#1
I jam with 2 friends of mine just about every week, one of them plays mostly lead guitar, and the other drums. So naturally i'm the rhythm guitarist since i'm not very experienced with any lead playing.

Once one of us has a riff/idea we will start jamming on it and the other guitarist will usually jump to some lead playing. Now the problem is, it's rather monotonous playing the same 1 or 2 riffs while he solos for a good bit.

So I have 2 questions:

1. What I think I need some help with is chord progressions. I want to be able to change up what I am playing while the other guitarist is soloing, but I don't want to throw him off by drastically changing the key. How would I go about doing this?

2. Also, how would you go about deciding the key of a mostly single note riff?

Any suggestions would be helpful!
Last edited by L.A.P.D. at May 6, 2011,
#2
Quote by L.A.P.D.

Also, how would you go about deciding the key of a mostly single note riff?

Any suggestions would be helpful!


Like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySO-gryuO-c

or this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEjgPh4SEmU

or this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3sMjm9Eloo

or this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyYnnUcgeMc
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#3
Quote by L.A.P.D.

Also, how would you go about deciding the key of a mostly single note riff?


It all depends on what notes your using for the most part... Do you know your scales? or are you just playing random notes till they sound decent?

For instance if your riff doesnt have any sharps or flats in it its probably in C major or A minor. It all depends on the notes. Having said that its perfectly normal to throw some non scale sharps or flats in there to spice it up as long as it sounds good.

I personally pick a scale first and then come up with a riff that works with it. whether that by E minor or A harmonic minor or what have you.
#4
Quote by mh1986
It all depends on what notes your using for the most part... Do you know your scales? or are you just playing random notes till they sound decent?

For instance if your riff doesnt have any sharps or flats in it its probably in C major or A minor. It all depends on the notes. Having said that its perfectly normal to throw some non scale sharps or flats in there to spice it up as long as it sounds good.

I personally pick a scale first and then come up with a riff that works with it. whether that by E minor or A harmonic minor or what have you.


I don't really know my scales, but I am sort of familiar with the neck so it's not so much random notes.

What if a riff had 5 notes, 3 of them sharp, how would you know what scale that would be? It seems like there could be more notes that are sharp, but if you are not playing them how would you know what key you are in?

Hope that makes sense lol.


Quote by AlanHB



I'm not really sure how these are supposed to help me.
Last edited by L.A.P.D. at May 6, 2011,
#5
Quote by L.A.P.D.
I'm not really sure how these are supposed to help me.


Well it's such a broad question, I thought a broad answer was appropriate. All those songs had a riff consisting largely of one note, and they're all different. There's no rulebook on the thing, but you could argue that in each of the songs, that one note is in the key of the song which brings us to....

Quote by L.A.P.D.
I don't really know my scales, but I am sort of familiar with the neck so it's not so much random notes.

What if a riff had 5 notes, 3 of them sharp, how would you know what scale that would be? It seems like there could be more notes that are sharp, but if you are not playing them how would you know what key you are in?

Hope that makes sense lol.


You'll have to learn your major and minor scales, the notes on the fretboard (yes all of them) and how to harmonise them to create chords within a key to properly answer the question.

I know you're saying "if he plays x, y and z notes, how do I know what to play?", and the answer is "x, y and z notes belong to a scale, and they're played within a key, you can play chords from this key or borrowed from others to support the riff, and emphasise his chord tones to give a better progression to the song". Obviously to understand this, you'll have to learn what I stated above first.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#6
Quote by AlanHB
Well it's such a broad question, I thought a broad answer was appropriate. All those songs had a riff consisting largely of one note, and they're all different. There's no rulebook on the thing, but you could argue that in each of the songs, that one note is in the key of the song which brings us to....


You'll have to learn your major and minor scales, the notes on the fretboard (yes all of them) and how to harmonise them to create chords within a key to properly answer the question.

I know you're saying "if he plays x, y and z notes, how do I know what to play?", and the answer is "x, y and z notes belong to a scale, and they're played within a key, you can play chords from this key or borrowed from others to support the riff, and emphasise his chord tones to give a better progression to the song". Obviously to understand this, you'll have to learn what I stated above first.


Do you know of any tutorials/sites that could help me in learning scales/keys/progressions?

Although i'm not sure how to emphasize his chord tones if he is constantly changing notes.


Also I think you misunderstood my question about single note riffs. My question was how do you connect single note riffs to a key/chord progressions to build a song.
Last edited by L.A.P.D. at May 6, 2011,
#7
Quote by L.A.P.D.
Do you know of any tutorials/sites that could help me in learning scales/keys/progressions?

Although i'm not sure how to emphasize his chord tones if he is constantly changing notes.


