#1
Hey, well im very confused.

I recently came up with a mad 1 minute solo and didnt know that the solo has to be in key so now that solo has to go into the dumpster.

So how exacly do i get a solo in key?

I heard that you make a chord progression first, then get the first chord note and play that scale to make a solo. But then i see guitarists playing all over the fretboard with backing rhythm.

As you can see im very confused

Please help
#2
ya I'm still confused on that stuff, but you could save the solo and rewrite it with the proper notes from that key
#3
Look for some theory stickies. You will need to get the basics down first.
Originally posted by arrrgg
When my grandpa comes over to visit, after his shower, he walks around naked to dry off
#4
It actually doesn't HAVE to be in key. As long as it sounds good, without very noticeable wrong notes, it should be ok. What I mean by wrong notes, is notes that are out of key, but you position them with the other notes so they don't sound out of key.
Save a trip to the RT!
Quote by blake1221
If there's anything to take away from this thread, anything at all, it's to always cup the balls.


Top trolling abilities.

Quote by caeser1156
God dammit you had me 10/10
#5
If it sounded good, it is good. You can go out of key; it's very common, in fact.

However, to solo in key, you just understand what a key is. Please read the theory lesson linked in my sig and the Crusade articles to get an understanding of the basics. I don't mean to be patronizing, but very few people who try to learn theory know as much as they think they know.

Quote by guitarmaniac88
but you position them with the other notes so they don't sound out of key.
That is ridiculous. Chromatic tones are often meant to sound jarring and out of key.
#6
Alright well I don't know that much theory but I'll help you out as best I can.

When you see guitarists playing in different positions on the neck they are still in key. The key of C major is all non sharp notes. A B C D E F G are all in the C major scale and can be found in many places on the fretboard. Learn the notes of the other keys and you can play them anywhere on the fret board and still be in key. Also keep in mind that you can change keys within a song.

If that doesn't help, sorry, I just recently started learning theory myself.
#7
you can play in any key in any position if you change to the appropriate scale form for the position you want to be in relative to the desired key. if youre solo is all in key relative to itself just move the whole pattern you play up or down the neck to where it matches the key of the chords. depending on what position youre in and how you play the solo you might find it easier to change the chord progression to be in key with the solo.
#8
learn the scales for whatever key you're playing in. theory is your friend.

ex: if the rhythm section is playing in the key of G major, the notes that generally sound good with that key are G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#,
#9
Quote by /\AC/\DC/\
Hey, well im very confused.

I recently came up with a mad 1 minute solo and didnt know that the solo has to be in key so now that solo has to go into the dumpster.
Haha, no way man. If it sounds good over a progression, keep it. You never know, you might have picked a winner.

Quote by /\AC/\DC/\
So how exacly do i get a solo in key?
Find the key of your accompaniment (the chords) and solo in the pentatonic of that key. So if your progression is C F G, that's obviously in C major (it sounds "complete" on C maj) so solo in C major pentatonic.

Leave complete major scales till you're better at feeling the fretboard and recognising progressions. Some progressions might be modal (it's pretty rare though), which means a full major scale would sound a bit off, but a major pentatonic won't.

Quote by /\AC/\DC/\
I heard that you make a chord progression first, then get the first chord note and play that scale to make a solo.
For improvising, yes. For unimprovised melodies, sort of but not really.
Quote by /\AC/\DC/\
But then i see guitarists playing all over the fretboard with backing rhythm.
Rock guitarists are dirty show offs. When they've learned to improvise, instead of going on to learn how to 'play the changes' like a jazz musician (sounds great, looks unimpressive), they'd only use one scale and learn that shape all the way up and down the board. Looks great, can sound great if you phrase it, but it doesn't sound nearly as good as playing the changes.
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#10
Where you play the notes on the fretboard makes no difference. You could play a solo in the key of "E" down in the first few frets, or in the middle, or up by the 12th fret - depending on how high you want it to go.

What you need to do is hit up the theory. Look online there are plenty of decent tutorials. Nevermind about looking at guitar theory - any theory will do. What you need to start learning is notes, not frets.

So:

- Learn your scales, major and minor. Learn the NOTES before you try and play them on guitar. Say them out. Write them out. All keys.

-Learn all the major and minor key signatures.

