View Full Version : Chord Scales

Down Up Dick
05-02-2019, 02:30 PM
Anybody, ever practice chord scales? I’m usin’ ‘em on my banjos. They sure help with learnin’ to change chords.

Though chords are one of my weaknesses my chord playing is improving. They’re a kinda fun challenge too. :old:

05-02-2019, 02:40 PM
Definitely. I'll record a voice memo on my phone of a chord progression, then practice scales and improvising over my chord progression. Great practice.

05-03-2019, 03:01 AM
I practice chord tone scales, following Pete Martin’s vids and exercises re: using the chord tone scale for learning improv (leave out the 6 on the way up, and the 7 on the way down, with scales following chords). Check it at mandolin cafe. Very helpful.

Down Up Dick
05-03-2019, 05:05 AM
I practice chord tone scales, following Pete Martin’s vids and exercises re: using the chord tone scale for learning improv (leave out the 6 on the way up, and the 7 on the way down, with scales following chords). Check it at mandolin cafe. Very helpful.

Yeah, bunnyf, I did look at chord scales a bit in Mandolin Cafe, but I’m just beginning now to use them for other purposes.

I’m self taught, and I‘ve picked up a lot of bad chording problems. For one thing, I’ve refrained from usin’ chords as much as I could, but now, I’ve decided to use them in my playing if I can. So, I ran across the scales in Eddie Peabody’s plectrum banjo lessons and thought that they might help improve my chord frettin’ and finger position. I guess i’ve been pretty sloppy with the few chords that I’ve been usin’. Anyway, that why I began practicing with them.

I’ll get into usin’ them for improvisation later. First things first. :old:

Joyful Uke
05-03-2019, 05:44 AM
Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know...but what is a chord scale?

05-03-2019, 05:47 AM
Would be a good exercise to build up strength and flexibility in you hands. The Hanon exercises would also be good to practise.

Down Up Dick
05-03-2019, 05:55 AM
The way that I’m usin’ ‘em is simply to play a correctly fretted C chord then a D chord then an E chord and so on. They’re helpin’ me to fret chords properly and to reach chords better. I’ve been sloppy and have to clean up my act.

The rest has to do with improvisation, but I’m savin’ that for later. :old:

05-03-2019, 09:38 AM
I get the feeling that we are all taking about different things. I practice regular scales, ascending and descending; sometimes pentatonic scales; sometimes different intervals; sometimes working up the neck by 1, 3, 5 notes in a particular key to facilitate movement up the neck to 12th fret. Most often though, I will practice chord tone scales (CTS) in several keys, usually G C D. This scale starts with the 1/tonic/root note and goes up 2, 3, 4, 5, (skip 6), 7, 8(octave), then down (skip 7), 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The way you use this is to play the notes of the G CTS over the G chord in a song; the notes of the C CTS over the C chord, etc. The idea is that this will give you a foundation for a bunch if things, like knowing where the melody is likely to be found and what passing tones will flesh out a run (like in embellished fiddle tunes). Its like a roadmap to improv. Pete Martin explains it better and has excellent videos w/ pdfs.

Down Up Dick
05-03-2019, 12:08 PM
Bunnyf, I do understand what you’re talking about, but I’m doin’ somethin’ different. I’m simply playin’ scales using chords instead of single notes, tryin’ to improve my fretting and my ability to reach the notes in the chords. I got the idea from an Eddie Peabody lesson. It’s working well so far. I’m catchin’ up with what I neglected before.

Perhaps I’ll get into the improvisation stuff later, but I have a lot of other stuff goin’. Thanks for tryin’ to straighten me out. :old:

05-03-2019, 12:36 PM
ohhhh, i see, that’s very interesting. I would never have thought to do that.

Down Up Dick
05-03-2019, 04:13 PM
Some old time tenor banjo tunes are played with chords instead of single notes and with a rhythmic strum. I suppose that’s why Eddie Peabody was demonstrating it.

I just thought it would be a good way to practice changing chords and fretting them. :old:

05-03-2019, 08:50 PM
Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know...but what is a chord scale?

Chord scales or scale tone chords are a scale in one key made up of chords. The progression is I maj, II min, III min, IV maj, V maj, VI min, VII dim (diminished).
95% of songs are based on chords from a particular key.
Lets take the key of C maj.

The chords are C maj, D min, E min, F maj, G maj, A min, B dim.
Learning your Chord scales is useful for practicing hand movements and even writing your own songs.

05-05-2019, 11:32 PM
What Bill1 and Anthony told above about the chord degrees. Chord scales as in terms of melody I don't do. To use a different chord for each melody note will not sound nice at all. Plus ukulele is a bit limited and those melody notes better be on top to make any sense.

I practice common chord sequences (leaving the 7th degree out) and also most are triads, but second and fifth degree also as 4 note seventh chords. In every 12 keys. Keeps left hand fingers busy.

05-06-2019, 06:01 AM
I train barre chords in two ways:

Chord scales as Bill1 describes them: play an open chord then move it up the neck along the major scale (MmmMMmd)
Work the same scale in different forms up the neck: start with open A, then G-form A at the 2nd fret, then F-form A at the 4th fret, D-form at the 7th fret, and C-form at the 9th fret. Repeat for other chords up the scale.

Jarmo, playing chord-melody on a ukulele definitely can work. You do need to understand the fretboard and choose appropriate voicings. Check out James Hill for some great examples.

05-09-2019, 06:15 PM
I learned something from a polynesian ukulele player, Vehiatua Paraue, from a band called Te Ava Piti
I'm super fan of his style of playing and he uses this a lot....

choose a basic strum (at first)
practice the different positions (inversions) of the same Chord in different ways.

basic line 4/4
C - F - C - G

played like this
C open position, move to third position,
F Fifth position, move to first position
C third position, move to open position
G mayor, change to G7

embelish those positions and you have it.

watch him play:

Spent countless hours , took me like 6 months of daily practice to be able to play one of their albums completely. I learneda lot from him, and now i'm to a second album. But it's way more difficult, it's like he "evolved" both in musicallity and technique so its been harder.