#1
Anyone got any tips for improvising/creating solos using the major scale? Whenever I try it never sounds good.

I did some blues lessons on another website which has helped me use the minor pentatonic but when it comes to the major scale and an extra 2 notes I find it difficult.

Is there any common major scale licks that I could use and build upon?
#2
Google "Marty Friedman Melodic Control"

The first things he talks about involves major scales.
#3
There's plenty of things you could do, you'll just have to familiarize yourself with them.
Listen to songs that go in major and learn whatever licks you think sounds cool.
Also, keep trying. You'll only get better.
#5
I love majors!!

In terms of blues, check out BB King. At first I was like, "WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING?!" But with a bit of work I figured out he's comping in Maj pent quite a bit. Very distinct BB sound.

His work sounds fairly basic and "easy," too, until you try and play it. That's why he's the man.

Maj Pents are also heavily used in Satriani's work. I always teach it this way:

Have a friend (or teacher) play a 12-bar blues thing.

Say it's E7:-A7-E7-B-A7-E7-B7 (E blues) type of thing.

Now, play with D Maj Pent. If you slide into major thirds on each chord, you get a very nice, classic country sound.

I show students how to switch back and forth between this country style and the classic minor blues style to create more exciting, less standard solo lines in blues.

Now take that concept and slide into G Maj pent from E min pent. This is where BB King often played. It's a blues feel, too, but a more old-school influenced, less urban sound. That's sort of a Delta thing, maybe. (Don't quote me on that! I WISH I could play good Delta blues!!!)

Now you've got three scales in a close proximity that can be used in any standard E blues setting with very different results.

That's the beginning.

From there, start looking at your other two, oft neglected, Major modes: Lydian and Mixolydian.

Lydian in particular is underutilized.

To me it sounds like that Renaissance minstrel type of stuff, like a guy in floofy pants would play to get a girl's attention. Very English or maybe French, very 1600's folk - and that's the thing, it's really not a classical type of sound!

In classical guitar you are utilizing a lot of arpeggiation and melodic movement within chord changes as opposed to modal playing. It's still there, but the mode would change every eighth note, so it's not really practical to think about it (and least I don't find it to be so.)

Utilizing that folky Lydian gets you away from that Bach-ish classically based sound with harmonic and melodic minor being played to death.

Granted, a bit of harmo minor is a great way to get people to say, "Wow, that's really great!"

But to me that's too easy. And it's been done to death.

So I would suggest exploring Lydian for melodic and harmonic possibilities because it is reminiscent of a past era, yet it's not really in your face in pop music anymore so it has a freshness as well as familiarity. You can be "modern" and "different" without having to get all 12-tone/atonal and mathematical, which let's face it people generally hate.

I personally love atonal music, but I am not most people.
"Virtually no one who is taught Relativity continues to read the Bible."

#6
I don't think he should be getting into modes if he isn't comfortable in the major scale. Whole different ball game.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


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#8
Start off simple, there's nothing wrong with a good 'ol I IV V7 in C major to start learning how to improv. Most importantly, use your ear. As long as you're on key, essentially any note you play will sound good. However, depending on what part of the progression you're in, certain notes will stand out more, and you'll find that you're ear will gravitate towards these notes. These are called Chord Tones.

A I IV V7 in C major is made up of the chords C, F, and G7.

When you're on the I (C), you'll find that when you're improving, notes in a C chord are going to sound good, because they are your chord tones. C, E, and G are your chord tones over a C Major chord because those are the notes that a C major chord is made of. However, you don't only want to play chord tones, that'll sound bland because you're limiting yourself to only three notes. You'll just want to make the chord tones stand out more, and all of the other notes are called passing tones (I think?). That's what I've always called them, because you use them to pass between chord tones. When the chord changes to F, your chord
tones will be the notes in an F major chord, which are F, A, and C.

Most importantly though, use your ear. Like I said, your ear will gravitate towards most of these notes anyway. I just gave you the why-this-works of it all.