-Learn inversions, and chords

-Learn as many chord progressions as you can. Not by tab. Look at the songs. Try to figure out the chords and say the chords aloud. Even if it takes you all day. Remember, just because the notes arn't in a "chord" shape, doesn't mean it's not a chord. For example in music like GnR, look at the riffs and work out the chords. Look at the rhythm parts but also Slash's lead parts and how he works around those chords.

The best way to go about all this is set yourself say, 30 minutes to an hour a day to theory, if you can afford the time. Sit down and just learn stuff. Go online, get a book, anything. Try the examples on the guitar. Sing the notes out, whatever helps you learn notes.

Learn the notes on the fretboard, you won't do it overnight, a lot of guitarists do it over a period of a year or more, just work away at it. There are some good free fretboard training programs out there if you need the extra help.

Once you start learning notes and not frets - you will realize the power you have in front of you.

Now you don't want to rely on theory - when you sit down and hear a good chord progression you want to just shove the theory in the back of your head - and rip out a solo based on what you feel.

Theory is like your alphabet. When you write a sentance do you sit down and actually work out the letters? No, you just write. It's all in your subconscious. Same with theory - let it sink in and then let your creativity do the rest. But you have to take it step at a time. Slowly, over a period of time and you will be as good as you want to be.

One thing you need to add to your practice routine is working stuff out by ear. When I was learning piano, aside from learning classical stuff via sheet music, I would sit down and play everything else by ear. Movie themes, TV jingles I'd heard earlier in the day, songs off the radio, now if I want to learn a song I hardly ever use a tab or sheet music because I don't need to. That's the kind of thing you want to get into - because it'll help your playing. When you hear a great chord progression, you will start to hear melodies in your head. You won't be all like "oh ok so the key is E...so um...hmm what do I play", you will just know. You'll hear this blazing lick in your head and just know what to play.

Play any melody you can. Sit down with your guitar while you're watching TV and play along to the background music of a show. Play a long to a TV jingle. Start really basic. Listen to a LOT of music. Even stuff you don't immediately "like". Play along, when you can. Just muck around. Listening is far more important than saying. When you learn to listen, I mean really listen - you will advance faster than you ever have before.

The more you do this, the more you will understand how songs are put together. When you hear a song on the radio, you'll just "know" what chord is coming next a lot of the time, because progressions, melodies, etc. become very familiar with time. Of course there are songs that chuck in unpredictable chords but most of the time, there are always bits where you just know what chord is coming. For example, if I play C G Am, whats the next chord? More times than not, it will be an F. Play that on your guitar. 2 beats on each chord. You'll see, it feels natural. Basic example but thats the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Sing along, does a melody come to your head? Hopefully something does. The more you play around with this kind of thing, the better you'll get at it. Use your ears, learn the theory - and you will be unstoppable.

This is what separates the good guitarists from the rest.
Last edited by ChrisBG at Jan 22, 2009,
#11
Wow, thanks alot guys, lots of good feed back re.

But 1 more question.

I have read slashs autobiography like twice now, and he says that he never exactly learnt theory, he just played and put whatever sounded good into his song.

So his solos are obviously some of the best, and i was just wondering if his solos are in key?
#12
Quote by demonofthenight
but it doesn't sound nearly as good as playing the changes.
Folks, this is an example of a ridiculous statement.

Quote by /\AC/\DC/\
So his solos are obviously some of the best, and i was just wondering if his solos are in key?
More or less. Western theory is based on the fact that, when we were assigning names to concepts 500 years ago, we found things that sounded good. Slash may not know the names of thr scales/notes/chords he's playing, but he's kind of discovered Western theory on his own.

Do yourself a favor and don't try to discover last half-millenium of thinking about this material on your own; just learn theory.
#13
Quote by /\AC/\DC/\
Wow, thanks alot guys, lots of good feed back re.

But 1 more question.

I have read slashs autobiography like twice now, and he says that he never exactly learnt theory, he just played and put whatever sounded good into his song.

So his solos are obviously some of the best, and i was just wondering if his solos are in key?



