#1
Hi there I am new to the forum. Have been playing for a few years, know quite a bit of theory as well. My fascination of certain songs and the people who solo over them is why I am here. I know about following chords with solos theoretically and am trying to master the art right now. My intentions for this thread are to hopefully have a discussion on the choices of notes being used over chords in some of the greatest songs of all time. I recently transcribed sultans of swing solo and found that EVERY SINGLE note is pretty much following the Dm-C-Bb-A progression (and the F progression). starting with a bend of a G note to an A to have the 5th playing over the Dm. He sustains this until the Bb chord where he does some hammer/pull offs to line up the 5th's with the Bb and A. Hopefully you are still with me here..this topic is causing me some grief right now as I see it is vital in becoming a guitar master. Hopefully someone can help guide me to a site that perhaps shows the chords being played with the solos or soemthing...or some tips to help with it. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MASTER THIS SKILL.
#2
I'm looking at guys like David Gilmore right now particularly Time's solo to see if he is following some designated path as well. Jimmy Page although amazing usually just sticks to soloing in the songs key correct? (Stairway solo, whole lotta love). I think Hendrix did his solos in the songs key as well if im not mistaken. Hopefully someone can correct me or provide something in terms of these guitarists ways of working with their songs.
#3
Well use your ears to hear the chords - can you play the rhythm guitar part? The solos are over the verse structure, remember.

It's also pretty normal to use the minor over the dominant (Dm over the A), which Knopfler does quite a bit in "Sultans of Swing".

I think if you can keep up with the chord changes you'll see what he's doing with the scales, chord tones, and harmonies. The song is really a classic showcase of minor key rock soloing, definitely worth your time to study.

And Mark Knopler played nearly all fingerstyle - I've been binging on the live Alchemy album lately to keep my right hand in shape.
#4
Hey, It is very common for a guitarist to target chord tones.

The solo is a melody that is either written or improvised over a chord progression. That melody has to be in harmony with the chords. For that to happen the melody will typically follow the chord tones.

The best thing to do is get yourself some sheet music. The sheet music will show you the solo and the chords so you can see exactly what is happening.

You're looking at Time right now. Well it just so happens that when I first started playing the guitar I bought the Dark Side of the Moon tab book so have some of the sheet music...I'll be back soon with some stuff for you to look at...though I'll say straight off that David Gilmour's phrasing is awesome. Those phrases almost always target chord tones.
Si
#5
I cant play that solo because I cant pluck those blues scales with my fingers.lol
Im getting better. It sounds really cool plus you can do other stuff you can't
do if you were using a pick. I think he just add the 7th

It'll make sense to you. If you look up the different blues scales variation
with the option notes between ( 4 and 5) (-7 and root) (-3 and 4) ..ect.
I personally thinks he's picking with three strings.

Jimmy Page use the blues scale in Black Dog. He add 3.

He adds the -6th for The Ocean.
Heart Breaker is straight pentatonic. She's just a woman. He adds a 3

Maybe look into banjo type picking. Banjo rolls...ect.
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 30, 2014,
#6
Sorry I don't really understand the question. He plays chord tones, and makes out extremely clear chord shapes through his licks, especially in the solos.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#7
Time - Pink Floyd. Guitar Solo (first 24 bars only - I didn't include the key change)
Chord Progression (8 bar cycle)
||F#m - - - |F#m - - - |A - - - |A - - - -|E - - - |E - - - |F#m - - - |F#m - - - ||

This is just to give you an idea of what David Gilmour is doing in this solo. I've colour coded the bars according to the chord. F#m is Green; A is Blue; E is Red. I've written out the chord tones (and some non chord tones) in relation to the chord that is sounding at the time.

So if Gilmour plays an A in his solo and it occurs over an F#m then I've noted it as a b3 but if it is played over the A chord then I've noted it as a R. Hopefully that makes sense and you can follow.

The thing to note is that it is pretty much all chord tones. But that is not all. You will also notice that most of the notes happen around the chord change. He targets a chord tone and plays leading into it and a few notes just after.

One way he leads into a chord tone is from a half step above or below. At the end of the second bar as he changes from F# to A he takes the C# down to C natural before going back up to C# when the A chord hits.

