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Crazy_Diamond
Hi there GMCers,

This is my first lesson ever, so I will really enjoy your feedback on this lesson. Today I am going to show you a new technique that has really improve my improvising and my writing skills. The essence of this lesson is to make the guitar fretboard readable and make the music theory understandable for anyone, even those who thinks that music is complicated. I really hope that this lesson will open the eye of a lot of gmcer. I am not a great guitar player but I read alot and I think alot so I came up with this lesson and I hope that I will be able to contribute to this website knowledge.

I would also like to precise that in this lesson I am not doing any critics about the theory and I am not saying that music theory is not important. Mastering the theory is better than mastering my lesson. But of course my lesson is easier than that. And it is probably the easiest lesson you will read about music theory.

Understanding Music with a guitar fretboard

Are you that type of person who is stugling with all the music terms? You don’t know how to play a whole bunch of weird chords? Or are you that kind of curious person who understand all this but want to learn the easier theory lesson on earth? Well this lesson is made for you guys.

All the elements that I’m going to explain today are about the first guitar chords you ever learned. That’s right, I am going to show you how to master theory + your guitar fretboard by knowing 3 chords. These chords are: E, A & D….. Not some difficult chords but the open chords you all know.

The magic formula
First of all, music are made out of note. These notes were not created by humans but discovered. The notes are: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#. Each of these notes is separated by a semitone. The distance between the note is called an interval. In this lesson we are going to focus on tone and semitone.

The major scale is what make music sound like a melody and not a whole bunch of note. The major scale is the language of music. To understand how a major scale work, you have to understand the magic formula……..
T, T, S-T, T, T, T, S-T.
T= Tone= 2 notes apart from all the music notes
S-T= 1 note apart from all the music note.

These formula is really really really really really really really really important.

The intervals
Let’s use the scale of C major as an example. By using the magic formula and starting on the C note you get. C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.

The distance between the notes is called an interval. And all these interval have numeral numbers.
So in the C major scale, the notes are
C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Uusually these numbers are written in roman numerals (I haven’t written them that wy because it was harder to fit in the forum. So know if we are in a C major scale and someone tells you to play the 3rd (III), you know it’s a E. The 5th (V) is the G. How easy is that ?

The major scale will be our point of reference for all the lesson. Think of all the other scales like major scale but altered.

The Chords
All the major chords are made out of three notes. That’s right!!! I’ll use the C major chords to prove it to you. All the major chords are made out of the I, III, and V degrees of each scale.
Take the C major chord.

|--0---| 1st String
|--1---| 2nd String
|--0---| 3rd String
|--2---| 4th String
|--3---| 5th String
|--X---| 6th String


Ok so grab your guitar and play that C chord. What are the note starting from the A string and going up ?
C, E, G, C, E
The three notes are there, since the guitar has 6 strings, some of the note can be repeated. All the majord chord are made out of the I, III, and V degrees of there scale. If you don’t believe me, you can use the A major scale, to find your degrees, and you’ll see that it works with the A major, the D major, the E major and so on.

The magic chords
The three magic chords of this lesson are E, A and D. Take a close look at the fretted note for each chord.

E|--0--|
B|--0--|
G|--1--|E Chord
D|--2--|
A|--2--|
E|--0--|

E|--0--|
B|--2--|
G|--2--| A chord
D|--2--|
A|--0--|
E|--X--|

E|--2---|
B|--3---|
G|--2---| D Chord
D|--0---|
A|--X---|
E|--X---|

What are the interval of each note compare to there scale. You have V, I and III. FOR THE 3 CHORDS YOUR FINGER ARE PLACE ON THE V, I AND III. THE ORDER IS ALWAYS THE SAME FOR THESE 3 CHORDS.

Now things are starting to get interesting. You have to look at these chords not like a bunch of note, but like some shapes. The shapes of your finger is really important to understand the intervals. By moving these shapes around the neck you are going to be able to improvise and mastering the neck. You are going to see all the intervals anywhere on the guitar neck. All the barre chords are made mostly out of the 3 chords we just mention.

What about minor chords ???
Easy…. Flat the III. I mean that if you want to make a minor chord take your finger that is resting on the III degree and move your finger one fret lower. There you go! You can try this with the three magic chords we look at, it works.

The III degree can also play with the Suspended chord. Suspended chords are chords that are not major or not minor. Suspended 2nd mean that you move your III degree two frets down. Now your III degree is a II degree (sus2). If you move your III degree one fret up, you get a IV (sus4).

