Lead Guitar Styles|
|What you learn:
Melodic Rock Soloing|
Hello class. In this lesson we will look at Melodic Rock soloing. Go
ahead and load the looping jam track. The rhythm guitar chord progression
begins on B minor, moves to the G major chord then to A
major. By listening and comparing notes, you
can identify the central note to this chord progression as
Buud: I did
a I, VII, VI chord progression using a natural minor scale for solos in my
lesson today. Is that what we're doing
Storm: Buud, you're ahead of the game.
Here comes a tab of the
The progression could be viewed as vi - IV - V in the key of D. Getting to a bit
of the theory soon, if this is unclear. Notice that if you try to 'end' the progression
you will be most 'satisfied' by ending on the B minor
chord. In tonal center theory you would call
the 'B' by the number 1 and you would call the 'Bm' chord the "Im". The other chords would be named by their
letter distance to the Im chord letter. ... G = bVI of B... A = bVII of B, Chord progression = Im / bVI / bVII /
Buud: So what
kind of scale do we use to create solos?
Storm: This scale is called the B minor
pentatonic. Numbered off the 'B' note you should study the numerical values as
you play them ... 1 - b3 - 4 - 5 -b7 - 1
etc... The highlighted dots in the shape
indicate a fingering of the Bm chord 1 - 5 - 1 - b3 - 5 -
1. You can see how the chord fits into the
scale and examine numerically how it
relates. You could say that this scale is an
ornamentation of the Bm chord. This scale is the classic improvising tool over
minor progressions. This pattern will be familiar to many
soloists. Lets look at some sample phrases before expanding
A common ornamentation of this scale is to add bends. The bend of the '4' up to
'5' and the 'b7' to '1' are popular. Adding slurs - 'hammer-ons' and
'pull-offs' add a smooth sound. And can add speed as
And playing through this pattern in repeating 'sequences' is a popular
device. I use the 3rd and 1st fingers for this
lick. Use whatever works. Most rock players would seldom use the 4th finger. At
higher positions you might even stretch up an extra fret with the second finger.
Notice that pull-off example has a repeating pattern to
it. The sequence that follows repeats in
"3's". Play three notes of the scale, the next
3, until you end with a screamin' bend. Or blues lick. There a hundreds of
possible sequences. This is a popular one. Practice getting
into and out of sequences so that they don't sound overly forced in to your
solos. Finally a popular addition to the
This pattern adds the b5 our pentatonic scale to create a blues quality. The
scale would now be called the 'blues scale'.
Jan: I'm not stuck in sequences as much
as I'm stuck in "boxes".
Storm: Let's try and branch out from those
boxes, OK, coming is a fingering
for the 'G' chord.
are these scales coming from the D major starting from the Aeolian
Storm: Yes, Bill. Building it right now. B
Aeolian is a great scale choice. D major, as well. What is critical is that the 'G' chord
is placed in the same area of the neck as the 'Bm
pentatonic'. Now it can be easily visualized in
relationship to the tonal center of 'B'. The highlighted dot indicates a note of
the G chord that is not available in the pentatonic
shape. This dot would be numbered 'b6' in
relationship to the tonal center of 'B' and can be added to your improvisation
This is a fingering for the 'A' chord, again, placed in the same area of the
neck as the pentatonic. By discovering chordal fingerings that
lay 'over' the minor pentatonic you can easily discover extra notes to add to
your minor pentatonic solo ideas. The dot indicates the note that would be
numbered '2' in relation to the 'B' tonal center.
Is this the same as an arpeggio?
Storm: Yes. Here come some arpeggio fingerings
in this same position.
An arpeggio is defined as the notes of a chord played in a single note
This is the 'B natural minor scale' also called 'B Aeolian'. Numbering these
notes gives you 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-1 etc. You should memorize this tonal center
chromatic numerical structure and the name labels 'natural minor' and 'Aeolian'.
Notice that these numbers are the combination of the minor pentatonic and the
extra numbers that came about just by visualizing the song's
chords. Highlighted notes indicate the added
notes, the '2's' and 'b6'.
Chords can be placed in the 'major scale family tree' to discover what scale
they came from. Major scale is built W W H W W W H. W=Whole step H=Half
step. Minor chords can be placed in the II,
III and VI positions while major chords can be placed in the I, IV and V
Scale Family Tree
Storm: Most progressions will fit in at one
corresponding position in this major scale family tree.
Storm: The progression leads back to 'D' major
as the 'parent' scale.
D Scale Tree
This is a common fingering for the 'D' major scale. As just discussed, D major
is the related major to this B minor chord progression and can be used as a
substitute scale for improvisation. The nice thing about this approach is
that you can use 'D' major fingerings anywhere you know them. You can also try
other elements of 'D' major for
substitution. The difficult part of this approach is
that you might lose track of the song's actual tonal center and chromatic
numbering values that are useful for identifying blues
This is another fingering for the 'D' major scale, with the highlighted note
indicating the 'D' note for correct neck placement. Compare this to the previous
pattern and you will see that they are the same notes, just different ways of
thinking. Many players like to play the tonal
center pentatonic (B minor pentatonic) and then visualize the related major in
the same area of the neck (last pattern of D major). This gives you a dual visualization so
that you can access blues qualities as well as extra
ornamentation. This gives us three levels of impact for
our melodic soloing. 1. 'Blues" notes 2. 'Non-Blues" chord
notes 3. 'Non-Blues-Non-Chord' scale
notes Stay in the pentatonic or blues scale
for the first level.
Listeners will find the blues notes to be very familiar and
'comfortable'. The example features the second level.
Featuring the non-blues chord tones during the change to the G chord, again if
you like on the A, you will create a 'sweet', melodic ornamentation for the
listener. Stairway to Heaven features an nice
example, here transposed to our key of B, the riff outlines the Bm - G
The 3rd level uses the scale notes that are not 'comfortable' like the blues and
are not 'sweet' like the extra chord notes. However these 'non-blues-non-chord'
scale tones are still from the related scales and can be used over any of the
chords to create 'melodic' tension'.
That is it. Experiment with these ideas over the jam track. And thanks for
checking out the Melodic Rock Lead lesson.