Major Scale Patterns For Dummies

Category : Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast, scales

Major Scales For Guitar
The major scale is a seven-step scale. When played ascending, it sounds like “Do, Re, Me…” Descending, it sounds like “Joy to the World…” It is perhaps the most important tonal element in all of music. You use it for building chords, measuring intervals, charting chord progressions, and playing melodies and harmony. The same patterns that are used to play the major scale are also used for the minor scale and all the modes.

Using the Major Scale
Many songs feature melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos, and bass lines that are based in major scale patterns. For example, “Friend of the Devil” by Grateful Dead features the G major scale played backward. The chorus to “Wild World” by Cat Stevens features the C major scale played backward. “La Bamba” by Los Lobos runs up and down the C major scale. The opening riff to “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne uses the notes from the A major scale, but focuses on the 6th degree, F#, making the F# minor scale. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana has a melody and guitar solo based in the F minor scale, which draws its notes from the Ab major scale.

Major Scale Patterns
The notes of the major scale are located all over the fretboard. A good way to get started with using the scale is to learn it as five patterns in five different positions. You then connect these five patterns to cover the whole neck.

Free Guitar Lesson
Listen to this podcast episode to hear examples of using major scales on guitar. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 33: Major Scale Patterns For Dummies

Guitar Theory For Dummies

This free guitar lesson is based on my book, Guitar Theory For Dummies, Chapter 12. Click the link to learn more about the book and watch a free video trailer. Continue Reading

Guitar Pentatonic Scale Patterns For Dummies

Category : Guitar Theory For Dummies, pentatonic, podcast, scales

Pentatonic Scale Patterns For Guitar
Guitar players use pentatonic scale patterns to play riffs, solos, melodies, and bass lines. You hear this scale and its variations used on acoustic guitar songs like “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd, electric guitar songs like “My Girl” by The Temptations, and even bass guitar songs like “Money” by Pink Floyd.

Major and Minor Pentatonic
The pentatonic is used as both a major and minor scale. You get to know the pentatonic scale by mapping out its notes on the fretboard. The pentatonic notes make five box-shaped patterns that you play one position at a time.

Guitar Technique
Aside from being useful for playing musical parts, the pentatonic scale patterns can help you improve finger strength, coordination and dexterity as well as help you develop alternate picking technique. The pentatonic scale is one of the most widely used scales among guitar players. If you’re serious about honing your chops and playing popular music, then you want to start working with pentatonic patterns.

Free Guitar Lesson
Listen to this podcast episode to hear examples of using the pentatonic scale. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 32: Pentatonic Scale Patterns For Dummies Continue Reading

Guitar Passing Chords For Dummies

Category : Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast

Passing Chords
To connect chords that are a whole step apart or more, composers often use passing chords, which use some of the pitches in between a key’s chords. One example is a chromatic passing chord, which simply moves in half step motion between two chords as heard in “I’m a Man” by The Spencer Davis Group (G-F#-F-E).

Diminished Chords
Another type of passing chord is a diminished chord. Diminished chords sound very dissonant and unstable by themselves, almost unusable. But when placed between the right chords, they make complete sense. Just listen to “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks for a good example. The verse uses the chords A-A#dim-Bm-E.

Augmented Chords
Sometimes an augmented chord functions as a passing chord, bridging the gap between chords with chromatic half-step movement as heard in “Crying” by Roy Orbison. This song features the chord changes D-Daug-G-Gm-D-A7.

Guitar Theory
In music, it’s important to not only learn the chords that belong to a key, but the different types of passing chords that can be played in between them. This free guitar lesson is based on Guitar Theory For Dummies Chapter 10. Learn more about the book and watch a video trailer at: http://www.guitar-music-theory.com/guitar-theory-for-dummies/

Free Guitar Lesson

Listen to this podcast episode to hear examples of guitar passing chords. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 31: Guitar Passing Chords For Dummies

Guitar Theory For Dummies

This free guitar lesson is based on my book, Guitar Theory For Dummies, Chapter 10. Click the link to learn more about the book and watch a free video trailer. Continue Reading

Dominant Chord Function For Dummies

Category : Blog, dominant, Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast, voice leading

The dominant chord (or the chord built on the 5th degree of a scale, V) is a fairly important chord in music. Its structure and push toward the tonic chord really help define the tonal center of a progression. The V chord in a key has what’s called a dominant function. In a chord progression like I-V, the dominant chord has a sense of movement, or instability, that makes the progression want to continue leading back to the tonic, chord I. For example, in the key of C, the V chord, G, wants to resolve on the I chord, C. You can intensify this leading quality of V by adding a 7th to the chord, making V7, or a dominant 7th chord. That would be G7 leading to C. Every major scale has a naturally occurring dominant seventh chord: G7 in C major, D7 in G major, A7 in D major, and so on.

