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#1
Basically, I am wondering what this guy is doing for the solo part of this song. He has 2 degrees in jazz guitar so I know it's pretty complex. Just wondering if you guys can pick out what modes/scales he is going through. I know I hear the blues scale for a couple seconds in the first video from 3:50-3:53 but the rest seems to be a little crazy. Like he's switching through modes or such like major and minor pentatonic. Insight would be greatly appreciated

First link is the studio recording that is on the album. Listen from 2:37-end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqdB1MJl9Vk

Second link is live. Whoever is controlling the camera does a good job on focusing in on the guitar. He plays it different every time they play the song. Watch from 2:00-end

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tahLNxg1XmI

Third link. You get the idea haha. Watch from 2:30-end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUDbnhKUY5A

All of these links are the same song but he always plays it differently. I'm not wanting to copy him not by note. I would just love some insight on what modes, scales, etc he is switching through while just jamming on the acoustic.

The band is Gungor btw. the guitarist is Michael Gungor. They are all phenomenal musicians, and if you get the chance I recommend looking up some of their other stuff. It's worth it.
Last edited by alee2117 at Feb 9, 2012,
#2
do you know how to determine a key?
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#3
Oh yeah. I was actually playing around and I looped a B4 as a drone like they do during the solo part of the song and played with some different scales and they all sounded good with it. I guess I just never thought that you could use B Dorian and B blues in the same song. I have no idea why, it just never crossed my mind
#4
Quote by alee2117
Oh yeah. I was actually playing around and I looped a B4 as a drone like they do during the solo part of the song and played with some different scales and they all sounded good with it. I guess I just never thought that you could use B Dorian and B blues in the same song. I have no idea why, it just never crossed my mind


If it is "B Dorian" and "B Blues" it might make sense to just think of it as B minor with the tritone and major sixth as accidentals. Or if you really want, B Dorian with the tritone as an accidental.

Just because you're using a note that's out of your scale doesn't mean you're using a different scale.
#6
why does he have to be using a scale?

do you know what key he's in?

do you know what accidentals he's assimilating?

that's all you need to know. no fancy scale names, no modes.
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#7
Quote by alee2117
Oh yeah. I was actually playing around and I looped a B4 as a drone like they do during the solo part of the song and played with some different scales and they all sounded good with it. I guess I just never thought that you could use B Dorian and B blues in the same song. I have no idea why, it just never crossed my mind



Something to investigate is chord scales, as opposed to modes.

Example:

If you have a Bmi7 chord, that tell you that your
Chord Tones: B D F# A

What about all the notes in between? C/C#, E/Eb, G/G#?

Right there you have a bunch of new possibilities.

As far as scales are concerned, players very often change scales with in the same song, sometimes the same chord, and also even in an individual phrase.

Try to study some solos of players playing you like. Learn the chords underneath, and then label each note over that chord. Eventually you will find tendencies and even ideas that you are into and you can make more from that.

I hope this helped!
#8
That's actually very helpful. So you're saying that I should learn the chords they are using underneath and just focus on embellishments that sound good to my ear? And I noticed with jazz
piano they are constantly changing so I know what you mean about changing scales for the chord
#9
Transcribe it for yourself. It's much, much better for your ear.
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Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
#10
i was struggling with how much knowledge you have, but yeah, use chord tones. that, in most cases, will cover 4 notes at any given time that supply varying levels of consonance. then you can use any of the other 8 notes as ornamentation, embellishment, whatever you like. shit, if you want, you can just play adjacent notes to the chord tones to make it dissonant, it's all up to you.
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#11
Quote by alee2117
So what would you say the main scale he is sticking to is?


If you know what notes he is using, what does it matter what we call the scale?
#12
The first part goes:

Gmaj7 F#m C#7/F F#7 or
IV iii VII7 III7

It's essentially an F# phrygian thing (pointing to key of B minor) using the inverted C#7 to chromaticize the bass line (so it goes G - F# - F - F#) and tonicize the F#. Of course he's just arpeggiating the chords here.

