#1
Whenever anyone asks for advice improvising, people say chord tones and "playing the changes" are the best way to make solos sound better. In a couple of weeks, I'm playing at a jam, in front of an audience, so I want to make my solos sound like more than just pentatonic wanking

Does using chord tones just consist of going - "rhythm guitar is playing a G, I shall play using G, B and D? Or is it only when the change comes from C to G, that you slide from the B to a C?

Any advice using chord tones would be really great, as my strong point is improvising, so I would love to make it stronger.
#2
Quote by gabcd86
Whenever anyone asks for advice improvising, people say chord tones and "playing the changes" are the best way to make solos sound better. In a couple of weeks, I'm playing at a jam, in front of an audience, so I want to make my solos sound like more than just pentatonic wanking

Does using chord tones just consist of going - "rhythm guitar is playing a G, I shall play using G, B and D? Or is it only when the change comes from C to G, that you slide from the B to a C?

Any advice using chord tones would be really great, as my strong point is improvising, so I would love to make it stronger.



http://www.ultimate-guitar.tv/guitar_lessons/chord_tone_soloing.html


You have to be able to chord tone solo like that and even add in other tones like 7ths.


The way I think of it is:

-Chord tones are a grid of "inside/good" notes.
-The grid itself is the rhythmic makeup. Hitting the chord tones on the "grid" sounds "good."

-7ths and b5's are good for tension and 1's and 3's are good for release (5's to a lesser value - just personal preference).

Fill in grid with other notes as you like. Think about the relationship of the notes to the chord and what sound you want and you're golden.


Never forget the kind of sound you want by focusing too much on the tones though because then it will just be an exercise with no phrasing or flavor.

I'm no expert (or teacher) but I hope you can take something from that.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#3
Quote by metal4all


*explanation*

I'm no expert (or teacher) but I hope you can take something from that.



Okay, that was a bit of a contradiction :P


Still - it is my strong point - I am a better improviser than I am a rhythm player, which shows how advanced I am at guitar

Anyway. So the way to do it is just to record different progressions, and learn the sound of each degree of the chord in relation to it and the other degrees?

Cool
#4
Quote by gabcd86
1. Okay, that was a bit of a contradiction :P


2. Still - it is my strong point - I am a better improviser than I am a rhythm player, which shows how advanced I am at guitar

3.
Anyway. So the way to do it is just to record different progressions, and learn the sound of each degree of the chord in relation to it and the other degrees?

Cool


1. I was just bustin your balls.
2. I am too but I think that makes me worse of a player.
3. Yeah, I think I get what you're saying.

You gotta know how cool it is to bend a b3 in a major key up to a major 3rd (a consonant note) - same thing for a b5 in blues settings. Messin with 4ths is fun too.

Idk. It helps you define your style in the end too.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#5
Quote by metal4all
1. I was just bustin your balls.
2. I am too but I think that makes me worse of a player.
3. Yeah, I think I get what you're saying.

You gotta know how cool it is to bend a b3 in a major key up to a major 3rd (a consonant note) - same thing for a b5 in blues settings. Messin with 4ths is fun too.

Idk. It helps you define your style in the end too.


1. Irritating person

2. Same, but hey - lead guitarists get all the chicks, right?.... right?

3. This is gonna be fun then - I think the one thing about theory that intimidates me the most is intervals. As soon as I see a b3 or a minor third, my mind panics

I shall force myself to change!
#7
I agree with Sean (metal4all). Except I'd add pentatonics as the next set of "good notes" after chord tones. Chord tones are your best and brightest, pentatonics are still good but not as good as chord tones and everything else are not so safe notes.
Quote by gabcd86
1. Irritating person

2. Same, but hey - lead guitarists get all the chicks, right?.... right?

3. This is gonna be fun then - I think the one thing about theory that intimidates me the most is intervals. As soon as I see a b3 or a minor third, my mind panics

I shall force myself to change!

1. That's my boy Sean. Always a charmer. If I knew him irl, I'd have throttled him by now.

2. Nope. Harmonicist, Singers, Rhthym guitarists, Bassists, Lead guitarists, Drummer. The drummer is barely a musician, so he gets none. The lead guitarist is the manical musical master in the band meaning he's weirder then the others, so he only gets a few. Everyone knows that bass<guitar, so he gets a moderate amount. The rhythym guitarist is obviously the coolest guy in the band (even if he's the most idiotic), so he gets alot (except they're all ugly/fat/weird). Girls like singers, no explanation needed. The harmonica player is always a deep, sorrowfull, sensitive, mysterious man who knows how to treat a lady, he ALWAYS gets first pick.
Those^ are the rules, abide by them.

3. Theory is like this; if you can do basic algerbra or women (or men, whatever floats your boat), you can do music theory. They all look tough, but are easy to manipulate when you get the hang of it.
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#8
Quote by gabcd86
1. Irritating person

2. Same, but hey - lead guitarists get all the chicks, right?.... right?

3. This is gonna be fun then - I think the one thing about theory that intimidates me the most is intervals. As soon as I see a b3 or a minor third, my mind panics

I shall force myself to change!
What intimidates you about intervals?


