Ambient Groove 1 Solo A

Animated Ambient Groove 1 Solo A tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

Often lead guitars will use a different type of sound in order to stand out from all the other instruments, especially the rhythm guitars. Typically, a lead guitar will have more gain, more treble, and some delay / reverb effects in order to do this. However, lead guitar can also be used to blend in with the background music and really bring out some nice melodies by working closely with the rhythm guitar. We'll take a simple look at that here.

In this solo the lead guitar is set up to sound exactly like the rhythm guitar in order to complement it. The idea is to make melodies that work closely with the background guitar / music. At times it will be hard to tell the guitars apart, but that is part of the point. In this style of playing, it's about atmosphere and the guitars working together to make some nice, textured music. The result is that you are taken on a journey by the music as a whole, rather than flipping between highly structured rhythm riffs and lead licks.

With this type of ambient music, the overall effect is more important than leaping about in spandex with flames erupting from your codpieces. (Although that is always fun on Sundays). Listen to the ActionTab a few times on loop without looking at the dots (which give the game away), to experience the music as a whole and see how close guitar melodies can work well together.

Here we use the E natural minor scale in clever ways. Here's the E natural minor scale:

E - F# - G - A - B - C - D - E

So what's clever? Well, we know from the previous Backing tutorial that all the notes from this scale will work over all the background chords with no note clashes. However, here we change the melody notes along with the background chords, and use similar (or even the same) timing to pick those melody notes in order to fit closely with the background chords. Put simply, we harmonize.

We will be dealing more specifically with harmony and harmonization later, for now let's skim what's happening in this ActionTab to get the gist of it. So far in the Jam Zone we have been using individual notes from scales to make melodies for our solos. But here we pick out notes and let them ring as we add more notes. This gives us a combination of notes - chords in other words - because 3 or more notes being played together will always be a chord of some kind. So, we are picking out chords in the background (A min - D sus 4 - E minor). And we pick different chords (over the top of the background chords) in the solo. Some chords work beautifully when played together (creating harmony), others clash. Playing different chords that work with each other is what harmony is all about!

For example, when the background chord changes to D sus 4, the notes for that chord are:

F# - D - G - D

Remember each note is allowed to sound out together, giving us a combination of notes, or chord. This particular combination of notes is a D sus 4 chord. Now let's look at the what the solo guitar plays over the top of that chord:

B - G - D (let ring)

These notes are still from the E natural minor scale, but they are also notes that make a G major chord (G root, B major 3rd, D 5th) when played together. The first thing to notice is that these notes are picked at exactly the same time as the background notes. This alone gives a strong musical effect. Also, notice how well these two chords work together. The D sus 4 chord in the background, and G major chord in the solo complement each other very well. Harmonising like this adds extra layers and textures to the music and offers a world of musical exploration to you.

Generally speaking, when people first start making solos with just one scale over different background chords, the solo will tend to sound very 'samey'. This is partly because when soloing with notes from just one scale it is natural to always fall back to the main 3 notes of that scale - especially the root note (that would be E, from the E natural minor scale that we are using in this ActionTab). Hopefully, you can see here how harmonising can help you actually use just one scale to bring out a lot of different flavours from those background chords. For example, as the background chord changes to D sus 4, we use the G B D notes from the E minor scale to harmonise it (getting a G major chord from it), rather than sticking to the standard E natural minor 'strong' notes (E G B). This also means that when the background chord DOES change to E minor (G B and E on the 3 high open strings), we can return to emphasise those 3 notes with greater effect!

If you are struggling with these concepts, don't worry, it'll take a while to understand! Also, we'll be tackling it much more in future ActionTabs and articles. For now, just think of it this way...A scale isn't just a sequence of notes that will work over a chord to make melodies. A scale potentially holds many chords within it (because a chord is just 3 or more notes played simultaneously). As the background chords change, you can use those different chords from your chosen scale to play over the top. Combining chords like this is called harmony, and it is super stuff!

We don't just harmonise chords throughout the tune in this ActionTab, we also use different solo techniques that you are probably already familiar with by now (e.g. playing out nice little scale runs, using harmonics and the whammy bar at the same time etc). When you've taken what you want from this Solo example, go back to the Backing ActionTab and experiment with your own scales and chord harmonies - keep practicing and learning, the more you know, the more different ideas you will get!

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