--0-0|-2-2--------------||-2-2---2--2---2---5-4-5---5-4-0---|

Verse riff
E||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
B||------------------|------5-------5---||------3------2--------------------|
G||------------------|------6-------4---||------2------2--------------------|
D||-9-------11-------|------7-------6---||------4------2--------------------|
A||-7-------9--------|-0000----0000-----||-0000---0000----------------------|
E||------------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
This isn't a crazy train lesson/tab so I'll stop here, but you'll understand why I've put that there in a minute. This song uses the aolien/natural minor scale in F#. Here's that scale below this text. If you want to live out the fantasy of many a long-haired teenager like myself and pretend for a brief few minutes that you are Randy Rhoads, then use this scale for the solo and there's very little to go wrong.
E||------------------|------------------||-------------------12-14----------|
B||------------------|------------------||----------12-14-15----------------|
G||------------------|--------------9-11||-11-13-14-------------------------|
D||-------------2-4--|-4-6-7-9-11-12----||----------------------------------|
A||-------2-4-5------|------------------||----------------------------------|
E||-2-4-5------------|------------------||----------------------------------|
This shows that if you want to get a song written that really oozes regret and pain then using the aolien/natural minor scale is probably a good idea. Notice also that they didn't just follow the scale as it was written, and bear this in mind when you are soling or songwriting in the future. That's all for now apart from this last little tip. Blending all the different techniques you know together can have truly brilliant results if done properly, and you will find some songs have a key change somewhere in them; don't be discouraged if you solos suddenly sound wrong, it just means that you key has to change as well. Take care guys, and have fun writing whatever twisted and warped melodies you feel like writing. I know I will. See ya!
More LeoKisomma lessons:
+ Song Dissections: 'Don't Stop Believing' By Journey For Beginners 04/04/2011
+ Tips For Guitarists: Even More Soloing Secrets Soloing 01/27/2011
+ Tips For Guitarists: Soloing Secrets Soloing 01/21/2011
+ How To Sound Smoother In Simple Steps. Part 3 Guitar Techniques 01/20/2011
+ How To Sound Smoother In Simple Steps. Part 2 Guitar Techniques 01/17/2011
+ How To Sound Smoother In Simple Steps Guitar Techniques 01/10/2011
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