#1
What do you find works best and why.

1. improvising based on the Key and usually sticking to one scale over all chords.

2. treating each chord change as a seperate unit and using what fits best over that chord.
#2
it all depends on the situation really. a ii-V-I might show up that has a different tonal center, and if its a fast tune, then maybe i'd just play the root scale over it.
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#4
It depends on the song. I do a lot of number 1 if its a simple progression like a 1 4 5 or something. But then again im following the chords within the scale so its still a mix of 1 and 2. Sometimes its a more complex progression that takes longer to get back to the begining and its hard to make it follow the chords with only one scale. In those cases i would do arpeggios or change scales or something maybe but it all depends on the piece. I still have a lot of work to do but i try to expose myself to a lot of variety. I wouldnt limit myself to one or the other.
#5
It depends.1 is good in certain applications. I tihnk 2 is overall better....when you get good at. You will probably sound horrible to begin with..but the more you practice the better you become. I think you really need to know the notes of the fretboard cold in order to do this well. Because when for instance the next chord is an Am7 chord you want to be able to land on the C in the chord or the G or whatever(although it must be said in most applications the 3rd and 7th will sound most pleasing to the ear to land on). So, unless you know your fretbaord you wont be able to play over chords that are changing quite quickly. Once mastered( do we ever really master anything?) you will sound like a total pro and this will make you stand out from alot of guys who always play in the one key. This is not to say that there isnt awesome things being done by players sticking to one key...Im just saying IMO players who play over changes and they do it well, sound like they know what they are doing big time.
Andy

EDIT: There are of course progressions you will come across where the chorsd aren't all in one key. Over these you dont really have much choice but to change scales for one or all of the chords
#6
It's common for players to follow the chord changes whilst staying in one scale, the two don't have to be mutually exclusive and arguably that's what most competent players do.
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#7
Quote by statocat
What do you find works best and why.

1. improvising based on the Key and usually sticking to one scale over all chords.

2. treating each chord change as a seperate unit and using what fits best over that chord.



in many cases treating each chord change as a separate unit IS improvising based on the key. Its just that in a situation like jazz, the key happens to be changing often, so you follow those changes. There is usually at least 2 or 3 chords from each key.


you should know how your melody note relates to each chord (is it the 3rd?...the 5th?...the 7th?...ect) AND you should be able to see the bigger picture of how the chords are related. (ii V i progression...... ect).
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Sep 18, 2008,
#8
Quote by steven seagull
It's common for players to follow the chord changes whilst staying in one scale, the two don't have to be mutually exclusive and arguably that's what most competent players do.


How would you do this using the pentatonic scale?
Say it's a I IV V in the Key a A.
#9
Well over the I chord( A Major)..each time you play on that chord you want to start and end your phrase on a tone which is in the chord so that would be A C# or E. Then when you get to the IV chord ( D Major), you wat to again start and finish on a chord tone so that would be D, F# or A. Then the V chord( E Major) you want to start and end on a chord tone which will be E, G# or B.

The above is not a rule as you can in practice use any note over any chord and make it sound good if you know what you are doing. But when starting out with this type of improvising, you want to start just with chord tones. In normal triads the strongest note is the 3rd...so this is a good note to land on. But remember this isnt a rule so once you get used to readying yourselfs for these notes as the chords go by you can then experiment with different notes. Your ear will tell you what sounds good. If you want a further explanation I would be happy to do so.
Andy
#10
Quote by statocat
How would you do this using the pentatonic scale?
Say it's a I IV V in the Key a A.


A Maj pentatonic for the whole thing ( not A then D then E)

You should see that as 1 key, not 3.
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#11
Sometimes it's not just targeting chord tones using the key scale but instead moving to a different scale that's based on the chord. How can you tell? One good hint is if the notes being played are not from the key scale. Another good hint is by looking at the underlying shape.

Example: Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix). This song is a good example of both ("playing off key" vs. "playing off chord"). First half of the solo is F major penta, an obvious choice because the song is in key of F.

But in second half of solo it starts changing. First, over the G chord he switches to a G major penta scale. How can you tell? Some of the notes he's playing don't live in the F major penta scale. An even easier way to tell is just to look at the shapes, he's taking the same double-stop licks he used to start each phrase in the first half of the solo and just moving them up a whole step, from F to G.

Next is a Bb chord. He does a little fill here that's hard to pin down as to what "scale" it's from, it's really just mucking around with the Bb chord.

Then over the Db chord he uses a Db minor penta scale. The notes are pretty out there. Again, you can get more mileage (as far as what he's thinking, why's he playing those particular notes) more by looking at the underlying shape, when you do that it's obvious he's playing off that most basic penta scale shape, only in Db instead of F, i.e. chord instead of key.

Finally there are even situations where (dare I say it on this forum) you're looking at licks that are more shape-based and really have little to do with scales. Example: beginning of "Love Struck Baby" by SRV. If you look at those licks and try to pin them down as being from one scale or another, it's hard to say. But if you look at them visually, the way SRV was most likely looking at them, it's much simpler. He's just taking a little lick that's related to the underlying chord and moving it around the neck along with the chords. Here's a simplified version of that lick, for the starting chord (E):

-12--15-
-12--14-
--------
--------
--------
--------


Now move down 2 frets for the next chord (D). Repeat for final chord (A) by moving it down to the 5th fret. Pretty simple, huh?

