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Q&A About Theory

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(@minus_human)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 381
Topic starter  

:(

I suck that is just the truth. I went for my guitar lesson today fully prepared (95%). So i walk in and he said you won't need that (Book) I'm going to do some rhythm stuff and the 3 of you are going to improvise a solo over this :? (damn language filter).

so I was lost, in the weeks before we were practicing the Major and Minor scales and although I'm able to play them, for the life of me i don't know where all the notes on the guitar are. I usually use this chart i did for myself.

My Question is this. How do i know what solo to put over a current piece of music. He would say I'm playing G D A for example play a solo over that.

What ?!! where do I start what do i use Major or Minor / Either ?
My root note would that be G ? if so could I take a song and decide for example "right here I want to start the solo" and use that (last) note as the root to build the solo ??

My theory is terrible as is evident in the questions above. i never thought i would need it as I could learn to play what I want from tabs and Jam with other people as long as they play the same stuff. Now that I'm learning from a guy that's a complete 180 from what i do I'm screwed. I'm in a box as far as my playing is concerned and it's got metal written all over it.

This post is all over the place i know. some advice on the questions would be great aswell as any general info

Thanks
Minus Human

And all the things you said to me
I need your arms to welcome me
But a cold stone's all I see

Let my heart go


   
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(@burgermeister)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 45
 

My Question is this. How do i know what solo to put over a current piece of music. He would say I'm playing G D A for example play a solo over that.

I'll take a stab at it, not because I can do any of this, but I want to see if I'm in the right ball park.

The progression you listed, G D A, I'm assuming is all major chords. If so you're playing a IV,I,V progression which is in the key of D. You would therefore use the notes of the D Major scale or B Minor (VII scale degree of D Major) so you could use the DMajor or BMinor scales in both Diatonic and Pentatonic forms.

Close?


   
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(@audioslaveaddict)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 169
 

I am in pretty much the same boat, my theory is not that great-I do most things by ear.

I'll take a crack at it and hopefully someone with more experience can drop in and correct any mistakes I have (most likely there will be a few!):

Ok, assuming that the D, A, and G are all major chords, that would indicate that the chord progression is in the key of D.

Ex: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, viidim

Ok we know that the C major scale goes C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

Well plug that into the example you get:

C-Dm-Em-F-G-Am-Bdim-C

This indicates that the I,IV, and the V are your major chords in a key. And your ii, iii, and vi are your minor chords. So for the D, A, and G chords you teacher was playing (assuming once again that they all were major) the only possible option is that he is playing in the key of D.

So now you know that you have a I, IV, V progression in the key of D. Well now you have a few options. You can, of course use the D major pentatonic scale. However, since the chord progression is a I, IV, V progression, you can also use the D minor pentatonic. There are some notes that will clash if you use the D minor pentatonic. However, since the progression is a I, IV, V progression they will clash in a good way, giving you a very bluesy type feel.

I would type more but I'm late for class! :D

Hope this helps!

~Ryan

Gun control is using both hands!!!


   
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(@spacedog03)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 120
 

Minus Human - I've read lots of theory in the past year too, (and some of it actually makes sense :lol: ) But often trying to apply it my mind collapses just like you describe. So don't feel alone in this.

Burgermeister - why B minor? Isn't it the VI scale degree, not VII?


   
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(@burgermeister)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 45
 

Minus Human - I've read lots of theory in the past year too, (and some of it actually makes sense :lol: ) But often trying to apply it my mind collapses just like you describe. So don't feel alone in this.

Burgermeister - why B minor? Isn't it the VI scale degree, not VII?

My mistake with the roman numerals, it is the 6th, not the 7th. The reason is that the Bminor scale has the same notes in it as the D major. BMinor pentatonic is essentially the same as D Major Pentatonic except you start from a different note (B).


   
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(@gizzy)
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:) It does look like it is in the key of D, and B minor is the relative minor of the key of D so yes you can use the Bminor scale and give it a blues feel along with D, That was the big problem I had was just knew Tabs, But when you learn how to apply chords and scales you can learn to play to anything without knowing the Tabs, you still are playing by ear because you listen to which scales sound best with the chords being played. This way if you were to join a band and they said the song is in the key of D you can already have a Idea on what chords and scales will work for that song much and you can add your own style to it, much more fun to me than learning tabs then knowing nothing else. Have fun.

:D


   
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(@alex_)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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weird the way he said G D A..

i would of expected D G A..

anyway there are only a few places to look from there.. work out a reasonable chord progression (IV-V-I) or even (I-II-V, not as common) and think, ok D major, i can go to relative minor (B minor), back a sharp (G major) foreward a sharp (A major) and then to one of those's relative minor scales..

if i could draw a chart i would, its a look easier to see from there, if you know the cycle/circle of fifth's you will know what i mean, even the cycle/circle of fourths which would mean you could even more to G (fourth from D, up a fouth, same as down a fifth) or to A again (back a fourth from G)..

depending how you look at it, its different, even if you do end up in the same key, it just depends where you go from these relative keys what cycle your going through.


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Minus: shouldn't your teacher teach you this? Seems weird that he would just sit back and watch you drown...

Anyway, I'm busily working on a set of articles that deals with just this. Should still be a few weeks before it is done, but hopefully that should answer alot of these questions.


   
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(@minus_human)
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Topic starter  

Thanks will read through your answers at lunch and give feedback :D

Minus Human

And all the things you said to me
I need your arms to welcome me
But a cold stone's all I see

Let my heart go


   
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(@minus_human)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 381
Topic starter  

Guys thanks for the advice sadly i am no better of than what i was. i seem to have a basic lack of theory and it's frustrating :x . I don't even understand half the stuff you guys talked about to be perfectly honest.

