1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Country scales

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Krunoslav, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. Krunoslav

    Krunoslav TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    57
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Location:
    Slovenia
    Howdy
    Newbie here. Excuse my English, I am from Europe. :)
    So, being a rock player, I am fairly new to country playing. So instead of searching and reading endless articles and looking at boring videos, I thought, best to ask here. What are typical country scales, you can endlessly solo on?
    You know, like a minor pentatonic in rock.
     
    RowdyHoo likes this.
  2. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,538
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Walden, El Marin, Blister and 3 others like this.
  3. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,200
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    Major and minor scale, and major and minor pentatonic will cover a lot of ground.
     
    RowdyHoo and Dr Improbable like this.
  4. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,532
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Location:
    France
    b---------------------------------------4-5-
    g-------------------------------4-5-6-------
    d------------------1-2-4-5-6----------------
    a-----------2-3-4----------------------------
    e-0-2-3-4-----------------------------------

    This is what i basically use on a E chord.
     
    RowdyHoo, Jowes_84, Rocky058 and 2 others like this.
  5. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,719
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    Classic or Modern Country?
     
    BB and RowdyHoo like this.
  6. poboy

    poboy Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    170
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    To get started, try playing the major pentatonic scale in the key of the chord. You will have to follow the changes and move the the scale with each chord (i.e. you cannot use the same scale pattern over the whole song like you do with the minor pent in the blues).
     
  7. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,818
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    That's not true! It depends on the progression. A progression of the I, IV, and V chords will sound just fine with the major pentatonic over all three chords, as will many other progressions.
     
    Edgar Allan Presley and nicknklv like this.
  8. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,116
    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    Country players use the Major scale, Major Pentatonic, and a typical Blues scale, which is an altered minor Pentatonic, or altered Mixolydian scale, depending on your point of view.

    The thing that will get you sounding good on Country leads fastest would be to pick some Country recordings you like and learn the solos and fills note for note. Transcribe them if you can.
     
    teletail, RowdyHoo, JRapp and 3 others like this.
  9. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,818
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    Circle-of-fifths.jpg You can use this circle of fifths to find the relative major pentatonic to the minor pentatonic patterns that you already know. The note above the minor in the circle is the relative major. So, the Am and C major pentatonic are the same five notes, as are Em and G major, Bm and D major, etc. So the patterns you already know will work for the major pentatonic too. To stay in the same key you have to just move the pattern down three frets. So, to go from A minor to A major, just move from the 5th fret to the 2nd fret, where that pattern is F# minor and also A major. It just sounds like A major (instead of F# minor) depending on which notes you emphasize, and what chords you play it over.
     
    Blister and Ronzo like this.
  10. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,156
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    Good advice here, and I play a lot of both ( blues and Country)

    But there are similarities between the two as both do use or share ( mainly, but not exclusively) the 1-lV-V chord structure,
    and I seem to play the same little partial chords/double stop fills in Country that you hear Steve Cropper and others play in old R&B.

    One thing, and this is more for bluegrass playing than Country ( but it's there too) is a lot of guitar players will play rhythm and lead using the 1st position chords in the key of G major( G, C, D) and learn what's called the 'G run' which are fast runs off the G major scale.
    And they will play this pattern in the same ' G position' , but using a capo to change the keys, but play the same.

    * not that you can't play the changes in the actual key the song is in, no capo, but its just common to play songs in A, Bb, B, C- in ' G position ' using a capo...

    - this is also done often, playing 1st position key of C major chords ( C, F, G) once again, using a capo, and maintain the same 1st position

    Hope this makes sense!
     
  11. mojavedesert

    mojavedesert Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    175
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2018
    Location:
    California
    People will probably disagree with me on this. Blues relies on the 4. Country on the minor 2 and the minor 3. An the 3 being relative minor of the 5. 2 relative minor of the 4. That's what makes it sound country and also makes the major sound. It's a moveable package those group of chord grips.
     
