Hey. I have been playing guitar for a year or so (im still a noobie so don't get surprised if I sound really lame). I originally wanted to play lots of thrash metal, but found that most of the solos are alot harder than I thought. At some point I sorta lost interest and started playing my cheap acoustic more often. I found that I can wright good licks, and so far 2 great unique-blues songs. But in theory I had no idea what makes them sound good.
So I decided that I NEED to learn at least basic theory if I want to learn to shred, right? I am self-taught, and so far all I have done is play tabs; and try to freestyle/write my own stuff. For all this time, thats it. No scales, chords, or metronome stuff. I decided to dust off my electric and get into some learning. Keep in mind, I just want to learn enough to get a grip on how music works to better wright material; no interest in being professional or going to school for it.
I now know around like 15 chords. I also know a little bit of terminology and techniques. I know "the blues scale", and the "5 different pentatonic scale positions". Well as I said before, I really felt like my soloing sucked. Main reasons; I felt like I just wasn't fast enough, and whenever I hit a note that didnt sound good I thought i would never get out of this ignorance hole.
Until I stumbled across this article. Improvising Tips and Tricks Part 1 written by Chris Zoupa. He showed these 3 or 4 simple scales, and a link to a backing track. I have heard of backing tracks before, but I didn't think just anyone such as myself could turn it on and instantly freestyle so easily. I thought it was pro-stuff. Anyway. With the scales and a little bit of exploring im getting sorta on the right track to nailing the right notes while soloing, but the speed and rhythm is definitely improving. I am actually sorta aggravated that I have been playing this long and had no idea that this was such a big thing that alot of people are doing to practice while having fun. Wish I was introduced into it well earlier.
I know I have been rambling, but the rest of this post is the reason I made this topic. I want to know, why this sounds good. How would I wright a "backing" track that would sound perfect with a certain scale? If I heard someone playing a certain chord progression, how would I know what lead to play over it? And just a little more about the scales used in conjunction with the chords. Okay the article I gave you, the backing track is in E minor.
One of his scales to use; minor pentatonic:
But when I learned the 5 minor pentatonic shapes, the one that was at this fret was more like this:
The shape he is doing is only valid at the 5th fret, the shape for the minor pentatonic scale is different at every fret....correct?
And where the heck did he pull this from?:
I am asking a little in-depth because when I play using his examples its so easy and sounds great its like magic. But this is only one situation. I want to know why these scales and this backing track sound so great no matter how I freestyle it. This seems like the thing I should have been learning and practicing about all along.
Ok .... It sounds like you learned the minor pentatonic scale shapes in the Key of A.
In the key of A you are correct, the tabbed scale is at the 5th fret and the scale from the chord diagram is at the 12th fret.
However, you're now working in the key of E. So the tabbed scale is now at the 12th fret and the chord diagram scale happens at the 7th fret.
You final question is what is known as an Em arpeggio. This is all the notes that form am Em chord played separately to form a phrase.