Blending Chords & Scales

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paul potok - November 12, 2020 Reply

Hi. when you refer to “the scale” in this lesson, are you referring to the scale of the key (D-major scale in this case)? Or do you mean the scale associated with the scale degree of D-major? So for Em chord we use Em diatonic, for Amaj we use Amaj diatonic, for Gmaj we use Gmaj diatonic etc.

    Jonathan Boettcher - November 12, 2020 Reply

    That’s a good question. In this case, I’m referring to the D major scale, anywhere you find that appearing on the fretboard. So you would use the D major scale to modify a G chord, or an A chord, etc.

    In certain instances you could use the scale associated with the chord, and it could sound good. A great example of this is in Sultans of Swing, where the key is D minor, but there is an A major in the progression. Over that A chord, Mark Knopfler would always play something directly related to the notes from that A major chord… not from the D minor scale which is associated with the key of the song. And I might add, it sounds amazing.

    However, I would not consider that a universal approach, but one to just be used on certain chord progressions. In general it’s safer to use the overall scale for the key.

    Actually, I guess you could say if you’re dealing with a chord progression that contains “unexpected” chords in it – ones that aren’t found naturally in the key, then over that unexpected chord, that would be a good time to use a scale that is associated directly with that chord in particular.

    Does that help?

paul potok - November 14, 2020 Reply

sure does. thanks very much.

Len Canter - February 20, 2024 Reply

Have been meaning to print out all the associated scales to the chords in Songs that I have been trying to play for years. This lesson motivates me to start really doing it

    Jonathan Boettcher - February 20, 2024 Reply

    You’re rockin’ it Len!

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