Scale for all major chords


BigScaryGary
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Joined: 03/07/14
Posts: 7
BigScaryGary
Registered User
Joined: 03/07/14
Posts: 7
01/14/2016 3:25 am
Hi All,

I'm trying to get into theory for writing and soloing. My understanding is there's a rule for a scale that the 1,4, and 5 chords are in the same major/minor (is that what mode means?) and the 2,3, and 6 are the opposite. I found a really good chord progression that I'm liking, but I'm using 5 different chords, and they're all major.

For the main verse of the song, I'm using D->C->G, which fits into G Major that I'm trying to work with. Then for the chorus, I have one phrase that repeats F->D a few times, and ends with G->A. Basically, I'm using everything except B and E, and everything's major.

So, how would I translate this to a scale that I would use to play lead and solos. I know it's not unheard of to change key in a song, but I'm trying to keep it basic. Also, I don't know of any major/minor scale that allows the F and D to be the same. How have more experienced musicians handled this?

Thanks for your help.
# 1
GT Staff
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Joined: 06/29/15
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GT Staff
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Joined: 06/29/15
Posts: 613
01/14/2016 6:25 pm
Originally Posted by: BigScaryGaryHi All,

I'm trying to get into theory for writing and soloing. My understanding is there's a rule for a scale that the 1,4, and 5 chords are in the same major/minor (is that what mode means?) and the 2,3, and 6 are the opposite. I found a really good chord progression that I'm liking, but I'm using 5 different chords, and they're all major.

For the main verse of the song, I'm using D->C->G, which fits into G Major that I'm trying to work with. Then for the chorus, I have one phrase that repeats F->D a few times, and ends with G->A. Basically, I'm using everything except B and E, and everything's major.

So, how would I translate this to a scale that I would use to play lead and solos. I know it's not unheard of to change key in a song, but I'm trying to keep it basic. Also, I don't know of any major/minor scale that allows the F and D to be the same. How have more experienced musicians handled this?

Thanks for your help.


If you're in the key of G and all the chords are major, I'd say the G major scale would be a safe bet:

G, A, B, C, D, E, and F♯

Take a look at this as well: http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/chords-key-g.html

It look like the only thing that might cause some dissonance will be the F to D section, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't stick with the G major scale.

Hope this helps!
# 2
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,428
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,428
01/15/2016 3:54 pm
Originally Posted by: BigScaryGary
My understanding is there's a rule for a scale that the 1,4, and 5 chords are in the same major/minor (is that what mode means?) and the 2,3, and 6 are the opposite.
[/quote]
Yes, when you start with a major scale & harmonize it, the result is that chords built on the 1st, 4th & 5th scale degrees will be major chords (hence the Roman Numerals I-IV-V). And chords built on the 2nd, 3rd & 6th scale degrees of the major scale are minor chords (hence, ii, iii, vi).

This tutorial covers the basics of music theory, including triad harmonization of the major scale.

www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=495
Originally Posted by: BigScaryGary
For the main verse of the song, I'm using D->C->G, which fits into G Major that I'm trying to work with. Then for the chorus, I have one phrase that repeats F->D a few times, and ends with G->A.

There are essentially two ways to approach this.

1. Keep the same scale throughout, but alter it when necessary to match the chord changes as they happen.

2. Change to a completely different scale depending on the new chords or chord progression.

Either way you should find the key you are in & target chord tones. I encourage students to try both ways! :) Eventually, you'll find that it comes down to personal preference, which one you like for the song you are working on. Another big clue is to play the notes of the melody that you are singing. That will show you which path you are taking.
[QUOTE=BigScaryGary]
So, how would I translate this to a scale that I would use to play lead and solos. I know it's not unheard of to change key in a song, but I'm trying to keep it basic. Also, I don't know of any major/minor scale that allows the F and D to be the same. How have more experienced musicians handled this?

Essentially you have a modulation. Most music modulates in order to make a song more interesting. I cover the basics of improvisation, including modulation in these tutorials.

www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=876
www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=483
www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=491

You won't be able to watch those unless you are a GT subscriber. I encourage you to subscribe to get access to all that material. :) For now, here are a couple examples of these concepts.

If you are in G major, the notes you have available are:

g-a-b-c-d-e-f#

But when the F chord happens you have to alter the scale to account for the note f.

So, you could play notes from an altered G major scale with a flat 7th instead of the normal major 7th.

g-a-b-c-d-e-f

Or you could consider that you've temporarily changed keys completely & think you are in F major or D major! Consider the notes in both those chords.

F - f-a-c
D - d-f#-a

You could play something simple that targets chord tones but has common tones.

When the F happens, play: f-a-c
When the D happens, play: f#-a-c or f#-a-d

Just that one change from f-natural to f-sharp is what makes those chords sound interesting to play back to back. So, use that fact melodically by targeting chord tones as they happen.

You could write out all the notes in both scales & see what overlaps & what doesn't.

F - f-g-a-b-flat-c-d-e
D - d-e-f#-g-a-b-c#

So you've got these in common:

g-a-d-e

You could make a melody out of those & add in a note that changes as the chords happen.

When the F happens, play: f-g-a-c-d-e
When the D happens, play: f#-g-a-c-d

Hope this helps. Have fun with it!
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 3
BigScaryGary
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Joined: 03/07/14
Posts: 7
BigScaryGary
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Joined: 03/07/14
Posts: 7
01/15/2016 4:45 pm
That really helps me, Chris! I still have a lot to learn about theory and soloing, so its good to know [u]why[/u] something works and add to it. I'll read your response a few more times and try to "get it". I think I might renew my full access to watch the music theory videos you mentioned. I thought after the core videos, it was just looking up songs.
# 4
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,428
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,428
01/16/2016 4:04 pm
Glad it helps! If you search the theory & technique forums you will probably find a lot more posts I've done over the years with examples.
Originally Posted by: BigScaryGaryI think I might renew my full access to watch the music theory videos you mentioned. I thought after the core videos, it was just looking up songs.

If you choose to do so, please let me know. I have tons of non-course tutorials aimed at teaching this sort of thing & more generally explaining how to apply music theory concepts to playing music on the guitar.

Put a post in my instructor forum!

https://www.guitartricks.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=36

Have fun playing guitar!
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 5


Joined: 07/25/24
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Joined: 07/25/24
Posts: 0
06/29/2016 2:16 pm

Yep, the I IV V are always MJ, and II III VI are always minor, and the 7th is always diminished which doesn't get used much. And build your dominant chord from the 5th degree.
# 6

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