Slash never studied theory in depth, but he has said many times that it is vital to know your major scales, major and minor pentatonics and blues scales.
And every musician should know what keys are and how they work. That **** is vital.
#14
(This post has been removed due to several outbursts by members).
Last edited by ChrisBG at Jan 23, 2009,
#15
Thanks heaps guys, could anyone direct me in the right direction to learning this kind of theory? Like links to some basic theory on keys and scales and stuff?
#17
Anybody making a solo has to be in key or it will sound rubbish.


Scriabin would be surprised to hear that...

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=pPTe1xMB9Uk
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#18
Archeo Avis,

I am illustrating a point for someone with very little knowledge of theory - there's no point going into depth on something that requires very little. I never said you can't modulate to different keys or whatever, I am talking on a general sense of playing like, say, in A minor, when the key is clearly E minor. It was meant to be used as a basic example. Obviously, there are exceptions to any rule, especially in music, but I'm not talking about specifics, I'm talking on a general "learning to solo" sense. You can't jump into complicated concepts to someone trying to learn.

And you're talking to someone who has been playing piano for over 10 years and studying theory for about the same amount of time.

The video you posted is impressive but I fail to see your point. There is no weird stuff happening here.

Thanks for playing, though.
Last edited by ChrisBG at Jan 23, 2009,
#19
I am illustrating a point for someone with very little knowledge of theory - there's no point going into depth on something that requires very little. I never said you can't modulate to different keys or whatever, I am talking on a general sense of playing like, say, in A minor, when the key is clearly E minor. It was meant to be used as a basic example. Obviously, there are exceptions to any rule, especially in music, but I'm not talking about specifics, I'm talking on a general "learning to solo" sense.


But you were very specific. You stated fairly explicitly that musicians will always stay in key, and went as far as to to mention a specific guitarist and deny that he never moves outside of the key. Trying to simplify the issue for someone with little theoretical knowledge is one thing (and fine), but what you said is something different entirely.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#20
"A lot of guitarists, especially guys like Satriani, will go into another key, momentarily, but this will all be part of the progression, and not just a random act." is what I said. By random act, I am talking about when guys are soloing in say, an A minor pentatonic over an E minor chord without knowing what they are doing.

Please forgive my words, I am trying to help the poster in the best way I can. As you can see there is a lot to cover and a lot of walls of text. I probably should have worded my statement correctly. So, for future reference to all the readers:

Yes - you CAN play out of key. Musicians DO do it all the time. But they know what they are doing ,or they find something that sounds good. At the end of the day, who cares what scale you are in - or key - if it sounds good - use it.

I hope that clears things up.

All I am trying to do is help the original poster, in the best way I can. Sometimes I do not word things in the best way possible, but nobody is perfect.
Last edited by ChrisBG at Jan 23, 2009,
#21
The answer is within you head, hands and guitar. Always tap a rhythm with your foot as your are thinking.
#22
Quote by ChrisBG
His solos are in key. Anybody making a solo has to be in key or it will sound rubbish.
I guess my solos are rubbish. And guess what, Charlie Parker also sounds rubbish. Damn it, Satriani is rubbish as well, he doesn't just go out of key when he's changing key, he improvises with accidentals really well. I guess all jazz improvisers sound rubbish then. Even Bach sounds rubbish. Don't even listen to schoenbergs atonal works, they're ultimately rubbish.

Cmon, grow up

Quote by Sue
Folks, this is an example of a ridiculous statement
Because taking into account the accompaniment more than just picking one scale is so ridiculous.

MT is so lulzy. I must still be high.
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#23
I guess my solos are rubbish. And guess what, Charlie Parker also sounds rubbish. Damn it, Satriani is rubbish as well, he doesn't just go out of key when he's changing key, he improvises with accidentals really well. I guess all jazz improvisers sound rubbish then. Even Bach sounds rubbish. Don't even listen to schoenbergs atonal works, they're ultimately rubbish.

Cmon, grow up



What the hell! read back at my post. I made a mistake in my words. I did not mean to say that in that context. I have corrected this misake. For ****s sake, nobody in this world is perfect and here I am dedicating my spare time to trying to help someone. I make one slip and everyones on my back.

Have you looked around the forum lately?

I think some people are getting VERY confused about what "in key" actually is, and isn't. It doesn't mean you can't modulate. It doesn't mean you have to stick to one scale. It doesn't mean anything I have been accused of saying.

