Exploring Scale and Chord Tones

I recently had a question about the importance of chords behind a solo and the use of chord tones or just playing a scale. Do the chords matter? If so, how do they make a difference? What do you need to focus on in order to make your solos “sound right?”

This is something that requires some serious consideration and study. In this lesson each note of the major scale is systematically explored against a major chord. Pay attention to the chord tones (arpeggio notes) and the non-chord tones. The chord tones are all safe choices because they match the chord being played. The non-chord tones produce varying degrees of tension.

Understanding this tension and how to use it is one thing to take away from this lesson. Also, knowing the location of the chord tones and how to get a good blend between the chord tones and scale tones is explored. It’s this balance that will ultimately make your solos better.

Here is the jam track.

Sorry I do not have the original file for this lesson so you will not be able to download it. Also I do not have the tab for this lesson either. What I am playing is not as important as understanding the concept. If you like something here that you want to play, use your ears and figure it out.

Be Sociable, Share!

Facebook comments:

8 Responses to “Exploring Scale and Chord Tones”

  • Rudy says:

    Hi Bob. I’ve never really understood this concept. Let’s assume that we are stumming a chord sequence of C,A,F. Does this mean that I should only play the “notes” of the C chord, before quickly having to identify the A chord and playing it’s notes, then jump to the F chord,identifying it, and playing it’s notes, all in 4/4 time. How would I even know what chord is being played at the speed at which all this would happen?… Hope this isn’t confusing…thanks.. Rudy…

  • Don says:

    It is interesting that you use a fingering position that I almost never use. That is, you are playing with the 2nd 3rd and 4th fingers for the main notes of the C major chord. I’ll have to try it. It seems to give you a freedom that I’m lacking.

  • mirza says:

    Ciao,it’s verry good!

  • Lead Guitar Tactics says:

    Hi Rudy,

    You do not have to limit yourself to only the notes from each chord but it is a good way to practice. Watch the video again and you will see that I discuss using the other notes and the varying degress of tension they create.

    And yes, in some situations you do need to track the chords and switch at the right times. For instance, a C chord and an A chord have clashing notes, the C and C#. If you can target the C# when the chords change it will add a new “cool element” to your soloing. It seems like a big task at first but you just have to break it down into small enough chunks that you can handle it. There are a couple of ways to track the chords which involve counting and using your ears.

    I will do a lesson on this in the future.

    Best Wishes,


  • Rudy says:

    Ok, that helps . I want to start putting a lot of effort into this. I’ll watch for new stuff…thanks..

  • jarno says:

    au jee,au jeah!!!!!

  • Tim says:

    Bob, you used the term ‘resolve’ in describing how to end a musical statement. This is so true, and makes such a difference in how a solo sounds. I have found that when I solo I sometimes end up on a note that doesn’t sound like it’s completing the musical statement. You put it all in perspective for me. Thanks, and your lessons are always fantastic.

  • wsyne says:

    Bob that sounds great and is the stuff of inspiration for me, Many thanks. Now I will have to go back & target some earlier pearls you gave. Regards, Wayne

Leave a Reply