#1
I'm trying to figure out how people write solos, yes I've read through the theory sticky. I am confused on 3 parts:

a) do you have to stick to the only notes within the chord? what are the rules here, can you play out of key based on what fits the chord, if so what are the rules for this. I'm assuming generally playing the 2nd, 4th 6th and 7th over a standard 1,3,5 chord is ok

b) when a chord change is coming up how do you get ready for that change, say it goes from Dm to Cm, what would you do right before it changes.

c) how do you use modes over chords while soloing, do you have to change each mode with the chord change or what?
#2
I would LOVE to know all of this too. I used to think you could use modes for chord changes (Corwinoid posted a long thread about how to use modes and included that) but now everyone is saying you can only use modes over vamps.

I'm sick of getting used to one thing and later being told something else. I just want to know what's correct.
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#3
Do what sounds good, man. If you worry overmuch about theory and rigidly adhere to it in this kind of situation, likelihood is you'll end up with something that sounds uninspired.
#4
I'm by no means an expert on this, but from what I've been taught and learned is that a lot of solos just follow the chords tones i.e. if you are playing an Am in that bar the solo will hang around A C E and if the next chord is a Dmaj say two notes before the bar ends there would be a D then A, to do a little foreshadowing.

I would recommend going through solos that you know are correct, and writing out the notes that are played then look at the chords that are played over them. A good example would be to look at I Could Have Lied by the Chilis.
#5
Quote by webbtje
Do what sounds good, man. If you worry overmuch about theory and rigidly adhere to it in this kind of situation, likelihood is you'll end up with something that sounds uninspired.


That is how I play most of my stuff, I don't try to apply theory to my playing, but like speed and virtuosity which I practice but don't use in actual play, I like to have it in my back pocket so I'm more in control of what I'm doing.
#6
sorry I forgot to add, that the solos that I've seen (floyd/chilis) don't strictly adhere to chord tones. there will usually be some other notes thrown in, maybe a 7th here and there to build tension, nad maybe for a couple bars hte notes just wont match up then after that little piece hte solo will move back to strictly chord tones.

you get a really good idea of the technique artists use by just looking at the notes they play and when.
#7
Quote by webbtje
Do what sounds good, man. If you worry overmuch about theory and rigidly adhere to it in this kind of situation, likelihood is you'll end up with something that sounds uninspired.


^Ignore this

There is descriptive, not prescriptive. It only explains why musical concepts sound the way they do. It will not harm your playing or composition in any way.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#8
Quote by Archeo Avis
^Ignore this

There is descriptive, not prescriptive. It only explains why musical concepts sound the way they do. It will not harm your playing or composition in any way.


True. A boring solo will be boring whether it was created by just noodling around on the guitar with a tape recorder or by sitting down with a pen and paper and composing it using theory.
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#9
Chord tones are essentially your "safe" notes. They are just about guarunteed to sound pretty. Feel free to use other notes in the scale, or even throw in a couple that aren't.

This stuff all sounds like EXACTLY what Marty Friedman addresses in Melodic Control. Go look it up on google video or something. It's really helpful stuff. There are some incorrect bits(he says relative minor of E major is Db minor, a "step and a half" down), but his actual ideas are just spot on.
#10
I watched that video, but still, I feel he didn't completely address all of my questions
#11
Hm...well let's see, are you clear with question a at least?

b)I would think about the upcoming chord, work our the chord tones(this becomes second nature after a while), and know that it would be a good idea to hit one. I could, of course, be going for a specific sound, and want to play the 9th instead or something like that. Just know how you want to interact with the chord. At first I'd just recommend sticking to chord tones until you've got it down.

c)Ah, modes. For the most part, if you're playing in a key, modes are the least of your worries. However, if you're playing in A minor, and you want that dorian sound over an E minor chord in the progression, play a C#. IMO, using modes as just starting on different notes of the same scale while improvising is just kinda useless. You should use them as alterations to whatever scale you're playing in. Playing an F# in the key of C over a C major chord for a lydian-ish sound and things like that. Also keep in mind that you're going to have to experiment a lot(and possibly read a lot) to know which deviations sound good where and why.
Last edited by grampastumpy at Apr 8, 2008,
#12
Quote by farcry
b) when a chord change is coming up how do you get ready for that change, say it goes from Dm to Cm, what would you do right before it changes.

c) how do you use modes over chords while soloing, do you have to change each mode with the chord change or what?

Seems like A's been answered pretty well, here's my two cents:

B. I'd probably accentuate certain notes within the chord, that's an easy way to move with the progression. For example, I'd perhaps play a D to accentuate the D minor chord and bend it up to Eb as it goes to C minor. Just follow the chords to some extent and you should sound like you know what you're doing - you could also, for example, play an F to an A over D minor and then hit Bb over Cm to add the seventh.

C. People think modes are this end-all be-all technique that will unlock the secrets to great solos, but they're limiting and you shouldn't use them unless you're going for a very specific feel. The chording determines the modality, so different chords will suggest different modes - however, most times people say they're using a specific mode but aren't playing a modal progression at all. To unlock a lot more freedom, explore key-based music as much as you can.
#13
Quote by succi
I would recommend going through solos that you know are correct


there is no 'correct' when it comes to art. i mean, music IS art right?

just go by what feels right and fits it. use the chords as guidelines.

(not trying to single you out, but this sums up what everyones talking about)
Last edited by Sabaren at Apr 8, 2008,
#14
I think you missed what I meant by 'correct'. I meant solos that are transcribed CORRECTLY with the right notes so you can actually compare it properly to the chords it's being played over.
#15
A. No, of course not. You don't have to do anything. Your ear trumps any theory, always (unless of course, you're trying to write something strictly modal or following strict counterpoint rules or something). However, when you're stuck, starting out by playing just chord tones over the progression is a good way to get some more complex, cooler sounding licks.

You shouldn't just play chord tones; that will be boring. Use the whole scale when you deem appropriate and even chromatic tones when they work. Chord tones are most useful when you want to hold a note over a chord for a sustained period of time. For instance, over a C major chord, holding an F note won't usually sound good. However, using F as a passing tone and then playing E will probably sound good.

One quick note: over a complex chord like Gm/maj9, your chord tones are G Bb D F# A. However, F# and A should still be treated with caution; the notes from the Gm triad will be the strongest.

B. Work your way between chord tones. If your progression goes G D7, play G chord tones over the G chord (and whatever) and then try to land on D, F#, or A on the 1 beat of the D7 chord. Obviously, you can expand on this idea as you get better at soloing and play over more rhythmically challenging progressions.

C. Modes are not boxes, positions, or patterns. You don't have to change anything you do when the IV chord comes up; you just keep doing what you're doing. However, you may want to emphasize the chord tones.

As far as the mode actually challenging, that answer is ambiguous and is really just a matter of degree. When G7 comes up in the key of C major, you can emphasize the G mixolydian sound to your liking. You may like a lot, or maybe not so much.


Naturally, expand on my ideas or ignore them completely as you see fit.