I was sitting down tonight with a basic piece of music (cords only) i only managed to get some notes around that but nothing with any meat around it single notes single string that's were i'm at with this solo business.

:(
Minus Human

And all the things you said to me
I need your arms to welcome me
But a cold stone's all I see

Let my heart go


   
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(@demoetc)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2167
 

One thing I could suggest Minus: just sit and play your open D chord; you know, strum it. Then start hitting each string separately so you hear the notes of the chord individually.

Now start humming those notes that you pick. Just pick one of the notes and hum it, then keep humming it, and go back to strumming. Next, pick another of those chord-tones and hum that, then strum and hum and see if you can remember the first note you hummed. If you can, just hum back and forth between the notes. If you can't remember one of them, stop and pluck the note on the guitar and then pluck the second note and hum both of them. Then strum again on just that D chord (major, the triangle looking one) and hum the notes you just got.

The idea is to internalize the notes, because if it's not inside you, if you can't 'hear' it, then there's no way to 'bring it out.'

No pressure, just work your way up till you can hum each of the four notes while you strum, and then just hum back and forth and up and down between the notes, using different patterns and breaking them up into shorter notes or longer notes. Don't even worry about theory or note length or pitches and scale and modes and chord progressions at this point. The idea is to get *one* chord totally internalized.

When you've got that down, keep strumming that same chord and see if you can hum notes *between* the regular chord-notes. You know, hum a little higher than the one you start off with, then hum the next higher note you're used to, then drop back down. You'll be able to hear if these extra notes sound good or not. If so, keep going; if not, try another until you 'tune in' to some extra notes. See if you can hum some cool little melody with just that one chord strumming in the background; it's really fun and maybe not so frustrating, you know? But focus in on the main chord-notes first, before you start adding your own.

Anyhow, try it and see if anything opens up for you :)


   
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(@greybeard)
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If I explain the chord sequence this way:
Take the key of C (C, D, E, F, G, A, B). The basic chord structure is a triad, which uses the root position, the 3rd position and the 5th position in the scale.
So the chord, taken from the root position, is C, E, G. These are called major intervals, because they are the intervals used in a major scale (WWHWWWH). The result is a Cmajor chord.
If I want to harmonise my Cmajor scale "without tears", I can use just the notes found in the C major scale. So, taking the D as the basis for a chord, which would fit in with the C major scale, I can build the D as "root" (D), "3rd", which is two names along from D, (F) and the "5th", which is two positions further along than F (A). Analysing this chord structure, I find that it isn't a major chord at all, but a minor chord.

**Explanation** The D scale consists of D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#. The 1st, 3rd and 5th positions are D, F#, A. Our chord is D, F, A, which has the flat 3rd, so must be a minor chord.

Following this through for all positions of the major scale, we end up with a list of chords that all have notes from the C major scale - Cmaj, Dmin, Emin, Fmaj, Gmaj, Amin, Bdim.

Looking at the list of chords, that you gave us, we are looking for a scale that contains the chords Gmaj, Dmaj, Amaj. Using the list above (maj, min, min, maj, maj, min, dim), we find that Dmaj is the only scale that fits the bill - Dmaj, Emin, F#min, Gmaj, Amaj, Bmin, C#dim

If you look at the postiions of the chords, in the scale, they are in the 1st, 4th and 5th (I, IV, V) positions of the scale - this is a chord progression used in about 90% of all modern music.

So if you stick to playing notes from the Dmajor scale, you will be fine.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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(@minus_human)
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Topic starter  

WOW thanks that makes a bit more sense. i think i'll def give that humming idea a go aswell because i don't know what note i'm after let alone trying to find it on the guitar.

I certainly understand your explanation alot better than that of my teacher greybeard. He's a good player but i'm not sure his that good at explaining things to a total novice as far as theory is concerned.

Thanks
Minus Human

And all the things you said to me
I need your arms to welcome me
But a cold stone's all I see

Let my heart go


   
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(@pilot)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 180
 

If I explain the chord sequence this way:

...it makes a whole lot more sense to me than anything *I've* been able to put together on theory so far.

It's one thing to be able to sit down and strum out a nice-sounding progression, and even to play along with a song using such...but it's a world of difference understanding a little bit of *why* those chords sound right together.

Thank you very much. :)


   
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(@maxo127)
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[My Question is this. How do i know what solo to put over a current piece of music. He would say I'm playing G D A for example play a solo over that.]

ok man it sounds like ur just starting out with soloing...so...rather then make things compleicated and go in to any advanced theory lets just talk about one easy way to get started:

if he is playing the chords GDA then most likely G will be your "key"

The key is the note of the song that you must no if you want to creat a solo

so now lets talk about peentatonic scales, they are probably the easiest way to get started with a little soloing:

because the key of the chord pattern is in G your pentatonic scale is a G major pentatonic very simple you see?

so there for take usually the first note of the chord pattern and just say it is ur key then take your key not and play a pentatonic scale out of it usually all the notes will work in the pentatonic scale if it is all major chords he is playing.

example: chords D,F,A

key: most likely D

Pentatonic scale to use: D major pentatonic

you can find al the pentatonics on the internet once you know one you pretty much no all the majors because they are the same pattern but higher orr lower on the neck of the guitar

hope this simply explains a bit,

$MAX$


   
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