#1
How can I tell what key something is? For example, if i where to play an Emaj where exactly on the fret board would that be if I wanted to lay down some lead licks?

Is there a certain pattern the keys follow consistently down the fret board? Does the key go by what fret the note is played on, or does it depend on which string is played, reguardless of what ever fret is on. So on the 5th fret would it be the same key for all the strings, or is each string played on the 5th fret its' own key?

What about when other notes are played together such as power chords, played along the fret board, is there a way of telling what key it is in? I know obviously if you play any of the major or minor chords that the song is in the key of which ever chord is played, but as far if I wanted to play some leads how can I tell while jumping around playing the minor and major pentonic scales if Im playing in the right key? Or which frets consist of the minor and major notes, because its just the same scale played at different frets, so how can one differate between the two scales? I imagine there has to be some sort of pattern knowing what key a note(s) is played through out the fret board.

In addition to that, what are some keys, chords, and notes that are commonly used in most rock, blues and jazz type of music?

I would really appreciate if some one could help sort this out to me, Ive never had any formal lessons, or of anything in music theory. I just picked up a guitar and learned from friends, and just played what ever sounded good, now that Im getting more serious about playing music I would really like to get this sorted out.

Thanks!!!
Last edited by tht_guy1991 at Jul 2, 2010,
#2
wow... there are so many threads on improv...
But usually the first chord is the tonic chord which is the 1st chord in the scale which is the key solo in.

Eg. 1st chord = Am.... scale solo'd over is Am

But if all the chords stay withi8n this scale.

Eg 2nd chord = CM.... scale solo's over is still Am... or u can use the mode in C for that scale.

But really, u need to read alot more and know your fretboard, there are no patteren, an du must no ur sclaes and chords with scales. And where certain scales are used and why.

But if in doubt, play slide up the fretboard until a note sounds good, then try playing a scale if it doesn't, try another... repetative boring way of doing it... but it gets the job done.

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#3
Quote by tht_guy1991
How can I tell what key something is? For example, if i where to play an Emaj where exactly on the fret board would that be if I wanted to lay down some lead licks?


The notes/chords of a song will indicate the key. E major is E F# G# A B C# D# E, so the corresponding frets of those notes will be in the key of E major. For this, you'll have to know your fretboard notes.


Is there a certain pattern the keys follow consistently down the fret board? Does the key go by what fret the note is played on, or does it depend on which string is played, reguardless of what ever fret is on. So on the 5th fret would it be the same key for all the strings, or is each string played on the 5th fret its' own key?


No. Again, learn the notes rather than the frets and then learn the keys. Don't associate frets with keys. That's just gonna make it harder on you.

What about when other notes are played together such as power chords, played along the fret board, is there a way of telling what key it is in? I know obviously if you play any of the major or minor chords that the song is in the key of which ever chord is played, but as far if I wanted to play some leads how can I tell while jumping around playing the minor and major pentonic scales if Im playing in the right key? Or which frets consist of the minor and major notes, because its just the same scale played at different frets, so how can one differate between the two scales? I imagine there has to be some sort of pattern knowing what key a note(s) is played through out the fret board.


I don't really understand what you're asking here.

In addition to that, what are some keys, chords, and notes that are commonly used in most rock, blues and jazz type of music?


E minor and G major are pretty much the most common keys on guitar, since all the open strings are in key. A minor is pretty common too.

I would really appreciate if some one could help sort this out to me, Ive never had any formal lessons, or of anything in music theory. I just picked up a guitar and learned from friends, and just played what ever sounded good, now that Im getting more serious about playing music I would really like to get this sorted out.

Thanks!!!



Good to know. A lot of people don't bother with theory and i think it hurts them in the long run to not know even some basic stuff. What i would recommend is studying your fretboard and know which frets on which strings are which notes. For example, 7th fret A string is an E. If you know your fretboard, then when you memorize your keys you'll have a much easier time playing in key.
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#4
you can tell by what chord the piece finishes on, or more specifically what chord is implied by the last few notes.
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#6
Quote by tht_guy1991
How can I tell what key something is? For example, if i where to play an Emaj where exactly on the fret board would that be if I wanted to lay down some lead licks?

Is there a certain pattern the keys follow consistently down the fret board? Does the key go by what fret the note is played on, or does it depend on which string is played, reguardless of what ever fret is on. So on the 5th fret would it be the same key for all the strings, or is each string played on the 5th fret its' own key?

What about when other notes are played together such as power chords, played along the fret board, is there a way of telling what key it is in? I know obviously if you play any of the major or minor chords that the song is in the key of which ever chord is played, but as far if I wanted to play some leads how can I tell while jumping around playing the minor and major pentonic scales if Im playing in the right key? Or which frets consist of the minor and major notes, because its just the same scale played at different frets, so how can one differate between the two scales? I imagine there has to be some sort of pattern knowing what key a note(s) is played through out the fret board.

In addition to that, what are some keys, chords, and notes that are commonly used in most rock, blues and jazz type of music?

I would really appreciate if some one could help sort this out to me, Ive never had any formal lessons, or of anything in music theory. I just picked up a guitar and learned from friends, and just played what ever sounded good, now that Im getting more serious about playing music I would really like to get this sorted out.

Thanks!!!


1. To answer your first question, regarding your E Major example, you would need/want to learn the notes on the neck. This would help you find any E you wanted to start on.

2. Music follows pretty much an alphabetical order on the fretboard. How that falls depends on the tuning that each string is in. So whatever those notes would be, would dictate what notes followed it. For example in E standard tuning G would be on my 3rd fret 6th fret and A follows 2 frets after on the 5th fret - this interval is consistent with all strings, depending on where you start. A Key is a series of half and whole steps and the chords which are formed from them. You'd need a study of Diatonic Harmony to better understand/apply this.

3. There is a way to tell what key may be suggested diatonically - For example if I played an A power chord followed by a C I might know this suggests A minor. However if I played an A followed by a C#, because I understand diatonic harmony, and triad theory, I'd recognize this as a suggested A Major move. So again, Diatonic Harmony and Triad theory and construction are the skill sets that you'd want to develop.

4. To understand how to know what to play requires a strong basis in scale construction, and how to identify that scale in such a way as to determine what chords are embedded or located within a given scale. To wit:

Take a C Major -

C D E F G A B C

My understanding of chords and their theory and relationship to scales reveals that in this instance I can play a number of chords (partial list for illustration)

C Dm Em F G Am Bo
Cmaj7, Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7, Am7, Bm7b5
Cmaj9, Dm9, Em9, Fmaj9, G9, Am9
(No C Maj 11 because the 11 would clash with the maj 3)
Dm11, Em11, G11, Am11

And so on, but this is a partial list of chords, not to mention any sus chords, inversions or 13ths or 6ths etc. that I could also find in this simple scale.

5. Common chords in rock are your Power Chords, Major and Minor, as well as limited 7ths.

Common chords in Blues to include the above plus Dominant 7ths/9ths

Jazz chords to be mostly based around a minimum of 7ths, and lots of altered dominants b9 #9, 11 #11 13ths , passing chords like m7b5's

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jul 2, 2010,
#7
wow guys, first and foremost i just wanted to say thank you for taking the time out in explaining this. Much clearer, great advice guys, and much appreciated