Frequently asked questions

How to play on altered chord changes????

Hi...
Thanks for your suggestion & explanation about guitar & Amp. It really helps me.
I'm glad to hear that you are the guitarist of the month for three months. Succes always on you. I saw the website guitarist.pagina.nl, ......
I have looked around to the local music-shop in Bandung. There's no GIBSON 355 available here. The store-man said that I could get that in Jakarta, butthe price is too expensive for me & I couldn’t afford it.
Epiphone is available here, but still I couldn’t buy it now. I have to save money maybe for about 4-5 months more to get that. So now I just use my acoustic guitar to practice and sometimes I borrow Fender Stratocaster from my friend. I have to be patient to get my new guitar (I think Epiphone as you suggested).
Now about soloing. I have difficulty in soloing over altered chords (#5, b5, #9, b9 etc). What scale is usually/better used in that case? Also I confuse in soloing over the song that has many chord-progression (like "My Romance"). How to solo over it? And what I should think while soloing?

Marc:

Hi
I am glad that my suggestions helped. That's good.
About the guitar:
Epiphone has some very nice arch-top or semi-acoustic guitars....
About soloing:
If you start practicing soloing over (chord)changes you have to remember that the chord changes were written to a melody..... That melody is maybe even more important than the chords. The song is still the song if you only have the melody and no chords. The other way around (no melody and only the chords) is not always true.....
So in practicing soloing learn from the melody. Learn the melody by heart. Write a new melody of your own. Write a second melody of your own and learn those by heart... then start improvising around the original melody and your own melody. Stay close to it, keep singing those melodies in your head while you improvise......

About chords:
Now it gets a bit more into the theory. This is the next thing you have to work on:
Learn to read music, learn about theorie. We are in Bb now. This means Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-A-Bb.

- Most tunes are simply written in one key..... stay in that key and realise that every note in the tonality has a function towards the chords.
My Romance in Bb starts on Bb and the first note on that chord is a F. it is the 5th of the chord etc. etc. so what to learn from this.....
- You have to practice the arpeggio's of the chords of a tune.
- You have to practice the scales that fits to every chord in the tune... In My Romance this is not so difficult as most chords are in the key of Bb and take the scale Bb.....
- But don't forget to practice the corresponding scale to every chord from the Root of that chord (Cm7 c-d-eb-f-g-a-bb-c) etc. etc.
- The 3rd chord is a Dm7 which is the chord on the III step in the scale (scale: d-eb-f-g-a-bb-c-d)

Etc. etc. work on this first with the chords you recognize in the Key of Bb. Than take the chords that are not within the key and see what notes within these chords are different from the key of Bb. Change those notes while playing the key of Bb and look.... you have the right scale for that chord. (for example: D7 in bar 4 has the notes D-F#-A-C. Now we get the scale D-Eb-F#-G-A-Bb-C-D (which is the "scale of Bb with an adjustment to the F#") You could also recognize this scale as the D Phryzian Major scale.

Soloing over altered chords depends on what function they have in a song......
sometimes they take this scale sometimes another.........
The same D7 chord from bar 4 is in fact a D7b9b13 and takes the D Phryzian Major scale. In a different harmonic situation it could take a different scale........

OK. Maybe this was a bit too much theory:
Stick to the melody. Listen to how Chet Baker solo's on these tunes. Chet could hardly read music and did most of his playing by ear. He studied a tune by learning how it sounded. He was not too much into knowing the chords but more into knowing how melodies would fit over the chords.
So start writing your melodies and use notes out of the chords that are important (3rd and 7th) as these will guide you also through the chords...
While you improvise you sing what comes up in you heart/mind... that is what you should try to play.... keep singing don't think about anything but the music.... sing...

Good luck
Marc

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