im pretty dumb when comes to music theory and making music ive been playing for 12 years and done several metal covers i would say my fingers are pretty advance but my knowledge of music is crap

im not trying to be a music expert but i would like to be able to improvise over a backing track , ill find a backing track in the key of Aminor and play the scale and its will sound okay and during chord changes the scale sounds like garbage

chords how to tie them together with scales?
key signatures what scales can i use for one key signature ?

please dumb this down
Most music is about relationships between one pitch (the key note) and a bunch of others (the other scale notes) ... but these relationships are all about relative distances from the key note to the other notes.

e.g. for the Aeolian scale, the notes involved are found at the following distances in semitones from the chosen key note:

0, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 (and these repeat in other octaves).

So, take E Aeolian. If we use the open sixth string (E) as the key note, and move up that string, the notes are found at frets:

0 (open string), 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10. (compare with above pattern)

If we want A Aeolian, we could start from the open 5th string, or we just as easily start at the 5th fret of the 6th string, hence involving the following frets:

5+0, 5+2, 5+3, 5+5, 5+7, 5+8, 5+10 (compare to above ... the exact same relative distances are being used, but measured from A, the 5th fret).

That is, A Aeolian is built using frets 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15 ... and their octaves (frets 17, 19, ...)

In other words, no matter your choice of key, the same pattern applies (and hence movable scale shapes). Hence, key signatures are pretty irrelevant from this viewpoint ... you just need to know your starting point (key note), the scale pattern distances, and away you go.

Obviously, scales can be played vertically across the neck, as well as horizontally along one or more strings. Using one string makes it easier to explain.

Next. play that Aeolian pattern over two octaves on one string (use E as the key note). 0, 2, 3, ... 12, 14, 15, ...

Now, starting with E, play it, skip the next note in the pattern, then play the next in the pattern, then skip the next, then play the next. This will pull out notes at distances (0, 3, 7) from fret 0 (E) ... this is the pattern for a minor triad. (E min). Applying that pattern anywhere gives a minor triad from the chosen start point.

Do the same for example from the third scale note of E Aeolian: starting at G (3rd fret), do exactly the same ... choose, skip, choose, skip, choose. This pulls out notes at distances (0, 4, 7) from G ... this is the pattern for a major triad (G major here). Applying that pattern anywhere gives a major triad from the chosen start point.

Try using this "choose, skip, choose, skip, choose" from each of the E Aeolian scale notes, and see what other patterns you discover. For example, you should find (0,3,6) starting off fret 2 (F#). That pattern is known as a diminished triad (F# dim)

So, you can use these patterns for tapped arpeggios, as an example. E.g Eddie Van Halen, Eruption.

This concept can be extended, by using choose, skip, choose, skip, choose, skip, choose ... now you'll get various patterns for different types of seventh chords

maj7 (0, 4, 7, 11),
min7 (0, 3, 7, 10),
dom7 (0, 4, 7, 10)
and m7b5 (0, 3, 6, 10)

Try if for yourself ... it's pretty straight forward. Maybe write out the E Aeolian pattern on the bass E string, and then colour in the above ... write down what you find.

To reiterate, it's ALL about relative distances, either from the choice of key note (for a scale), or from a scale note (for chords in the scale). You don't need to know the note names (though it sort of helps).

If you learn semitone distances using more than one string, you'll start seeing these in scale shapes. Take a look at https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jan 24, 2016,