#1
I'm new to guitar and could use some help identifying which key a song is in.

I have purchased a chord/scale relationship book but it is a little confusing. There is a puzzle system for placing chords into.
Major-Minor-Minor-Major-Major-Minor-Diminished

So if I have chords in a song...
G-Em-C-D

I can identify that from the "puzzle system" the key is G??? Is this correct? Also Does this mean that I can improvise solo over those chords using the Ionian mode starting with root note of G on the sixth low E string?

Also, how do I know to solo in other modes??? Like, can somebody give me an example of a chord progression that is in a different key and mode, and how do you know???

Thanks in advance.
#2
Yes, I believe that is a I-vi-IV-V chord progression in the key of G Major.

And yes... of course you can use G Ionian to improvise over it... but don't be afraid to mix things up, try G Major pentatonic, maybe. I'd recommend you start improvising by emphasising the root note, yes - in this case G. (Though it doesn't have to be on the low E string, as I'm sure you know).

I'll let someone else help you with your other question - I haven't got enough time to type anything out for you, sorry.
#3
The "puzzle system" is correct.

In the key of G it would be:

G maj
A min
B min
C maj
D maj
E min
F# dim

So it's in the key of G. To solo over this you can use the G major scale or it's modes. Also, you can use pentatonic and blues scales to add some spice. The modes in a major scale are Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian...you can use those modes depending on what you want your solo to sound like.

EDIT:

If I am correct, the tonalities of the modes follow that "puzzle sytem" too.

Ionian-Major
Dorian-Minor
Phrygian-Minor
Lydian-Major
Mixolydian-Major, but this mode is kind of...various.
Aeolian-Minor
Locrian-Diminished.
Last edited by kirbyrocknroll at Jul 20, 2006,
#4
So i can use any major mode to solo over this progression, as long as I begin on a G note? Because I have a key chart in front of me that kind of implies that Ionian is the only fit in the major scale if you are using the key of G.
#5
Quote by super_mike
So i can use any major mode to solo over this progression, as long as I begin on a G note? Because I have a key chart in front of me that kind of implies that Ionian is the only fit in the major scale if you are using the key of G.


you don't necessarily have to start with G, but it's the root note so it would be a good idea to resolve back to it when ending a lick or phrase...once you begin improvising for a while you will probably expand on this, but as a basic idea for a beginner to soloing it's always good to surround the chord tones with scale tones and resolve back to the tonic
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#6
Quote by super_mike
So i can use any major mode to solo over this progression, as long as I begin on a G note? Because I have a key chart in front of me that kind of implies that Ionian is the only fit in the major scale if you are using the key of G.


Well, if you begin a G note, one assumes you mean you're going to be emphasising that root note as your tonal center over each individual chord, which kind of defeats the object of modes.

You could use the respective Ionian over each of your major chords, and Aeolian over your minor chord.

G - G Ionian.
Em - E Aeolian.
C - C Ionian.
D - D Ionian.

Though, I'd recommend you don't consciously think 'Okay, switch modes here' when you're improvising, instead know when the chord change is coming up and emphasise the change with the new root emphasised, instead of consciously changing modes in your head.

You could also try...

G - G Ionian.
Em - E Aeolian.
C - C Lydian.
D - D Mixolydian.
#7
Quote by super_mike
So i can use any major mode to solo over this progression, as long as I begin on a G note? Because I have a key chart in front of me that kind of implies that Ionian is the only fit in the major scale if you are using the key of G.

Well, no. You can start on any note. You can also arpeggiate, which basically means that you play the notes that make up a chord over each chord.

So for example, over G major, you might want to emphasize the notes G, B, and D. As you can see, you have a variety of options to choose from
#8
Thanks guys i've been practicing based on suggestions for the past few hours and your advice has really helped me a lot. One more question.

For the example above, lets say the chord progression is G-Em-C-D

if i want to emphasize the Em chord, I could solo using E-aeolian. So where on the fret board do I start, should I start on an E note...because if I'm going to use aeolian scale don't I need to start my E note on the sixth string. Or can I start on a higher string.
For example, if I start on the fourth string (D) the closest E note is located on the 2nd fret. So do I start the aeolian scale from there???

ugh....
#9
Quote by super_mike
Thanks guys i've been practicing based on suggestions for the past few hours and your advice has really helped me a lot. One more question.

For the example above, lets say the chord progression is G-Em-C-D

if i want to emphasize the Em chord, I could solo using E-aeolian. So where on the fret board do I start, should I start on an E note...because if I'm going to use aeolian scale don't I need to start my E note on the sixth string. Or can I start on a higher string.
For example, if I start on the fourth string (D) the closest E note is located on the 2nd fret. So do I start the aeolian scale from there???

ugh....


If you want to start on an E note, you can start on whatever E note you want - anywhere. It really doesn't matter.

I'll give you somethink to think about though... some people like to start on a low note, in this case you could start on the low E string, and progress up to the higher frets and resolve the solo on a high note. It gives the solo a nice build up and strong finish.

Just try experiment, but please try not to restrict yourself to starting every solo on the root note of the E string.