Then comes a run based on the B minor harmonic scale, with a few chromatic passages thrown in, which ultimately resolves to B minor.

His melodies adhere to the B minor harmonic scale almost exclusively over the B pedal tone.

When the first part kicks back in he uses B natural minor over the Gmaj7 and F#m, chord tones over the C#7/F and B harmonic minor over the F#7.
#13
Yeah I get what your saying. Very insightful. I just wasn't sure if this guy was following some kind of scale or formula. I'll keep that in mind and play what sounds good to my ear. In your opinion do they change keys when the song switches from its bluegrass feel to the solo part?
#14
The song is in D. The solo part is in B minor - it's changing from the major key to it's relative minor, the simplest form of changing keys. You could say so solo part starts by modulating to the mode of F# Phrygian since the C#7/F chord tonicizes the F# in that progression before they resolve to B minor, but some would argue that's still in the key of B minor.
#15
that's because it's still in the key of b minor
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#16
Quote by Hail
that's because it's still in the key of b minor


Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#17
Quote by bouttimeijoined
The first part goes:

Gmaj7 F#m C#7/F F#7 or
IV iii VII7 III7

It's essentially an F# phrygian thing (pointing to key of B minor) using the inverted C#7 to chromaticize the bass line (so it goes G - F# - F - F#) and tonicize the F#. Of course he's just arpeggiating the chords here.

Then comes a run based on the B minor harmonic scale, with a few chromatic passages thrown in, which ultimately resolves to B minor.

His melodies adhere to the B minor harmonic scale almost exclusively over the B pedal tone.

When the first part kicks back in he uses B natural minor over the Gmaj7 and F#m, chord tones over the C#7/F and B harmonic minor over the F#7.


Wow. That's a very detailed response and exactly what I was looking for. But quick question. How do you know what embellishments and notes are not too dissonant that it sounds like garbage? I know you can add notes outside the scale as accidentals. But just what notes do you NOT hit and which ones sound nice?
#18
Quote by bouttimeijoined
The song is in D. The solo part is in B minor - it's changing from the major key to it's relative minor, the simplest form of changing keys. You could say so solo part starts by modulating to the mode of F# Phrygian since the C#7/F chord tonicizes the F# in that progression before they resolve to B minor, but some would argue that's still in the key of B minor.


See we could close the other thread and continue it here!
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#19
Quote by alee2117
Wow. That's a very detailed response and exactly what I was looking for. But quick question. How do you know what embellishments and notes are not too dissonant that it sounds like garbage? I know you can add notes outside the scale as accidentals. But just what notes do you NOT hit and which ones sound nice?


You train your ear.

As you develop your ear, you'll be able to think in terms of sounds. You'll play such-and-such a note not because it's in a given scale, but because you know what it's going to sound like and it's the sound you want to create.

But ultimately, this is why music is an art, not a science. You want hard and fast rules, but none exist. As you gain experience you'll learn that certain notes (the #6 in the minor scale, the b7 in the major scale) are easier to make work than others, but I guarantee you it's possible to hit a b7 in a major scale and have it sound all wrong.

Heck, you could be playing in the pentatonic and have a note that's in the full scale but not in the pentatonic sound "wrong."
#20
Very true. I've noticed that with some things. Especially playing jazz or blues. Some notes work and some don't. And sometimes you can't hold a note because it sounds bad, but if you use it as a passing note it sounds great.


Thank you guys for your help.
#21
Another reason I assumed he was using modes is because in the description of the song he says he is. He says he's moving through modes an styles with childlike freedom so I just assumed.
#23
Quote by alee2117
Wow. That's a very detailed response and exactly what I was looking for. But quick question. How do you know what embellishments and notes are not too dissonant that it sounds like garbage? I know you can add notes outside the scale as accidentals. But just what notes do you NOT hit and which ones sound nice?


It's all about context. any note can be made to sound good with the right melody surrounding it, and with the right dynamics (emphasis). For example, try incorporating the following into a lead over a B minor progression: play a C note and hammer on to the C#, then play D, B, A, B.

