#1
Hi, I have been playing acoustic guitar for about 6 months, mostly strumming and fingerpicking, but lately i really have got interested in the idea of lead playing and scales etc, the thing is i dont understand or get any of it.

Things like

Say I make up a we tune around a bm and D chord what scale do i used over it how do i know?

If I am playing a D chord to i want to hit a D note during a solo?

If am playing a song in the key of A, do I a stay in A type scale or do I move to a bm scale when i cahnge chord? or what ever my next chord is?

Also say i am using a G major scale, how to use it over the whole fretboard, as opposed to say jus in frets 2-5 or somthing

plz dont jus give me a link to some artilce cuz i have read them like a hundred times and i still dont get it lol

unless i am not reading the right ones, cuz no one seem to answer thoes questions i can think of more, all artilces jus seem to be this is a scale bla bla here is a lick from it etc

Bascialy am i asking what should i do?

Thanks

Daryl
#2
I'm probably not the best person to take advice from, but I've noticed no one's really answered this yet, so I'll try my best to help you.

From what I understand about music theory so far (which, mind you, is as much as most people in this particular forum) is...

That scales are basically simple patterns that contain every note that is in a certain key (such as A Major).

However, when I say "every note", this isn't to say you can only play what is in that scale.

For example (using A Major), the notes in this key are A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#.

Anywhere on the neck you can find these is where you can play when you're playing in this key.

There are a few ways you can figure out what chords you can play during this key, and those are based upon what notes you can play to construct different chords.

What I've done to help myself memorize notes for different keys, I've drawn a 6-string "guitar neck" that goes from the first fret to twelfth, and I've put a little "o" in each fret that I'm allowed to play (and I've colored in each root note), so I recommend you do this too (don't forget to put a circle out to the side for open notes).

As you can see from this drawing, some chords you can play in this key are A, D, and E, but of course there are more.

Hopefully I didn't confuse you, and hopefully any mistakes I made can be cleared up by someone else.
Last edited by TheHeartbreaker at Aug 16, 2006,
#3
Say I make up a we tune around a bm and D chord what scale do i used over it how do i know?

Let's see, if you were playing a Bm and a D chord, those chords would fit in the key of A major.

In A major, the chords are:

A major
B minor
C minor
D major
E major
F minor
G diminished

In a major scale, the chords follow that same pattern (major minor minor major major minor diminished). So, if you wanted to solo over Bm and D major chords, you could use the A major scale, or it's modes, but you shouldn't worry too much about modes unless you have the major scale down.

If I am playing a D chord to i want to hit a D note during a solo?

If you play a D over a D chord in a solo, it would sound good, but you wouldn't have to hit a D to make it sound good.

If am playing a song in the key of A, do I a stay in A type scale or do I move to a bm scale when i cahnge chord? or what ever my next chord is?

You can follow each chord like that, or you could just stay in the A major scale, since Bm is in the A major scale.

Also say i am using a G major scale, how to use it over the whole fretboard, as opposed to say jus in frets 2-5 or somthing

You would have to learn all the notes on the fretboard.

-KR
#4
i often want to use just the melody strings (the three thinest strings) when i'm playing lead you need to learn the different positions for each scale. not just the 1st position.
also i agree with wat kirby said, get a fretboard diagram and learn the notes. its a pain in the arse but its the best way
#6
First of all, in any solo you can use any damn note you want! Scales just give
you the ability to do that with some skill. Mostly it's about how notes resolve
to the current chord.

You can start out by figuring out the key and then using that scale. That's kind of
the non-chordal approach. You can do that also with minor pentatonic and a
blues type progression.

You really can take your playing to another level by always following the chord
changes. One thing you know for sure is that a chord tone -- any note that is found
in the current chord -- is going to sound pretty good. So a good initial soloing
practice step is to follow the chord progression with arpeggios. Do this for lots
of progressions and do it all over the neck. If you get that down cold you'll always
be able to quickly go to a chord tone and that's a very very good thing to know when
soloing.
#7
Thanks everyone for reply has helped a good bit, since yesterday i have been working out where the notes are on fretboard, and its kind of clicking but slowy but i still have a lot to learn lol. pretty much the g b and d strings.

Thanks again guys esp kirbyrocknroll that answering my question was good stuff, thanks very much greatful i probaly see ya all in a week or so with another 4 questions lol

Thanks

Daryl
#8
Also, if you aren't already, try and do diagrams for each key.

Start with doing all the notes in each different key using the major scale, but when you practice focus on one at time.

Know that it is going to take some time before you memorize everything and are able to improvise and solo like your idols.
#9
Quote by TheHeartbreaker
Also, if you aren't already, try and do diagrams for each key.

Start with doing all the notes in each different key using the major scale, but when you practice focus on one at time.

