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best house of the rising sun solo/improvising scale?

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Does anyone know what would be the best scale to use for one of my all time favorite song "House of the Rising Sun" for like solos and improvising solo?

Can you tell by looking at the sheet music because i have the sheet music and i use the A natural minor (Aeolian) scale to play the melody (i think it's the only or best way). i thought about using the same scale to arrange solos but it seems like the A minor pentatonic scale could have work as well (with the addition of using chord tones).

You know sometimes to the right of the music staff symbol, there are flats and sharps symbols. i know what those symbols does but not completely. Is the appropriate scale has something to do with those symbols.

That's a lot of questions but i have been busy and away from this awsome forum.

Thanks guys

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The problem with using a single scale to improvise is that its notes may clash with the chord tones unless you take steps to avoid it.

If your version of House of the Rising sun is the familiar Animals version with chords Am C D F & E(7), then the total notes contained in those chords are:

A B C D E F F# G & G#

The A natural minor scale is

A B C D E F G

So there are two danger points where the notes can clash: F with F# (during the D major chord) and G with G# (during the E major or E7 chord). So they have to be handled with care (they can sound good if you know what you're doing) or else avoided completely.

This applies to any scale you choose for this song - you'll always have to manage the chromatic alterations (F-F# and G-G#) that scales don't have.

Problems like this never arise if you follow the chord tones instead of a single scale.

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If your version of House of the Rising sun is the familiar Animals version with chords Am C D F & E(7), then the total notes contained in those chords are:

A B C D E F F# G & G#

Problems like this never arise if you follow the chord tones instead of a single scale.

How do you know if the familiar Animals version with chords Am C D F & E(7) contained A B C D E F F# G & G#. Im weak in theory.

I actually put together a about 2:30 min solo using chord tones and my guitar heros like satch, gilmour, hendrix seems to be using the scale more often than chord tones. so i want to try it to see what it's like. It's harder

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How do you know if the familiar Animals version with chords Am C D F & E(7) contained A B C D E F F# G & G#. Im weak in theory.

I actually put together a about 2:30 min solo using chord tones and my guitar heros like satch, gilmour, hendrix seems to be using the scale more often than chord tones. so i want to try it to see what it's like. It's harder

I just looked at the chord tones of each chord

Am = A C E

C = C E G

D = D F# A

F = F A C

E = E G# B

Put them all together you get the chord tones A B C D E F F# G G#

The chord tone approach doesn't just use the chord tones of each particular chord as it's being played, it also uses non-chord tones in the form of passing notes, grace notes, auxiliary notes etc.

The scale approach uses a pre-defined set of notes, i.e., a scale. Assuming the scale chosen is suitable for the song in question, most of its notes will be chord tones of the various chords used in the song and the rest will be used in exactly the same way as in the chord tone approach.

One thing is sure though, no great guitarist who thinks in terms of scales will limit themselves to a single scale if they require notes that the scale doesn't have. They'll simply modify or switch scale, and whichever scale or scales they choose, they will also be very aware of the chord tones and will use them to their full advantage.

As for your heroes thinking in terms of scales rather than chord tones, in many cases that's impossible to say just by listening because the end result is the same, which is instant access to all possible notes. If I listen to a great solo by Dave Gilmour, I've no way of knowing if he was thinking in terms of suitable scales modified where necessary or if he was thinking in terms of chord tones plus suitable non-chord tones. Both approaches could produce exactly the same solo.

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As for your heroes thinking in terms of scales rather than chord tones, in many cases that's impossible to say just by listening because the end result is the same, which is instant access to all possible notes. If I listen to a great solo by Dave Gilmour, I've no way of knowing if he was thinking in terms of suitable scales modified where necessary or if he was thinking in terms of chord tones plus suitable non-chord tones. Both approaches could produce exactly the same solo.

i guess there's no way to tell. i was watching those guys plays on youtube and try to analyze their styles, techniques and stuff like that. i sort of reconized the scales pattern. plus on a youtube video of satch lesson, he heavily emphasizes the use and understanding of scales; and also switching scales in a single song.

You know jimi hendrix's red house, i have the sheet music + tablature. He improvise a lot in this song and it seems like it's all about the A# minor pentatonic scale.

thanks for lots great and useful info Fretsource

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I agree with Fretsource (of course) ... once you have a couple of unrelated chords thrown into the mix, scales lose their usefulness. That D and E in "House of the Rising Sun" would normally be minor chords in the key of Am, but they're not, so you're going to be hitting very sour notes if you're just thinking of the scale. You need to change scales for those two chords ... or just think chord tones throughout.

