#122895  by Gratefulegg
Thanks for all for the replies. I really appreciate it. Most of it makes perfect sense too. Me personally, I played rhythm in a new/classic rock cover band for about 8 years. Over the years we played some Dead songs (Bertha, Big RR), as well as some Dead covers (Promised Land, Johnny B Good, Watchtower, etc). But also played new shit too (OAR, Social D, Sublime, etc). I sang too, so my playing never really advanced past barre chords.

I already know 'parts' of certain scales (like 1 or 2 positions). Not very well though, and certainly don't understand theory aspects of them. I think I'm going to start with the major scale, and get all 5 of those positions down. I began last night, and have the 1st two positions at least memorized.

In regards to the CAGED approach. I think I understand it, although it's a bit confusing. I think that's more the fact that I watched an idiot trying to explain it on youtube. Will also be tough getting my hand into some of those chord positions. One question though, how does that method work for minor chords? Everything I've seen shows you how to play the major chords up and down the fretboard, but I've seen nothing on minor chord positions?

Also, when playing leads/scales, do you guys always try to begin on the root note? Like, for the G Major scale, 1st position, the G/root note is on the 3rd fret E string. But moving up to the 2nd position, the 'first' G is on the 5th fret D string. So if you start with either position, or work from one to the other, do you try to begin each with that root note (or one of the other root notes)?

Thanks again guys. This really helps.
 #122905  by WildEye
I can answer the minor thing, it's the same scale just starting on a different note (cuz they have the same notes) Em is the same as G major Am is the same as C major...ect...

CAGED can get confusing based on who is explaining it but the core of it is... learn the different chord shapes up and down the neck... then when you play, in a scale for example, you know that you are starting/ending/emphasizing on the "chord tones" This helps you resolve a lick, and very helpful when improvising. As a general rule of thumb... Classic rock solos are 1 pentatonic while Country is one for every chord played... I'm butchering this explanation and talking in VERY general terms but hopefully my intent comes through. As I got into it and switched from "a scale covers a solo" to "notes over the corresponding chord" I also really noticed the power of "the third" and moving up into it and down to it as it really defines the tone...
 #122906  by Lephty
It's definitely a little less clear how to use the CAGED system with minor chords. Are you familiar with the concept of relative major & minor? Basically, any major chord has a relative minor chord, and any minor chord has a relative major chord. When you're improvising, you can treat these more or less interchangeably. A few common keys (I'll use an = to indicate "relative"): A=F#m, C=Am, D=Bm, E=C#m, F=Dm, G=Em.

So, if you're looking to apply CAGED to Em, just convert that Em to a G in your head, and play off of the CAGED shapes for G. It's a somewhat unwieldy way of thinking about it, but it'll do, to get you started.

As for practicing scales starting on the root, I'd say it would not hurt to practice it that way some of the time, because when you start (and end) on the root note, you'll really hear the sound of that scale. Also, it's just generally good to know where your root note is at all times. BUT as you learn more (and you learn about the modes in particular) you'll see that these scale patterns work in different contexts, and different notes within the scale can get treated as the root note. So, really, you'll eventually want to know those patterns inside and out. What I would really recommend doing is practicing the scales against a backing track of some kind--even just a recording of a GD song--then you'll really hear what they sound like in context.

And as a quick suggestion for how to practice applying CAGED: Say you're going from G to C (as in Bertha). Find each CAGED shape for G, and then look for the CAGED shape for C in the same spot on the neck. So if you're in 3rd position, you used the CAGED "E" shape to make the G chord, and a CAGED "A" shape to make a C chord. And if you're in 5th position, you'd use the "D" shape to make the G chord, and the "G" shape to make the C chord. When you improvise over those chords, you can use the CAGED shapes as your guideposts. You'll eventually want to be able to do this in all 5 positions, although you'll probably find that your fingers prefer some of the CAGED shapes over others (which is perfectly OK).

God, that last paragraph sounds confusing...I hope I'm not making matters worse for you! It's a little tough to put this stuff in writing.

And by the way, as a general suggestion, don't feel like you need to learn every single fingering of the major scale right away--just find a couple that work for you and that you can get your head around, and learn to apply those to a few different songs, in a few different keys. Go easy on yourself!
 #123915  by cantops
As stated in an earlier post in this thread, you should check out Seth Fleischman from Grateful Guitar Lessons (GGL). I have purchased about 12 lessons from this guy over the course of the last year and he is the real deal. He does Bobby rhythm, Jerry lead solos, Jerry soloing techniques and sequencing as well as Jerry rhythm. The lessons are usually about half hour though some can be an hour based on different factors such as the complexity of the song. The lesson includes the video lesson, backing tracking, and tab. He offers a music theory package and applies it to GD music. I purchased this package and I have played guitar for years with a background in music theory. I am no way whatsoever affiliated with this man but I can tell you these lessons are worth the coin. He has a facebook page dedicated to GGL where he will answer questions and BS about GD things in general. I have probably purchased more lessons than I can truly handle at once but at least I can always go back to review the lesson whenever I like.

 #124649  by AlabamaDidn'tGetAway
While Im certainly no JG, Ive been playing a long time and know a little bit about lead guitar. All the advice given about chord shapes, learning the maj scale, etc is good. I'll try to summarize my take on it. Learn the notes on the fretboard. Get familiar with all your chord shapes, ie, be able to make a C maj triad everywhere on the neck you can find it, same goes for every maj and minor chord. Get a couple of maj scale shapes under your fingers, locate them off of the chords. Learn the intervals, not just the note names. Once you got the maj scale intervals down then learn to flat your 3rds and your 7ths. Your looper is a wonderful practicd tool, use it.

But I would like to add one thing. Think of your lines as a voice. Sing melodies and then find em on the guitar. When trying to compose a solo, start with the melody. Find that first and go from there. Its much more interesting that way, and it helps you not get stuck in boxes and patterns.
 #125005  by Shipofools
Can anyone help me with what scale to solo with on "Kansas City." Brand new to the solo game, and I'm getting ready to play out.
 #125266  by chipperj
I really liked Zambiland's reply about starting with chord arpeggios, and then linking them with in-between notes on the scale. It definitely seems to me more of in issue to stay within the chord that's happening, rather than the key of the song.

In songs like Althea or Scarlet B., you'll get into real trouble if you just stay within the key. In Scarlet, for example, if you just play patterns in "B" (the key of that song) the whole time, it's going to sound weird over the E and A chords, mostly because of those D#s in that B major scale. You could just play pentatonics, but you'd be missing out on a lot of great notes. Garcia certainly didn't limit himself to only those notes, and in fact would often play notes outside of the scale. For example, he was really good at "leading" the solo into each chord change... say, he'd emphasize an A (the dominant 7th of the B chord) into a G# (the major 3rd of the E chord).

So far, no one has mentioned this... One thing I wish I heard more of in otherwise great lead playing, is a sense of melody in a solo. And it seems the place to start, even (or especially) for beginners. How does the idea start? How does it progress- does it have an arc? Does it build to a final idea? To me it's way more important than speed. You can always tell when someone has become stuck in a rut of patterns, just to trying to play fast.

Use your ear. See if you can hum a simple idea over the chord changes, and then try to play what you hummed.
It also never hurts to try to cop a solo directly. It really helps getting those notes under your fingers.

my 3 cents.
 #125270  by chipperj
My apologies to Alabama. Your reply hadn't shown up while I was writing mine (I didn't see there were multiple pages). Happy to see a consensus! (that was pretty eerie how similar our replies were)
 #127259  by NotStStephen
One big revelation for me was realizing that all the modes are one big pattern, you just move the root. Think of a keyboard, if you play white keys from C to C its a major scale, D to D is Dorian, G to G is MIxolydian etc. The same applies to the guitar or bass, any instrument. If you know the standard major scale pattern and you play it from the second note going up and add a note a whole step up its now a Dorian mode.
Learn the modal boxes, Major, Dorian, natural minor, all of em.