Secondary Dominant
The relationship between the tonic and dominant chords in music is so strong that composers sometimes use a dominant function on chords other than the tonic, like on the ii chord or perhaps even the V chord itself. This is where you get chord progressions like C-A7-D7-G7. The A7 is V of D, the D7 is V of G and the G7 is V of C. Dominant chords used this way are called secondary dominants.

Dominant chords can also be played as a result of voice leading, or used simply for their color as a static dominant chord, which has no leading quality.

Free Guitar Lesson

Listen to this podcast episode to hear examples of dominant function and voice leading. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 30: Dominant Chord Function For Dummies Continue Reading

Tonics, Keys, and Modes For Dummies

Category : Blog, Guitar Theory For Dummies, modes, podcast

Major and Minor Keys
Every piece of music has a tonal center called a tonic. The tonic is the primary pitch or chord that everything else revolves around. It’s where a piece of music sounds resolved or complete and usually where the music begins and ends. Generally speaking, the tonic also determines a song’s key. When music centers on a major chord, it’s said to be in a major key. When music centers on a minor chord, it’s said to be in a minor key.

Guitar Modes
Traditionally, music has been taught as being in either the major or minor scale. The major scale is based on the first degree, and the minor scale, the 6th. But in fact, any degree (or any chord) in the major scale can function as the starting point and serve as the tonic. Because the major scale has seven degrees and chords, it also has seven possible starting points, or modes. Each mode has a unique sound and special Greek name. You may have heard of Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian modes.

Free Guitar Lesson
Listen to this podcast episode to hear examples of modal scales. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 29: Key Changes For Dummies Continue Reading

Key Changes For Dummies

Category : Guitar Theory For Dummies, key, podcast

When you play songs, sometimes seeing how a chord progression fits into a key is really easy. Other times the chords used in a piece of music seem to be completely unrelated. The main reason for this variation is that a song doesn’t need to stay in one key or one type of scale. In fact, composers often switch from one key to another within the same song or combine chords from different keys to form one chord progression.

In this free guitar lesson, you hear examples of modulations, modal interchange, borrowed chords, and the circle of fifths. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 29: Key Changes For Dummies Continue Reading

Guitar Chord Progressions For Dummies

Category : Blog, chord progressions, Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast

In music, songs typically follow well-worn paths by using common types of chord changes. On the fretboard, these chord changes make patterns that guitarists visualize and follow by number, like I-IV-V (1 4 5) and I-vi-ii-V (1 6 2 5). The chords and numbers are based on the degrees and triads of the major scale. This sequence of major and minor chords is one of the most important concepts in music. Knowing chord progressions and how to play by numbers is essential to knowing music theory, understanding song construction, improvising, and composing.

Get to know more about guitar chord progressions, including major and minor varieties, and listen to acoustic and electric guitar playing examples in this free guitar lesson. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 27: Guitar Chord Progressions for Dummies Continue Reading

Chord Tones and Extensions For Dummies

Category : chords, Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast

Chords are constructed from roots, 3rds, and 5ths. These intervals come from the major scale where the scale degrees produce different triads, some major and some minor (and one diminished).

Guitar players add chord tones and extensions to triads by incorporating the other degrees from the major scale. These added scale degrees include 2nds, 4ths, 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths.

Get to know more about chord tones and extensions, including how to use pedal point or pedal tones, and listen to acoustic and electric guitar playing examples in this free guitar lesson. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to my Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 26: Chord Tones and Extensions For Dummies Continue Reading

Let Love Rule Chords Guitar

Category : Blog

“Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz has chords that don’t all fit together in one key, or rather, one parent major scale. This is because the music is composed using secondary dominants and, at one point, even modal interchange and voice leading. Continue Reading

CAGED Chord Shapes and Arpeggio Patterns For Dummies

Category : Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast

In my free guitar theory podcast episode 25 I discuss how the CAGED system is used to play chord shapes, inversions, and arpeggio patterns on the guitar fretboard and demonstrate how various chord voicings are featured in popular music. Listen now at the links below.

Podcast Episode 25: CAGED Chord Shapes and Arpeggio Patterns For Dummies Continue Reading