The C is normally very dissonant but leading into the C# it works.

Really you have to look through tabs for inspiration and/or just experiment to see what works for you - and it can be different for each chord I ii iii IV V vi...

Everyones ear is different - and this goes to what was said above about it being an art rather than a science - so for example what sounds good to Allan Holdsworth may sound too dissonant to you or I.
#24
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Where does it say that?


http://gungormusic.com/#!/2011/09/ghosts-upon-the-earth/

If you scroll down to where he is explaining "You Are the Beauty" he says it. He explains all of the songs on the album on that page.


And let me try and wrap my head around this. Scales are pretty much learned so you can add other outside notes to the scale? And you can change scales in one song if need be. Well if this is the case than how do you determine what scale someone is playing in if they are playing other notes outside of the scale??
#25
^^^
you don't... find the key, find the chords, use chord tones.
Much easier, much simpler and more effective, much less restrictive.
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#27
at the risk of sounding like Xiaoxi without a third of his knowledge to back it up, yes.

They are useful, but they can be limiting, and get you used to thinking you can only play 7 notes on each situation, when you always have all 12 at your disposal.

EDIT: Learn the major scale, as most western music is based on it... also the minor scale... the rest are pretty much variations and accidentals...
Quote by Xiaoxi
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Last edited by mrkeka at Feb 10, 2012,
#28
So with the chord tones. Say you're playing a Dm7, G7, and a Cmaj7. Aren't you pretty restricted by only having those chord tones to work with? Or is that where te accidentals and embellishments come in and mix it up?
#30
Quote by alee2117
So with the chord tones. Say you're playing a Dm7, G7, and a Cmaj7. Aren't you pretty restricted by only having those chord tones to work with? Or is that where te accidentals and embellishments come in and mix it up?


with these 3 chords, you already have C, D, E, F, G, A, B... aka C major scale... after all, it's a progression in C major, completely diatonic.

Which doesn't mean you can't add accidentals as passing tones... let's say on the Dm7 you target an A... you can get to the G7 step wise... going A - Ab - G (the root of the chord) or A - A# - B (the 3rd)... and so on and so forth
Quote by Xiaoxi
The Byzantine scale was useful until the Ottoman scale came around and totally annihilated it.
#31
Quote by mrkeka
with these 3 chords, you already have C, D, E, F, G, A, B... aka C major scale... after all, it's a progression in C major, completely diatonic.

Which doesn't mean you can't add accidentals as passing tones... let's say on the Dm7 you target an A... you can get to the G7 step wise... going A - Ab - G (the root of the chord) or A - A# - B (the 3rd)... and so on and so forth



True. Now what if you're in a situation where it's a lot less diatonic? I know you just stick to the chord tones but does it change?
#32
Quote by alee2117
True. Now what if you're in a situation where it's a lot less diatonic? I know you just stick to the chord tones but does it change?


nope, chord tones. that's the beauty of the approach - you don't need to adjust your scales every time you switch chords or modulate. you always see the same 3-4 notes that you can use, and you can use common sense, intuition, interval knowledge, passing tones, whatever to see how the other notes fit at any given time, and how you can use them to your advantage to get the sound you want to get.

in addition to the plethora of techniques you can use over any given note and all the variables in the harmony, it really is an open field.

you could just change scales all the time and make life hard for yourself, because you think chord tones are "boring" or because you want to prove you can do it the harder way or whatever, but understanding the availability of the entire range of notes will make your life a hell of a lot easier in the long run and will allow you to focus on more important things in your composition/improvisation.

it's a common misconception that the only thing going on at any given time is note choice - this just isn't true. i plug this DVD a lot, but Victor Wooten's Groove Workshop helped me a lot a few years ago, and no, it's not just for bass players. It helped me see things in a different way, going by my ear rather than my head.



in this part, Wooten talks about how note choice really is only around 1/10th of the impact of what you're playing. there are so many other factors that you could be playing all kinds of 'wrong' notes and, as long as you played them cleverly and intelligently, it'd sound good.
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#33
That's very helpful.

