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Dewy

Major Key Improv using Chord Tones

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Ok, I've always had a lot of trouble improvising solos in a major key, not exactly sure why, and therein may lie a clue or answer... but thats not the point of this post.

I would like to pick the collective mind of this forum and look at "Major Improv" in the new found light of the chord tone approach, and find myself falling flat. Admittedly I have not yet purchased the Plane Talk Dvd yet, but have and excellent opportunity to apply the concept.

Our band has taken to learn a few new (to us) songs, and a song very much like "Never Been to Spain" came up. To call it learned my first task was to work out the chord changes, and we've all run through it. Next time up I'll want a basic Idea of how I am going to approach any guitar solos, and as we are a 3 piece (bass, drum, guitar) I am always working to fill the holes in the solo.

With this song, I need to keep dynamic up in a rolling tune based around the Amaj, Emaj, Amaj, Emaj, Bmaj, Amaj, Emaj, background.

I've tried "Chirping" the chords high on the neck and playing licks out of the chord shape... nothing I'd like to call finished... and no real noteworthy solo in the song to borrow ideas from.

I'll see what I can do about giving some samples as we're doing it live Friday and Saturday night... and we try to record for review. I might can edit just the solo portion and host it here... or elsewhere... and post "improved" versions as it comes along.

Any Ideas?

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I'm assuming you know that ie C#m = Amaj7 etc. That can give a different way of approaching those chords. Note choices tend to change when a chord can be thought of by a different name. The different intervals lead you in new directions.

Please host the solo somewhere else and link to it. It is still copyrighted even if it is just the solo.

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Hi, Dewy.

The only advice I can offer is to think melody, knowing that melody loves chord tones. If those chords you mention (which are obviously from the key of A) are in fact 7ths, then you have a nice choice of notes to choose from, namely the 1-3-5-b7 of each chord.

If you want to post a backing track of the progression, I can be more specific.

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Ok, I've always had a lot of trouble improvising solos in a major key, not exactly sure why, and therein may lie a clue or answer... but thats not the point of this post.

I would like to pick the collective mind of this forum and look at "Major Improv" in the new found light of the chord tone approach, and find myself falling flat. Admittedly I have not yet purchased the Plane Talk Dvd yet, but have and excellent opportunity to apply the concept.

Our band has taken to learn a few new (to us) songs, and a song very much like "Never Been to Spain" came up. To call it learned my first task was to work out the chord changes, and we've all run through it. Next time up I'll want a basic Idea of how I am going to approach any guitar solos, and as we are a 3 piece (bass, drum, guitar) I am always working to fill the holes in the solo.

With this song, I need to keep dynamic up in a rolling tune based around the Amaj, Emaj, Amaj, Emaj, Bmaj, Amaj, Emaj, background.

I've tried "Chirping" the chords high on the neck and playing licks out of the chord shape... nothing I'd like to call finished... and no real noteworthy solo in the song to borrow ideas from.

I'll see what I can do about giving some samples as we're doing it live Friday and Saturday night... and we try to record for review. I might can edit just the solo portion and host it here... or elsewhere... and post "improved" versions as it comes along.

Any Ideas?

Hi Dewy--

Ya know, this is something that's been a topic for discussion more than once on this website (many other guitar one, too I'm sure). I think the simplest way to look at it is from chord tones. The components of the chord. Every chord has it's 1, 3 and 5 at their basics. And so you can take the chord tone approach (PT is really great at showing this).

Like Kirk says, 'think melody'. And it really depends on the particular chord structure. I think if you get PT you'll see what I mean.

The most easy answer is to play a melody from the notes within the E major scale. One way to look at this puzzle is that if there are Amaj, Bmaj and Emaj chords involved, those would be a part of the key of E major. (E=I, A=IV and E=V).

So what sounds good really depends on what the melody is doing and how the chords are presented. The long answer to the chord tone usage is that when you know the chords in the 'chord scale' of the key, (E, F#m, G#m, A, B, C, D#m7b5), each one of those chord formations represent the tool box from which to choose tones to play within the major scale presentation!

I don't want to get confusing with this, but since you've played for over 10 years I figured you might appreciate some of it.

Steve

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Har. I always get mixed up when an A chord, for instance, is called an Amaj. I keep thinking it is short for Amaj7 like I see on chord charts often. Sorry bout that.

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I'm going to try and record a little bit and play over it tomorrow, I'll post any results.

I use the Amaj just to keep from hanging a Letter out and having it confused with the message.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look deeper into the 1-3-5-b7 of each chord.

And thanks again for the wonderful site, and I'm sure I'll get over my issues with spending money (I'm a tightwad) on guitar lessons soon, I've got a Dvd player and no dvd's.

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