Also I think you misunderstood my question about single note riffs. My question was how do you connect single note riffs to a key/chord progressions to build a song.

musictheory.net
^this is my personal fav when it comes to theory....

okay about riff to key thing.... if you are playing a riff that contains the notes E F# C# G# and A, you simpley look for the key that has all of those notes
A Major contians these notes
A B C# D E F# G# A
F# Minor also contains these notes
F# G# A B C# D E F
as does E major
E F# G# A B C# D# E
and C# minor
C# D# E F# G# A B C#

there might also be other scales that hold all of these notes, but that isn't important because your next step would be to listen to where it resolves.... play the riff and end on an Amaj chord, how does it sound? does it sound complete? now try it with F#min, then Emaj, then C#min... now which one sounds the best at the end? this is mostlikely your key. since this one starts on E and ends on A I would assume it would probably sound best with an Amaj or Emaj....

thats how to figure out a key when you don't have all the notes, sometimes you will have several keys it will fit into, then it's a bit of trial and error to find the right one. oh the other hand the lead may already be using a specific key, and you can ask him or her which one he or she chose. however this probably doesn't give you the answer to finding the key to a riff you wrote, the only way you will be able to easily deduce this is if you learn your scales and keys, so now it's time for you to head over to musictheory.net and start learning, do the lessons in order and do not move ahead till you understand the lesson. if you have questions about it we are here to help you.... good luck!
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#8
Quote by krypticguitar87
musictheory.net
^this is my personal fav when it comes to theory....

okay about riff to key thing.... if you are playing a riff that contains the notes E F# C# G# and A, you simpley look for the key that has all of those notes
A Major contians these notes
A B C# D E F# G# A
F# Minor also contains these notes
F# G# A B C# D E F
as does E major
E F# G# A B C# D# E
and C# minor
C# D# E F# G# A B C#

there might also be other scales that hold all of these notes, but that isn't important because your next step would be to listen to where it resolves.... play the riff and end on an Amaj chord, how does it sound? does it sound complete? now try it with F#min, then Emaj, then C#min... now which one sounds the best at the end? this is mostlikely your key. since this one starts on E and ends on A I would assume it would probably sound best with an Amaj or Emaj....

thats how to figure out a key when you don't have all the notes, sometimes you will have several keys it will fit into, then it's a bit of trial and error to find the right one. oh the other hand the lead may already be using a specific key, and you can ask him or her which one he or she chose. however this probably doesn't give you the answer to finding the key to a riff you wrote, the only way you will be able to easily deduce this is if you learn your scales and keys, so now it's time for you to head over to musictheory.net and start learning, do the lessons in order and do not move ahead till you understand the lesson. if you have questions about it we are here to help you.... good luck!


That really cleared it up, thanks a lot! I'll be sure to use that site as well. Much appreciated man
#9
^ glad I could help, just remember that even though it can get quite dry at some points just stick with it, it will eventually click...
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#10
Quote by L.A.P.D.
Do you know of any tutorials/sites that could help me in learning scales/keys/progressions?


As mentioned above, www.musictheory.net is good.

Quote by L.A.P.D.
Although i'm not sure how to emphasize his chord tones if he is constantly changing notes.


You pick which notes are emphasising the chords. So it's up to you how the chord structure goes.

Quote by L.A.P.D.
Also I think you misunderstood my question about single note riffs. My question was how do you connect single note riffs to a key/chord progressions to build a song.


I was just trying to point out that you can go in many, many directions with a single note riff. There's no "one-way" to approach it. With time and practice applying theory, it should be able to come to you pretty naturally.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#11
I would get a teacher, if you can afford to take weekly lessons. Not everyone learns the same way but for me when I had someone explaining it all to me it made much more sense to me. I would also look at some Musician Institute books I got Harmony and Theory and it's very very helpful in learning your theory. Me personally am not the best with theory and can't just be like oh 5 flats is this key yada yada it takes me a couple minutes to figure the key out still... I need to practice more

Some free things besides http://musictheory.net is the crusade articles by I think it was Josh Urban in the UG columns they were good starting material for me. But learn the notes on the fret board and an easy way to get started on that remember BC and EF are "neighbor notes" there is no accidentals (sharps or flats) between B and C or E and F everything else there is are accidentals between.

Back to your original questions listen to the other guys haha

But this may also help. I find knowing the relation of notes between each other like where they sit in relation to your tonic (your root note I chord) this comes in handy for improving a chord change, also know which chords are major and minor I is major II min III min IV maj V maj (dominant) VI min VIIº dim. A fast easy way to remember that is 1+4=5 (Major chords) 2X3=6 (minor chords) 7 is always diminished. (This goes for major keys that is) Minor keys you would either renumber the chords so that I is the VI and so forth but that is in my eyes up to the person playing.

Also does this sound good to anyone else that has answered previously haha. I don't wanna give out wrong information and want to make sure I am correct.