Know that it is going to take some time before you memorize everything and are able to improvise and solo like your idols.


So dude, i SHould

Learn all the notes on fret board and then learn all the note within the major scales,

i.e G major, g,a,b,c,d,e,
E major e,f#,g'a,b,c# etc

Is that the way to get then to get me started?

Thanks
#10
Quote by daryldo
Is that the way to get then to get me started?
Thanks


Not in my opinion. Of course more knowledge is better, but note name memorizing
I think is fairly low as a soloing/improv skill. I started playing more than 30 years
ago, mostly improvising. Believe it or not, I've never taken the time to memorize
the note names. For improv, it's MUCH more important you understand the notes
in a relative way -- like "I am now playing the 5 of the current chord", rather than
"The chord is C and I'm playing G". The former gives me a lot more info and
understanding, improvisationally speaking, than the latter.

If you need to read standard notation and play classical, memorizing the note
names is a must. But for improv, while it may be somewhat useful, is not a
real requirement.
#11
daryldo,

That's how I would personally do it, but know that everyone is different.

Anyways, just to correct a couple things...

G Major Scale = G, A, B, C, D, E, F#
E Major Scale = E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#

An easy way to remember this (with any key of the Major Scale) is...

W W H W W W H

W = Whole (2 Frets)
H = Half (1 Fret)
#12
I think the key of A should be as follows:
A major
B minor
C# minor
D major
E major
F# minor
G# diminished

And also, learning the names of the notes is not nearly as important as learning the degrees of the scale, such as knowing if your playing the 3rd, 5th, 7th of the scale. This is much more useful as edg has already stated. Although, learning the names of the notes will help build your chord vocabulary if you know how chords are built. Cheers
#13
Soz guys but I must be really dumb but I dont see how knowing the degree of a scale/chords helps, to me knowing the note seems more helpful i dunno why thou, must jus cuz i am knew and only been playing about 6 months.

Another thing I dont understand is how do you know what notes to hit, like say in the A major scale i have A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#. avaiable, me hitting them in order isnt going to sound very good i would need to mix it up.

Like how do you know what to hit, is it raelly jus trail and error until you get it down to follow the tune?

Again thanks for heloing out guys.
#14
So Minor chords are counted as flated notes in a scale? like how do you know what chrods are in a key? cus i thought it was just the notes them selves. but where dot he minor chords come from?
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Quote by aerosmithfan95
I wanna know what some blues sounding chords I could use in the key of D Aeolian fifth mode of Melodic Minor.

Quote by szekelymihai
try looking for Cm, or any of those complicated jazz chords
#15
Here's why scale degree's are important -- if you know the note is a root or
scale degree I, you know for sure it will resolve the end of lick over the current
chord. Slam dunk. It it's a III, that will give it a major or minor flavor depending on
if it's flatted or not. Any of the degrees I, III or V will tend to go very well with the
current chord because they are chord tones. Each degree has a relative
relationship to the chord in that manner.

bshizzle -- you need some help. Every scale has a harmonized chord for
each note of the scale. For the major scale, 3 of the 7 chords are minor. I suggest
some reading about basic theory and scale construction.
#16
Here's a writeup I did a while back. It's worth reading and you need almost no
theory! It's a way of navigating around the major scale and you can EASILY
find scale degrees with a very simple pattern matching concept. Hope it helps.

What I'm going to present here is a couple of very simple concepts that just
might help you see the fretboard in an entirely new way. It's intended for
anyone who wants to learn to solo better. The beauty of it is its all visually
based. There will be very little to no theory or note names. So, it should be
useful for beginners on up.

As guitairsts, many of us have learned the major scale as a collection
of horizontal fingering patterns. This is extremely useful. BUT, in terms
of soloing it's a very STATIC and ABSOLUTE way of navigating around
our soloing. What we're really doing when we're soloing a sequence of
notes is conciously or subconciously thinking "I'm here right now. Next,
I want to head this way". How many times, when you've "headed that
way", you went outside your usual fingering pattern, and then you
went "Oops. I'm lost. Gotta think about this.". Well, it's happened
(still does) a LOT to me anyway. It's a result of static thinking in absolute
patterns. What we want to do is always know where we can go next
RELATIVE to where we are now, no matter where we are. Maybe this
will help.


Lets start with a diagram of the fretboard with all the notes of the C major
scale as red dots.



For many, this may look like a somewhat random jumble of notes. Just as
a simple exercise. Look at the picture and see if you can find all the C's.
How about all the B's? How about all the E's How about F's?

My first point is that it is NOT a random jumble of notes. It's a VERY regular
pattern that repeats and extends infinitely in any direction! How easy or
hard was it to find those notes? Depending on your skill and experience that
could vary by quite a bit. What I hope is that no matter what your skill,
the following simple idea will make it a LOT easier.