Once you get comfortable with these patterns you can play any mode in any key anywhere on the neck. Understanding diatonic harmony is important too. Diatonic just means all the notes of the harmony come from one scale, not all music is like that but a lot is and it's a good place to start.

check this out:

1 - 2 -3 - 4 - 5 - 6 -7 - 8
C - D - E- F - G - A - B - C -
1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1- 1/2

that is the step pattern for the major scale and it's the key to the universe.
1 = whole step or 2 frets and 1/2 is half step, one fret.
On the keyboard the half steps are the white keys without blacks in between em, the black keys are the sharps/flats. Sorry if this rehash for ya.
I should pause here to say learning your intervals, the distance between notes is a big deal to. Whole steps, half steps, octaves, fifths etc. these are represented bu the numbers above the scale. C to G is a fifth etc. We would also refer to G as the fifth of C or if we're talking chords the V chord with the roman numerals to hopefully avoid confusion.

OK, Diatonic harmony. Basically we build chords by stacking thirds, or every other note of the scale so if we harmonize this scale we get
I ii iii IV V vi vii
G A B C D E f
The top letter is the chord name, C major is spelled CEG.
Capital letters above mean a major chord and minor for the small letters so its C major D minor, the saddest of all keys, E minor and so on. The vii is the oddball diminished chord but we're not going to worry about that now, thats a whole nother lesson.
If we add another third to the tops of these chord we get the diatonic seventh chords but again, whole nother lesson.

Right, back to playin lead. Dorian mode is a great place to start. First make sure you know the box pattern for this one starting on the first finger on the low E string. You can just use the major pattern and start one note up but then we're not expanding our mental fretboard map.
Got that..cool
OK so the same works with the chords, the i chord in Dorian is D minor, ii is E minor etc. everything just moves over a spot but Dorian is a very different sounding thing than Major.
Black Magic Woman is a diatonic Dorian song. If you ever learned the signature licks in the beginning of the song you might have noticed that you are playing of the C major scale pattern but we're in D minor. Whats up with that? Well simply it's because C isn't the root or home key, D is so now we're in Dorian mode.
i ---- IV v
The i, IV and v are the chords for Black magic woman, or D minor 7, g7 and A minor7.
So heres the point of all this. D Dorian has the same seven notes in it as C major so we can use either scale for our solos, or any other mode in its natural key, natural key being the one it naturally falls into wit no sharps/flats. So for Black Magic Woman you could use G mixolydian, C major, D dorian...any of them. Obviously this is trickier when we get outside the natural keys but the relationships between the scales never change. Dorian will always be a whole step up from the major, natural minor will always be a minor 3rd down, Mixolydian will always be a fifth up etc.
Another example, Goin Down the Road Feelin Bad is in E Mixolydian, mixolydian is always a fifth up from its relative major scale so if we drop down a fifth, a power chord shape, we get A. So you could use A major or B mixolydian patterns here and still be playing the same seven notes, the same mode. Goin down the road and BMW are both diatonic their key but like was mentioned earlier not everything is.
Someone mentioned Scarlet Begonias in a previous post saying it doesn't work with B major because the E and A arent diatonic, arent naturally in that key. But let's "de-compose" that tune real quick.

the notes of the three chords are: B-D#-F# E-G#-B and A-C#-E and we know the key is B so lets arrange the notes starting on B. We get

B- C#- D#- E- F#- G#- A-
1 1 1/2 1 1 1/2
That is a major scale with a flat 7th, or Mixolydian mode so we can use that for this one or like we saw with GDTRFB, drop it down a 5th and we have E major or F# dorian or E Phrygian or F Lydian and so on. So Scarlet Begonias is diatonic B Mixolydian and the outside/sharp notes mentioned in the previous post are there now.

Damn, this went long, one last thing with the pentatonics. Dorian mode is the minor pentatonic plus 2 notes and the major is Mixolydian plus two notes so you can use those modes in place of the 5 note pentatonic scale to spice things up a bit.
Hope this helps, I know it helps me every time I pick up my guitar, but of course all theory applies to any instrument.

Rock on :cool: