Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #11767  by d-v-s
 Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:13 am
I want to learn a good lead for this song. I assume that the key is A, and that the scale would be Mixolydian. Can anyone confirm that?

Since the song has a bit of a blues tone to it, would a blues scale be better?

 #11779  by strumminsix
 Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:57 am
I'm not the best qualified to answer but will give you some of my thoughts:

I'd start with an A scale.

Then recognize the chorus of A G D and make it a myxo.

Then realize that it has a C#7 vs the C#m in standard A so I'd be sure to put some emphasis the B of that (ii in A) as well as the F (the IV of C#7).

Then I'd recognize the D#7dim and chalk it up to an accent of D7 and ignore it :lol:

So I'd by playing the following notes
A B C# D E F F# G A

What is that an A mixo plus an F?

(this is how my mind works so freakin' analytically that it stiffles my ability too often to let go and just solo !)

 #11781  by d-v-s
 Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:43 am
first off, thanks for the info. All good stuff. This gives me something to work with.

Second... i don't get it. i was fooling around with the solo, and when I get to the C#7 I realized that the B sounds beautiful there. I thought it was just my ear playing tricks on me.

I don't see the connection here, and yet you stated it so matter-of-fact.

can you walk me through that. why does the ii in A relate to a C#7??? :?

 #11782  by strumminsix
 Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:11 am
Good bro, glad I could help and sorry if I confused you. When I approach soloing I think of what notes are in the chord I am soloing over, start there and add the notes around it. Not very fancy but then again I'm more of a melody lead player than lead guitarist...

The B note sounds good over the C#7 because B is the blues 7th of C#7! Think of a C#7's components: 1,3,5,b7 of C#, F, G# and B. Now, think of which of those is in the straight ahead A mixo scale and you come up with B. Now if you played A major you'd have the B and the G# which might be nice as well. Or you can add the F into A myx and have a pretty four note chromatic walk up E,F, F#,G.


 #11796  by Rev_Roach
 Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:43 pm
I think for the chorus you can play A mixo and not really have to think much further. The progression A-G-D fits perfectly into the mode, similarly to that of Franklins, China Cat, or TLEO chorus.

However, for the verses I would reccomend playing tonally (the changes) and really looking at each chord. There are A LOT of chromatics happening, so just messing around in a certain mode is not gonna capture the song.

I'm gonna attempt a visual thing here, not sure if it will look good but we'll see (chords are in order of appearance in verse):

Some notes (ex. E#) are not written in the most "correct" form, but the more convenient or consistent with above form (F)

A Mixo: A B C# D E F# G

A: A C# E
C#7: C# F G#
F#m: A C# F#
E: B E G#
D7: A C D F#
Ao: A C D#
G#: C D# G#
G: B D G
F#: A# C# F#
B: B D# F#
D7: A D F#

Clearly plenty of the chords above contain notes that are not part of A mixolydian, and this should be reflected in soloing. Plus, chromatics can be a lot of fun! Particularly the half steps (G#-G-F#) along with "spend some time". This is way tonal playing, reflecting the changes of the chords, is pretty essential for soloing over the verse.

If this seems overwhelming don't let it get you down. It's a guide, not a restriction. Nothing wrong with going from the gut. And of course: If you get confused, listen to the music play!

 #11797  by Rev_Roach
 Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:53 pm
To fix some mistakes from my last post and correct the spacing:
Code: Select all
A Mixo: A   B   C#   D   E   F#   G 

A:      A       C#       E 
C#7:        B   C#         F        G# 
F#m:    A       C#           F# 
E:          B            E          G# 
D7:     A     C      D       F# 
Ao:     A     C        D# 
G#:           C        D#           G# 
G:          B        D            G 
F#:       A#    C#           F# 
B:          B          D#    F# 
D:      A            D       F# 

 #11801  by Billbbill
 Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:24 pm
Excellent job there ss and rev. I find this verse lead probably the most challenging to get it to sound 'right' and mirror the tonal chord changes in an 'appropriate way'.

What I'll often do (especially as predominately an ear player) is pick out the notes of the chords in what amounts to a complicated progression with a number of twists and turns, and work from there towards a workable scalular framework, often breaking down different portions of the run as needed.

In other words I may just flat/finger pick the notes of the chords all the way through to get a feel for what tonal changes make sense where. This lead is most definitely a candidate for this approach, at least from my perspective.

Chromatic potential abounds and jg definitely leans on this.

I work off of an A mixolydian 'home base' if you will, with much emphasis on the notes that make up the chords when the changes occur and also slip into some pretty obvious key changes, especially toward the end of each half verse, to F#maj, Bmaj and Dmaj.

IMHO this one is a real mouthful. For me, still a work in progress.
 #11805  by Zolzar
 Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:49 pm
Hi. I rarely post but I thought I may be able to help you with Deal a little.

Hit up Darks' Grateful Dead Tab.
You can't go wrong here and you will learn quite a bit and then some.
Two solos for Deal are tab'd out with the audio samples. There are plenty of other tunes too!!!

One thing that got my attention is Jerry's use of arpeggios and how he followed the chord structures with his solo's along with the scales. I see a few threads out there discussing what scales to use. This is important but you should also be just as mindful of the chords you are playing over.
My two cents....hope this information helps you.
 #56347  by Mick
 Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:21 pm
I think what is posted above is way over my head, because it doesn't even look like English to me.

