Friday, 26 February 2016

Overlaid scales and chords

Papastache was the first online guitar tutor to introduce us to the idea of "overlaying" scales and chords. That's not to say Steve Stine wasn't banging on about the "caged" system of playing some years earlier, nor that Griff Hamlin hasn't come around to using chords in his teaching recently either.

But Papastache was the first online tutor I recall that explained the idea of playing one particular scale (usually one of the pentatonic "boxes") and then visualising the underlying chord shapes that were being playing "underneath". By targeting one of the chord tones - whether it exists in the scale or not - his solos always sounded (to use his terminology) much more "legit" and melodic.

Here's the Papa with session studio maestro Tim Pierce explaining exactly how it works:

And here's Tim Pierce putting it into action with one of the most melodic blues solos I've heard in a long time!

The trouble is, being able to visualise both the scales and chords at the same time.
But as we've been building a light-up fretboard exactly to help us visualise things on the guitar neck, and because we're using full-colour RGB LEDs, it didn't take much to update the firmware to be able to display one or two patterns at the same time - either individually, or one on top of the other.

Here's a quick video to demonstrate:

First there's the pentatonic blues scale in blue. Then there's all the root notes in red. Individually, these are really useful things to know when playing blues guitar licks. Put them together and you're on the right track to creating some sizzling solos! Scales overlaid with chords...? Crack that little conundrum and you too can play awesome guitar like Tim Pierce! (ok, maybe there's a bit more to it than that.....)

After weeks of development and testing, it finally feels like we're actually, nearly, really there. Thanks Papastache, not only for the shout-out and the Kitchen Sink Bundle, but for the inspiration to create this thing in the first place!