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View Full Version : How Do You Solo to Any Chord Progression?



experimentjon
03-21-2008, 11:14 PM
I was just with some of my friends and some of them were jamming. After a bit of Rock Band, I watched them play real-life rock band on real guitars and a real drum set. One of the things that impressed me was that one of the guitars could just play a three or four chord progression, and the other guitar could just work up some solo to match the chords. Then I played a series of ukulele chords, and the guitar did a solo to those chords.

How do they do it?! Any tips, scales, links to videos, or any insights would be appreciated.

guitarguy159
03-21-2008, 11:22 PM
this is called improvising
most people do it by ear
but there is actually music theory to it

each different key is going to have different notes
so if your key is C
it has no sharps or flats
so you could use any combitations of any notes without sharps or flatts
c, d, e, f, g, A, B, or C

but the timing and different techniques used in these improvs are from what you know and what you think sounds good

of course there are many exceptions and what not
juts start off simple and practice will make perfect

hope that answers your question
if this totaly confuses you :confused:
pls disregard this comment lol :D

russ_buss
03-22-2008, 07:29 AM
you can start with the major pentatonic scale for most songs. if the song is bluesy, you'll want to use the minor pentatonic scale.

just google it. tons of resources out there. you'll be surprised how many of those guitar solos fall within these two scales.

Woodshed
03-22-2008, 09:30 AM
Learning the major and minor pentatonic scale shapes is the way to go. Once you know those, you can improvise over most rock, blues etc chord progressions.

The easy, no theory, no mistakes way to do it is to just play notes from the chord that's playing at the time. If you know chords in a lot of positions, it can be really effective.

experimentjon
03-22-2008, 09:39 AM
Ah improv. That's the word that I was looking for.

Is there any way to work entire chords into the improv? And do you change your note-set every time they change chords?

Say the chord progression is G Em C D7 (as in break up song). Would you have use notes from all four scales as they play each chord? And I'm assuming the minor and 7th scales are the same as in the rest of music with just one note changed? (Can't remember which one, but I remember raising a note or two for those scales.)

h-drix
03-22-2008, 03:45 PM
check out the circle of fifths, its kinda confusing. i had an orchestra worksheet that laid it out really simply. when i go back to class (Tuesday) i'll grab a copy, write out explanations (on the w/s) and up load a pic.

ive tried to find circles of fifths on the nets, but i haven't been able to come across one as simple.

for those who dont know, the circle of fifths basically tell you sharps and flats are in what scale. it'll be alittle easier to understand once i scan that w/s

edit:does anyone have tabs for scales?

experimentjon
03-22-2008, 06:32 PM
I actually have a copy of the circle of fifths from my flute teacher. I even used to be able to play all of the scales on it. Maybe it's not the most simple layout though. I remember that I thought I was supposed to play each note around the circle in order, so I pretty much looked like an idiot, playing C F Bb Eb...etc (especially since it didn't sound musical at all.)

And yeah, tabs for scales would be nice. Although I think I should be able to figure it out from the Ukulele quick tips. I just need to know how you identify the first note. Does it work like this? Open G is a G, and a full step up from that, or 2nd fret on the G string is a A? And so forth?

JTY
03-22-2008, 10:04 PM
yeah, major/minor penatonic is any position, any key. Know the I,IV,V basic chord progression in any movable chord position, mix and match different movable positions for more fretboard room or to get a slightly different sound. You can solo on either the I, IV, or V above or below the barre reference and mix major/minor scales too. "Fretboard Roadmaps" and "Ukulele Solo Recipe" are a very helpful books in this IMO. :)

h-drix
03-23-2008, 03:08 AM
I thought I was supposed to play each note around the circle in order, so I pretty much looked like an idiot, playing C F Bb Eb...etc (especially since it didn't sound musical at all.)

lol, i would of thought the same thing a year ago. im trying to find a way to explain with out that sheet, but i cant. Depending on how much homework i the ay i get back ill post that sheet on tuesday (wednesday at the latest)

Bruce_B
03-23-2008, 03:28 AM
http://www.circle-of-fifths.net/

Nuke-ulele
03-25-2008, 06:21 AM
here is a GREAT resource: http://randscullard.com/CircleOfFifths/

seeso
03-25-2008, 10:04 AM
I have the toughest time improvising. What really helped me out a lot was a different approach.