I you want a 7major chord. You need to add a 7 degree to your primarily I, III, V chord. How ??? Flat the I degree. Remember the magic formula, if you want a major seven you have to go down 1 semitone. I you want a dominant 7 chord (usually name 7) you have to go a semitone lower than the 7 degree. I know it’s not in the scale but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The major scale is only a reference.

The relation between the chords
If you want to relate the chords together just follow the first magic formula. Let’s go back to the C major. Loads of songs in C major use the chords C, F, G or I, IV and V. All these notes come from the scale and they relate to each other. Now if you want to improvise, you can move your shape on the appropriate chords that are in the scale and playing within your different shape. You can also move your finger on the fretboard by playing other notes that are in the scale, you just have to remember the magic formula to navigate on the fretboard.

Usually in a key the chords are going this way
Maj-Min-min-Maj-Maj-Min-Dim7
I II III IV V VI VII
Move these chords around and you will be able to improvise anywhere on your neck. Usually guitar players don’t play a diminished chords but play a 7 chord it sound better.

Conclusion
The same relations between the note exist in all the major scale. The II is always minor and the IV is always major. You can move you shape around the neck pretty easily. The barre chords come directly from the shape of the E and A chords so it shoulnd’t be to har for you to mve the two shapes around. For the D shape, just remember that your I degree is on the b strin or if you prefer, the 1st fret of that string is a C note. Play with the shapes, play with the chords, now the fretboard is much more easy to see.

I hope I have been able to explain my point of view about music theory. I also hope that this reflection is going to help a lot of people to understand the fretboard.

Enjoy !!!



edit: typo
Chris Evans
cool idea for a lesson, I really like it, thank you for this! biggrin.gif
Crazy_Diamond
My pleasure ....
Kristofer Dahl
This was a very well written lesson - I'd be interested in hearing if this approach helps people with little theory knowledge! Thanks Crazy smile.gif
maharzan
QUOTE
A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, A.


I think you meant G# at the end. smile.gif reading through...
Boson
Thanks for this smile.gif

My theory knowledge is zero and I am sometimes daunted by talk on GMC about theory like modes and triads and so on. The problem is where do you start to learn all of this and how does it link to playing at a beginner ish level.

Your explanation made perfect sense and I feel it will be really helpful and useful
Emir Hot
Nice one. Very good explanation.
Bogdan Radovic
Very good and useful lesson! Thanks for contributing! smile.gif
Crazy_Diamond
QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Oct 17 2009, 06:45 PM) *
This was a very well written lesson - I'd be interested in hearing if this approach helps people with little theory knowledge! Thanks Crazy smile.gif


I hope so, this technique has helped me alot to improvise

QUOTE (maharzan @ Oct 18 2009, 02:23 AM) *
I think you meant G# at the end. smile.gif reading through...


Sorry writing all those notes, make me a bit confuse with the keyboard, I will correct this

QUOTE (Boson @ Oct 18 2009, 02:28 AM) *
Thanks for this smile.gif

My theory knowledge is zero and I am sometimes daunted by talk on GMC about theory like modes and triads and so on. The problem is where do you start to learn all of this and how does it link to playing at a beginner ish level.

Your explanation made perfect sense and I feel it will be really helpful and useful


Start slowly by playing around your shape. You ear is going to get used to the interval and after a while it is going to be much easier.



skennington
Nice job man! smile.gif
OzRob
QUOTE (Boson @ Oct 18 2009, 04:28 PM) *
Thanks for this smile.gif

My theory knowledge is zero and I am sometimes daunted by talk on GMC about theory like modes and triads and so on. The problem is where do you start to learn all of this and how does it link to playing at a beginner ish level.

Your explanation made perfect sense and I feel it will be really helpful and useful


Boson,

In terms of theory I'm not much further along than yourself. I can play, but little knowledge of theory has limited my songwriting creativity.

I don't want to detract from Crazy_diamond's post, so I'll just say this is what is helping me immensely in terms of theory.

1) Learn the patterns of the major scale. (Here's how I did it: http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...p;#entry266666) These patterns/shapes/boxes remain the same for every major scale. The difference is where you play them on the fretboard. Pick any of the patterns and play it anywhere on the fretboard. The location of the root note for that pattern tells you what major scale you are playing.

