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How to Play Scale Tones on Heavy Metal Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to play scale tones on guitar in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


All right, let's talk about scale tones. With scale tones, you have to be a little careful, because scale tones will sound good or bad, depending on which chord is being played in the background. If I take a simple, C major scale, technically, any of those notes should work over a rhythm such as C, G, A minor, C, G, A minor.

We have to be careful, because a couple of those notes are tricky. For example, this note F, no matter where I play it, that's probably not going to sound good over this chord. It's a very dissident note. It's the same thing with this note, the B 7th. That's going to sound tricky over the C chord. You could resolve it. I could take this C, and then resolve it into the next scale tone, which is the root, and it will work fine. I can take that F, resolve that, and that will work fine.

To see what I mean, listen to me play over this rhythm, C, G, and A minor. OK. Those notes all sound good. Here's the 7th. The 7th doesn't sound so good. I have to resolve that, but I could do it like this. Now, check this out. Here's the F. It doesn't sound good. It's got to resolve. Now this time around, I'll resolve it. With the 7th note, the B, doesn't work over the first chord, but it actually works over the A minor. If I play it, here, there it resolves nicely. The rhythm resolves it.

What scale tones work, and which ones don't work, all depend on the chord and the rhythm. You really have to use your ears. You have to practice playing along with different types of rhythms.

I hope you've enjoyed this lesson on scale tones.

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