One last time to wrap my head around. You're saying to play the individual notes that build the chord that other people are playing, and just add embellishments and accidentals? I guess technically you are playing the scale you're just being more melodic with it by playing a couple notes that are actually being used in the chord. Like rather than using a C and an E while someone is playing D. even though it's in the scale it's not in the D chord
#34
Hail, you are an SOB! lol
I've been seeing lots of helpful posts from you for a long time, but this one is great, why have you never shared it before?
Seems like I have to get myself a copy of that DVD!
Quote by Xiaoxi
The Byzantine scale was useful until the Ottoman scale came around and totally annihilated it.
#35
pretty much.

say in F major, you're playing over a C7. the chord is C E G Bb. the scale most people would use is the "mixolydian" scale (don't get into modes) or a major scale with a minor 7th to accommodate that Bb. that would be C [D] E [F] G [A] Bb. essentially, it's the chord tones with 3 notes just thrown in because they "flavor" the chord tones a certain way depending on how you use them. instead, why not just look at it as C [Db] [D] [Eb] E [F] [Gb] G [Ab] A Bb . then you have one scale you can pick and choose from as you see fit, as well as reference points based on the notes in the individual chord rather than 12 different scales to choose from depending on context. in the mental time you're taking to choose which scale you use, you could be identifying the chord tones and focusing on other aspects of your playing (in the list above: articulation, technique, feel, dynamics, tone, phrasing, tempo, space, and listening to the context).

this is just my way of thinking ofc, there are a lot of people who defend CST and other approaches. i personally find it intrusive, but everybody has different ways of thinking. i would consider this the most efficient, personally, though.

Hail, you are an SOB! lol
I've been seeing lots of helpful posts from you for a long time, but this one is great, why have you never shared it before?
Seems like I have to get myself a copy of that DVD!


i used to plug it a lot, or little videos from it at least, it's probably been a while. it's a great watch - i think it's like 3 hours long from what i recall, but wooten has a great approach. he's why i tell so many guitarists i know to play bass for a few months and then rethink their way of thinking of guitar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_jFAhN6V9s here's a little section i really enjoy, his explanation here really helped me get out of the scale rut i was in for a good while
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Last edited by Hail at Feb 10, 2012,
#36
The scale you're talking about being the chromatic scale I'm assuming. Wow man. I kind of understood what you were saying but after watching that guy it made so much more sense. How do YOU prefer to practice this idea. Backing tracks?
#37
really i just started playing with everything i found, as when i started working on it i was also learning to transcribe. so i'd figure out the chords going on, then play over it and see how to work with it - how they made their melody, how i would use it, etc.

anything works, TV music, youtube, backing tracks, lead sheets, whatever you're comfortable with. there isn't a right way, per se. i have a cheap multi-fx with a looper as well, so if you have access to basic recording stuff or a looper or something simple like that it'd help a lot.
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#38
That guy is a genius. I'm getting this DVD. Soon. So how do you think Gungor used this idea since it was a B drone and not a chord??
#39
sounds like he's just, well, improvising. because it's just a B going on, he has a lot more freedom as to what he can hit (as all he can conflict with is the B, rather than multiple notes). he's just playing what sounds good, it seems like, really. the way he stops and starts a bit, you can hear how he kind of bounces off familiar licks and adventures into new ideas.

it's vague cause i'm not sitting down and listening to what patterns he uses, unless you want to straight out transcribe each and look for patterns. it's just kinda like he's playing off his head, if that makes sense, in his own style. you can clearly hear the gypsy-ish influence he has on his playing from how he hears things and his individual influences, and has picked up this style over time.

again, short of transcribing a lot of his improvisations, it'll be hard to actually pick apart his individual nuances, but you can always analyze it like any other music style and learn from it by how he uses the notes. it's not as simple as what scales he's playing, though.
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#40
True. I've noticed that too. He's just like you said improvising I guess. So he's just hitting why notes he can. I've never noticed how much freedom you can get from a one note drone. This post has given me more information than what seems like years of playing. Thank you so much. Hail.
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