2) Use this site extensively (hopefully one day GMC will have its own tool like this): http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_sc...=0&choice=1

3) When you know the patterns (however you want to learn or remember them) and how to locate each major scale on the fretboard, the next step is practice improvising. Use some sort of recording device (DAW, tape recorder, MIDI software, etc) to write a basic repeating chord pattern.

Say you want to practice improvising in C Major, then lay down a simple chord progression.

From the website I linked to above, go to the "Scales to Chords" tool: http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/scales-to-chords.php -> Select "C Major" scale, and it will tell you all the chords in it. Select 3 simple chords and record a 4/4 pattern (for starters) of say C, G and F chords over and over.

Then just play over the chord progression improvising with a pattern/box (any of them) from the C Major scale. Over time your ear will start to help you discover what sounds good and where notes are located on your fretboard. Just keep it simple and have fun. When you are familiar with one box, switch to another and slowly internalise it. Don't complicate it, and with practice it will begin to just come naturally to you. As you get comfortable with the boxes, start practicing moving between them as this will allow you to learn the fretboard horizontally and not just vertically.






Boson
QUOTE (OzRob @ Oct 19 2009, 07:21 AM) *
Boson,

In terms of theory I'm not much further along than yourself. I can play, but little knowledge of theory has limited my songwriting creativity.

I don't want to detract from Crazy_diamond's post, so I'll just say this is what is helping me immensely in terms of theory.

1) Learn the patterns of the major scale. (Here's how I did it: http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...p;#entry266666) These patterns/shapes/boxes remain the same for every major scale. The difference is where you play them on the fretboard. Pick any of the patterns and play it anywhere on the fretboard. The location of the root note for that pattern tells you what major scale you are playing.

2) Use this site extensively (hopefully one day GMC will have its own tool like this): http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_sc...=0&choice=1

3) When you know the patterns (however you want to learn or remember them) and how to locate each major scale on the fretboard, the next step is practice improvising. Use some sort of recording device (DAW, tape recorder, MIDI software, etc) to write a basic repeating chord pattern.

Say you want to practice improvising in C Major, then lay down a simple chord progression.

From the website I linked to above, go to the "Scales to Chords" tool: http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/scales-to-chords.php -> Select "C Major" scale, and it will tell you all the chords in it. Select 3 simple chords and record a 4/4 pattern (for starters) of say C, G and F chords over and over.

Then just play over the chord progression improvising with a pattern/box (any of them) from the C Major scale. Over time your ear will start to help you discover what sounds good and where notes are located on your fretboard. Just keep it simple and have fun. When you are familiar with one box, switch to another and slowly internalise it. Don't complicate it, and with practice it will begin to just come naturally to you. As you get comfortable with the boxes, start practicing moving between them as this will allow you to learn the fretboard horizontally and not just vertically.



Thanks Oz Rob I will have a good look at this stuff smile.gif
Ivan Milenkovic
Awesome lesson man, very good theory explanations! I'm sure it will be very useful! smile.gif
Muris Varajic
Nice lesson, quite easy to follow. smile.gif
Daniel Realpe
very clear lesson, I'm sure many people will apreciate it,

Thank you! smile.gif
Fran
Just added this one to our knowledge base Student Instructor's Portal smile.gif

Leson here!

It was a great read wink.gif
Lian Gerbino
very well done man! all these explanations are so useful! smile.gif very kind of you!
Crazy_Diamond
I'm glad you liked it guys .... I'm doing what I can to contribute ...
Praetorian
Awesome info, thanks man!
Aleksander Sukovic
Very interesting. Thanks for this, man! smile.gif
blindwillie
I actually understood and could follow that!
I don't know what to do with it yet though smile.gif
Hammerhead
Thanks! It's helping me, cool.gif
Crazy_Diamond
QUOTE (blindwillie @ Dec 17 2009, 03:07 AM) *
I actually understood and could follow that!
I don't know what to do with it yet though smile.gif


It gives you good basis to improvise. Since you know where all the I III and V degree everywhere on the neck it helps you to create strong note in the solo...

For example, if you where soloing over a acoustic guitar, when the rythm guitar player plays a G chord.... you will know where the strong note are ... and since you know a few note you know the other notes around by using the t,t,s-t,t,t,t formula.... If the G chord was in the key of G ... then you could create strong harmony by fooling around witht he shape and hitting a trong note at the good time.

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