#1
Alright after searching the web for an hour i decided to post my question here, since i couldnt find it anywhere on the net.

When in a 12 bar blues chord progression, for example C, do I change the position of the scales during the song? For example, when on the 4th bar the chord changes from C to F, do I move my pentatonic scales up from C to F?

Oh and whats the difference between playing in Am and C? If none, then why write Am when you can write C?
#2
Positions are largely irrelevant in terms of note choice, it's just the same notes repeating over and over and you can play them anywhere you like. So just concentrate on playing the notes that sound right, follow the chords in terms of sound rather than in a physical sense.

The difference between keys comes from how you construct your song, if it resolves to a C major chord it's in the key of C major, if it resolves to an A minor chord then it's in the key of A minor. You can't "switch between A minor and C major" in the context of one song unless the chord progression itself changes.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Aug 27, 2009,
#3
Thanks for your response steven seagull, its a little bit hard for me to understand but i hope i get what you mean.

So if i see a backing track that says: 'Blues backing track in A minor' then the information that the song is in Am is only so I know what chords are used to create the song and not really that only the Am pentatonic scale sounds good on it?

So how do I know which pentatonic scale does sound good on it? (other than just trial and error...)
#4
Well no, the key also tells you what scales you can use, because the chords of that key are derived from the scale.

For example:

The chords of the key of C major

Cmaj Dmin Emin Fmaj Gmaj Amin Bdim

are derived from the C major scale.

C D E F G A B

So any combination of those chords revolving round a tonal centre of C and resolving on the C major chord will be in the key of C major, and you can happily solo using the notes of the C major scale because both the chords and the scale iself are comprised of those 7 notes. You can also use C major pentatonic, because it's just the C major scale with 2 notes omitted, namely the 4th and the 7th giving you the notes C D E G A.

Likewise for A minor

The chords of the key of A minor

Amin Bdim Cmaj Dmin Emin Fmaj Gmaj

are derived from the A minor scale.

A B C D E F G

So any combination of those chords revolving round a tonal centre of A and resolving on the A minor chord will be in the key of A minor, and you can happily solo using the notes of the A minor scale because both the chords and the scale iself are comprised of those 7 notes. You can also use A minor pentatonic, because it's just the A minor scale with 2 notes omitted, namely the 2nd and the 6th giving you the notes A C D E G.

Now, both those keys share the same chords, but it's how they're arranged that tells you which one it is. They aren't interchangable, the song will only ever be in one key at any one time. Remember, the chords define the key, and the key tells you what scale a set of notes will be.
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#5
I think your initialy question may has been slightly misinterpreted.

You want to know whether to play C penta/blues over the C and F penta/blues over the F.

I'd certainly say try this out and see what you think, but more often than not you are perfectly fine using the C Blues scale over the entire thing.

I am not a blues expert though!
#6
Quote by Naam
Alright after searching the web for an hour i decided to post my question here, since i couldnt find it anywhere on the net.

When in a 12 bar blues chord progression, for example C, do I change the position of the scales during the song? For example, when on the 4th bar the chord changes from C to F, do I move my pentatonic scales up from C to F?

Oh and whats the difference between playing in Am and C? If none, then why write Am when you can write C?


I just want to make this clear, to be sure you understand.

"Positions" and "Scales" are not the same thing.

Each of the scales has several positions, in 5 different patterns, on your fretboard. Don't think of one position as a scale. It is only one possible place to play the scale on your guitar.

You can play any note from the scale anywhere on the fretboard and it will still be the same scale.

Scales are made up of notes, not fret numbers.

Please continue...
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#7
Quote by Guitartist
I just want to make this clear, to be sure you understand.

"Positions" and "Scales" are not the same thing.

Each of the scales has several positions, in 5 different patterns, on your fretboard. Don't think of one position as a scale. It is only one possible place to play the scale on your guitar.

You can play any note from the scale anywhere on the fretboard and it will still be the same scale.

Scales are made up of intervals, not fret numbers.

Please continue...


Fixed.


I think...

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#8
Quote by Naam
Alright after searching the web for an hour i decided to post my question here, since i couldnt find it anywhere on the net.

When in a 12 bar blues chord progression, for example C, do I change the position of the scales during the song? For example, when on the 4th bar the chord changes from C to F, do I move my pentatonic scales up from C to F?

Oh and whats the difference between playing in Am and C? If none, then why write Am when you can write C?



There are a number of approaches you could take depending on how well you understand music harmony.

At this point, I would recommend playing C minor pentatonic over the whole thing, and using your ears.

Study theory for a few years. Then, when you have a better understanding of harmony, you will have some more tools to work with.

Also I would spend lots of time listening to and playing blues music on your guitar.

Eventually it will all come together.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 27, 2009,
#9
The one thing I've always hated about this place is that so many people fail to gauge the TC's level of knowledge before barraging them with talk of theory. Yes, by and large their answers are correct. Yes the knowledge is important to eventually have, but rarely will it answer the original question in a way they can understand, and in general does nothing but cause confusion.