Most likely someone will come along and do some sort of complex analysis and tell me that it's a tritone substitution of the diminished Hexapukolydian mode or something like that... but really, it's just mucking around with licks that you know work over a basic chord shape, and then instead of just playing them in one place based on the song key you instead just move them around the neck along with the chords.

p.s. I know it's kinda ballsy to say I knew how SRV was thinking, apologies, I don't of course, but I think the following quote from one of his interviews gives a good hint:

"I can't read or write music, so sometimes, in trying to find things, I just stick my hand on the neck. Sometimes it's a surprise, and sometimes it becomes what I wanted to hear. I visualize things..."
#12
Quote by Andy_Mclaughlan
Well over the I chord( A Major)..each time you play on that chord you want to start and end your phrase on a tone which is in the chord so that would be A C# or E. Then when you get to the IV chord ( D Major), you wat to again start and finish on a chord tone so that would be D, F# or A. Then the V chord( E Major) you want to start and end on a chord tone which will be E, G# or B.

The above is not a rule as you can in practice use any note over any chord and make it sound good if you know what you are doing. But when starting out with this type of improvising, you want to start just with chord tones. In normal triads the strongest note is the 3rd...so this is a good note to land on. But remember this isnt a rule so once you get used to readying yourselfs for these notes as the chords go by you can then experiment with different notes. Your ear will tell you what sounds good. If you want a further explanation I would be happy to do so.
Andy


Thanks for this. If you look at the A pentatonic ( A B C# E F#)....
For the A chord you get all chord tones. A C# and E for the A chord.
For the D chord you only get F# and A but no D so you are missing it's root.
For the E chord you only get E and B but no G#. The G# is the 3rd (strong note) but it's not there to use in the scale.

The other thing to think of is the scale degrees relative to each chord. Still using the A pentatonic.
On the A chord you have the 1 2 3 5 6
On the D chord you have 2 3 5 6 7
On the E chord you have 1 2 4 5 6
#13
Quote by statocat
How would you do this using the pentatonic scale?
Say it's a I IV V in the Key a A.

Of course you can still follow the chords using only the pentatonic scale. Im missing your point here. Are you suggesting that players playing a pentatonic solo in one key are not still following the I IV and V as they play? The allman brothers and clapton seem like they are aware of what chords they are playing over even when remaining in one position of the pentatonic scale. Thats what i was saying earlier even if your doing TS's choice 1 you are still doing a mix of 1 and 2.
#14
Quote by /-\liceNChains
Of course you can still follow the chords using only the pentatonic scale. Im missing your point here. Are you suggesting that players playing a pentatonic solo in one key are not still following the I IV and V as they play? The allman brothers and clapton seem like they are aware of what chords they are playing over even when remaining in one position of the pentatonic scale. Thats what i was saying earlier even if your doing TS's choice 1 you are still doing a mix of 1 and 2.


I understand how to follow each chord (option 2) but I actually want to learn how to do option 1. I am just trying to understand how to use this method.
#15
I have a perfect example for you. The song Bluesky by almann brothers is a good example of a long solo in one scale in one key. Its E A B or I IV V in E major. If you look at the notes in the solo they are almost exclusivly in the E major pent scale. Learn this solo over those chords and that should give you an idea how you can play for a few minutes in a simple pent scale over a simple 3 chord progression without running out of variety or need to change scales. A lot of great david gilmour solos are all in pentatonic scale of the key of the song as well. Just try some solos that are played this way and see how some people do this. That should help.
Last edited by /-\liceNChains at Sep 18, 2008,
#16
Quote by statocat
I understand how to follow each chord (option 2) but I actually want to learn how to do option 1. I am just trying to understand how to use this method.


what you have to understand is that option 2 still has to do with key. "following the chords" is really about knowing what keys those chords are in (as well as knowing the chord tones)

Quote by /-\liceNChains
even if your doing TS's choice 1 you are still doing a mix of 1 and 2.


exactly & vice versa.

ofcourse you could be doing choice 1 using your ear + a scale pattern without thinking about the specific chord tones. If you have a developed ear what your are playing will likely be following chord tones as well as staying in key. It's just that you have found it by sound rather than by specifically thinking "I'm on the 3rd, now Im going to play the 7th".

Quote by /-\liceNChains
Just try some solos that are played this way and see how some people do this. That should help.


^ +1 great advice


Quote by guitarviz

Example: Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix). This song is a good example of both ("playing off key" vs. "playing off chord"). First half of the solo is F major penta, an obvious choice because the song is in key of F.

But in second half of solo it starts changing. First, over the G chord he switches to a G major penta scale. How can you tell? Some of the notes he's playing don't live in the F major penta scale. An even easier way to tell is just to look at the shapes, he's taking the same double-stop licks he used to start each phrase in the first half of the solo and just moving them up a whole step, from F to G.

Next is a Bb chord. He does a little fill here that's hard to pin down as to what "scale" it's from, it's really just mucking around with the Bb chord.



^ right. cause when he gets to the G chord, hes no longer in F. He follows the chords as they change keys.... 1st G Major, then Bb Major.

I think you got the idea of how he was thinking though (playing licks that he knows work over a particular chord).
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Sep 18, 2008,
#18
Quote by GuitarMunky
A Maj pentatonic for the whole thing ( not A then D then E)

You should see that as 1 key, not 3.
You could, however, play a G or G# note over the E chord, and F or F# over the D chord. This would be a very bluesy thing to do.