Was wondering about Eb being used for solo-ing over a C7 chord, and here the answer is, you can use a pentatonic scale with flat 3rd and 7th.
Scales are often played against
chord progressions, and the chords can help decide which scales to play.
Beginner students often become confused determining which scale to play
with a particular chord because there are so many possibilities when
deciding which scale to play with which chord. The following are a few
possible scale and chord combinations to try (refer to the chord’s
chapter for unfamiliar chords).
The major (ionian) scale works
great with the major chord family like Cmaj6, Cmaj7, Cmaj9, and Cmaj13.
The fourth step note in a major scale will often sound dissonant when
played against a major chord because it will clash with the major
chord’s third step note.
The dorian mode is used with the minor chord family and also try dorian modes with dominant seventh, sharp nine chords (C7#9).
phrygian mode works great in minor keys with a v7-VImaj7 chord
progression in it (Em7-Fmaj7). In major keys, that would be a
iii7-IVmaj7 chord progression. Try playing this scale against minor
chords (Cm), minor sevenths (Cm7), minor seven-flat ninths (Cm7b9),
minor eleventh-flat ninths (Cm11b9), and minor eleventh-flat ninth-flat
thirteenth (Cm11b9b13) chords.
The lydian mode is used with major
family chords such as major chords (Cmaj), major sevenths (Cmaj7),
major seventh-sharp eleventh (Cmaj7#11), major ninths (Cmaj9), and major
thirteenth-sharp elevenths (Cmaj13#11). With the major seven chords,
the first step note will tend to resolve down to the seventh step note.
mixolydian mode is used with the dominant family chords like dominant
seventh (C7), dominant ninth (C9), dominant eleventh (C11), and dominant
thirteenth (C13) chords. Try using the suspended second and suspended
fourth alterations with this scale as well (C7Sus4, C7Sus2, C9Sus4, and
The minor (aeolian) scale is used with the minor family
chords. This scale works with minors (Cm), minor sevenths (Cm7), minor
ninths (Cm9), minor elevenths (Cm11), and minor eleventh-flat
thirteenths (Cm11b13). It is also used in minor keys with a minor
seven-flat five chord (Cm7b5) in the chord progression.
locrian mode can also be played with the minor seven-flat five chord. In
addition to the diminished chord (Cdim), the locrian mode is used with
minor seven-flat five-flat ninth (Cm7b5b9), minor eleventh-flat
five-flat ninth (Cm11b5b9), and minor eleventh-flat five-flat ninth-flat
thirteenth (Cm11b5b9b13) chords.
Pentatonic scales are very
popular and work in many situations. The major pentatonic scale can be
played over major chords, and the minor pentatonic scale can be played
over minor chords. The minor pentatonic scale is also commonly used with
the relative major chords, like the A minor pentatonic scale over the C
major chord. Try playing major pentatonic scales built on the major
scale’s first, second, and fifth steps over major seventh chords. One
example, using the C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B), is playing the
C, D, and G major pentatonic scales over a C major seventh chord. For
dominant seventh chords, play pentatonic scales based on the major
scales first, flat third, and flat seventh steps. Another example is
playing C, Eb, and Bb pentatonic scales over a C7 chord. Over altered
dominant chords, play a minor pentatonic scale with the root note based
on the chord’s flat third, fourth, and flat seventh step note. A third
example is playing Eb, F, and Bb minor pentatonic scales over the
altered dominant C7#5#9 chord.
The blues scale is often played
with the dominant (C7, C7b9, C7#9, C9, C13) and minor (Cm, Cm7, Cm7b5)
family chords, and is commonly played throughout the entire blues
progression matching the scale’s root note with the song’s key
signature. For example, play a C blues scale over a C7-F7-G7 chord
progression. Also, practice using relative minor blues scales, such as
playing the C# minor blues scale in the key of E. By comparing blues
scales with pentatonic scales, their many similarities allow them to be
great substitutes. Try substituting the minor blues scale with the minor
The harmonic minor scale is played with minor
chords that add a sharped seventh step like minor-major seventh
(Cm/maj7) chords, minor ninth-major seventh (Cm9/maj7) chords, minor
eleventh-major seventh (Cm11/maj7) chords, and minor-major seventh-flat
thirteenth (Cm/maj7b13) chords. Also, try the harmonic minor scale with
the fourth step dominant seventh-sharp ninth (F7#9) chord, or the fifth
step dominant seventh (G7), dominant seventh-flat ninth (G7b9), and
dominant seventh-flat thirteenth (G7b13) chords.
minor scale, just like the harmonic minor, can also use minor-major
seventh (Cm/maj7), minor ninth-major seventh (Cm9/maj7), and minor
eleventh-major seventh (Cm11/maj7) chords. The minor thirteenth-major
seventh (Cm13/maj7) chord can also be used. For dominant chords, try
playing the jazz/melodic minor’s second step as a dominant
seventh-suspended fourth (D7Sus4) or a dominant seventh-suspended
fourth-flat ninth (D7Sus4b9) chord. On the fourth step note, play a
dominant seventh chord (F7) or a dominant seventh-sharp eleventh (F7#11)
chord. On the fifth step, play a dominant seventh (G7), dominant
seventh-suspended fourth (G7Sus4), or dominant seventh-flat thirteenth
The lydian-augmented scale is used with major
chords that have a raised fifth step, like the major seven-sharp five
(Cmaj7#5), the major seven-sharp eleven-sharp five (Cmaj7#11#5), and the
major thirteen-sharp five (Cmaj13#5) chord.
The Lydian b7 scale
is used with major and dominant chords that have flat fifth, flat ninth,
and flat thirteenth chord alterations. A few examples are major-flat
five (Cmajb5), dominant seventh-flat five (C7b5), dominant seventh-flat
five-flat ninth (C7b5b9), and dominant seventh-flat five-flat thirteenth
The locrian #2 scale is played with minor
seventh-flat five (half-diminished) chords like Cm7b5. It can also be
used with minor ninth-flat five (Cmin9b5) and minor eleventh-flat five
(Cmin11b5). This scale works better than the locrian scale when the
ninth step is unaltered.
The super locrian scale is used with
altered fifth and ninth dominant chords. A few examples are dominant
seventh-sharp five-sharp nine (C7#5#9) and dominant seventh-sharp
five-flat nine (C7#5b9) chords. Because this scale flats every step but
the root (1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, b7), flatting the root note creates a
The whole tone scale works with dominant chords that
have a raised and lowered fifth step such as C7#5, C7b5, C9, C9#5,
C9b5, and C7#5#11.
The whole step-half step and half step-whole
step scales are used with the dominant seventh chord and can add flat
ninth (b9), sharp ninth (#9), sharp eleventh (#11), or thirteenth (13)
chord extensions such as C7, C7b9, C7#9, C7#11, or C13. Diminished
seventh chords like Cdim7 can be used as well. Remember, these two
scales are the same, just starting on a different note.
augmented scale can be used with augmented chords (major chords that
have a sharped fifth step). This scale can also be used when the
augmented chord is extended with a major seventh interval to create the
major seventh-sharp five chord like Cmaj7#5.
Continue to practice
and experiment with the many vast possible combinations of scales with
chords. If a teacher or a friend is not available to practice with, try
to record a few chord progressions and then practice solo ideas on top
of them. Listen to each scale against the chord progression to find
which scale fits best for that song. Also, look at some favorite songs
and begin to analyze the scales used in those songs, and how those
scales sound against the chord progressions. This process will become
easier with time, and also help define a unique composing style that
helps separate one musician from another.