Six months ago, my lead guitar playing skill was limited. In fact, it was practically nonexistent. But then I learned the blues scale, and, overnight, I was able to improvise lead solos over any song. The problem is, though, I only played in one position, and the root note of that position never changed throughout the song. Basically, I'd just strum each fret up the neck until I hit a note that sounded "right". I called this the key. Whether or not this is actually the key, I'm not sure (I really don't know a lot of the technical terms musicians use). That note would then be the root note for the scale. I know that there are many positions to play the blues scale in, but here's the one I learned (not sure if it has a name):

So that's all I play, with the root note being whatever sounded "right" with the rest of the song. Needless to say, my playing started to become very predictable. I hear people talking about playing scales "over chord progressions" all the time. Can someone explain to me what this means and how to do it?
Last edited by jvincent at Nov 8, 2008,
Quote by jvincent
I hear people talking about playing scales "over chord progressions" all the time. Can someone explain to me what this means and how to do it?

Google "Marty Friedman Melodic Control", there's a good video about it.
A few tips, you should learn the whole blues scale and use various techniques when "solo-ing" such as hammerons/pulls off, slides, bends.

Also for chord progressions, if you are playing say in blues scale of key of A, you can make chords out of the notes from that scale. Some sound "better" than others.

I believe that's what people mean by playing a scale over chord progression. Person "1" playing improvisation in some certain scale in the some key, and Person "2" playing chords formed by the notes in that scale in that same key.
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playing over chord progression is basically you 2 people playing guitar, one person playing lead and another person playing rythm.

lead plays A minor pentatonic scale
Rythm plays chords A--Am--A7--A5-- ---etc
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You can approach chords individually using a different scale, arpeggio or triad for each or you can look at chords as a group that fall within a certain key.

Try taking your minor pentatonic scale and playing some minor triads or even some harmonic minor scale fragments, example: A harmonic minor mixed in with your A minor pentatonic. That way you can use different scales but you always have your pentatonic to fall back on.
Learn scales properly...all you've got there is one bit of one scale. Learn the notes of the fretboard and take some time to read up about what scales actually are.

Have a look at Josh Urban's Crusade articles in the Columns section to get you started.
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