I started to "sing" the guitar instead of "play" the guitar. I started to play like I was singing what I was playing, instead of just trying to remember the scales and what not.

It sounds weird, but it really burst a door wide open for me.

menehunenyc
03-25-2008, 01:46 PM
What a great site, I'll be studying this for awhile, try to make sense of it all. Thanks for the post.

crookshankz
03-26-2008, 07:55 AM
I started to "sing" the guitar instead of "play" the guitar. I started to play like I was singing what I was playing, instead of just trying to remember the scales and what not.


Do you mean kind of hum what you were wanting it to sound like and then trying to play what you were humming?

Groovy
03-26-2008, 09:54 AM
I have the toughest time improvising. What really helped me out a lot was a different approach.

I started to "sing" the guitar instead of "play" the guitar. I started to play like I was singing what I was playing, instead of just trying to remember the scales and what not.

It sounds weird, but it really burst a door wide open for me.
This is GREAT info!

Groovy
03-26-2008, 10:00 AM
yeah, major/minor penatonic is any position, any key. Know the I,IV,V basic chord progression in any movable chord position, mix and match different movable positions for more fretboard room or to get a slightly different sound. You can solo on either the I, IV, or V above or below the barre reference and mix major/minor scales too. "Fretboard Roadmaps" and "Ukulele Solo Recipe" are a very helpful books in this IMO. :)

Here's my Q: If the progression is C Amin Dm7 G7 C - you would use a major pentatonic chord here, I'm assuming... What I'd like to know... should I use I use the C Major Pentatonic over the entire phrase OR when the chord changes to (say) the Dm7 bar - should I use the Dminor pentatonic scale for the portion and revert back to the C Major Pentatonic when the Dminor part is played??? Thanks! :cool:

NukeDOC
03-26-2008, 10:02 AM
Here's my Q: If the progression is C Amin Dm7 G7 C - you would use a major pentatonic chord here, I'm assuming... What I'd like to know... should I use I use the C Major Pentatonic over the entire phrase OR when the chord changes to (say) the Dm7 bar - should I use the Dminor pentatonic scale for the portion and revert back to the C Major Pentatonic when the Dminor part is played??? Thanks! :cool:
i would make a recording of the chord progression. then try it both ways. if it clashes then you know the answer.

studentaccount1
03-26-2008, 10:04 AM
...Or you can be like George Benson and sing while you play.

h-drix
03-26-2008, 10:22 AM
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j73/h-drix/EPSON011.jpg

theres the link.

basically what you have on the right are modes, count backwards to see what your relitive major is.

ex: "A" lydion is three modes from major. now count back three from A, to get E (A G F E) your reletive major is "E"

now that you know what your relative major is, go to the circle of fifths and find "said" relative major. you see if it has sharps or flats. below the circle you see "order of sharps/flats" count over how many sharps or flats it says, and put it to a scale.

ex: E major, look at the circle and their are four sharps. go to "order of sharps" and count over four places. you see that F, C, G, and D are written. these four notes will be Sharps.

thus the scale is A B C# D# E F# G# A

__________


here is a GREAT resource: http://randscullard.com/CircleOfFifths/

those sites are great, but they dont really tell you HOW they got what they got (i just looked at it at a glance)

seeso
03-26-2008, 10:47 AM
Do you mean kind of hum what you were wanting it to sound like and then trying to play what you were humming?

No, I mean "sing" the guitar. I know it makes no sense. Most people don't have too much of a problem improvising vocally. You can "la da da doo" all day to a piece of music, right?

I'm saying just try to do the same thing, but with your guitar.

It's shifting your mindset away from scales and theory.

experimentjon
03-26-2008, 11:00 AM
I have the toughest time improvising. What really helped me out a lot was a different approach.

