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How to figure out a guitar Scale for a Song ?


(@kashups)
New Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Hi I have just learnt to play "no women no cry", I would like to use the rythm section as a backing track and practice playing my own solo on it - what sacle should I play on - what sacle goes with the track -
For the rythm section I am using - C,Am,G,F cords -
How does one figure what sacle to use for a solo?
thanks


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

This one's a doozy, because the chords you're using contain all the notes from the scale you need.

But.

Rather than us just giving you the answer, meet us halfway.

What key are you in? The four chords you're using give you that answer too.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@kashups)
New Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Alan Brother - thanks for your repy - i feelt a little ingnorant - so I looked up the meaning of "key" for music - now that - i know what it means - i am not sure how to figure out what key I am in with -C, Am, G, F -
If i have to guess I would say "C Major" just cause it seems C is a big cord in the song and the song keeps coming back to the "C" cord - but this is just an uneducated guess.
By now you have probably guessed that i have hand no theory lessons -
Please let me know more - !!


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
 

This is how I do it.

Take the chords in the progression, and list all the notes in the chords.

Your progression of C Am G and F gives you

C D E F G A B.

If you have a list of the notes in all the different keys, this will tell you that the scale is either C major or A minor (well almost always).

Then see what your chord progression resolves to, is it the C or Am? Usually it will start on one of these, and that'll be the key.

So, as you said your progression was C Am F G, it is probably in C major as it starts on the C.

Now, the scale you can use will be one built from those notes. C major (Ionian), or the c major pentatonic contain those notes. It helped me at first to print off a list of which scales used which notes.

Now, the hard part is if the notes come out as c major, but the chord the progression resolves to is not c major.
Do not fear here, it is a modal progression. You can still use the notes of the c major scale but this is when you will want to ask about playing lead using modal scales.

Good luck, Al

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

Actually, it's a very good guess. If there's a feeling of a particular chord being "Home" in a song, then that's the one to go for.

The alternative approach wold have been to look at C, F and G and see how they fit together. They are the three primary chords in the key of C Major, and that would have given the game away too.

C Major it is.

Knowing that we're in particular key sets out a particular harmonic structure - what chords we're going to use. It also tells us what notes and what scales we're going to use.

We need a scale of C Major.

What notes are we going to use to make a scale of C Major? I suggest the first one is going to be "C", and whilst it's obvious to me I hope it makes sense to you. Al's answer above is correct, but as you're new to the theory stuff then I want you to get some kind of handle on how to make it work if your big chord is G next time.

At this point, I'm going to send you over to our lesson pages - see the lessons tab on the homepage. You'll find heaps of good lessons there including some on scales and I'd like you to have a go at working out for yourself how to get a scale of C Major.

If you can't find the answer in those lessons, or it's still a mixture of Greek and Klingon, then let us know and we'll see what we can do to make it easier.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@kashups)
New Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

thanks guys - will try to figure is out - will write back once I have made head way !


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(@fleaaaaaa)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 680
 

Another thing you might want to try - if you know the pentatonic pattern start from first position at A (fifth fret on the E string - sorry if I am dumbing it down) this will be a major C pentatonic - this always happens so say if your song is on G major - you will drop down three semitones and play the first pattern. For G major if you want to use the first position pattern you can use it at the twelfth fret (the E!) - one song such as this is Guns N Roses' version of Knocking On heavens door - however they tune their guitars down to Eb - a bit confusing when you are beginner so I thought I would give you a heads up - so if you want to play a little pentatonic major riff with them drop to the 11th fret.

Oh goodness I hope that's not too complicated.

together we stand, divided we fall..........


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