The idea is simply: a LANDMARK. There's actually potentially many of these,
but I'll show you ONE that's VERY easy to remember and see. This will will help
a great deal of making some order out of that jumble of notes.

The Landmark I'll talk about I'll call the "4 Box". And, it looks like:



Looking at the left hand "square" you'll see a small box of 4 notes where
each pair of notes is a half-step/fret apart. On the right you'll see
a "diamond". An unfortunate fact of music, and in this case the guitar
fretboard, is there's an exception to every rule. The "diamond" pattern
happens between the 2nd and 3rd strings because of the guitar tuning.
BUT MENTALLY, you can just do this shift in your head and still consider
it a box. A way of looking at it is you have a "hill" at the 2nd and 3rd string.
Shift "up" the hill when going from 3 to 2, shift "down" when going from
2 to 3.

OK, back to the square. Take a look at the C Major fretboard pattern again.
Find the squares. Pretty easy to do isn't it? Visually and mentally
your brain finds it pretty easy to distinguish simple patterns in a relatively
complex background. That's just the way it works.


Now we're ready for the next diagram, and the first really cool thing to
come out of this:



This shows the major scale degrees associated with the square. The
7th and root are on one string, the third and fourth on the other. In C major
the note names are shown in the diagram. The cool thing is, wherever you
see that square on the fretboard, IT WILL ALWAYS BE THOSE EXACT
SAME NOTES! GUARANTEED! Now go back to the note finding
exercise. Armed with this knowledge, how much easier is to find those notes?
In fact, with this visual cue, you can now pretty easily find 4 out of 7 of the
major scale degrees almost at a glance! That leaves only the 2, 5 & 6 scale
degrees which you can locate also fairly easily relative to the 4 box.


Ok, now on to the next cool thing. We have these squares scattered over the
fretboard. But, now we want to use them to start thinking about relative
movement. The next cool thing (and I think this is extra cool), is this:

WHENEVER WE HAVE A HALF-STEP IN A SOLO THAT'S USING THE MAJOR
SCALE, WE ARE ABSOLUTELY 100% GUARANTEED TO HAVE AT *LEAST*
TWO WHOLE STEPS ABOVE AND BELOW ON THAT STRING!!!!

Here's a Diagram of the "Hamburger" or "Sandwich":



Basically the 4 box is "sandwiched" between 2 whole step areas. The left
side shows the basic sandwich. Note that I said at *least" 2 whole steps.
The right diagram shows that there's a single whole step extension coming
out of the upper-left side of the box, and going down from the right side
of the box. So, as long as you can keep where the 4 box is in your head,
you know where you can take the extra whole step.

Now, here's the final piece of the puzzle. It will basically allow you to navigate
all over the fretboard in a much more relative fashion. As long as you know
where to find those 4 boxes, you can start on or near one and then just keep
going!

We need a way to connect the 4 boxes. There's actually probably many mental
connections that you can come up with for this -- and the more the better. But,
I will show you 2 very simple, easy to remember ways:




The first way, pictured on the left, is a simple diagonal. It slants downward
on the page (upwards on the actual fretboard) when going right, and upwards
going left. Pretty simple. Don't forget that pesky extra shift between the
2nd & 3rd strings.

The next way just uses the extended burger.

When you go "upwards" from the LEFT side of the square and hit a half step, you continue to the LEFT to make the
other half of the next 4 box.

When you go "upwards" from the RIGHT side of the square and hit a half step, you continue to the RIGHT to make the
other half of the next 4 box.

When you go "downwards" from the LEFT side of the square and hit a half step, you continue to the LEFT to make the
other half of the next 4 box.

When you go "downwards" from the RIGHT side of the square and hit a half step, you continue to the RIGHT to make the
other half of the next 4 box.

LEFT - LEFT and RIGHT - RIGHT

If that's not entirely clear try it yourself with the guitar and navigate around. I think you'll see the point.
Basically, no matter where you are, you can easily find someplace to go from that spot and stay
within the scale without having to memorize all the fingering patterns up & down the neck. You can
cover the entire fretboard within the scale with these simple rules and visual and mental cues
and landmarks. Also, you can do that AND quickly determine the scale degree you're at!


That should be enough to get you started in thinking more relatively. There's a LOT more
to it in terms of patterns you can find and connections you can make. Also some nifty
implications that come out it when there's a key change (ie just shift the 4 box). Lastly,
similar concepts will work for the pentatonic scale. Maybe you can figure them out!


The final thing I want to show isn't directly part of this, but may help you "see" lots more
connections of the 4 box and get you moving outside of the standard horizontal scale
fingerings.