I corrected myself on the statement - Those people solo "out of key" but they KNOW what they are DOING. By all means, solo out of key if you know what you are doing. Charlie Parker was a vurtuoso. Satriani is a fantastic guitar player with a lot of theory knowledge behind him.

Just because you use accidentals does NOT MEAN you are out of key. Have you never heard of the chromatic scale? If you pull an accidental, you can still be in key. That means nothing.

Do you even know what out of key is? you can play a note not traditionally found in the "key" you are playing in, but it's still in the key. It can be an accidental, a passing note, or maybe you do modulate into another key for a bit. There's nothing wrong with that, as I have CLEARLY restated a number of times now.

One key does not mean one scale.

Let's make it clear again -

I have corrected the one line mistake I made in my mostly helpful post - sorry for offending you.

This is just ridiculous. How many times do I have to apologize before people will stop pulling me up for a mistake I have already corrected.

Interesting how people are slow to respond to the good stuff but really really fast to come in and pick up one mistake.
Last edited by ChrisBG at Jan 23, 2009,
#24
Okay, so ive done some reading and wondering if this id how its done.

So basically you make a chord progression and can either take the root chord, say its A, of the progression and play a scale with the root note being A and can play that scale on the fretboard as long as your in the same area of the A Scale, or arpegiate the chord aywhere on the fretboard and play in that area aswell?

Am i heading in the right area because this stuff is really hard to learn for me.
#25
It's very easy. I suggest you get a teacher, however, as you're going to pick it up faster in person than from 20 different people online.
You look at the chord progression. Look at the notes contained therein. Those notes will imply a key (either major or minor). Once you have the key, you figure out which scale would sound best. Sometimes this is implied by the chord progression, sometimes it's a matter of what kind of feel you want. If you're going bluesy, it wouldn't make a ton of sense at your level to try and incorporate a natural harmonic minor scale. I'm not saying blues players don't use it, but they know the fretboard a hell of a lot better than you do, so you'd be best sticking to a blues scale or a pentatonic.

Honestly, do yourself a favor, get a teacher, because this stuff is very simple once you get the basics, but getting the basics is the hard part. Keep in mind, music and math are extremely close cousins, so you have to approach it as a math thing.
#26
^Hmmm, you have good teacher syndrome. This means you found a good teacher. I have bad teacher syndrome, meaning I found a teacher who set me back a few metaphorical years.
Teachers imo are almost invariably bad. They don't teach theory or technique or proper phrasing or proper pick attack. They only tell kids to play tabs or play sheet music or exercises without explaining them.
Now if I had FP or Darren as a teacher irl back when I was learning ...

To Chris

Calm down mate, I'm allowed to have a go at people. If you could see my face irl you'd see a cheesy, disarming smile.

It's not that people on this forum are slow, it's just that I'm slow. Still bright, but slow. I'll notice things along time after everyone else, but I'll also notice some things other people won't.

So basically you make a chord progression and can either take the root chord, say its A, of the progression and play a scale with the root note being A and can play that scale on the fretboard as long as your in the same area of the A Scale, or arpegiate the chord aywhere on the fretboard and play in that area aswell?
I think you're talking about playing the changes?

Yeah sort of. You've also got to make sure the scale you pick is the same as the chord. So no major modes over minor chords or minor modes over major chords. It doesn't matter where you play these notes on the fretboard though, scales and arpeggios go all the way up and down the fretboard.

An exception to this is the superlocrian mode, which is technically a dimished mode but can be played over dominant chord because it has a flat fourth in it's scale (enharmonic to a major third). So D superlocrian will work fine over D7. You getcha?
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#27
Uh i just did a bit more research, so if my root chord is A, Would i be able to play the A pentatonic scale for the solo?
Last edited by /\AC/\DC/\ at Jan 23, 2009,
#28
Quote by demonofthenight

...
For improvising, yes. For unimprovised melodies, sort of but not really.
Rock guitarists are dirty show offs. When they've learned to improvise, instead of going on to learn how to 'play the changes' like a jazz musician (sounds great, looks unimpressive), they'd only use one scale and learn that shape all the way up and down the board. Looks great, can sound great if you phrase it, but it doesn't sound nearly as good as playing the changes.

