#1
I mostly play blues improv to backing tracks (still learning). One of the things I would like to be able to do is to play the odd chord instead of the notes. However, I find it difficult to know what chords to choose.
As an example, I wanted to link two blues licks with a three chord sequence instead of the usual three notes I use. These are:

E----------------------------
B----------------------------
G---9---8-------------------
D------------12-------------
A----------------------------
E----------------------------

However, apart from an initial E, which sounds ok, I can't seem to find suitable chords to follow. In addition, there are places where a chord would work instead of a note. Basically, how do I find suitable chords to fill in for notes?
#2
Learn music theory. There are a number of chords that could work with those 3 notes.
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Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
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#3
Exactly what I'm doing. Although I have been strumming for many years now and have got pretty good around the fretboard, I have not understood music theory as such. However, now I have immersed myself in chord theory, scales and even the black dots, things are starting to make sense except in this case. Is it basically a case of selecting a chord that has the note you want to replace as its root and then trying different variations of this chord to see what sounds best?
#4
That's what I used to do, but once I learned more about chord construction, I started to learn what works in certain situations. With those 3 notes, since they are all a semitone away, I would choose some more obscure chords like add13 and stuff like that.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#5
I'd try Am, but that's a wild guess.
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#6
Thanks guys. Just wanted to know I was on the right track. So much to learn......
#7
Quote by davecooper
Thanks guys. Just wanted to know I was on the right track. So much to learn......

What you're wanting to do is a doddle, it's not hard at all - you just need a little understanding of the bigger picture.

Chords and scales are exactly the same thing, in much the same way as all mexican food is the same thing folded in different ways. It's just choosing notes because they work well and sound good together, play them one after another and you've got a scale, play them simultaneously and you've got a chord.

If you're playing over a blues backing you've got a nice, clear chord progression to follow. That means there isn't really an issue with chord "choice" as they're already laid out for you. You'll be soloing using a scale that fits with those chords...now blues is a little odd because it favours the minor pentatonic over a major progression but that's not a big issue in this context. Either way what you ultimately have is a backing consisting of chords made up of some notes, and a scale made up of some notes that you're planning on using for your melody. In amongst that you're going to have an awful lot of notes shared between the two - in a typical blues progression the total number of different notes contained in the chords isn't going to get above 6.

So, all you really need to do initially is look for notes that are shared between the scale you're using and the chord you're playing over. You can incorporate fragments of the chord that you're currently playing over and all you're really doing is playing 2 or 3 notes simultaneously instead of one after another.

If your chord knowledge is up to scratch then you can take things a little further and choose notes that will alter the underlying chord, so for example if you're playing over a straight Emaj chord you could play a doublestop of a maj7 interval to give a 7thy feel to that particular moment.

A paper exercise is actually really useful for this kind of thing - get yourself a blank fretboard map, map out the chords you're using (ideally all the voicings, not just the particular ones the song uses), then on the same diagram mark out all the positions of the scale you're using over those chords. That way you can see just how many notes are shared between the two. However you can't rely on diagrams to help you understand this because ultimately it's all about the sound so make sure you're using your ears above all else.
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