Anyway, the simple answer: You do not need to change scales when the chords change. You certainly can, and it's definitely something you should experiment with, but in general if you're playing C blues, you'll want to stick with Cm Pentatonic or C Blues.
#10
While I appreciate all the reactions, I have to agree with icronic that some theory is a bit to complex for me right now. Im still stuck at the basics, but thanks anyway.

Alright so if I have this blues backing tracks, are these scales correct?

Whitey's Blues - in A play the pentatonic scales with the major root on an A
A Minor Affair - in Am play the pentatonic scales with the minor root on an A
Slow Down Blues - in Bb play the pentatonic scales with the major root on an B#

And with positions I mean how the scales are shifted along the neck. Ive learnt 5 forms of pentatonic scales along the neck in C major and if I have to play in C# shift all scales up 1/2 step.

Oh and btw, when I want to play chords instead of scales, how does that work?
when Im in A, can I only play A (in different voicings), or...?
Last edited by Naam at Aug 27, 2009,
#11
Quote by Naam
While I appreciate all the reactions, I have to agree with icronic that some theory is a bit to complex for me right now. Im still stuck at the basics, but thanks anyway.

Alright so if I have this blues backing tracks, are these scales correct?

Whitey's Blues - in A play the pentatonic scales with the major root on an A
A Minor Affair - in Am play the pentatonic scales with the minor root on an A
Slow Down Blues - in Bb play the pentatonic scales with the major root on an B#

And with positions I mean how the scales are shifted along the neck. Ive learnt 5 forms of pentatonic scales along the neck in C major and if I have to play in C# shift all scales up 1/2 step.

Oh and btw, when I want to play chords instead of scales, how does that work?
when Im in A, can I only play A (in different voicings), or...?


Well, over the Bb you play Bb not B#

But over the first song you can most likely play both the A major and the A minor, and the A blues scales.

over the second one you'd only want to play the A minor pentatonic or the blues scale

Over the third song you could probably play Bm Minor, major or blues scales.

If you want to switch to chords, then you've got to figure out what chords are in the song, and where they come. Most blues is based off of a I IV V chord pattern, so in A that would be A7, D7, E7. learn those chords, figure out where they are in the progression, and play them when appropriate.
#12
Quote by icronic
The one thing I've always hated about this place is that so many people fail to gauge the TC's level of knowledge before barraging them with talk of theory. Yes, by and large their answers are correct. Yes the knowledge is important to eventually have, but rarely will it answer the original question in a way they can understand, and in general does nothing but cause confusion.

Anyway, the simple answer: You do not need to change scales when the chords change. You certainly can, and it's definitely something you should experiment with, but in general if you're playing C blues, you'll want to stick with Cm Pentatonic or C Blues.



There's nothing overly complicated in this thread. His question demonstrated a lack of basic scale knowledge.

If he doesn't understand what a scale is - it's definitely more helpful to him if people try to help him understand that instead of just giving a simple anwer to his uninformed question.

Simply telling him that he doesn't have to change scale "positions" when chords change won't help him understand why it doesn't matter.

And - ironically - you didn't answer his question correctly. He didn't ask if he should change scales for each chord, he asked if he should change scale positions...which, again, demonstrates a lack of basic scale knowledge.

OP: You can stay in the same "position" on the fretboard for the whole song if you want - or you can switch to different positions several times over the same chord. What people have been trying to help you understand is that all of the "positions" or "boxes" of the scale contain the same notes. You can play those notes anywhere on the fretboard at any time you want - as long as they are in the correct key (scale).

Like I said before - a scale is not a shape on your fretboard. It is a specific collection of notes (built using intervals...for osXTiger's sake)

Quote by Naam
Whitey's Blues - in A play the pentatonic scales with the major root on an A
A Minor Affair - in Am play the pentatonic scales with the minor root on an A
Slow Down Blues - in Bb play the pentatonic scales with the major root on an B#


There is no such thing as a "minor" or "major" root note. The root note of an A major scale and an A minor scale are both "A". Major and minor refer to the intervals between the notes of the scale.

And with positions I mean how the scales are shifted along the neck. Ive learnt 5 forms of pentatonic scales along the neck in C major and if I have to play in C# shift all scales up 1/2 step.


That's fine, but the sooner you start thinking about scales as notes and intervals instead of patterns on the guitar, the better off you'll be.

Oh and btw, when I want to play chords instead of scales, how does that work?
when Im in A, can I only play A (in different voicings), or...?


Every scale has 7 diatonic chords (meaning the chords only use notes from that scale).

So - to know the chords you can use in any given key (scale), you need to know 1: What notes are in the scale, and 2: How to build chords. You would build a chord using each note of the scale as a root note.

But for now - the shortcut around building each chord: There's a pattern.

For Major scales, the chords follow this pattern: I IIm IIIm IV V VIm VIIo I (Each number represents a note from the scale)

So, if you apply that pattern to the A major scale - and you know that the A major scale has these notes: A B C# D E F# G #

You will know that the following chords are in the key of A major:

A, Bm, C#m, D, E, F#m, G#dim

If you're really serious about learning this stuff, search for "crusade" in the "columns" section of this website and read all of the Crusade articles.

