Soloing over a chord progression

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Soloing over a chord progression

Post by Lukepowers16 » June 2nd, 2015, 9:23 pm

I'm new here so just bear with me. I've been working lots on blues soloing lately and I'm trying to cross the threshold between simply using one scale over the entire progression, and following the chords (in a 1-4-5 for example). But, I'm a little confused on how it works. Say that I was to play in the key of A and I was emphasizing the major 3rd of the scale (in this case C#). When the IV chord came, would I simply emphasize the major 3rd of the D chord, yet stay in the same scale position, or would I need to shift the entire scale position up 5 frets to root the new scale to accommodate the IV chord? If anyone has any tips whatsoever on soloing over changes, it would be greatly appreciated :)

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Re: Soloing over a chord progression

Post by Alan Green » June 2nd, 2015, 10:01 pm

No, you don't need to move the scale around every time you change chord. Check out the lessons on this site; they will help.
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Re: Soloing over a chord progression

Post by NoteBoat » June 3rd, 2015, 6:33 am

If you move the scale, you'll be using a new set of notes.

You don't say what scale you're using, so I'll assume you're using a blues scale and adding chord tones when you use the 3rd. The blues scale in A is A-C-D-D#-E-G-A; the C# is found in the A chord, but not in the A blues scale - the conflict between the chords and the scale is one of the things that makes it sound "bluesy".

When you get to the D chord, using the F# gives you another note outside of the blues scale - it's the 6th of A major, but the blues scale doesn't have a 6th. If you move the scale, you'll be in D blues (D-F-G-G#-A-C-D), which still doesn't have F#... either way you're using a note outside the scale. The new scale also has the F and G# notes that you didn't have in A blues, and you're dropping the D# and E that are in the A blues. The same sort of thing happens with the E chord: E blues is E-G-A-A#-B-D-E, so you don't have G#.

My advice would be to focus on the sounds you get with using each note that's not in the blues scale: C#, F# and G#. It's a pretty common blues lick to move from the b3 to the 3 over a chord.

In the end, remember that creating a solo is about building a melody, rather than following some formula or fingering. Add just one thing at a time until your ear gets used to what you can do with it.

But what you're doing - developing an awareness of what chord is under you at any given time - is an essential skill to have.
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Re: Soloing over a chord progression

Post by aflat9 » February 25th, 2017, 3:55 am

It depends what you're going for. If you're doing a run, start with the A then progress and play over the D.

Do you know all the chords in an A major scale? *tip - you can play over any of the apreggios*

I teach guitar lessons ( and always recommend this approach. It's great practise playing a G diminished scale whilst soloing in A! Gives it a really dynamic sound!

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