Scales, Keys and Beyond

Do you find yourself often play in the same key when you are improvising or working with scales? Do you rely on scalepatterns or can you play your musical ideas freely without the support of any finger patterns?
For this article a handful of ideas to break out of the rut of scalepatterns and keys.

When you are starting out with playing solos on the guitar it is a good idea to memorise some scalepatterns. These scalepatterns will give you support and guidance during any of your solos. After all, it is  helpful to know, and to be aware of what you are doing on the fretboard while you are improvising.

Once you have mastered a few scalepatterns why not go beyond: Start off with a musical idea and follow this musical idea through to the next idea. In this manner you are “composing” a solo. Once you get stuck you may want to back track youself to see where you went wrong and to find out in which key you were playing. Knowledge of the key may help you to find you way back into your musical idea.

Any solo you will listen to responds to a song, it will reflect what goes on in the song and make a short, musical statement with regards to the song. The song is played  is played in a certain key, therefore the solo needs to obey to this key. 

How important is it to have knowledge of scales and keys? Listen to any solo, and see if you can sing back any of the notes of the solo. Each time you play a solo, try to sing the notes you want to play before you actually Play Your Solo.
Singing your notes before you play will make you play more melodically. No need to know the kind of scale and key you play in, once you can play what you sing all is fine. Having knowledge of the scale and key will probably help you with your notechoice, but still, being able to hear the notes you want to play first is more important.

                   Playing often in the same key?:

Most of the songs you are playing will be in common keys such as A, E, G, D or C. To break out of these keys try the following idea: Give yourself a note, try going for a sharp or flat. This note will be the key for your next solo. Now play a melody in this key.
If you find this hard, work on breaking down your scales, play them over two strings, especially those of you who have been playing scales over six strings. Find out where the rootnote is of the key, play this note in several places on the fretboard and start the scale from this rootnote. Once you can play the scale start playing musical ideas as this is more important. People listen to musical ideas instead of scales being played up and down the fretboard.

Keep on exploring and hope to catch you soon again,