I've been playing for quite a long time, my technique is intact, rhythm's intact, timing's intact, improving down the drain.

Anyone have a step by step method for how you guys know what scales fit what progressions?

Like a progression of G# A# G Cm , a Natural Cminor scale would work wonders over that progression , but how and why? ( i was told by a colleague of mine , tried it , didn't figure it out by myself )

It's such a frustrating aspect for me, and i'm not lazy that i don't want to learn it, i want to, i just don't know how, i've learned reading notation hoping it will help however it hasn't.

I really hope someone can help with my issue, along with some examples.
It's not G# A# G Cm, it's Ab Bb G Cm.

But yeah, to answer your question, find the key of the song/progression - this is done by listening to the chords, though in this case I can see it without even playing it - it's in C minor (bVI-bVII-V-i). But the best way to do it is to listen to the progression and finding the chord that it resolves to. That's your key. And in this case it's C minor.

Then look at the chords in the progression and the notes they have in them. It's in C minor so of course you are going to play C minor scale over it. But sometimes chord progressions have notes that don't belong to the key signature. They are called accidentals. So look at the chords - can you find any accidentals?

Ab major - Ab C Eb
Bb major - Bb D F
G major - G B D
C minor - C Eb G

You could build a scale that uses all notes in the chords but remember that not every note in the scale is going to sound great over every chord in the progression, even if there are no accidentals used in the progression.

But yeah, let's build a scale. What we get is C D Eb F G Ab Bb B. You can see that we have both Bb and B natural. B is an accidental - it doesn't belong to the key signature of C minor. So I would only use B over G chord and not use Bb over it. But over everything else I would use Bb instead of B.

You can also play all 12 notes if you want. But you need to be able to use them right. And to use them right you need to use your ears. When you play a really dissonant note, it can be made sound really good if you play a consonant note after it.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.


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This question is a good example of why I started posting Lyric Sheets on here last year. No disrespect to TS for the question, but sure wish the contributors, the people that should KNOW the rudiments of Keys/Scales would name notes/chord roots etc properly. The major scale is very simple and there are way too many good lessons and resources on UG and all over the interwebs that explain it in detail and yet I constantly see chords named wrong. Pet Peeve: in the key of F naming the 4th degree A# instead of Bb. Intervals are how we hear chord changes, not only by their roots, but internal subtleties like suspended chords, 7ths, 6ths etc. It is up to those with the skills and knowledge to pass along good, accurate information to the learning musicians that use this site.

Learn the major scale and how it relates to major/minor keys. Identify the key that the song or musical passage is in (recognize any modal influences to name non key tones) and name chords accordingly. How hard is this?!

MaggaraMarine knows what he's talking about and that's a well worded, thorough answer Good luck Weirdzaid. Thanks for the opportunity to vent some thoughts directed at TAB contributors that may have been steering you and MANY others wrong. Shape up people. You can do better
Last edited by P_Trik at Dec 5, 2013,