Analyzing Chord Progressions To Find The Proper Scale

So now that you know how to play all these scales, I'll bet you are wondering how to make it work with the music you are playing. Maybe you've tried to play some of your scales along with your favorite song and it just doesn't sound that good. Well now it's time to learn how to determine the proper scale for a particular song or chord progression, and put all these scales to use in your regular playing. This lesson will show you how to figure out what scale will work best with whatever music you choose. Imagine knowing every note all over the neck that works perfectly with the music you are playing with, that is what this lesson is all about.

For guitarists, this will help you choose the perfect scale for soloing over anything you choose, and for bass players, this will help you choose the group of perfect notes to use with the riff your guitarist just wrote, etc. For everyone, it will mean a deeper understanding of the music. When you know every single note all over the guitar or bass neck that will work perfectly with the music, and the root note, you can phrase endlessly at will, improvising riffs and solos on the fly.

To accomplish this, we'll need to use simple deduction. If you remember your Sherlock Holmes, you'll have no problem with this. The idea is to see what notes are being used by the rhythm, and those will show you what scale the song is based on.

In order to accomplish this, you will need to be familiar with the modes and their intervals. For the sake of keeping things simple at first, we will only analyze things using single notes, and we will assume all of the examples use one of the standard modes that we've already learned. There are other scales besides the ones we've learned so far, and most of that will be covered in the advanced section for reasons that will be explained there. For now we'll assume all of our examples are one of the modes we have already learned. We will cover chords and more advanced analyzing after learning the basic method.

The first thing you'll want to do is determine the root note. If you know the notes then you are ready to go to the next step, if not, then you must use your ear to get you started. You can do this quickly by fretting a note on the low E string while listening to a song, and sliding up or down playing each note until you find that one note that sounds better than all the rest. The root note will usually have the characteristic of being the one note that always sounds better, and works with the song almost regardless of when you play it. This is not a guaranteed science because success depends on your ear, but when you try it you should hear what I am talking about.

Once you have determined the root note of the song, you should start learning the other notes involved in the music. Again, if you know the notes used then this is not needed and you may go to the next step. If not, we'll have to go back to using our ear and searching for notes used in the rhythm. Find all of them that you can, as the more you find the easier it will be to analyze.

The next step would be to take the root note and all these notes that are used, and start to decide what it can be and what it can not be. In many cases it is easiest to first figure out what scales it can't be. If none of this makes any sense, don't worry, you will see diagrams and examples of what I am talking about in the next lesson.

Now that you know all of your notes that we need to analyze, lets go to the next lesson and see some examples of what we need to do.


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