This final thing is regular patterns of the major scale that move DIAGONALLY up the neck. I won't
go into much detail other than showing you a few. They ALL use either a 3-4 or 4-3 pattern (no
coincidence that 3 + 4 = 7 notes of the major scale), 3 = 3 notes per string, 4 = notes per string.

If you look at the 4 note strings and think of it as a 3 note + slide you get some VERY REGULAR
looking patterns like (fingering):

1-3-4-slide
1-3-4
1-3-4-slide
1-3-4
1-3-4 slide
1-3-4

Anyway, here's just a few:

#17
Quote by edg
\

bshizzle -- you need some help. Every scale has a harmonized chord for
each note of the scale. For the major scale, 3 of the 7 chords are minor. I suggest
some reading about basic theory and scale construction.


Well, how do i find out which ones are minor and which ones are major?
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Quote by aerosmithfan95
I wanna know what some blues sounding chords I could use in the key of D Aeolian fifth mode of Melodic Minor.

Quote by szekelymihai
try looking for Cm, or any of those complicated jazz chords
#18
Quote by bshizzle911
Well, how do i find out which ones are minor and which ones are major?


The major scale folllows the pattern: I - ii - iii - IV - V - vi - vii°. (Major (I) - Minor (ii) - Minor (iii) - Major (IV) - Major (V) - Minor (vi) - Diminshed (vii°)

In the key of C Major, the chords would be...

  • I - C Major.
  • ii - D Minor.
  • iii - E Minor.
  • IV - F Major.
  • V - G Major.
  • vi - A Minor.
  • vii° - B Diminished.


The three chords edg was referring to were the ii, iii and vi which are all minor in tonality. (D Minor (ii) - E Minor (iii) - A Minor (vi) in the key of C... )
#19
WOW! i never knew that, so like in the key of C maj. if you played a D maj. chord it would be outta key, and C minor would be in key right? i always thought it was just like all major. thanks for the info. What about minor keys? what is the pattern for that?
EDIT: I found the answer. Minor scale goes: minor,diminished,major,minor,minor,major,major. thanks for opening my eyes to this.
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Quote by aerosmithfan95
I wanna know what some blues sounding chords I could use in the key of D Aeolian fifth mode of Melodic Minor.

Quote by szekelymihai
try looking for Cm, or any of those complicated jazz chords
Last edited by bshizzle911 at Aug 18, 2006,
#21
edg, thanks for that write up dude, some of it made since to me, about the box etc, but other bits I got lost, but I am a little clearer on the degree of scales side of things.

I guess I just need time and more practice, plus more knowledge, and good people like urself to help me out.

O I bshizzle911 there is no Cm in the Key C major, there is a Cm in the Key Bb thou I think.

Thanks Again edg

P.s Do U have any more write ups worth reading?
#23
Quote by bshizzle911
WOW! i never knew that, so like in the key of C maj. if you played a D maj. chord it would be outta key, and C minor would be in key right? i always thought it was just like all major. thanks for the info. What about minor keys? what is the pattern for that?
EDIT: I found the answer. Minor scale goes: minor,diminished,major,minor,minor,major,major. thanks for opening my eyes to this.


Correct. The pattern for minor chords is i - ii° - III - iv - v - VI - VII - an easier way to figure out would be to count the 6th degree of the major scale as your i chord, and follow the pattern that way.

The chords in C Minor would be..

  • i - C Minor.
  • ii° - D Diminished.
  • III - Eb Major.
  • iv - F Minor.
  • v - G Minor.
  • VI - Ab Major.
  • VII - Bb Major.
#25
in many instances (especially in classical music), the use of the parallel major can sound good when used in the right context, but it's too confusing for me to actually apply to my own playing; i'm attempting to learn from Cor's posts, all of which were in vain (so far)
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#26
yeah sorry i meant to say Dm and i hit C.
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Quote by aerosmithfan95
I wanna know what some blues sounding chords I could use in the key of D Aeolian fifth mode of Melodic Minor.

Quote by szekelymihai
try looking for Cm, or any of those complicated jazz chords
#27
edj man that method is pretty cool, i think i'll try incorporate it into my playin, cos i am doing scales at the minute but i feel i keep doing th esame stuff over in my improv and i end up just runing up and down scales and i also feel boxed in, but theis may help me break out of the boxes and start really being able to be creative, thanks
#28
Thanks, it's just another way of looking at the fretboard. I lot of people don't
realize a scale on the fretboard is just repeating pattern that extends horizontally
and vertically. This is a rather holistic way of looking at the entire fretboard.

It really doesn't remove the need for finger positions or boxes, but it can help
navigating around and finding scale degrees quickly.

Anyone who wants more detail about this should take a look at the Guitar Grid
method. I've borrowed some of that, but they go into some other patterns and
also apply it to pentatonic scales.