They're well written and relatively easy to understand - and they'll give you a good starting foundation for music theory.

Good luck!
Gear

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
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Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
#13
i just laughed slightly at the thread title and the mental image associated with it. a apathetic sligthly emo-looking version of b.b.king :p

so as not to be spam:
playing in Am is different to playing in C because you resolve to an A not a C. That means licks in C just won't sound right. a lick that ends on a G will sound ok in C since that's a 5th. In Am it might not sound so "finished" since G is the 7th.
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

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#14
Guitartist:

Yeah, you're correct in what you're saying and I admit I did misunderstand what he was asking. Although the end answer in this case is still basically correct.

However, despite the relative simplicity of the information being given, I'll be rather surprised if he can actually understand much of it, and that's where the problem lays. Very rarely have I seen a thread here that leaves the TC with more knowledge and less confusion than when he started the thread.

Sometimes it's just better to answer the question with as little extra information as possible, and wait for them to ask "why" before throwing in a boat load of extra information. The only thing that's really important for him right now is the answer to his question, and the points you outlined in your first post in this thread. Everything else strikes me as too much too quickly.
#15
If your playing a 12 bar blues, with the chord being C, would mean its in the Key of C... Obviously...

So there for, just play your blues/pentatonic scale in the C position, an you can play the other C positions too if you know them, Like blues scales can be transferred down the neck but be same notes or octaves or crap like that .
#16
Ok so the most important thing ive learnt from this topic is that the music theory behind blues playing (and music theory in general) is much more complex than I thought.

I will do (a lot) more reading and then come back here.

Btw, are there any standard books on (guitar) music theory that you recommend?
#17
If you are playing a 12 bar blues backing track in c, the chords would be C, F and G. The backing track is in C so you should solo in c. But at the chord changes other than C you can play your soloing in G or F, but C would sound fine.
#18
Quote by Naam
Ok so the most important thing ive learnt from this topic is that the music theory behind blues playing (and music theory in general) is much more complex than I thought.

I will do (a lot) more reading and then come back here.

Btw, are there any standard books on (guitar) music theory that you recommend?


yea, but I don't know any so I can't help you there, but this will help you a lot

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/learning_music_theory_the_beginning.html
#19
Quote by Naam
Alright after searching the web for an hour i decided to post my question here, since i couldnt find it anywhere on the net.

When in a 12 bar blues chord progression, for example C, do I change the position of the scales during the song? For example, when on the 4th bar the chord changes from C to F, do I move my pentatonic scales up from C to F?

Oh and whats the difference between playing in Am and C? If none, then why write Am when you can write C?

I've had the same question and while there's a ton of information in the replies, several of them directly answer your question directly.

You can use the notes of the key your backing track is in to do all of your solo'ing. And until you feel confident enough to move around a bit, that'll be great to stick to. You can have lots of fun and work on licks, with it sounding great.

Once you feel a bit more confident you can use the notes of each chord in the progression (if you know what they are). I'm still a blues beginner and this is the jump I'm now making -- going from one position (root) to the different positions of the other chords.

I'm sure over the years I'll learn more and it'll become more obvious that changing positions has little to do with it, but in my mind at this stage, it's how I think. I move my hand to such-and-such position on the fret board and know where the pattern of notes are that fit with that chord.

So from one relative beginner to another, I believe you're on the right track with your question. It's basically branching out from one position and collection of notes to others. I'm not facile with this yet at all but it's where I'm going (because I feel pretty comfortable with the root position). I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes for you.
Richard

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#20
Quote by Naam
Ok so the most important thing ive learnt from this topic is that the music theory behind blues playing (and music theory in general) is much more complex than I thought.

I will do (a lot) more reading and then come back here.

Btw, are there any standard books on (guitar) music theory that you recommend?



Just don't let it discourage you. It's really not as complicated as it first seems. Once you get used to the terminology, it's not that bad.

There's nothing wrong with learning the scale patterns and/or learning by ear. But you'll be better off in the long run if you start learning the theory behind it as well.

I wish I would have done the same as a beginner instead of waiting so long. Of course, back when I was first starting out, the internet was just starting out.....so......be thankful you have people to teach you - even if they do seem arrogant/conceited sometimes.
Gear

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
Voodoo Labs Microvibe
Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
#21
One thing that has helped me is knowing the intervals. 1, b3, 4, 5, b7

Say your playing in the key of A ...
1 chord is A7
4 chord is D7
5 chord is E7

For the blues I would use the A minor pentatonic or A blues scale.

When the 1 chord is playing emphasize the 1's because it's the root note of the chord being played.
When the 4 chord is playing emphasize the 4's because it's the root note of the chord being played.
When the 5 chord is playing emphasize the 5's because it's the root note of the chord being played.

This way you are playing the scale because it relates to all but also playing the change.
Last edited by statocat at Sep 2, 2009,