Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #401  by zdsnabes
 Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:31 pm
Hey, does anyone happen to know exactly what scales or "modes" jerry typically uses? like on hundred year hall....whats going on there for the solo? any help?

keep rocking!
 #542  by zdsnabes
 Wed Jul 21, 2004 5:20 am
dude, thats the jackpot! how'd you find that site?

hey, can I send you a DEAD show? I just got it last night. 6/27/04. if you want it, email me at:

 #1023  by LazyLightnin
 Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:29 pm
dude i want a free show :wink:

 #1111  by DanK
 Tue Oct 12, 2004 9:41 am
i like to use g myxolidian for the verses and for the chorus i use an a minor pentatonic scale. also throw in other notes that sound good, just experiment with different modes and such, experimentation is key. just listen to GD music and that will become clear to you. :wink:
 #1749  by ycomp
 Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:59 pm
I was listening to a '77 Bertha and Jerry does this alot in them:


What scale is this part of?

e.g. you can find this in 6-7-77 Bertha at around 2:20 to 2:30 depending on your playback software. My winamp shows it around 2:23. Anyhow they are the first notes after the verse.

 #1751  by Billbbill
 Sat Jun 04, 2005 7:39 am
Hey ycomp,
Maybe I can help a bit. As usual I don't know what key this is in but the solo is over either G mixolydyian or C Ionian. Same notes. But you know that.

What you're citing is the walkup to the chord change to C. the 8-9 on the D is highlighting the B or 3rd. of the G mixo scale (before the chord change thus still over the G chord), then the 7-8-9 on the G is a chromo walkup to E, the 3rd. of C noting the chord change as a takeoff for the solo.

As for scales I would just think in terms of chromos within the G mixo scale. Adding the 8 on the G (Eb) or 8 on the D (Bb also the G blue note I believe).

There would be slight differences in terms of the chomos available depending on what chord you're playing over. You could think of it as a different pathway to ascend or descend to a triad note of a chord being played over.

This would be a chromo of sorts noting the chord change from C to G.


Yea I know, you asked a simple question and here I am blabin on and on.

Maybe Kenny could chime in with more, and more to your question.


 #1753  by ycomp
 Sat Jun 04, 2005 6:35 pm
bill, I appreciate the explanation. You gave me a lot to think about.

but what's a chromo?

also, G mixolydian and C ionian really confuses me.

Normally I've been soloing to bertha playing what I thought was G major. Of course I realize this is lacking, so that's why I'm asking these questions to try and go to the next step.

Also, after reading your post I was just messing around and found out that this also sounds ok in some parts.


is this anything I should remember, or just forget about it?

You see I don't know exactly what a key is but, for most songs, there is one major scale that sounds good in almost all parts of the songs.


A major sounds good all over Franklin's, Peggy-O, Deal, Mission and many others.

E major sounds good on gdtrfb, st. stephen

E major sounds good in most of Eyes, but for the chorus G sounds good

A sounds good for half step from what I can remember. But I think D was good for something from what I can remember?

E sounds good for Jack Straw, but maybe A was good for something also?

B for scarlet

C for harder they come

then there are the ones that it is good to switch between them

like B and E for sugaree
B and A for fire
D and A for iko

then there is something that sounds good with some scale that I figured out. Then I looked it up. I think it was Dorian? Some minor scale. but I'm confused what a mode is because for instance what I'm playing that sounds good is:

loser: A-B-C-D-E-F#-G-A
help: C-D-Eb-F-G-A-Bb-C

what are these? A dorian and C dorian?
but I think also G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F-A-G also sounds good for parts of help. So what is this?

anyhow, getting back to my idea that G major is the important scale for bertha. I have noticed this kind of pattern for many songs.

The important notes are the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of this scale. G, C and D. Now that I write this I remembered that bertha's chords have lots of G, C and D chords.

The reason I say important is because these are the notes it is nice to start going somewhere from when soloing.

So is G the key then? or is it C? I get confused by you saying G mixolydian and C major. From that I would think that C is the important one.

What about a song like eyes where E is prominent for the song but switches to G prominence for the solo. (and before I started playing guitar I always thought that the chorus was kind of abrupt sounding)

If you, and anyone else, could put my perspective on these things in order so that I understand what's going on then I'd be very gr8ful :-)

 #1754  by ycomp
 Sat Jun 04, 2005 10:58 pm
ok, I've been thinking a bit more and I think I understand a bit better.

For instance, knockin' from the '78 jgb I'm listening to is:

A major

I guess this is the key

the 5th note of the A major scale is E

so E mixolydian is the same notes as A major but starting on E

and the 4th note of A major is D

and D major also sounds good, at least in parts of the song.

This pattern I think applies to many songs I've played around to. Does it basically apply to all "major" songs?

Applied to Bertha it is:
- G major
- D mixolydian
- C major also sounds good

ok, so now I'm confused. Maybe i'm not understanding mixolydian properly because you were talking about G mixolydian.

 #1755  by Billbbill
 Sun Jun 05, 2005 6:55 am
Forgive me for assuming too much. Sometimes I confuse who's who around here.


>but what's a chromo?<

The 7-8-9 on the G from your other post would be a chromatic progression. Essentially (as I think of it anyway) a succession of 3 or more notes 1/2 step apart. Kenny speaks to this in the tank I believe.


This would be D Mixolydian. Start on the G and change the F# to F and you'd have G Mixolydian. This is flatting the 7th (F instead of F#-- leaving F# would be G Ionian). C Ionian would be;


Notice that their the same notes as G Mixolydian.

>is this anything I should remember, or just forget about it?<

As stated above I like the F rather than the F# thus G mixo instead of Ionian. Although over the G chord Ionian is workable.

>A major sounds good all over Franklin's<

In this A maj scale do you play G or G#? Franklins is A Mixolydian so you should be playing the G note.

>what are these? A dorian and C dorian?<

>The important notes are the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of this scale. G, C and D. Now that I write this I remembered that bertha's chords have lots of G, C and D chords.<

I touched on this slightly in the other post. You are probably thinking C because is works at the very beginning of the solo when the C chord begins. But if you went further you'd see that the triad notes (notes that form the chord - G would be G/B/D and C would be C/E/G) for the G and C chords are all good notes to begin or end lead lines with. Now you would just pay attention to what chord you're playing over while doing this.

The chromatic I made up in the other post is an example.


While playing this chromatic (beginning near the end transition from the C to G chord) you're playing the 12 which is E, a triad note for the C chord, and working up to the 15, the root for the G chord.

These notes,G/B/D for the G chord and C/E/G for the C chord represent "safe" notes for beginning and ending lead phrases.

I have a post in the Help on the Way forum re my take on that scale.

Kenny has a lot of good stuff in the think tank. If you haven't checked there, check it out. He's definitely a more technically savy guy than me.

While I've been playing a long time I have almost no formal training. I'll try to help where I can but sometimes I'm not sure if I'm technically accurate. I don't want to steer you wrong. Factor in a grain of salt.

Last edited by Billbbill on Thu Oct 13, 2005 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #1757  by Kenny
 Sun Jun 05, 2005 1:01 pm
Last edited by Kenny on Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 #2120  by jahozer
 Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:03 am
just a quick reply that blindleafs guitar tab site is not safe for work. It has porn banners. I realize that we may be the only 3 people to ever read this, but you may want to edit your post to ad a NSFW banner warning.

 #2123  by Billbbill
 Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:01 pm
I just took it out. There's plenty of other similar stuff out there - if one looks.