So my first stab at music theory was to memorize scales, then apply them to some chord progressions that I constructed. Mostly easy ones, blusy ones with 1-4-5 patterns.

But recently I got a music theory book and something made me think.

I learned about music keys and how when creating a melody, you want to stick to the notes in that scale. Which makes sense.


For the past year or so, when playing to chord progressions, I have been switching keys; meaning in a E-A-B blues pattern, I'd use the E scale over the E part and the A scale over the A part and so on... Which frankly is a nightmare trying to switch scales. But I thought that's what I had to do until it dawned on me that you might not necessarily have to switch scales.

When I started to solo over chords using only the key they were in (such as only notes in the G major scale in a G,C,D pattern) I found I could use the G scale, but move it around playing around C when it was C and playing notes around D when it was D, but sticking to the G scale.

But I've always known this bluegrass song in the key of G that goes like G-F-G-D... which features notes in the F scale; mostly just the note F. Everything else is in G. Which was probably the reason I thought the above in the first place. When the chord is G, he playes stuff in G and when it's F, he plays stuff in F.

But this doesn't seem like the case anymore.

Please, can someone shed some light onto my situation?
You might want to learn the expanded scales, or those outside of the box position. For example, the E pentatonic scale is ALL the E, A, D, G and B notes on the fretboard, so as long as you can identify those you can sound good without changing key as long as that's the root note.
So basically just play in the "expanded" scales of whatever the key of the song is. The key of the song is usually the most common chord.
Quote by marmoseti
Mastering your instrument is being able to play whatever you hear in your head, unhindered by inadequate technique. After that, it's all about what you've got to say, so there would be no "best," just a bunch of people saying exactly what they mean.
You can follow the chords with a different scale for each (as you've been doing), you can stick to the notes in the key of the chord progression (as you've just discovered) or you can do a combination of both. Basically you can do anything you want as long as it sounds the way that you want it to sound.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums