#1
What I play is an Amaj7 shape (root position), then I shove all of my fingers up 1 fret while mainting the A and E notes as drone. Both of these 2 chords take the same amount of beats.

At first I thought it was an Amaj7 chord in the beginning. However, soloing with notes of the Amaj7 over the first chord sounds shit. So that made it C#minor-Dminor.

However, when I llisten to the progression, I can definetly hear that maj7 sound. It doesn't function like it. Why come do I still hear the maj7 sound? It might be a silly question. Am I just not hearing the chord right? Am I the only one that hears this as Amaj7? What are your opinions? What do you guys hear?
#3
I'm sure someone else has a better explanation (still bad at explaining things in proper theory-speak), but if you play an Amaj7 like this: 5x6654 or like 5x7654, you may notice that it looks a hell of a lot like a C#min chord (x46654) but with an A in the bass.

An Amaj7 chord has the notes A, C#, E, G#

A C#min chord has the notes C#, G#, E

I would go on to say that the two could be used as substitutes for each other in certain musical contexts

So if you move up the notes in 'A' position from [x02120] (is that the voicing you're using?) to [x03230], it becomes a Dmadd9/A (I believe) So the notes become A, F, D, and E.

So going back to the Amaj7 chord, we can see that the A and E match up with the second chord (obviously), but the C# and D kind of clash, and the F and G# clash (maybe not as much, but a little), so that would be where you're getting a fair amount of dissonance when you continue playing the notes of the Amaj7 over the second chord.

The reason it still has a 'Maj7' sound goes back to how similar the Maj7 and the minor chord are (in this case it's sharing notes with an A#maj7).

I would personally play a lick using the Amin scale over it, but I think you could get away with Dmin as well, and a slew of others, but I'm too lazy to think about it
Last edited by mjones1992 at Dec 11, 2014,
#4
imagine Amaj7 as IV of E and it should work out. Amaj7 is the fourth degree of E major, and C#minor is the 6th degree. Lydian and Aeolian respectively.
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#5
This has nothing to do with modes.

They share 3 notes; a C#m7 chord is identical to an Amaj9 chord.

Also tab it out so we have a clearer idea.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#6
Amaj7 can be played. 5x6654 and C#min x46654. They are only one note different. So they sound similar in context, but one is major7 and the other is min. Thing is, in context matters more to the overall sound, imo, than maj7 or min. it's more which notes of the key you are playing, and less what chord you are playing, if you know what I mean. These 2 chords are almost the same.

That's what you're hearing. Not that minor is like maj7, but more that iii is like Imaj7 kind of thing. Which is pretty likely actually the specific case in this instance. It's relationship of the key, not of the chords. maj7 doesn't sound like minor. But that maj7 sounds like that minor, because of the similarity of notes that they consist of.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Dec 11, 2014,
#7
Quote by Jet Penguin
They share 3 notes; a C#m7 chord is identical to an Amaj9 chord.


Those chords aren't quite identical. Also, they actually share 4 notes:

C#m7: C# E G# B(7)

Amaj9: A C# E G#(7) B(9)

Amaj9 is the same as C#m7 plus the minor 6th.
Last edited by Joeseye at Dec 11, 2014,
#8
Wait Liam are you transposing an Amaj7 shape up a fret? I misread the OP earlier. Wait, I misread the OP again twice since I started writing this.

From what I can gather, you're playing (low E to high E) x02120 and then 003230, is that right?
#9
tl;dr all

The Amaj7 chord is built upon A, C#, E, G#.

The C# minor chord is built upon C#, E, G#.

The only difference is the bass/root note emphasized. In a lot of modern music, these two chords (a 1st and 3rd in a major scale) are (mostly) played the same on guitars and pianos, and the bass emphasizes the chord change. Also, if you were to keep going with the C# minor to a minor 7 shape, you'd have to add a B. The sound-alike there would be Amaj7add9, which looks messy.
Last edited by Will Lane at Dec 11, 2014,
#10
Quote by sickman411
Wait Liam are you transposing an Amaj7 shape up a fret? I misread the OP earlier. Wait, I misread the OP again twice since I started writing this.

From what I can gather, you're playing (low E to high E) x02120 and then 003230, is that right?


That's what I gathered by reading his post.

