Reeling In the Years Chords

Category : Blog

“Reelin’ In the Years” by Steely Dan is probably best known for its electric guitar solos, but the chords played on the keyboard are a great example of using diminished chords and voice leading that guitar players can learn a lot from. Continue Reading

“L.A. Woman” The Doors Mixolydian Mode Songs

Category : Blog

“L.A. Woman” by The Doors is a perfect example of using guitar modes. The song centers on an A major chord, but uses notes from the D major scale. This produces A Mixolydian mode. Continue Reading

Major and Minor Keys

Category : Blog

Guitar theoryMusicians often categorize songs as either being major or minor, but the truth is that there are three different major mode keys and four different minor mode keys. You need to figure out if a “major” song is Ionian, Lydian or Mixolydian mode. You need to figure out if a “minor” song is Dorian, Phrygian or Aeolian mode (the other, Locrian, isn’t used). Continue Reading

What makes a song light or dark, happy or sad?

Category : Blog

There are many things that can affect the mood of a song. Sometimes it’s as simple as the chords used and other times it’s as complicated as the lyrical message. Generally speaking, major chords and major keys produce a light, happy sound and minor chords and minor keys produce a dark, sad sound. But this is not always the case. Continue Reading

Smoke On the Water Guitar Chords

Category : Blog

“Smoke On the Water” by Deep Purple centers on a G minor tonality, but there’s some other stuff in there too. The opening riff features a b2 and b5 (ala the blues scale). Continue Reading

Guitar Modes Explained

Category : Blog

guitar modes DVDAs I have stated many times before, everyone has their own convoluted way of thinking about guitar theory, especially guitar modes. What many guitar teachers overlook is the fact that most guitar players don’t even understand the fundamental modal concept. They start talking about Miles Davis and Joe Satriani which is light years ahead of where most guitar players are at. Guitar players need to understand standard use of modal scales first before they can venture into more complicated applications.

Guitar Modes Explained
To learn modes from scratch in a simple and accurate manner that is easy to understand and apply see my DVD Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music. Click the link to learn more and sign up for a free preview.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Review: Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music DVD

Category : Video

guitar modes DVDOften times my customers can sum things up much better than I can. Rich bought my guitar modes video and finally found the answers he was looking for. If you’re serious about understanding music theory for guitar and developing into a great player, then I highly recommend reading his comments below.

“You are absolutely correct. EVERY book I purchased on the subject approached the topic the same way. That is, pattern number one is Ionion, pattern number two Dorian, pattern three Phrygian, etc. But you said something so fundamentally basic very early in the modes video that completely changed my perception of modes: “There is only one scale pattern and that is the major scale pattern that happens to be one large pattern on the fretboard.” Then you went a little further explaining the concept and it finally hit me…the mode is created by the underlying chord progression, not by any particular order that a note happens to be located within a major scale. The focus was on the wrong element, notes rather than chords.

Dude…what a relief from the frustration! For example, I would try to play something “Spanish” sounding using a “phrygian” pattern (because that is what everyone says to use if you want that Spanish feel). The problem is I would use the phrygian pattern in a chord progression that wrapped itself around a major sequence starting with the key (I). Guess what? It did not work out very well. Rather than sounding Spanish, it sounded sterile. …Yeah!….no kidding!….I now understand why. It isn’t because of a lack of talent (although that is entirely possible!) but rather a lack of understanding. (Pick a darker chord progression that wraps itself around a minor, iii in particular.) Now that Carlos Santana sound is just the correct chord progression away!

Thank you again for ending the unnecessary frustration.” -Rich

That’s as good as five stars to me. Thanks, Rich.

You can finally understand and use guitar modes too by getting Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music DVD. Click the link and sign up for a free preview.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

The Correct Way to Name Modes and Modal Scales

Category : Video

guitar modes DVDModes and modal scales are called by their roots, not parent major scales. For example, if you’re playing notes and chords from the E major scale, but the 5 chord B is functioning as the root, then you would call it B Mixolydian (not E Mixolydian). B Mixolydian means that B is the root and it’s the 5th (Mixolydian is the fifth mode). If B is 5, then obviously E is 1. With mode names, you must figure out the parent major scale yourself.

An example of a song in Mixolydian mode is “Fire On the Mountain” by Grateful Dead. It uses chords 5 and 4 from the E major scale with the 5 chord, B, functioning as the root. Play E major scale patterns over it and you’ll produce the B Mixolydian mode sound.

To learn more about guitar modes read Fretboard Theory Chapter 8 or watch the video Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music DVD.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

How to Play Over “Cocaine” By Eric Clapton With Modal Scales

Category : Video

There are actually a couple ways to play over “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton. Generally, Clapton treats it as minor in both his vocal melody and guitar solo, opting for strict minor pentatonic, no guitar modes. But in this live version at 2:53, Clapton treats the progression as ii I in D producing E Dorian mode. You can clearly hear him playing the full modal scale.

Because the root chord in the “Cocaine” progression is played as a power chord (root and fifth, no third), it could be treated as either major or minor. At 4:40 in this same live recording, Clapton’s sideman, Albert Lee, incorporates E Mixolydian mode, playing over the progression as if it were E major to D (V IV in A).

“Cocaine” is a good example of how sometimes a chord progression can be so sparse that you can actually fill in the blanks a couple different ways. Another option is to treat the progression as vi V in G producing E Aeolian mode. It’s only in circumstances like this that you can “choose” the mode.

Guitar Modes
Guitar modes are taught in Fretboard Theory Chapter 8 and also Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music DVD.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Phrygian Mode Song

Category : Blog, Video

“Space Oddity” by David Bowie may have a Phrygian Mode intro. The chord changes are Fmaj7 to Em. Play C major scale over it. I hear the Em as the root.

Phrygian Mode is created when the third degree of a major scale is functioning as the root. Continue Reading