Anyway, I have been messing around with this song by ear lately, and came on here to see if I was getting it right. I think the answer to the orginal question (which is what I was looking for as well) is the key is D major and the scale is A mixolydian.

If somebody could let me know in a manner that can be understood by the average third grader (where my intellect probably lies) if I have dorked this up, I would appreciate it.


 #56354  by DenverEd
 Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:07 pm
"One thing that got my attention is Jerry's use of arpeggios and how he followed the chord structures with his solo's along with the scales."

I've been working on that for about six months now. It is a monstrous challenge to finger the right arpeggio from the particular place that you are on the fretboard....on the fly....and make it sound good. Especially one that doesn't start or end on the root.

On the other hand, it does make you learn the fretboard and opens up a whole new dimension in soloing.
 #56370  by NashvilleMike
 Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:39 pm
Here is how I do it...

Start with the melody always the melody, it's all about the melody. Learn it in 3 positions on the neck for tonal differences. Tweak it by playing chromatics with the melody.

Then play it among and with the chords

Then for the free jamming go to the modes. But remember the melody always the melody...

Finally make it swing and play it like you mean it!!

These are just the half baked opinions of an amatuer guitar player and lifelong follower of the brother Jerry Garcia.
 #139098  by ringKing72
 Sat May 17, 2014 7:06 pm
I'm a bit late to this party. I also had a hard time with the lead during the verse, but then came up with a way that seems to make sense to me. There a number of ways to approach this. I'm just sharing another point of view.

Attached is a table that lists the A-mixolydian notes and the chords in Deal.

In the table, the three notes that make up the chords A, F#, D all map into the A-mixo scale. This is represented by the black boxes. When playing these, any note in the mixolydian scale because two criteria are met:

a) the root note A is in the chord
b) all notes in the chord fall in the mixolydian scale.

What about the Ebdim, C# and B chords?

1) Let's look at Ebdim first. It has four notes, two which map into the A mixolydian scale. Of the two criteria mentioned above, only a) is met. So, the question is whether A mixolydian can still be used. The answer is yes, but since both criteria listed above are not met, it can only be used selectively. I think just about all notes in the A mixo can be used except B. The B note doesn't work because there is no B note in the Ebdim chord. On the other hand there isn't a D in Ebdim chord yet a D note works. This is where some theory and self-liberties come in to play here. The Ebdim can also be viewed as a D7add9. This chord is a derivate of a D chord, therefore playing the D note in A mixo during the Ebdim chord works. Right or wrong, this what I tell myself to convince myself why this works.

2) C# chord. This chord has three notes, only one of which maps into A mixo scale. Neither criteria a) nor b) are met. Therefore A mixo doesn't work. When it comes to this chord on the lead, I switch over to C# mixo and then switch immediately back over to A mixo on the next chord.

3) B chord. This chord has three notes, two of which map into A mixo scale. Again, neither criteria a) nor b) are met. Therefore A-mixo doesn't work. Here, I choose to use the B-mixolydian scale only during this chord. The reason for B-mixo (and not B major) is that it has an A note in its scale. Because of this, and since the root of the song is A, the Bmixo scale keeps the lead grounded to the root. Although, the B be-bop, which is a combination of the major and mixo scales, works well here too since it includes the A and allows for a nice chromatic climb.

In summary, for the Deal lead, try this:

- If both criteria a) & b) are met, then any note in the A mixo scale works.
- If a) is met while b) is not, then A mixo works when used selectively (i.e. avoid the B note).
- If a) is not met, then it's just easier to switch the key of the scale for the duration of that chord.

For Deal, A mixo on everything but the B chord. Use A mixo selectively on the Ebdim (avoid the B note). For the B chord, try B bebop scale. This should add another dimension to the lead as opposed to sticking in one mode.
Last edited by ringKing72 on Tue May 20, 2014 6:39 am, edited 4 times in total.
 #139099  by tcsned
 Sat May 17, 2014 7:24 pm
For me, I approach it more from the melody of the song and arpeggios than getting hung up in a scale . . . until the chorus that's pretty straight A mixolydian.
 #139102  by ringKing72
 Sat May 17, 2014 7:58 pm
That's a good approach too. I still use it. I'll also use the approach mentioned in my last post. It seems to open up the fretboard, but a decent knowledge of the scales is a must.

Agreed A mixo throughout the A G D progression. I guess I didn't cover this.
 #139103  by tatittle
 Sat May 17, 2014 11:35 pm
There is a video of Deal from Europe '72...actually France 1971 I think, where they aren't playing on a stage, it looks like a backyard party or something LOL, that I found helped pinpoint the changes for me some. A key one is the B to D, I am thinking it goes from B mixo to D major though my guitar isn't in front of me. Most important for me is developing my ear, listening for the harmonies that fit with the doesn't take a whole run of notes to play through the changes (which can be the temptation for me )when thinking about scales only, often a couple of critical notes is more dramatic as they don't get lost in a flurry .

I think I basically use A major scale for the verses up to the B (with lots of chromatics though), since the G# works with the C#7; then the B(7) > D mentioned above; and A mixo for the chorus, although I think Jerry uses A pentatonic or similar for the extended jam of the chorus at the end of the song in later years.

Incidentally, the solo Jerry plays on Dead Set was the 1st solo I really sat down and copied. I rarely do this, rationalizing I just find it too boring to play the same thing everytime, and I always have my own ideas I want to articulate (if not the ability to always do that terribly well!) but it is something I wish I had the patience to do more of.