I started to "sing" the guitar instead of "play" the guitar. I started to play like I was singing what I was playing, instead of just trying to remember the scales and what not.

It sounds weird, but it really burst a door wide open for me.

Yeah. I've tried that singing the improvs. I think I do moderately well at it, but then, I have no idea how to convert it back to ukulele. Is it just guess and check at that point to convert it all back to actual plucked notes?

seeso
03-26-2008, 11:14 AM
Yeah. I've tried that singing the improvs. I think I do moderately well at it, but then, I have no idea how to convert it back to ukulele. Is it just guess and check at that point to convert it all back to actual plucked notes?

I'm having a hard time explaining myself. Sorry.

I don't mean singing what you want to play and then converting it to an instrument.

I mean act like you're singing while you're improvising with an instrument.

I saw this documentary on guitar heroes and Carlos Santana was telling a story. He said he was trying to teach someone a lick. This person wasn't getting it. He could play the notes and everything, but it didn't have the right feel.

Santana said, "You gotta say, 'Hey mother****er,' in your head when you play it. If you don't, you won't have that feel."

That's the kind of thing I mean.

NukeDOC
03-26-2008, 11:35 AM
I'm having a hard time explaining myself. Sorry.

I don't mean singing what you want to play and then converting it to an instrument.

I mean act like you're singing while you're improvising with an instrument.

I saw this documentary on guitar heroes and Carlos Santana was telling a story. He said he was trying to teach someone a lick. This person wasn't getting it. He could play the notes and everything, but it didn't have the right feel.

Santana said, "You gotta say, 'Hey mother****er,' in your head when you play it. If you don't, you won't have that feel."

That's the kind of thing I mean.

is that why the great guitarists always make funny faces and move their lips while they play?

seeso
03-26-2008, 12:08 PM
is that why the great guitarists always make funny faces and move their lips while they play?

I would suspect that is the case.

Groovy
03-26-2008, 06:23 PM
No, I mean "sing" the guitar. I know it makes no sense. Most people don't have too much of a problem improvising vocally. You can "la da da doo" all day to a piece of music, right?

I'm saying just try to do the same thing, but with your guitar.

It's shifting your mindset away from scales and theory.

I've been trying this and SURPRISING MYSELF! In my own experience I realize I've tied myself down too much by trying to work with this scale or the next.

By trying what you suggested and freeing myself from the formality of a 'scale' has, as you expressed it "blown the door wide open."

Again... thank you for that insight!

seeso
03-26-2008, 07:04 PM
I've been trying this and SURPRISING MYSELF! In my own experience I realize I've tied myself down too much by trying to work with this scale or the next.

By trying what you suggested and freeing myself from the formality of a 'scale' has, as you expressed it "blown the door wide open."

Again... thank you for that insight!

See?!?! I'm not crazy!! :D :D

facemeltingukulele
03-27-2008, 11:53 AM
I totally agree with Seeso, let that note sing. Put feeling and emotion behind the note and it will sound totally different than a note played by a guitar playing robot. (or Vulcan perhaps) Other than that, start of with the major and minor pentatonic scales and you're good to go. I pretty much play just straight up pentatonics over everything and fake my way through it :P

seeso
03-27-2008, 01:04 PM
Hmm... maybe that Santana quote wasn't the best way to illustrate my point.

I agree with facemeltingukulele when he says you must put feel and emotion behind the note, but that really isn't what I was trying to say.

facemeltingukulele
03-27-2008, 01:56 PM
Hmm... maybe that Santana quote wasn't the best way to illustrate my point.

I agree with facemeltingukulele when he says you must put feel and emotion behind the note, but that really isn't what I was trying to say.

