#1
Alright, one of my favorite songs is Pleas by Widespread Panic. The main chords go E, Bm, A, E. The chorus is E5, D5, C#5, G and there are a few bridges that involve C, D, and G. Now I should say that I'm pretty much a n00b at soloing so I apologize in advance if I say something stupid.

I've been messing around with this song quite a bit in the last few days and I've noticed that I can solo over the VERSE in the keys of C, G, D, A, and E with it sounding decent. In fact it seems to sound best in C or G. I want to especially note that I'm just using pentatonic scales. My question is why am I able to do this? Based on the chords, the verse is in the key of A so what gives? If someone could point me to an article or something that explains this, I'd appreciate it.

Also, if you're not familiar with this song, the same thing is going on in Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones. The verse chords are E, D/D5, A but the solo is in G pentatonic.
#2
well i'm a theory n00b but i assume that because the scales you use to solo over the chord progression share similar similar notes with the chord progresssion,it sounds good and the C and G share more simialar notes than the others it sounds better

or it could have something to do with the pentatonic scales having only five notes per octave instead of seven, but i havn't really learned about that yet (wikipedia pentatonic scales btw)

i dunno much about theory, so if it's all wrong i apologize
#3
You need to read the theory sticky and learn what keys are first. That should point you in the right direction and teach you which scales to use.
#4
Quote by Avedas
You need to read the theory sticky and learn what keys are first. That should point you in the right direction and teach you which scales to use.


I know what keys are. The verse is E, Bm, A, E or a V, II, I, V progression in the key of A. This is the only key that these chords could be in, yet I'm still able to play over this in a variety of pentatonic scales.
#5
Quote by Dance_of_Death
well i'm a theory n00b but i assume that because the scales you use to solo over the chord progression share similar similar notes with the chord progresssion,it sounds good and the C and G share more simialar notes than the others it sounds better


The odd thing is that the C and G pentatonics both contain the G note. However, the G note does not exist in any of the chords, yet these scales sound the best.
#6
Quote by JHogg11
I know what keys are. The verse is E, Bm, A, E or a V, II, I, V progression in the key of A. This is the only key that these chords could be in, yet I'm still able to play over this in a variety of pentatonic scales.


Well, no, you aren't. You're playing A Pentatonic in different areas on the fret board.
#7
Are you watching me play or something? Trust me I am using different pentatonic scales.

Forget the song I mentioned and look up the solo guitar for Sympathy for the Devil. Although the chords indicate that the song is in A, the solo is clearly in G major pentatonic.

Also, I went back and played it in C. It doesn't sound as good as I thought normally but does sound good after the bridge. It's odd.
#8
Actually if you want to get technical, the solo can be played in different modes of E but it's strange that it's so wide open.
#9
Quote by JHogg11

Also, if you're not familiar with this song, the same thing is going on in Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones. The verse chords are E, D/D5, A but the solo is in G pentatonic.


No, it really wouldn't be considered G major pentatonic -- it's Em pentatonic. I think
it's actually in the key of E. So Em pent would make sense.
#10
Quote by edg
No, it really wouldn't be considered G major pentatonic -- it's Em pentatonic. I think
it's actually in the key of E. So Em pent would make sense.


You're right about the Sympathy for the Devil solo. However, doesn't that strike you as odd since the song contains an E major? What's the deal?

Like I said, if you want to get technical, Pleas is in E Mixolydian but that still doesn't explain why I can use so many pentatonic scales to create a good solo.
#11
Sympathy for the Devil looks basically like E mixolydian. E, A, and D would be
the V, I and IV from A major, but it definitely resolves to E, so the key sig ought to
be in E.

Playing a pent minor over a major is pretty much the blues. It's really a common
thing in rock too.

The other song -- I didn't think about it much. But consider any key automatically
contains 3 pents (major or minor) diatonically. It's not all that surprising a
number of different ones might sound decent over a progression.
#12
Quote by edg
Sympathy for the Devil looks basically like E mixolydian. E, A, and D would be
the V, I and IV from A major, but it definitely resolves to E, so the key sig ought to
be in E.

Playing a pent minor over a major is pretty much the blues. It's really a common
thing in rock too.

The other song -- I didn't think about it much. But consider any key automatically
contains 3 pents (major or minor) diatonically. It's not all that surprising a
number of different ones might sound decent over a progression.


Very helpful, especially the last part.

I think I may have figured out what's going on here. The chords include all of the notes in E mixolydian except for the F#. It seems as if this note or a G can be used in the solo. I believe this indicates that a harmonic minor scale could be used which would explain why there's an extra key that will work. I was wrong about the C/Am pentatonic so that makes 4 keys, not 5. The key of C/Am only sounds alright after the bridge and there is a little harshness to it. All of the other scales, E, A, D/Bm, and G/Em, all have notes contained in the chords. The difference is that E, A, and D contain F#'s and Em contains the G.
#13
You're not really playing in multiple keys - what you're actually doing is playing in one scale but using accidentals. The chord progression is what dictates the key, not the pattern on the fretboard you happen to be playing. You're on the right track though, as you've realised it's the notes you're playing that are important here, not shapes.
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