The system I want to tell you about is triad soloing or chord tone soloing. Now, if you have no theory background and these terms are confusing, DO NOT worry; this is way easier than it sounds!
So, what is chord tones soloing on guitar? let's suppose we're playing over a track. We have an A major chord going on. We usually would play the A major scale or the A major pentatonic, but now we will limit ourselves to the notes of the chord or chord tones, so in this example, the notes of the A major triad are (A C# E).
This instantly makes you sound more melodic and forces you to put more emphasis on your phrasing to keep things interesting. If you don't know how to find chord tones, don't worry. Here is a quick and easy way to go about it.
Starting from the A on fret five of the low E string, we're going to play:
• The first note of the scale, or root note (which is A)
• The third note of the scale (which is C#)
• The fifth note of the scale (which is E)
Check out the diagram below for reference.
Check out the video lesson @2:09 for a quick visual demonstration.
What would happen if we wanted to find the triads of a minor chord? Well, we could:
• Think of it as finding the first, third, and fifth note of the corresponding minor scale
• Or just follow the same process above, then flatten the third (take it down a half step or down 1 fret on the guitar)
So, if we take A, for example:
1. The A major triad we found was A (the root) C# (the third) and E (the fifth)
2. We want to flatten the third so, C# becomes C.
3. Giving us the A minor triad: A (the root) C (the minor third), and E (the fifth).
And that's how we find the chord tones of every single chord in our progression.
Let's use those to make our solos and improvisation more melodic!
Even with just playing chord tones it already sounds cool and melodic, but this is where it gets tricky; you need to be able to play those chord tones everywhere on the fretboard. This is where you'll need your theory, and in case you don't know how, here is another lesson where I teach you how to find any note everywhere on the neck!!Anyway, for the sake of today's lesson, even if you don't know how to do that, don't worry; we can simply use the chord shapes to find our triads
Check @5:18 for a quick run through a couple of different chord shapes you can use.
Note: You can look at the chord tones as being triads, chords, or arpeggios they're practically the same thing
After doing that, half of the work is done! All we must do now is just stick to those notes and use them to solo over each chord on the track, so pick up your guitars and let's go!
So step 1, as we covered before, is to just play the chord tones in any one area of the neck and that's already melodic, but it could quickly become boring, and this is exactly why we want to find them on different areas of the fretboard.
For step 2, I'm going to jump from playing chord tones around fret number five to playing chord tones around fret number ten, this makes things more exciting and helps work on finding/playing the triads all over the neck on command.
Note: For practicing, we have been sticking to just playing the chord tones; however when you start getting comfortable doing that, you can start experimenting with adding a few passing notes between chord tones to keep things interesting.
Now that we have:
-learned where the chord tones are/how to find them.
-gotten familiar with switching between playing chord tones on different areas of the neck.
For step 3, what you can do is, for a certain section/cycle, stick to playing chord tones and then for another section, do your regular improvisation, mess around with any appropriate scales (A major or A major pentatonic for this lesson's backing track) to spice things up!
Check out @10:50 of the video lesson for a taste of advanced chord tone improvisation!
To take things a step further, check out this lesson on one string melodic soloing!