Have a look at this movie if you have an hour to kill:

melodic control - Google Video

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I agree with Fretsource (of course) ... once you have a couple of unrelated chords thrown into the mix, scales lose their usefulness. That D and E in "House of the Rising Sun" would normally be minor chords in the key of Am, but they're not, so you're going to be hitting very sour notes if you're just thinking of the scale. You need to change scales for those two chords ... or just think chord tones throughout.

Have a look at this movie if you have an hour to kill:

melodic control - Google Video

when i tried to use just chord tone for my arrangement roughly 1.5 years ago. it worked very well or fits right in with the chord progression. But i felt very confined by the chords, harder to be creative and my solo is some what doesnt sound like a solo. Any tips and tricks that may help me get more flexible and variety on using chord tones?

maybe at that time my technique and vocabulary were too poor for me to hastly arrange a solo. i kind of put that project aside and decided to learn and practice some more.

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Just to add to the mix here. Scales are chosen based upon their relationship to the chords. Your scale choice determines which notes will surround the chord tones.

Unless of course you choose to play only chord tones. This is where the chord tone only approach falls short. On some level, even thinking chord tones first, you have to be aware of how you want to add in the color tones.

If you have a chord like A7b5b9 there are lots of choices. Minor pentatonic up a minor 3rd, diminished, super lochrian. All of these choices are going to effect how a solo sounds.

This doesn't mean that while playing a solo you have time to think of all this. You do it in practice until it reaches the point that you play from what you want to hear. At the same time chord tones still rule.

In fact, these scales are made up of mostly chord tones. That's why they work.

There are many ways to approach soloing. I have always been fascinated by different approaches. Any way you slice it it takes time.

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Use the melody as a guide.

I doubt the great players mentioned as emphasizing scales actually think about it that way when playing. Scales are a tool to help you understand what your fingers need to do to create a sound.

Especially guys like Hendrix and Gilmour. Satch is such an awesome player with huge ears (I don't mean physically), he might actually be thinking about and analyzing which scales etc. to use when working out stuff to play, but I doubt that's where he's at when performing or recording. He is definately at the "forget all that and just play" level. My opinion.

I read GP an interview in the 80's with Clapton where he was asked "what scales do you use?". His answer was something like "I don't know any scales, I just play music", or something very close to that. It left the interviewer a bit baffled I think.

Music is primarily about sound, what you hear, not about what you are thinking or what your fingers are doing.

Peace,

Rico

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The obvious one is A minor.. As far as best notes to choose, i'd say try approaching the improvisation with appregios instead of scalar wise if that makes any sense

Yes, makes good sense to me, 7ssk ...

Rico! Nice to see you back here, Where've you been?

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One thing is sure though, no great guitarist who thinks in terms of scales will limit themselves to a single scale if they require notes that the scale doesn't have. They'll simply modify or switch scale, and whichever scale or scales they choose, they will also be very aware of the chord tones and will use them to their full advantage.

As for your heroes thinking in terms of scales rather than chord tones, in many cases that's impossible to say just by listening because the end result is the same, which is instant access to all possible notes. If I listen to a great solo by Dave Gilmour, I've no way of knowing if he was thinking in terms of suitable scales modified where necessary or if he was thinking in terms of chord tones plus suitable non-chord tones. Both approaches could produce exactly the same solo.

An awesome thing for me in the last year has been being set free from scales, using extra notes not in the scale and focussing on chord tones.

I am sure that some solos are definitley scale based and you can tell. eg Hideaway that EC did was E minor pentatonic all the way. Another Brick in the Wall- D minor pentatonic. But I don't mean they ignored the chords. They still tend to follow the chords and rest on chord tones, but they obviously stick to the minor pentatonic shape. Stairway seems to as well, except that Page seems aware of the underlying chord and switches between f and f# depending on the need, which as you say would mean he's thinking of the chord or at least aware of it. But that EC quote struck me. That's a load of bull. He's being glib. Maybe he didn't like the interviewer.

Chord tones are really important and everything and I use them, but I definitely don't regret learning some scales. I can use either approach as it suits me. Even jump between them to make the sounds I want. Just my 2c though.

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