    RowdyHoo and blackguts like this.
  12. hotraman

    hotraman Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    1,198
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Listen to a lot of Vince Gill and Brent Mason to get started. Dickie Betts played a lot of country licks, in later ABB tunes ( Blue Skies, Ramblin Man)
     
    RowdyHoo likes this.
  13. Krunoslav

    Krunoslav TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    57
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Location:
    Slovenia
    Difference being? Sorry, like I said I am new to country. Albert Lee is my favourite player in country style. Other than that, I am a Richie Sambora fan. Sooooory. Dunno much about country guitarists.
     
  14. Krunoslav

    Krunoslav TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    57
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Location:
    Slovenia
    Fellas, thank you all for your advices. Whoa, I didnt think I was gonna get so much answers. Thanks. Oh, one more thing. I do not know much about music theory. I know pentatonic, Major - paralel minor (C-a; F-d...) but that is about it. I would not know which note is in the clef if my life depended on it. And dont care much for it, either. I just like to play whatever it sounds good. :) I am self taught, and never needed any theory. To learn a scale is great because it helps a lot. But mixoldyan? Is that a barbecue sauce? ;)
    So, point being. I can play a major scale pentatonic, just shift it on a fretboard, with chord progression.
    Or, I can stay in the same position, but change the root note, acording to chord change. Right?
     
  15. eclipse

    eclipse Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    291
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    matrix, hotraman and RowdyHoo like this.
  16. poboy

    poboy Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    170
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    If I understand correctly, the major pent of the I chord is scale degrees 1 2 3 5 6
    Over the IV chord it is 5 6 7 2 3
    Over the V chord it is 4 5 6 1 2

    To me, the 4 over the V chord doesn't sound very "country". Maybe it's my ear, or perhaps it needs a little more embellishment (e.g. bends, using as passing notes, etc.) to make it work. I would be interested in learning how to use this or some examples in songs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
  17. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,906
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    Learn the Flatt run, which is everywhere. Then some bluegrass phrases, like this:



    That'll put the sounds in your ear. Tele guitar puts in bends.

    Don't worry about "scale theory." Learn phrases (vocabulary) and put in the colors you like.
     
    TeleTucson, RowdyHoo and Krunoslav like this.
  18. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,116
    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    You're asking about scales, then saying you don't want to learn theory. Sad.
     
    twanger05 likes this.
  19. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    4,603
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Country solos are often constructed off the chords in the song with notes in the chord used as landing notes and notes of the scale between them used as passing notes. When you’re comfortable with that, learn sus, add 9, and add 13 chords and where to use them in songs. Enter the name of the song followed by chords and lyrics and open a few of the web sites. They’ll show you the chords. You’ll be surprised how often you see them in country music. Learn to move the chords up and down the neck. Those “extra note” chords will give you landing notes you can use to make your solos more interesting. When you’ve gotten that down, look at the melody and add notes from the melody not in the chord to it. If the note can be found on an open string it can drone and add texture to your chords and solos. Got this? Add partial chords to your solos, either picked or played as stops.

    When you think about what I wrote above you’ll see it as a process. You can’t do it all tomorrow but you can work through it over time and add your own nuance as you go.

    One more thing. I’m not a proponent of pentatonic scales. They give you landing notes but using only those notes without passing notes from the major and minor scales they’re derived from makes your solos sound like the same solo over and over again. Try to play pentatonic solos over songs with progressions more complex than I, IV, V and you’ll see what I mean.

    Good luck to you. Don’t get discouraged. One day you won’t be thinking about how to play a country solo. You’ll be playing one. Most of all, have fun.
     
    Tall-Fir and Ronzo like this.
  20. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    1,010
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Location:
    South Florida, USA
    A simple thing for you to try is to move the minor pentatonic “box” that you would use for a blues or blues/rock song three frets closer to the nut (3 semitones down). You’ll hear the difference in feel.

    It’s just a starting point, and this is certainly not a complete explanation, such as a few posters above have provided. But it might get you there for the short term. And your English is much, much better than my Slovenian. I spent a little time in Bratislava in the early 2000’s. :)
     
    RowdyHoo and JL_LI like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.