Say I'm soloing over a ii-V-I in C for c-implicity (hehe, I made a pun).

I think of each chord as a group of notes. I don't think of it as Dmin - G7 - C

I think of it as DFAC GBDF CEGB


I think of the basic triad of it first and then I add the 7ths. Then, I map them out on the fretboard as they come. After that, I add other notes to fill in.


You don't have to think of every interval in relation to the root note of the chord itself but you can make it easier by relating them to the triad tones in the chord.

When you're playing the V and you want to hit that "b3", you know where the B (3rd) is because you already had that planned out and mapped on the fretboard, just go down a half-step (flatten it) and you're at the b3.

I just work around that "grid".


I just noticed how abstract my style of playing sounds. I guess that's what happens when you don't have a teacher.


Quote by demonofthenight
I agree with Sean (metal4all). Except I'd add pentatonics as the next set of "good notes" after chord tones. Chord tones are your best and brightest, pentatonics are still good but not as good as chord tones and everything else are not so safe notes.
1. That's my boy Sean. Always a charmer. If I knew him irl, I'd have throttled him by now.

2. Nope. Harmonicist, Singers, Rhthym guitarists, Bassists, Lead guitarists, Drummer. The drummer is barely a musician, so he gets none. The lead guitarist is the manical musical master in the band meaning he's weirder then the others, so he only gets a few. Everyone knows that bass<guitar, so he gets a moderate amount. The rhythym guitarist is obviously the coolest guy in the band (even if he's the most idiotic), so he gets alot (except they're all ugly/fat/weird). Girls like singers, no explanation needed. The harmonica player is always a deep, sorrowfull, sensitive, mysterious man who knows how to treat a lady, he ALWAYS gets first pick.
Those^ are the rules, abide by them.

3. Theory is like this; if you can do basic algerbra or women (or men, whatever floats your boat), you can do music theory. They all look tough, but are easy to manipulate when you get the hang of it.
Haha, thanks Mike. I agree with pentatonics, too. I should've added that. They're basically the scale epitome of "good" tones.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Last edited by metal4all at Jan 1, 2009,
#9
Quote by metal4all
Say I'm soloing over a ii-V-I in C for c-implicity (hehe, I made a pun).

I think of each chord as a group of notes. I don't think of it as Dmin - G7 - C

I think of it as DFAC GBDF CEGB




Ack, okay, I'm returning when I have a guitar, to better get my head around it.


Quick side-question: Why do your chords have four notes if they're minors and majors? Surely a C major chord would be C-E-G. The B is the seventh in the C major scale ( I think) so isn't the chord you've written down a Cmaj7??

#10
Quote by metal4all
You gotta know how cool it is to bend a b3 in a major key up to a major 3rd (a consonant note) - same thing for a b5 in blues settings. Messin with 4ths is fun too.

thats like one of my favorite licks/tricks.
it sounds so good over any major chord, and even if you arent the best at improv (me), it make you sound amazing!
my 6 best friends:
Ibanez Artcore AF75
Schecter C-1 Hellraiser
LTD H-207 7 string
Ibanez Acoustic
#11
Quote by gabcd86
Ack, okay, I'm returning when I have a guitar, to better get my head around it.


Quick side-question: Why do your chords have four notes if they're minors and majors? Surely a C major chord would be C-E-G. The B is the seventh in the C major scale ( I think) so isn't the chord you've written down a Cmaj7??

Ah, sorry for causing confusion. I'm just used to it because ii-V-I is a jazz progression and in jazz the chords are basically assumed to be extended.

Quote by musicTHEORYnerd
thats like one of my favorite licks/tricks.
it sounds so good over any major chord, and even if you arent the best at improv (me), it make you sound amazing!
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#12
Playing chord tones and playing the changes are two different things. Playing chord tones is well...playing chord tones, while playing the changes is shaping your improvisation around the underlying harmony. If someone is playing the changes it simply means that they're playing with an awareness and understanding of the impact their soloing has on the harmony. Playing chord tones are just about the most consonant thing you can do, but not necessarily the most interesting. Playing extentions or just plain non-chord tones is often what is more melodically appropriate, and it's the understanding of each interval over each chord that makes a solo interesting, among other things of course.

Judging by the sizes of the above walls of text I'd say they've just about got it though.
Last edited by grampastumpy at Jan 1, 2009,
#13
^I went on a tangent at some point and for some reason said how I use chord tones.


I type too much. You're right though. Sorry 'bout that.


Edit: you edited, lol.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#14
^lol, I was busting your balls as well.

After some skimming the stuff seems solid. I just do want to point out that TS shouldn't confuse consonant(chord tones) with pleasant or interesting.

Every note sounds different over every chord in a key. So when it comes to playing over chords, realize that over each chord, you have seven(twelve really) unique tonal options. It'll take some ear training and playing crap notes to realize specifically how each note sounds over each chord, but you'll get it eventually. The general guidelines are, in a major key, that the 4th and 7th are "avoid tones" that all around are very tense notes. Note that when you remove them you get a major pentatonic scale. Of course you shouldn't adhere strictly to the avoid tone doctrine and just remember to familiarize yourself with the sound of the notes.