He's saying he's playing the Amaj7 in the open position and moving up the fretted fingers one fret (I think).
#11
No, if using notes of the Amaj7 chord sounds like crap over it, it doesn't mean the chord couldn't be Amaj7. You said that you are droning A and E notes. So the chord actually has an A in it. That makes it an Amaj7 chord. If playing chord tones over it sounds bad, you are just using the notes wrong. Or you may also be playing wrong notes over it. Amaj7 has A C# E and G# in it. C# minor has C# E and G# in it. If you play a C# minor chord over an A note in the bass, it becomes an Amaj7. The only note that makes Amaj7 and C#m different is A. And since you are droning the A note, playing an A note over your progression shouldn't sound bad. The other notes in the chords are the same so I guess you are accidentally playing something else.

Your chord progression is Amaj7-Dm/A.
Quote by AlanHB
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#12
Quote by Joeseye
Those chords aren't quite identical. Also, they actually share 4 notes:

C#m7: C# E G# B(7)

Amaj9: A C# E G#(7) B(9)

Amaj9 is the same as C#m7 plus the minor 6th.


What I meant is that C#m7 and Amaj7 share three pitches. Not the 9th chord.

And they are identical in the sense that you only have four workable fingers on your left hand. When you need to play an Amaj9 chord you should just play C#m7. They are substitutes for each other, and in that sense the same. Not the pitch class sense.

Sorry if I was less than clear earlier.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
Last edited by Jet Penguin at Dec 11, 2014,
#13
Quote by Jet Penguin
What I meant is that C#m7 and Amaj7 share three pitches. Not the 9th chord.

And they are identical in the sense that you only have four workable fingers on your left hand. When you need to play an Amaj9 chord you should just play C#m7. They are substitutes for each other, and in that sense the same. Not the pitch class sense.

Sorry if I was less than clear earlier.


I agree you can substitute those, but they are not "the same". Amaj9 is definitely very different sounding from C#m7. But they can work in the same situation.

I mean you can have chocolate and whipped cream and strawberries and substitute the strawberries for raspberries. It will still be good, but strawberries and raspberries are not the same.

4 workable fingers, but the thumb can also be used. I would either use my thumb for the A in an a maj9 on the 5th fret, or barre on the 5th fret. Amaj9 can be played 5x4437 I find that the main most important note in that chord, the one you kind of hear the most, is that 9, the B. So, what I would do for a C# sub, would be C#m7 with that B up top. Which is like what you were saying. And like you said, these would substitute nicely, but I think it is misleading to say that they are the same. And a C#m7 with just the G# up top, I think would be even more dramatic of a difference in sound.

But, they are similar, and can fit in similar situations. The one you choose at any given time, will make a difference. Not saying you said otherwise, but wording like the one you used, I find kind of makes people think that there are substitutions, which are just a chord selection pool you can randomly choose from, and anything you choose is good, "works" and are equivalent. Whereas they aren't, really. They do make a difference in the flow of what you're playing. It's a choice you make, and one you should, imo, make deliberately, knowing what the difference will be. But yes, they are similar and will both "work" in similar situations. But music, to me, is not just making it "work". It is deliberate and precise expression. Or, that should be the goal of improvisation, imo.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Dec 11, 2014,
#14
Quote by fingrpikingood


I mean you can have chocolate and whipped cream and strawberries and substitute the strawberries for raspberries. It will still be good, but strawberries and raspberries are not the same.

Even better than a blind man playing darts.
#15
^Keep it constructive please and on topic.

Quote by Will Lane
The sound-alike there would be Amaj7add9, which looks messy.
That's just Amaj9
Si
#17
liampje,

I, iii and vi can all substitute for each other, depending on context.

But provide the chord voicings you're asking about, for clarity.

cheers, Jerry
#18
As do I Duane.

Fingerpickinggood is right in the chords not being identical, but they are the next best thing.

I tend to throw out non-invertible voicing for practicality's sake, and most will voice 3579 and drop the root on 9th chords, especially when a bass gets involved.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#20
Quote by liampje
I play from low to high:
X02120


Amaj7

Quote by liampje
Followed by
X03230


Dmsus2
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#21
Quote by liampje
What I play is an Amaj7 shape (root position), then I shove all of my fingers up 1 fret while mainting the A and E notes as drone. Both of these 2 chords take the same amount of beats.
I'm assuming Amaj7 (root) is played like this:

e 0
B 2
G 1
D 2
A 0 Basically this is the same shape a D7 open, but on different strings. Is that correct?

When you slide the chord up, you get
e 0
B 3
G 2
D 3
A 0

The center 3 tones of the second chord are Bbmaj7, (no root), the 2 drones would be E = b5th & A-5 another maj7. Or, you could simply call it Dm thus: F (D3), A (2), D B-3).

Alan has it pegged correctly as Dmsus2. But the suspension is in a dissonant position

Anyway, when you use a locked fingering such as this going a 1/2 tone up or down you sort of get a Phrygian effect, Here, assuming you're playing in E you bump, (or can bump), the scale up to F major at the chord change.

