This is an online fiddle lesson for "Fidget Spinner" by John Cockman.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Key of D
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"Fidget Spinner" is a tune I wrote to illustrate an improvisational technique. Since most songs incorporate modal chord progressions, a major scale will almost always sound good no matter what chord happens to be played behind it.
For example, in the key of D, the modal chords would be D, Em, F#m, G, A7, Bm, and C#dim.
When the song changes chords, it is tempting to change scales in order to improvise over the new chord. However, there is great freedom in recognizing that the notes of the major scale (D in this case) are nearly the same notes that appear in the other modal chords.
“The Fidget Spinner” is just a random string of eighth notes over seven measures that I can play as a “loop” over top of some typical chords. Since my chord progression is based on 8-bar verses, the seven measure loop doesn’t quite fit. Because of this, I get different chords every time the song loops, finally ending after 56 measures.
The point is this: You don’t have to play a new scale just because the chord changes in order for your improv to sound good. In most cases, you can stay right there on the major scale, and just let the natural chord progression of the song take that scale to new and uncharted places.
Video #1: Here is a video of me playing "Fidget Spinner."