Lead Guitar: Melodies

Due to the fact that my last lesson was misinterpreted I will therefore continue with the next one so as people won't get mislead anymore :) This lesson will explain the basics of melodies, how to create them and how to make them sound good.

Ultimate Guitar
Sooo... I hate this part so I'm skipping it... or not. I'm Paul and this is my lead guitar lesson regarding melodies and how to create them :) This lesson will only cover the basics of how to create a melody behind a rhythm track. Later on I will make a slightly advanced lesson :) So how does one make a melody whilst a rhythm track is playing? Easy! Find the key of the song/rhythm/whatever and just play a few notes with it. So you've got a progression of F G and C. What will you play? You've got plenty of options but I will give an example with the Aeolian mode 'cause I adore the sound it has. Sooo let's do it in power chords Just a note: I'm tabbing it in Drop D tuning.
The easiest way here is to play the root note an octave higher meaning
And THERE YOU GO you made your first melody! Yeeey! These are full notes btw, it's gonna sound kinda crappy if you play it differently :D So... what can we learn from this quick example? Exactly (for those who understand), the root is the ... root! Damn this sounds stupid but it's the truth, all solos and melodies to sound good MUST be in the key of the song/whatever. Now let's expand the melody. Same chords, different melody!
Notes are fourths now, play 4 per chord to make it sound sexy. What do we get? A more "advanced" melody. You just add a note and mix it with a few spices and VOILA melody got better! You might've noticed but I kept within the key and scale (D aeolian). It's that easy, really! As a whole this is the way to create basic melodies, for more advanced melodies I'll explain in due time. Until then I'd recommend you learn a scale and it's notes and practice playing over a rhythm track to find new and new ideas for melodies. Want an example of a good melody on top of a rhythm? Try out Mercenary - Isolation (Loneliness in December). Can't give a better example of simple melodies which sound great :) Another tip I have for all who want to become better at creating melodies. Develop aural training. Meaning learn to recognize intervals and melodies by ear. Play each note on your guitar plenty of times until you can guess it just by hearing someone else play. Always try to find which notes are played. If you can't, there are plenty of tabs here. But the way I make melodies (and I make plenty of them) is that I listen to the chord played, I wait 2-3 more bars and I start off from the root chord and time it carefully to match the song's mood. From there one, let your creativity lead you :) This is the end to the BASICS of melodies. Expect a more advanced lesson on melodies soon. Good luck :)

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    decent, i guess. basically you're just telling people "play an F5, play a G5, and play a C5, and play an F, a G, and a C over it, then make it into a sequence". if the "plenty" of melodies you make are like this, well... to save beginners from the trap you're setting, i have to say: please don't call what you're using D aeolian, what you're doing here isn't modal at all. you're using D minor (actually, with only the information given, you're using F major!) please don't spread information about a topic you don't understand.
    Melodies totally don't need to be diatonic, especially in jazz, but they should be for learners
    Lolcohol wrote: Melodies totally don't need to be diatonic, especially in jazz, but they should be for learners
    + 1 That makes it more interesting.
    You're just using 4 notes in the chords, so you can really experiment with the rest. Ex A5, B5, E5(you're using A,E,B & F#) In a case like that(suposing we are in the key of A), you can use a variety of scales because the progression below is simple. You could go Ionian, Dorian, Mixolydian, Lydian, or change a few notes and make something like A, B, C#, E, F, F#, G#, A(using chromaticism). It's really an open choice depending on what you wanna sound.May I suggest Joe Satriani's lesson on the modes?