Personally, at the chord change to Bb, I'd ignore the e-1 drone, and leave the A-5 intact. (The 3 bottom notes of the chord would be A-F-A). Pay me no mind though, anytime I run into such chord changes I always wind up playing something that sounds Spanish...

Alan, can you even call a chord a "sus2" with a 3rd still intact? In the fingering described, there is an F natural, the 3rd of D minor. Or might it be an add9?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 12, 2014,
#23
I've seen a tab, (although I won't divulge where, to protect the ostensibly innocent), with a chord described as, "Dmsus4". Every time I run into that, I can feel my brain puff up a bit as it tries to process it.....
#24
Quote by liampje
I play from low to high:
X02120
Followed by
X03230

What makes you think the first chord is not an Amaj7? I mean, that's the basic shape for Amaj7. Why would it not be an Amaj7? I don't understand.

Quote by fingrpikingood
I agree you can substitute those, but they are not "the same". Amaj9 is definitely very different sounding from C#m7. But they can work in the same situation.

I mean you can have chocolate and whipped cream and strawberries and substitute the strawberries for raspberries. It will still be good, but strawberries and raspberries are not the same.

4 workable fingers, but the thumb can also be used. I would either use my thumb for the A in an a maj9 on the 5th fret, or barre on the 5th fret. Amaj9 can be played 5x4437 I find that the main most important note in that chord, the one you kind of hear the most, is that 9, the B. So, what I would do for a C# sub, would be C#m7 with that B up top. Which is like what you were saying. And like you said, these would substitute nicely, but I think it is misleading to say that they are the same. And a C#m7 with just the G# up top, I think would be even more dramatic of a difference in sound.

But, they are similar, and can fit in similar situations. The one you choose at any given time, will make a difference. Not saying you said otherwise, but wording like the one you used, I find kind of makes people think that there are substitutions, which are just a chord selection pool you can randomly choose from, and anything you choose is good, "works" and are equivalent. Whereas they aren't, really. They do make a difference in the flow of what you're playing. It's a choice you make, and one you should, imo, make deliberately, knowing what the difference will be. But yes, they are similar and will both "work" in similar situations. But music, to me, is not just making it "work". It is deliberate and precise expression. Or, that should be the goal of improvisation, imo.

I think his point was that if the song has an Amaj9 chord in it, you, as a guitarist, could just play a C#m7 chord and it wouldn't sound any different because the bass player would play the A note. So you could use C#m7 voicings over it. Of course that doesn't really change the chord to C#m7 because the bassist would still be playing the A note.

C#m7 and Amaj9 are different chords. But playing a C#m7 chord over an A note gives exactly the same result as playing an Amaj9 chord. So as a guitarist you could just use C#m7 voicings over it.

It doesn't really work the other way around that well. Playing an Amaj9 instead of a C#m7 can change the sound. I mean, for example if you are in G# minor, C#m7 is your iv chord and Amaj9 would be your bII chord. So if you substituted the C#m7 with an Amaj9, you would add an accidental (and it would be the root note of the chord). Of course there's nothing wrong with that if you are after that sound.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
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Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
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Yamaha P115
#25
Quote by MaggaraMarine



I think his point was that if the song has an Amaj9 chord in it, you, as a guitarist, could just play a C#m7 chord and it wouldn't sound any different because the bass player would play the A note. So you could use C#m7 voicings over it. Of course that doesn't really change the chord to C#m7 because the bassist would still be playing the A note.

C#m7 and Amaj9 are different chords. But playing a C#m7 chord over an A note gives exactly the same result as playing an Amaj9 chord. So as a guitarist you could just use C#m7 voicings over it.
Right. I have no doubts Jet knows what he's talking about, for people that are learning,mentioning that another instrument would be playing the A is pretty important. But he mentioned it in a reply, so it's not so confusing anymore. But still, the exact inversion you use does make a difference, most significantly which note is the highest one.

I think new players hear stuff like substitution, and sounds the same, and they think that there are options which are perfectly interchangeable, and you can just make random theoretical choices between them and it's all good, like passing a test. And you know, that's not "wrong", but I just wanted to mention, that there are differences like which note is the highest, or even different notes in chords that are said to be substitutions, and stuff like that, which do make a difference. Everything you do, makes a difference. Sure, there are different levels of subtlety, but still there are differences, and I don't believe it is a good philosophy to think of things as the same, because they are not. They might be very similar, but when you think of things as simply equivalent and interchangeable, and you do so, because of theory, then you are missing a level of attention to detail, which I believe is important. I believe it is important to be deliberate.

