I'm sure this question has been posted here many times.... but I'm afraid some one needs to explain this one more time. I just can't grasp the concept of keys. It seems fairly simple, that different scales make up the notes in one key, but which scales. For example if I wanted to play in C.... I could play the c major scale and all the modes to that. Also I could play the minor to that which would be A minor. It seems there should be more though. Will someone PLEASE explain this or just send me in the right direction on how to find the scales in each key. please.

-don kappyton
The diatonic scale is a complex subject. the part you're not grasping is that you can play any mode of the diatonic scale, using a specific key as a root. ok, so you play the first mode of E minoron the 12th fret, or open, thats one mode. play the third mode on the 17th, or 5th. thats another. now play that third mode on the 12th fret (Same shape as on 17) with an E chord in the background. that is called E Phrygian.
so what your trying to say is that.... you just play the scale patterns starting from the root note that you want to play in key with? or am I totally off on that one
For starters there are 24 keys. 12 major and 12 minor. Each major has a relative
minor which means the notes are the same, but the scale degrees are different
(or what people say is the roots are different, but that's an incomplete explanation).
So, out of 24 keys, only 12 have different sets of notes.

If you want to construct a solo, most often, at the most basic you can use the
same notes as the key -- or the major or minor scale. It's as simple as that.
Naturally, there's lot's more to it, but nearly everything is additive to that concept.

EDIT: So basically, you're completely right with your original statement.
Last edited by edg at Jul 14, 2008,
so where do I go now that I have the basic **** down?

p.s. sorry if you feel like I'm using you guys for lessons I don't have the money to pay a teacher.
Quote by don kappyton
I could play the c major scale and all the modes to that.
No to the bold. In order to play G Mixolydian (or whatever), you need your root to be G. As long as your root is C, you call the scale by the name with C as the root.

It doesn't matter where you play the notes on the fretboard or what boxes/patterns you use; if you play the notes C D E F G A B over a C major progression, you are playing C major, not B Locrian, A Aeolian, or D Dorian.