Soloing Over Chords

by khane (Jun 11, 2010)

I'm still learning this myself, but i'll take a stab at at.

Please add any information via comments.

Ok, so, Soloing over chords.

So, soloing over chords sounds good if you land on the chord tones during solos. This is not as simple as it may seem, so a good place to start is to know your notes.

So, if you know your notes then you should know what notes are in the basic chord triads that you are playing.

So, when your playing over a chord, for example (in C major) an Am chord (basic diatonic I ii ii iii IV V vi vii: Maj min min Maj Maj min dim) you would play in A Aeolian because that chord fits over the A natural minor scale. This example will stick to the minor modes because that the freshest in my memory.

Now as nice as it would be to solo over 1 chord the whole time, chord changes sound much nicer, so lets say a D chord is played next. What do you do? Well, if you know your circle of fifths, and you know that a D chord is made up of D F# A, you would see what key contains F#.

Now, you look at your order of sharps or flats (which I like to remember as (#) Fat Cats Go Down And Eat Burgers (keys: C G D A E B F# C#), and (b) Big Ears Always Dominate Great Corn Festivals (Keys: C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb) note: remember, C has no # or b) you see that the key of G has one sharp, which is F#. So, over an Am/D chord change, you can play the Dorian mode. Why? because the dorian root is located 1 whole step below the minor root (A), which is G. So, to play the dorian mode, play a major with the root starting on G over a Am/D chord change.

Now, most songs have more than one chord change. So, lets say the progression goes Am/D/Bb. Now what? Well, because a Bb chord is made up of Bb D F, and with your trusty order of flats, you see that the key of F has one flat, which is Bb. So, you would play F phrygian over the Am/Bb chord change because the phrygian root is located 2 whole steps below the minor root.

And if you wanna add some tasty jazz sounds, you can play locrian (a major scale on the half-step above the minor root). To figure out what that chord change would be look at the circle of fifths again.

Now, you can either play those on any root over the neck, or on any root in a specific position (which looks real sweet cause your playing a lot of stuff in a small space, which I think is more impressive than running up and down the neck (which is still cool too)).

Hope that was helpful and not too confusing!