GUITAR THEORY: Mastering Your Scales & Modes





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Published on Jul 13, 2010

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Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question...

Q: I would like to know how to improvise more melodically over a chord progression in any key; being aware of the scales and mode positions for the shapes along the length of the neck that one can use to solo over a specific chord. And, how to pick out the chord tones and strong notes - i.e. resolving a lick/riff to the root and including the chord notes, etc... Also, some advice on practicing the scales/modes around chord progressions would also be ideal.
- Ashley Smith -- England

A: There is no doubt that Practicing scales and modes is certainly vital for developing a strong ability to solo melodically. However, there are many players like you that are finding difficulty with developing this skill. The key to tapping your full potential in this department will have to be the mastery of several concepts...

1). Practicing scales with a goal in mind of stretching your skills with them. In other words, never get stuck into a rut of constantly practicing scales day-in / day-out in the exact same way.

2). Learning other players; lines, guitar licks and phrasing styles. So, what I'm saying is, find a handful of guitar players that you really dig and learn at least an album's worth of their rhythm and lead lines. Yes, you heard me correctly -- I said Rhythm & Lead.

3). Practice composing melodies when you practice improvisation. It is simply not enough to sit around working on jammin' out in a random unstructured way every practice session when you play along to jam tracks. Spin that jam track and practice composing something every single day you play the guitar!

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