The F#m to A chord change is makes a pretty easy transition as those chords share two tones (A and C#).

In some of the lead ups to a chord change I've listed some of the chord tones in relation to both the current chord as well as the coming chord. You should be able to work it out.

Anyway - have a look at the music below and you should get an idea of how David Gilmour sticks pretty much to chord tones as well as how he phrases his licks to target the chord changes.

Si
#8
I was hoping to have a discussion...As in maybe people can share songs they have transcribed and show how they're favourite guitarists approach the instrument. I never hear anyone talking about this topic whenever I ask someone who "knows the guitar" about how people approach their solos the answer is usually "Oh, he just felt it, he wasn't thinking about it", which is more than likely true for a lot of these guys. However they had some understanding of the note/chord relationship whether it be theoreticaly or just using their ear,,which can then be broken down for guys like me who want to understand it as well as play it.
Ex. I was just playing ride into the sun - lou reed. which is a D-A-Bm-G. His melody is playing the same chords only with the roots on the GBe strings to add a nice dream-like vibe to his song.
Ex2. stairway to heaven has jimmy page shredding A minor the whole time. Going all over the fret board making various shapes while emphasing A the whole time.
#10
Yeah I have some similar stuff somewhere around here somewhere in regard to one of Slash's solos, not sure where I put it at the moment but again, lot of chord tones.

Chord tones are the key. It's easy to just say "play chord tones" but how exactly do you do that? Listening to what you're doing is key. Analysing how others do it is also useful, at the very least it can be quite interesting.
Si
#11
Is there any sort of practical method for practicing and understanding how your scale shapes and arpeggios can be used to identify certain chord's tones..Ex if I am starting my C#m-E-B progression with targeting chord tones in C# Aeolian and I want to quickly jump up to the Phrygian position (7 frets down the fretboard) and still play the chord tones but just in this new position.
#12
Im kind da backwards from most people. hahaaa
I learned the diatonic system first. Due to marching band.
Plus no one taught me those 5 pentatonic box shape....back in the days.
I kind of figured out most of the first shape on my own because a lot of songs used it.
I didn't know the rest of shapes..which is kind of a good thing.lmao

So I didn't have a hard hitting the F note. (It's not in the Amin pentatonic shape. )
For stair way to heaven. I was learning it by ear.
So stairway to heaven kind of mess me up in learning those pentatonic box shape.lmao
Plus I don't play some of it like the tabs. Mostly because it did feel right to me
or the tone of the notes.

I know on paper the notes might be the same but on the fretboard depending
what strings you play that note, it'll give different tones.

At the same time I can play the beginning of Over the Mountain solo kind of like
the beginning stairway to heaven solo (shape). They just have different notes.
In other words different option notes.hahaaaa
A little of a time it was starting to kick in because that same pattern
is like open position in Cmaj. I just have too slide up to a certain fret.
Luckily my father ream the concept of the ROOT note in my head.

Nobody taught me to play guitar. I actually learned those 5 box shape pentatonic patterns on my own, without ever seeing a diagram of it.
I sat down and counted the notes on the fretboard by using the root note to guide
me. That's why I actually see different patterns than most people do. I string them
together different. It's more broken down to me.

I actually had an easier time if I see everything as the diatonic.
But I wanted to play the blues or rock. I hitted those two extra notes when
I shouldn't.lmao
That's when the circle of 5th made sense to me. The relation of those 2 missing
notes are the very same notes that will shift when going from key to key.

At the sametime those option notes in the blues scale helped me.
When I add those option notes. Im not changing the root.
So Im not changing keys all the time.
Im other words ...if you see Stairway to Heaven in Amin pentatonic shape.
When you add the -6 option note. It's not going to mess you up.

By all means learn those 5 box shape patterns...but learn the root note to them.
However, also learn how to play out of them, see different shapes or not shapes at all.
There's no right way or wrong . There's just different ways.
The more ways you learn. The easier it'll be to figure out other people's songs.
All different artist have their ways of doing things. The more versatile you are
as a player. The better you get.
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 30, 2014,
#13
Quote by tyle12
Is there any sort of practical method for practicing and understanding how your scale shapes and arpeggios can be used to identify certain chord's tones..Ex if I am starting my C#m-E-B progression with targeting chord tones in C# Aeolian and I want to quickly jump up to the Phrygian position (7 frets down the fretboard) and still play the chord tones but just in this new position.


I avoid thinking modally in these situations usually. Practicing with just the triad arpeggios is a good way to start. Practicing accenting the root/3rd/5th etc. Make sure you can play to the harmony first, then start using entire scales.

One scale will usually fit several chords in a given phrase, so you have to make sure that you don't lose the sound of those individual chords by meandering aimlessly on a scale.

When you analyze solos, take note of where the chord tones are then look at what happens in between them. How does the player move from one to the next? How does s/he deal with chord changes?

You can spend a lifetime analyzing great players, so be patient above all, and work on this kind of stuff every day if you can.
#14
Quote by tyle12
Is there any sort of practical method for practicing and understanding how your scale shapes and arpeggios can be used to identify certain chord's tones..Ex if I am starting my C#m-E-B progression with targeting chord tones in C# Aeolian and I want to quickly jump up to the Phrygian position (7 frets down the fretboard) and still play the chord tones but just in this new position.
Hmmm...maybe I should have illustrated the chord tone thing differently. The point was that he targets chord tones, but he mostly sticks with notes that are diatonic to F#m. You'll note that the notes in both A major and E major are diatonic to the F# natural minor scale.

Occasionally he uses notes outside the F# minor scale but those notes also do not occur in any of the chords and are used as tension notes that resolve by a half step to the nearest chord tone.

Here is another way to look at the same solo. It's the same as the illustration above, except all the notes are written in relation to the F# Key centre.
The chord tones that make up the A major chord are A C# and E which are the minor third perfect fifth and minor seventh scale degrees in relation to F#. I have coloured the chord tones that occur over each chord and left non chord tones grey. (With the exception of the b7 over the F#m which I have counted as a chord tone because I felt like it.

The idea behind changing the illustration is that all the chord tones are part of a larger scale. In the previous illustration I was trying to show the chord tones but I have done that here while also retaining the idea that they are all part of the same scale.

Si
#15
It's samething that happens in Kashmir. If go freaking out or think he's playing
something hard. it's seriously going to mess me up.
That entire riff is bunching off the A....Just think if is as a very slow solo.

It's the samething when using the harmonic minor, melodic minor ascending/descending.
You have the options to use the Amin pentatonic, A Aeolian and A Phrygian too.
Sometimes I ascend harmonic minor, descend in Phrygian or Phrygian dominant.
Sometimes I just loop around the Root going back and forth between the -2 and -7.
The tone center is still Amin and all those scale have the minor arpeggios in them.
If I feel lucky...I throw in the -5. Right in to the locrian.

What I have to watch out for are the extended chords. If it has a 7 or -7.
I adjust accordingly. To me it's about tension, how much tension and the release of tension.
When you ascend the tension is created towards the octive. It gets resolved.
When I descend. If I drop to a -7. It creates tension towards the 6th or 5th.
If the chord dosnt have the 7th or -7th in it. it's easier.
But it's the same as looping around the root note. I just loop around whatever arpeggios.

Just incase....Those are crazy right hand banjo picking
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v57fvllWsB0
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 31, 2014,
#17
Hopefully this will make sense to you.

Yes, by all means remember the Root. Triads are very cool tools to train your ear.
Arpeggios helps too. Intervals will help you.
The thing of it is sounds don't really care what notes are being use as the root.
In other words..you can alter the root.
Another way to help you comprehend it better are chords inversion.

It just gets rather complicated to put in all on paper. Maybe in your mind you where
taught to use key signature to help guide you. Reading music is a challenge enough
as it is. To alter from key signature to key signature within a couple of measures
makes your brain thinks too much instead of hearing the sounds. Visually it clashes.
In audio it dosnt.

If you introduce a 4th note into the arpeggio (or don't)
Example...If you start from C. Playing off the E as a sort of root. You can Play Emin
If you introduce the F note. You're into Csus4 kind of thing.
If you use the A as the root when adding the F note. You would simply write it Am6
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsCWmxoeCak
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 31, 2014,
#18
I think this is getting a bit abstract for what the TS was asking about.
#19
No...he's asking about chords.
He's asking about those triads runs because on some parts of the solo
it's being picked on three different strings. So it's make sense to think the
other part would have some type of chord shape...as I thought it was being picked
by 3 stings. I used to pick it like Randy Rhodes solos.
If you look closely in the video lesson. It's only being played by 2 strings to achieve that
sound. It just has weird picking patterns. That entire solo has various picking patterns.
He just raise one of the notes by 1/2 tone using his middle finger to get a different interval.
He slides it up the neck accordingly.

if you play cliff of dover properly. Half if is banjo picking.
It's kind of weird how he dose it too. He's holding a pick and picking with his middle
and ring fingers.
In certain songs like Trademark. The way he plays some of those chords.
There's no other way to play it properly. You need the pick with a pick and your other fingers. The strings in between arnt being played.

You can pick it like this dude to emulate it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvYrxns_WYk

Watch his right hand. It's call rocktopus..lmao It's just basic rock N roll using various
minor scales or blues scale with different option notes. He'll came back to the pentatonic
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF6VisVwgLc
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 31, 2014,
#20
I am resurecting my old thread because this is still baffling me in certain ways.

After I wrote this initially I stopped giving so much energy to the theoretical aspects of music and focused a lot more on my ear. Although I have had a large improvement in my ear training, this man (Gilmore) absolutely puzzles me as to how he made such incredible solo's.

I have a hard time believing he didn't have a very good understanding of his fretboard, as I've revisited analyzing solos theoretically and this particular one (time) is constantly tartgeting the same chord tones for each chord that passes (the root for F#m, the 3rd for A, and the 5th for E). I've also looked at comfortably numb (not as in depth) and although he is more scattered in terms of which tones he uses, he still in large part focuses on the chord tones of the chords (Bm, A, G, Em).

So I guess my 2 part question is, A.) Do you think David has a vision of the fretboard mapped out in his head when he made this solo, or do you think he just plays it all by ear.
B.) (the more important question) What is a good approach to getting the fretboard understanding to a level where you have the chord tones at your fingertips? Do I just practice arpeggios and scales for a year so I know where they are? What are some other ways you guys have done this? Thanks.
#21
I've read or heard and interview with David Gilmoure. He knows his fretboard very well. He knows his chords and what chord tones are in them. He also knows the sounds that his guitar will produce.

His approach to soloing however is that he uses a tape recorder and sings the solos before playing them. He plans them out rather than improvising them on the spot.

However, even guys that improvise their solos tend to use a lot of chord tones.

I've seen lessons on chord tone soloing that go something like this...

Get yourself a backing track. Learn the chords for the backing track and the chord tones for each chord.
1. Practice just hitting one note on each change. Try different chord tones to get used to the sounds of the different chord tones. (We'll call this chord tone that happens on the chord change as the "change note")
2. Practice using a lead in note that is a step above or below the change note you.
3. Play a couple more notes before that so that you have a three or four note lead in to the change note.
4. Add a couple notes after the change note to complete the lick.
5. Try delaying the change note to happen just after the chord change, and try anticipating the change by playing the change note early so that you are already on the chord tone when the chord changes. These techniques can add some variety and interest.

As your ear gets better you will find the chord tones fairly naturally. They will sound good and so you will tend to find them. This is true even if you don't know the fretboard or the chord tones very well. The chord tones sound good and even when you don't hit a chord tone on the change you will sometimes bend or slide to a chord tone instinctively and it might sound completely intentional.

It takes time though.

Of course learning the fretboard, learning the chord tones, and deliberate practice won't hurt.

Knowing arpeggios, and knowing chord shapes all over the fretboard will also help.

As far as Gilmour goes. He would use a tape recorder and sing solos then work them out.

Hitting chord tones is not all there is to it. It's a part of melody for sure but it's a small part. Melodic phrasing is the key. Being able to string melodic sentences together to make a complete story. The best way to learn to do this is to mimic others.

It's easy enough to explain and practice hitting chord tones, but much harder to explain how to construct tasteful melodic phrases that join together to create a complete melodic story. If someone could do this then it would end up as a paint by numbers kind of deal anyway. The best way to learn this is to get an intuitive feel for it by mimicry. Imitate and copy the solos you love. Learn them as best you can, practice improvising to a backing track. Sing solos and copy them on your guitar.

Knowing chord tones can help you do all these things, and it's worth knowing how that works. But there's more to soloing than just that.

Hopefully other's can offer more insight.
Si
#22
looking at the vids of knopfler and Johnson...you have to realize..they have worked a long time to be that comfortable with the fretboard..and the tunes they are playing they have played many times..and the other factor is they have great players providing a solid back to play on top of..knopfler plays variations of the recorded version and it works because he is using tones that are safe and he has jammed over the progression many times..very much like jazz..using anticipations and approach chord devices..

perhaps in the early stages of developing their solos they used some theory and experiment but after the solos "gelled" it was mostly feel..
#23
Quote by tyle12
What is a good approach to getting the fretboard understanding to a level where you have the chord tones at your fingertips? Do I just practice arpeggios and scales for a year so I know where they are? What are some other ways you guys have done this? Thanks.


Whatever it is that you ultimately find, my counsel to you, is before doing anything, take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and promise yourself that you will not try and rush through it. Whatever the thing you ultimately decide to do, you have to commit to the process.

Laziness always takes the most time, to make the shortest amount of progress.

Best,

Sean
#24
I've been looking around, too for sites that show how to build scales and solos over chords. My impetus for this was Jeff Loomis, Joe Satriani and some other guitarists like Vai, Andy Brown and Jess Lewis (jazz). Satriani especially because he analyzes every chord and bases solos and transitions around them. He can come up with very simple diatonic chord progressions that sound complex and play amazing melodies and solos around them. Watching Jeff Loomis instructional videos, reading more about how modal scales are used and studying jazz scales/chords (especially altered scales) is really interesting.

If you watch Jess Lewis you can see where she will add chromatic lines and altered scales that fit right in with the progressions and chords and which add a lot of color and feeling to the tune. She has a really great understanding of chords, scales, changing keys and she improvises extremely well.

I always wanted to know what Satriani was doing in "The Enigmatic". I found out that Giuseppe Verdi invented the enigmatic scale and it was used by Debussy and some other composers of his time. Amazing what Satriani did with it.

I found this simple site: http://gosk.com/chords/7th-chords-for-guitar.php
Plus: http://www.guitarcommand.com/how-to-use-diminished-scales/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altered_scale

Jess Lewis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTcK5d-z8jk
www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRTD12fl6Mo

Last edited by cool09 at Sep 12, 2014,
#25
Quote by tyle12
Hi there I am new to the forum. Have been playing for a few years, know quite a bit of theory as well. My fascination of certain songs and the people who solo over them is why I am here. I know about following chords with solos theoretically and am trying to master the art right now. My intentions for this thread are to hopefully have a discussion on the choices of notes being used over chords in some of the greatest songs of all time. I recently transcribed sultans of swing solo and found that EVERY SINGLE note is pretty much following the Dm-C-Bb-A progression (and the F progression). starting with a bend of a G note to an A to have the 5th playing over the Dm. He sustains this until the Bb chord where he does some hammer/pull offs to line up the 5th's with the Bb and A. Hopefully you are still with me here..this topic is causing me some grief right now as I see it is vital in becoming a guitar master. Hopefully someone can help guide me to a site that perhaps shows the chords being played with the solos or soemthing...or some tips to help with it. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MASTER THIS SKILL.


What sounds good depends not only on what you are playing over a given chord, but the context of the entire song ( melody, beat, arrangement etc.). Over any chord in a progression, playing the root, 3rd, 5th, or other chord tones ( 7th etc.) will sound generally pleasing to the ear, but that doesn't make a great solo in of itself.

The trick to being a great soloist is to really master playing the chord changes - this means leading the listener from chord to chord and not simply playing general scale licks over the entire progression, irrespective of what is going on.

Mark Knofler is incredible at phrasing and melody, so his solos are actually a great case study.

You're instinct paying close attention to the intervals being hit over each chord is good - but you need to interiorise the sound of those intervals as much as understanding what they are called (5th etc.)

It really helps to try to sing the notes you play - work on that. If you can sing it, you can play it.

That tune is a bit fast to really help you grasp the concept of outlining a progression, you may want to take on something a bit slower - like Brothers in Arms or something to that effect.