That's all. Jet knows the drill, I know that. He may have just been assuming a band situation with a bassist, and others perhaps also, but new people won't necessarily make that connection.

It doesn't really work the other way around that well. Playing an Amaj9 instead of a C#m7 can change the sound. I mean, for example if you are in G# minor, C#m7 is your iv chord and Amaj9 would be your bII chord. So if you substituted the C#m7 with an Amaj9, you would add an accidental (and it would be the root note of the chord). Of course there's nothing wrong with that if you are after that sound.


Right, that's a good point as well. The Amaj9 is a C#m7 with an extra lower note in the root. If you are playing with a band, and the sheet reads C#m7 it will be more bold to play a Amaj9, than if the situation were reversed. Like you said, the bass would probably play that A anyway.

For me, the lowest note and the highest note are the main important ones, for improv/arrangement, once the structure has been established. For you solo, or as a group.
#26
No worries fingerpikingood, I didn't mean to be confrontational or argumentative.

Your points about people turning substitution into a math test are spot on. You have to think about voice-leading, and not just "how many chords can I smush in here?"

Unfortunately too many players do the latter. You can play 30 chords IF they are voice-led right.

And yeah, I assumed there were other musicians involved, as there was talk of soloing. Those voicing can be less clear in a solo guitar situation, and sound more like substitutions.

You're right, the other way would work less well. Using an Amaj7 over a C#m7 sound would yield some weird numbers, as Amaj7, with the b13 it creates over C#m7, would blur the sound of the minor chord.

If the bass was playing C#, it would sound like Amaj7/C#, not a fancy minor chord.

But we're getting off topic.

OP's two mystery chords appear to be Amaj7 and Dm(add9). I'm guessing that he stops hearing it as Amaj7 (again, guessing here) because he's using an A major scale for the progression and half of it doesn't work over the second chord.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#27
Quote by MaggaraMarine
What makes you think the first chord is not an Amaj7? I mean, that's the basic shape for Amaj7. Why would it not be an Amaj7? I don't understand.

I know very well that that's a basic Amaj7 shape. But from my time here at MT I have learned that things might be different from what you might expect. I am bad at music theory, but I really want to understand. Everytime when I think I get it, say it out loud here, and then I'm being said that I'm not right.

But yeah, I still heard that the first shape sounded like Amaj7, it was just that once I started playing Amajor arpeggios (no maj7) it sounded kind of wrong, that's why I had my doubts. I started playing C#minor arpeggios and they sounded better.


@All the other people, I really want to reply. But first I need to dig deep into it, which I do not have the time for. I will try to reply as soon as I can.
#28
^ Well, maybe you used the A major arpeggios wrong. It won't sound amazing, unless you know what you are doing. C# minor arpeggio may sound better over it because it doesn't have an emphasis on the most "obvious" note of the chord (the root). As said, Amaj7 has all the same notes as C#m chord has.

But playing A over your progression should sound fine. If it's part of the chord, it should sound "good" over the chord. It is definitely not a dissonant note.

But yeah, it's not that much about which notes you use. It's more about how you use them. Playing A major arpeggio over an Amaj7 chord doesn't automatically sound great. It will sound consonant but so what? Consonant doesn't mean good or bad.

You said in the OP that it sounded like an Amaj7. And the chord also used the Amaj7 shape. That makes it an Amaj7. Learn about chord construction and chord functions and this kind of stuff won't confuse you. Also, if you don't know them yet, learn the note names. Well, you need them for chord construction. That also explains why C#m arpeggio works so well over Amaj7. Again, you can look Amaj7 as C#m with A in the bass.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#29
I do know how a chord is constructed. Hearing a chord is a whole different story. Mostly I do not hear how a single note functions in some kind of weird voiced chord. Similair to the problem I have not being able to hear how chords function.

The conclusion would be that my ear sucks. I need to have some kind of ear trainer that trains this rather than "what is this interval?"
#30
Quote by MaggaraMarine


But playing A over your progression should sound fine. If it's part of the chord, it should sound "good" over the chord. It is definitely not a dissonant note.
If we're simply fishing for a scale here, might I suggest F#m pentatonic? (2nd position)

Quote by MaggaraMarine
But yeah, it's not that much about which notes you use. It's more about how you use them. Playing A major arpeggio over an Amaj7 chord doesn't automatically sound great. It will sound consonant but so what? Consonant doesn't mean good or bad.
Well, it won't automatically be consonant either. As long as you don't linger on the 1/2 tone A/G# interval (root /maj7) it will be consonant.

