Finally I decided on no longer avoiding to learn scales and some theory A friend gave me a backing track using Cmaj7 and Fmaj7. I can use chord tones to improvise – but which scales can I use for each chord? Is there any rule or do I just have to try what sounds good?- If you do not have the time to answer right now I will ask again in an online session on jamplay. Thanks and regards, Stephan

September 23, 2016

To fully understand how the system works I recommend studying some basic Theory. Than means basically having an understanding of: Notes, sharps, flats, Major tonality, intervals and finally the 7 chords that form the family of a Major tonality. In this particular case, you have CMaj7 and FMaj7. This two chords correspond to the I (first) and IV (fourth) grade of the C Major Tonality (AKA Ionian mode). To improvise over this chord progression you’ll use the C Natural Major scale. C D E F G A B. No sharps, no flats. Having an understanding of the chord tones of both chords will help you as well (and you already seem to have that). Notice that the chord tones themselves are all part of the scale. CMaj7= C E G B and FMaj7= F A C E. The only note of the scale that is not there is “D” and that note can be considered an extension of both chords. The 9th of the CMaj7 and the 6th (or 13) of FMaj7.