#1
How do you use scales to write a lick or solo? I've got a simple (but sounds cool) rhythm chord progression that starts with an open G. I tried to write a write a lead part for it, assuming that because it starts with G, I should the G Minor Pentatonic. Thing is, I'm not exactly sure how to 'work' scales. When I was writing the lick, I was staring at the fretboard on Guitar Pro with the G Minor Pentatonic shown. I tried to make something up using the notes and it sounds pretty crap, and doesn't fit with the chord progression at all.

I looked on some sites with scales and I think it was talking about the A minor pentatonic scale, there were like 5 diagrams and it showed all the positions of the scales on the fretboard. Could someone explain please? Since it's in A, it should start on A right? But it was all over...gahhhh
#2
The diagrams you saw are just box shapes of the same scale. If you sit there and work it out, you'll notice that each shape has exactly the same notes in, but the note on the bottom string is different. This is becausethe 'root' note (which would be A) is on another string in that shape. That's why it's important to have good scale knowledge, so you know where notes of a scale are relative to each other, so you can improvise well over a chord progression.
I'd reccommend that you play each shape through a few times and listen to the 'overall' sound, and you'll notice they all sound like they're in the same key.... Because they are!
I hope that helps you somewhat, but I reccommend that you find some one to show you face to face if you're having trouble with the ideas of scales and such, that's what I did anyway.
#3
See what key your progression is, than harmonize the scale from that key and as your progression goes you can arpeggiate the chords over it.
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#4
G major scale over the G chord.

or G major pentatonic, which is the 3rd box in the minor pentatonic box patterns. also maybe when your writing your solo try to resolve each note so it doesn't sound odd.

and don't just use the pentatonics, use the major scale and it's modes.

and finally scales are not box patterns.
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#6
Quote by ouchies
If it is in G Major you would use the E minor box shape.
Using the "E Minor" shape would work over a G chord. However, if you want a bluesy/rock sound, the G minor pentatonic would work better. There is theory behind this, but just think of it as "it's rock and roll and I like it" (sound-wise) for now.
#7
If you wrote something in guitar pro and you want to know what scale to use then you're in luck.

- Click on the "Scales" icon that is located to the top right of the virtual fretboard graphic.
- Click Scale Finder
- Select appropriate bars
- You should be given a list of compatible scales.
#8
If you've already got a chord progression, use a lot of chord tones(arpeggiation) as guidelines to help you figure out a melody.
#9
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Using the "E Minor" shape would work over a G chord. However, if you want a bluesy/rock sound, the G minor pentatonic would work better. There is theory behind this, but just think of it as "it's rock and roll and I like it" (sound-wise) for now.


Well that would only work over a dominant chord or a power chord. If its a normal G major, playing a G minor pentatonic over it may sound odd. To me anyway
#10
Quote by ouchies
Well that would only work over a dominant chord or a power chord. If its a normal G major, playing a G minor pentatonic over it may sound odd. To me anyway
It depends on the other chords. If G7 is implied, Gm Pent is going to work well. If Gmaj7 is implied, Gm Pent will be very very bad.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Apr 27, 2008,
#14
Quote by ouchies
If it is in G Major you would use the E minor box shape.

This is fine as long as nobody jumps into the usual "I'm playing E minor over a G major chord" crap.
#15
Quote by bangoodcharlote
There is theory behind this, but just think of it as "it's rock and roll and I like it" (sound-wise) for now.
Because both the m7 and m3 are common accidentals over major chords in rock/blues?
#17
i think the theory side of this has been covered now. heres a tip for licks - steal. nick em shamelessly from your favourite guitarists. we all do it. use them in your soilos, change them around a bit to make em your own - and then after youve done that alot you can look into making some of your own.

i could have gone into the theory of how the improvise and answer your scale questions but its been said already!
#18
^I dont steal licks.
Quote by demonofthenight
Because both the m7 and m3 are common accidentals over major chords in rock/blues?
Let me explain why. The m3 (or the #9, ether eyether for accidentals) is popular because people take their minor licks (which would be defined by the m3) and play them shameless over major chords. And the m7 is popular because it makes chords sound like dominant 7 chords, as the dominant 7 chord has always been very popular in blues/country/folk.
#20
errrm.m....stealing licks? why when you could try write your own?

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#21
Quote by metallicafan616
errrm.m....stealing licks? why when you could try write your own?
It is very helpful and every guitarist you've ever heard of does it.
#22
Quote by Godbe
The diagrams you saw are just box shapes of the same scale. If you sit there and work it out, you'll notice that each shape has exactly the same notes in, but the note on the bottom string is different. This is becausethe 'root' note (which would be A) is on another string in that shape. That's why it's important to have good scale knowledge, so you know where notes of a scale are relative to each other, so you can improvise well over a chord progression.


what do you mean by relative?

thanks for all the input
#23
Quote by myearshurt
what do you mean by relative?
If you're playing an A note and want your next note to be C, you'll know where every C is because you know how that a minor third is three frets up or two frets up on the next string.
#24
Ok, cool, thanks. Through experience, I've noticed some patterns, so everytime I try to improvise, my fingers go to certain spots, like frets 0, 2-3-5-7-8-10...

So, when you improvise using a set of scales, you don't have to stay in the same box shapes right? Is there a rule or something for moving between 'boxes'?
#25
Quote by myearshurt
Ok, cool, thanks. Through experience, I've noticed some patterns, so everytime I try to improvise, my fingers go to certain spots, like frets 0, 2-3-5-7-8-10...

So, when you improvise using a set of scales, you don't have to stay in the same box shapes right? Is there a rule or something for moving between 'boxes'?


Not really - it's not about positions, it's about the notes you play. Typically you only really improvise with one scale at a time, your choice of scale is determined by the chords you're playing over. You'd base your improvisation around that scale, primarily using the notes of the scale and stressing the stronger notes to achieve resolution, using weaker notes or even accidental notes outside the scale to achieve tension and even dissonance.
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