Sorry bout that Seeso, what you said sounded good to me anyway (though misinterpreted). All in all though if it helps you play, then any interpretation sounds good to me. Bottom line though, play pentatonics and any note you play will sound good, or at least not bad. When I first started soloing, I'd break up the pentatonics into "blues box patterns". I still actually don't really know what I'm doing, but my brother told me "Dude, all you play is pentatonics" so I guess thats what I'm playing. You can play notes in a certain "box" that can be based on the root chord. These patterns can then be transposed up and down the neck depending on what key you're playing in. From there it's just familiarizing yourself with said box and building up interesting musical phrasings by varying rhythms and tones, building tension with notes outside the box, etc. I was thinking about doing a tutorial video, but like I said, I really don't know what I'm doing:P Oh well, maybe I'll just show some box patterns and let people run with it.

seeso
03-27-2008, 02:55 PM
I was thinking about doing a tutorial video, but like I said, I really don't know what I'm doing:P Oh well, maybe I'll just show some box patterns and let people run with it.

You should totally do that video. A lot of people here would appreciate it, myself included.

facemeltingukulele
03-27-2008, 03:01 PM
You should totally do that video. A lot of people here would appreciate it, myself included.

Thanks! I'll get on it, though I highly doubt you need it. You got it down already! Maybe I can get it in on time for the "play it forward" contest. . .

NukeDOC
04-01-2008, 09:51 AM
just found a cool site for cheat notes. you plug in whatever key you want to play in and what type of scale you want, and it shows all the positions on the fretboard that you would need to know.

hint: take a post-it note and cover the fret board up to the 5th fret, and pay attention to only the first three or four strings.

learn the shapes and how they overlap and how they are positioned in relation to the root note. i know, easier said than done. im still learning. but its so much fun when you start to get it, even just a little bit. make up your own techniques and play along with different songs in different keys.

check it out...
http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php?qqq=FULL&scch=A&scchnam=Major&get2=Get

TokyoUketarist
04-03-2008, 04:14 AM
tried to explain how to solo over any chord in C major on my YouTube page butb I haven't got any comments yet. Maybe you could take a look at it and see if it's understandable for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A-bWXjtTgI

I don't play anything fancy I just show what notes to play over each chord then you can play whatever you want without hitting bad notes.:o

Tom_Bombadil
05-19-2008, 07:12 AM
great vid mate. inspired me to this little fingermaps for the ukulele for all those who don't ne the minor/major scales yet:

Major chords (shift up and down):
http://www.ahdesigns.de/majorfret.jpg

Minor chords (shift up and down):
http://www.ahdesigns.de/minorfret.jpg

hope that helps

easyukulele
05-27-2008, 07:00 PM
Check out these videos that I made on Learn How To Pick.....It's basic chord scales in different chords. You can pretty much solo to anything using these basic scales on the ukulele. Once you got this down, you can start to fine tune your own picking technique using hammers, pulloffs, harmonics (chimes), muting/muffleing, chord bending, slides and so forth.:) It also depends on what type of music that you're playing...reggae, country, folk, rock, etc.

Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/easyukulele

Happy Playing!!

Aloha,

Kainoa

experimentjon
07-13-2008, 04:55 PM
www.curtsheller.com/pdf/UW05_IntroToSoloing.pdf

Theres a link that I found very helpful. :)

yodiepants
07-27-2008, 06:11 PM
Ahah! The importance of knowing scales comes out! :)

Many musicians practice scales regularly as a warm up. Even after you know them well, practicing keeps your fingers nimble and the relations between the notes fresh in your head.

To get better at improvising, I would recommend practicing scales. To start, it will be a little bit confusing, but you will soon you will have it memorized and it will just come out.

When this happens, you can add skips. So, in scale degrees like on the chart, you'd have 1, 3, 2, 4, 3, 5, 4, 6... 7, 9, 8. When you got that, do regular scales again, but faster. Now you're faster? Do intervals faster. Practice this in the keys you use most. You probably don't need to worry about G# though.

It takes a little work and it can be boring at times, but it will quickly improve your playing. Luckily, I practiced them for about 10 years several times a week, so I got them down pretty well. ;)




great vid mate. inspired me to this little fingermaps for the ukulele for all those who don't ne the minor/major scales yet:

Major chords (shift up and down):
http://www.ahdesigns.de/majorfret.jpg

Minor chords (shift up and down):
http://www.ahdesigns.de/minorfret.jpg

hope that helps