You really do have some unhealthy obsession with "playing the changes" that's almost as bad as the uneducated mode snobbery that frequently rears its head around here. It's like when a kid learns a new word at school and starts using it in every conversation regardless of whether it actually fits.

Playing the changes doesn't sound better at all, it sounds different - and if you don't want your music to sound that way then it isn't something you would do or indeed need to worry about.

Guitarists move around the fretboard for many reasons, change in timbre, ease of bending, frets get closer together, some things are easier to play in different positions. Most of what you talk about makes perfect sense, but this particular cause celebre of yours is quite frankly utter bollocks.
Actually called Mark!

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

...it's a seagull

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


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#29
Quote by seagull
You really do have some unhealthy obsession with "playing the changes"


Quote by bgc
Folks, this is an example of a ridiculous statement.


He's just a jazz cat. Cut him some slack. Damn jazz freaks there all the same! Even worse when high.
#31
Jeez, have been high all this time?! Time for a detox.
#32
Quote by guitarmaniac88
It actually doesn't HAVE to be in key. As long as it sounds good, without very noticeable wrong notes, it should be ok. What I mean by wrong notes, is notes that are out of key, but you position them with the other notes so they don't sound out of key.


Yup!
#33
Quote by In-f3st
Yup!
Not really. I think I said this earlier in the thread, but in some situations, you want the chromatic tone(s) to sound really weird.
#34
I had the same struggle as you, threadstarter, but here's the simple and practical answer that actually works well:

Just learn the major scale up and down the key board. Once you can play all the positions well, you can go up and down the keyboard doing pretty much anything you think sounds good as long as you stay within that scale.

Learning that helped me out immensely.
And I mean that in the best possible way.
#35
Quote by /\AC/\DC/\
Uh i just did a bit more research, so if my root chord is A, Would i be able to play the A pentatonic scale for the solo?

For the A Minor, yes, because you likely learned a pentatonic scale. There is a pentatonic major scale too for a major key.

You can switch between the two if you'd like, depending on the sound you're looking for.
And I mean that in the best possible way.
#36
Quote by steven seagull
You really do have some unhealthy obsession with "playing the changes" that's almost as bad as the uneducated mode snobbery that frequently rears its head around here.


LOL. I think it comes from using Levine's "Jazz Theory" as your only source book.
In the wrong hands, you can definitely get some set attitudes that really don't work
the way you might interpret in most practical uses.

Levine kind of dumps you into the deep end of the pool and hopes you can swim;
which is why I'd not recommend it to anyone new to Jazz.

A more practical way of looking at harmony is as a unit of temporal changes that lead
you someplace. Treat the chord changes as a unit. There are many paths you
can take to the destination. Some paths go more directly to the destination
regardless of the changes in between, other paths sidetrack into the changes more.
Either choice is valid.
#37
Quote by edg
LOL. I think it comes from using Levine's "Jazz Theory" as your only source book.
In the wrong hands, you can definitely get some set attitudes that really don't work
the way you might interpret in most practical uses.

Levine kind of dumps you into the deep end of the pool and hopes you can swim;
which is why I'd not recommend it to anyone new to Jazz.
Because Levines Jazz theory is the only book I've ever read. Haha, what would you suggest for jazz?
Quote by edg
A more practical way of looking at harmony is as a unit of temporal changes that lead
you someplace. Treat the chord changes as a unit. There are many paths you
can take to the destination. Some paths go more directly to the destination
regardless of the changes in between, other paths sidetrack into the changes more.
Either choice is valid.
Harmony is more than just chords changing every so often.\\
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#38
Quote by demonofthenight

Harmony is more than just chords changing every so often.\\


That's not what I said.

"Jazz Theory Resources (both Vol I & II)" and/or "Connecting Chords with Linear
Harmony" (this is basically a non-dumbed down "Melodic Control") both by Bert Ligon
are books I particularly like. If you compare it with Levine, it just goes to show how
the same topic can be covered in completely different ways. Levine is encyclopedic in
his coverage of solo snippets. It's a good book to have, I'd just not recommend it for
getting started with Jazz. Even Ligon may be beyond a beginner, but his analysis and
way of looking at harmony makes a lot of sense to me.

Anyway, I only know what I've actually read. This page seems to have a good list:

http://www.jazzguitarfaq.com/FAQ00008.htm