#1
Hi dear UG members!! I know that it is important to learn the natural major and minor scale beside the popular major and minor pentatonic scale. So I learned both the natural major and minor scale (although I need more practice as I haven’t finished up memorizing the notes of the guitar so I can’t spontaneously play at any position of the fretboard). I know both of the scale’s interval, I know a bit about harmonizing the major and minor scale, I can play them in boxed patterns, I know how to play from one octave to another in a single or using 2 or 3 strings. I also know that both of these scales are used in many famous solos and modes are derived from them. Improvisers use them a lot (I know apart from just using straight the scale, people incorporate arpeggio ideas and they also focus on the chord tone playing). But my question is how to solo with the natural scales? I’m a novice player so I am not looking for too complex things; I just want a starter’s guideline to use natural major and minor scales to construct solo that doesn’t sound like as if a scale is being played. I’m mostly into rock music but any helpful tips will be well appreciated even if it focuses on major or minor scale soloing in acoustic or metal style. Any constructive comments and suggestions are most welcome.
#2
Pick notes that make the sounds you want to hear. It's really no different from playing with the pentatonics you already know, there's just more notes to use.
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#3
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Pick notes that make the sounds you want to hear....

I’m not even considering myself as an improviser. However I can improvise a little using the minor pentatonic and blues scale which is not something very extraordinary (I’ve got plan learn the major pentatonic). Many say that natural minor scale soloing is easier than natural major scale soloing, but still my attempts on constructing a solo with either of these sound like I’m practicing scale. Can you give me any guideline/suggestion about songs/instrumentals that has melodic phrasing ideas where natural major or minor scale was used?
#4
Quote by stranger_23
I’m not even considering myself as an improviser. However I can improvise a little using the minor pentatonic and blues scale which is not something very extraordinary (I’ve got plan learn the major pentatonic). Many say that natural minor scale soloing is easier than natural major scale soloing, but still my attempts on constructing a solo with either of these sound like I’m practicing scale. Can you give me any guideline/suggestion about songs/instrumentals that has melodic phrasing ideas where natural major or minor scale was used?


Pick a song you like. Probably that one.

These scales are so fundamental to music you can't go more than about 30 seconds without hearing something from them.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#5
Scales tend to wander a bit as they don't follow the chords. Let's say you are in the key of Am playing over the chords Am (the Im) and Dm (the IVm). Both of these chords come from the key of A so you could play your A natural minor scale. What you'll hear though is that you won't get a sense of the chord changes that are happening because you are not defining the chords at all. Am the notes are A C E and Dm the notes are D F A. What you want to do eventually is start mixing triads (three note chords) with scales and scale tones which will create tensions against the chords. Like I said using only scales has a tendency to wander. Get your scales happening first though as triads is a whole other can of worms.

Practicing different patterns with your scales can help break up monotony in your playing too. Practicing in thirds, and sixths is nice. Can help you get some nice sounding interval leaps in there.
#6
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Pick a song you like....

I’m aware of that natural major and minor scale are very basic of creating music. I’ll look upon the songs I like to learn from but it’s also good to listen to learn from artist’s work that I’m not familiar with, that’s why I wanted song suggestion (I mostly listen to Creed, Alter Bridge, Dio, Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses etc. although I can’t play most of their famous tracks as I’m not very good at playing).

Quote by Bijingus
Scales tend to....

I took a look on the intervallic scale playing that you’ve mentioned. I already know how to play in 3rds and tried to play in 5ths. I’ve added the tab of both 3rds and 5ths played in C natural major, can you please check them and tell me that am I playing it correctly? Also another question is should I apply this only on the boxed scale patterns or every other form/way of playing a scale (i.e. only a single, two or three strings can be used to reach from one octave to another)? I’m asking this because although this sounds good but its difficulty level can vary depending upon which form/shape/pattern is being used while playing.

C major scale in 3rds


C major scale in 5ths
#7
Start soloing by just playing what you can of the scales along with recordings you're familiar with. Work on the theory, but make sure you can just play, too. Remember that nothing sounds good with poor rhythm, so really just work on playing and grooving with any piece of musical knowledge you have.

Definitely don't think of scales as some restriction on your playing - it's the musical equivalent of an alphabet. A Scale is just a set of notes that apply to certain musical setting. And Try to avoid equating scales to melodic concepts. Scales are most useful as an analytical tool, not something you actively use much while playing. When you get comfortable with theory, you can look a chord progression and a song's key, and visualize the scales/arpeggios that fit.

What you should be doing with your own playing is looking at your chords and how the notes in those chords relate to the overall scale being used. It's entirely normal for chords to include notes out of the basic major/minor scale of the song's key, so you need to be able to play as the harmony changes. Try to think of melodies in terms of scalewise/stepwise motion versus movement by leap (anything bigger than a half or whole step).

