#1
I know my major scales, minor scales, chords and pentatonics. What I would like to know is how to use these in improvisation. Is it as simple as whatever chord is being played you can only play the notes in that scale? For example: Em chord can only be soloed with the notes in E minor, or is there more to it?
Can notes from other scales be used to solo over that chord?
#2
It depends on your style. Some guitarists would use an E minor pentatonic or blues scale, others use the full E minor scale (also known as the diatonic minor), and others would add odd notes from other modes, or even go full chromatic.
What you're suggesting is a good place to start, but it's not the end.
#3
Most songs have chord progressions that are based on some key. Most often you would play the corresponding scale of the key you're in. So unless your song only has an E minor chord, you might want to look at the bigger picture.
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#4
Quote by Flibo
Most songs have chord progressions that are based on some key. Most often you would play the corresponding scale of the key you're in. So unless your song only has an E minor chord, you might want to look at the bigger picture.


Yep. If a song is in a minor key you use a minor scale to improvise over it. If a song is in a major key, you use a major scale to improvise over it. You can use any accidentals you wish.

If a song has an Em chord, this alone does not tell you the key. A song in C could go C - Em - G. You'd use a C major scale. A song in Am could go Am - Dm - Em. You'd use an A minor scale. In both these examples an E minor chord is present, but an E minor scale is not used over either of them.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#5
You can make a groove in say E major then you use an E major scale and you can make accidentals.
Accidentals are notes outside of the scale.
Your pentatonics are meant to be good sounding in both minor and major.
So you can play E minor pentatonic against E major.
This is done alot in blues bands.
#6
Quote by beargryllz
I know my major scales, minor scales, chords and pentatonics. What I would like to know is how to use these in improvisation. Is it as simple as whatever chord is being played you can only play the notes in that scale? For example: Em chord can only be soloed with the notes in E minor, or is there more to it?
Can notes from other scales be used to solo over that chord?


The best way to learn how to improvise is to start improvising. If you want a comprehensive guide, get "Guitar Soloing" and "Advanced Guitar Soloing" by Gilbert.

The short answer is to play chords which have a clear key center, and to solo in that key.

So, for example, if you were playing a C-G-Am-F progrssion, you'd use a C major scale for the whole thing.

Personally, I recommend starting with pentatonics. You can solo in a minor pentatonic over either a major or minor chord progression in that key (eg, you could do Em pentatonic over an E-A-B progression or over an Em, Am, Bm progression). Do both. The reason to start with pentatonics is to focus on your phasing, to THINK about what you're playing, constantly be making choices.

Once you're comfortable doing that with the minor pentatonic scale, start working with the full minor and major scales. Again, always LISTEN to what you're playing, and THINK before you PLAY. Don't fall into the habit of just playing licks my muscle memory.

As you get more experienced and comfortable, start playing over more ambiguous chord progressions (where, for example, perhaps the chords don't all fit together diatonically quite so perfectly). After that, you can start to experiment with shifting scales based on where you are in the chord progression, but that's advanced stuff - don't worry about it right away.
Last edited by HotspurJr at Oct 2, 2011,
#7
Quote by beargryllz
I know my major scales, minor scales, chords and pentatonics. What I would like to know is how to use these in improvisation. Is it as simple as whatever chord is being played you can only play the notes in that scale? For example: Em chord can only be soloed with the notes in E minor, or is there more to it?
Can notes from other scales be used to solo over that chord?


There's more to it. Commit at least to a study of diatonic harmony.

Your question of notes from other scales, is easy to answer but harder for you to intelligently apply it. You can use any note from any where to solo over any chord.

Best,

Sean
#8
Quote by beargryllz
I know my major scales, minor scales, chords and pentatonics. What I would like to know is how to use these in improvisation. Is it as simple as whatever chord is being played you can only play the notes in that scale? For example: Em chord can only be soloed with the notes in E minor, or is there more to it?
Can notes from other scales be used to solo over that chord?



If you want to study how to use scales in improvisation, an obvious place to start would be to learn and study some improvisations. if you do, you'll realize that music is more than just a bunch of theoretical concepts strung together, just like a language is more than letters and grammar.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 3, 2011,