Or expressed differently, as long as the A & G# don't share the same octave designation. IE: A-4 / G#-4.
#31
Quote by liampje
I do know how a chord is constructed. Hearing a chord is a whole different story. Mostly I do not hear how a single note functions in some kind of weird voiced chord. Similair to the problem I have not being able to hear how chords function.

The conclusion would be that my ear sucks. I need to have some kind of ear trainer that trains this rather than "what is this interval?"


musictheory.net has some chord-ear trainers.

miles.be has an ear trainer that gives you a cadence (major or minor) and then a note. You have to guess the scale degree. It helped me to connect how each note 'feels' within a musical context rather than just static intervals.
#32
Quote by liampje
I do know how a chord is constructed. Hearing a chord is a whole different story. Mostly I do not hear how a single note functions in some kind of weird voiced chord. Similair to the problem I have not being able to hear how chords function.

The conclusion would be that my ear sucks. I need to have some kind of ear trainer that trains this rather than "what is this interval?"

I think you'd be better off trying to hear what I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio sounds like, than maj7 dim, or what have you. And you can learn that just by learning songs and naming the chords that way. You'll pickup some of the sounds of the chords as well, but to me, what's most important is key degrees, or notes relative to the key, and chords are 3+ of those together.

If you played Cmaj7 and Cm, they would sound very different, but Cmaj7 and Em, sound similar. The location in the key, I find has stronger significance in the sound. Even though, definitely every chord has the sound of that chord.

If you ear train to hear Imaj7, that won't help you so much to hear IVmaj7, because the context will make it sound different. Or, you might hear it, but you will be missing the important context part. plus, you want to associate sounds with fingerings. If you learn from software, then you have transfer that over to your instrument still.
#33
^ Yeah. I suggest listening to songs and figuring out chords by ear. Just listen to whatever songs you hear on the radio and figure out the chord progressions. Many of them use similar progressions so after a while it won't feel any difficult.

First you may want to use your instrument to help. But after a while you can do it purely by ear.

Many pop songs have simple chord progressions that don't use any "exotic" chords so it's a good starting point.

Context is what matters. And by listening to songs you hear chords in a context.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#34
I started doing it. I assume you mean the radio stations with ''club'' music. Don't know what it's called. The chord names are no trouble, just simple major and minor chords. Hearing their functions is harder than I'd thought.

I think we can close this thread if just someone would help me with the next 2 and check if I'm right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFXlWfzW9Uo
This song is in the key of D. The ''quick'' changes in the progression I think are just ornaments. Which makes the progression D-G-F, I-IV-bIII

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH4YSVZOq-U
This is a bit more of an advanced progression (more chords)
They go F#min-A-B-D-A-C#min
This progression ends on C#min which doesn't sound resolved. However, there is a movement going on here from the last to the first chord. v-i which is a cadenca.
This would make it i-III-IV-VI-III-v

Can anyone confirm this? Then I know I'm on the right path.
#35
^ The first one is I-ii-bIII-bVII (D-Em/D-F-C).

You got the second one right, it's in F#m. But v-i is really not a strong cadence.

Listening to the bass helps a lot with figuring out the chords.

But yeah, I didn't necessarily mean club music (though of course it also works for this). I meant any music you hear on the radio or anywhere else - pop, rock, whatever. Radio works well because it chooses the songs for you.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#36
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ The first one is I-ii-bIII-bVII (D-Em/D-F-C).

You got the second one right, it's in F#m. But v-i is really not a strong cadence.

Listening to the bass helps a lot with figuring out the chords.

But yeah, I didn't necessarily mean club music (though of course it also works for this). I meant any music you hear on the radio or anywhere else - pop, rock, whatever. Radio works well because it chooses the songs for you.


Thanks for the bass tip. But what would be a better way to say that F# min is the key center?
Also, at the first song, the key is still D right?

I really want to thank you and everyone else for their help!!
#37
^ F#m is the key center and it is also the key (they are the same thing - key is determined by the key center). It does use a borrowed chord (major IV) but it's still in the key of F#m. You don't really need a strong cadence to be in a key. But a strong cadence (like ii-V7-I) makes the key more obvious.

And yeah, the first song is in D.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#38
FWIW, I was goofing around with the progression in the OP, (Amaj7 to Dmadd9 (?)), and it morphed into, "Paint it Black", right before my very ears. Taken out of any other context, it's mostly just, V- i....
#39
^ It's more likely a I-iv. I mean, the bass note is A all the time. The Dm doesn't feel resolved because of the bass note. Also, it's not a V-i because the first chord is a maj7 chord, not a dom7 chord.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115