Other than that, scales are extremely useful for practicing any instrument. I spend about 15-30 minutes most every day just running scales in various ways to work on technique. Pick a scale and a manner in which to play it, then run through all 12. It's a great way to make sure your technique is consistent across the fretboard, and keeps the musical knowledge at close at hand when you need it.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 23, 2013,
#8
Quote by cdgraves
Start soloing by just playing what you can....

Thanks for the suggestions. Now I can understand that learning music theory has its own benefits. It helps to analyze musical passages. I know just learning scale shapes/patterns won’t help if I can’t visualize them on fretboard and incorporate triads, arpeggios to apply them musically. Additionally practicing scales can be a good warm up tool. Many say that using backing track for practicing improvisation does help a lot. Would you recommend to use backing track while attempting to solo on a scale?
#9
I'd just use a metronome any time you don't actually need another instrument playing.

The metronome works by giving you only a tempo, forcing you to feel and produce the rhythm on your own.
#10
Its all about the intervals mate.You can have the same two scales(modes) for example C major and Α minor, that have the exact same notes yet sound very different...why?because they have different intervallic structure and resolve to different notes as their home base.....if you learn everything intervallically and also by sound you can understand hear and play any scale you want .
Last edited by Dreamdancer11 at Dec 26, 2013,
#12
Start by playing melodies, not solos.

People think of a solo as a bunch of notes, and maybe eventually you'll evolve that way, but start by just playing a melody.

Here's something I wrote in another thread on this subject.

Listen to the solo to Muse's "Madness." Do you hear how that STARTS with the melody and then embellishes it? Practice doing that. Pick a song you like, create a backing track for it with your looper, and then just play the melody. Do that until it's automatic. And then start to embellish it.

Think of licks NOT as the point of the solo, but rather as the spice. That is to say, in your solo, you're playing a melody, and let's say the melody goes from C# down to A. You could just play that. But that's also a time when, maybe, you have an interesting lick that will take you, in time, from C# down to A - so you can play that lick instead. The lick is a way to get you from note to note in a more interesting way - NOT the point of the solo itself. (And it doesn't matter how much you love a spice, you don't want to each a big mouthful of it with nothing else, right?)

So practice doing solos like the Muse solo. Start with the melody of the song, then embellish it to heighten the emotional journey.

(by the way, if it's hard for you to figure out the melody, then you need to work on your ear!)

Next, you might look at a solo like the solos in "Sweet Child of Mine." Slash is playing a melody here, too. It's not the melody of the song, but you do hear how the more complex later solos are all just variations of the melody which Slash first plays at 1:31, that lasts about fifteen seconds? Later solos are built out of embellished variants of that 15-second melody, repeated (until the outtro bit which is something else entirely).

Another theme-and-variations idea can be heard in Duane Allman's work in "Blue Sky." Duane's solo starts at about 1:08, and ends at about 2:30 when Dickey Betts doubles him. What I want you to listen for here is the way this solo is built out of variations on a little two-bar phrase. Now, he gets pretty far afield (much further than Slash gets in his solo) but I want you to listen to this solo and hear little 8-beat "sentences" and notice how each sentence is related to the previous sentence, just a little more complex, a little more varied. If you listen to the first sentence and the last sentence it's hard to hear the connection, but every step along the road is clearly just a variation of the last one. The moment you start thinking about this solo as a series of connected phrases it becomes easy to understand what he's doing.

You have to practice this stuff to get good at it, so the first step is to start your soloing with a melody. If you sit down without a melody, forget it, you're dead before you even start because all you have is licks. Realize, also, that most great solos are composed. Heck, even if you listen to someone like Miles Davis you'll hear that the improvisation STARTS with something related to the original melody of the song, and using that from a jumping off point (and if you listen to multiple performances, you'll hear that he's often traveling by a lot of the same wayposts).
#13
The way I learned how to solo was by studying guitar players who have solos I liked. Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Kirk Hammet were all guys that inspired my early attempts at soloing.
#14
Quote by Dreamdancer11
Its all about the intervals mate....

I know what you are saying. True indeed that even though two scales share all the same notes but due to their intervallic differences and the way they are played, each of them sounds different than the others. Say, both of the C major and A minor use all the same notes but they sound very different while they are played.

Quote by HotspurJr
Start by playing melodies, not solos....

I know melodic lines are the thing that catches the listener’s attention and the heart of the solo; rest of the passages is used to spice up and to extend the solo. I can’t come up with great melodic lines as the pros do but I’m trying; I’m just a novice player. As for the licks you’ve mentioned, I still get to work a long way to be able to play flashy blazing fast licks that people play. I'll keep your suggestions in mind.