You can play a guitar solo using a variety of different scales. Many guitarists choose a scale based on the key of the overall song, which produces a very musical result. You may sometimes want to tailor the scale to the individual chords in the song. This creates a constantly changing solo that can seem to stay more in sync with the song. There is often more than one scale that can be played with a particular chord, but the process of identifying a suitable scale is a simple one.
Items you will need
- Chord chart
- Scales chart
Write down the chords of the song you wish to play your solo with and choose one chord to start with.
Identify the root of the chord. The root is generally the letter name of the chord. For example, a D and a D7 chord both have a root of D.
Identify whether the chord is major or minor. A D chord is a major chord while a Dm or Dmin chord is minor.
Play a major or minor scale that starts at the root of the chord. For example, play a D major scale over a D chord, since it is a major chord. Play a C minor scale over a Cm chord, since it is a minor chord.
Alter the notes to accommodate the other conditions of the chord, such as raised or lowered pitches. For example, a Cmaj7 chord has a raised 7th note, so you should play a major scale with a raised 7th note.
Repeat the process for each chord in the song until you identify a scale with a pleasing sound. Write the scales down to help you remember them.
Practice playing a solo, switching scales along with the chord changes.
Tips & Warnings
- Practice playing certain scales over their corresponding chords until you become more comfortable with them.
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