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Music Theory: Level 1

Music Theory: Level 1

For those familiar with the bare essentials of music theory but hungry to find their voice on the guitar. You’ll learn to play the seven modes of the Major Scale and the theory behind it, including diatonic chords, triads, arpeggios, key signatures, and most importantly, how to implement these concepts into your own guitar playing.

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Music Theory: Level 1
  • Introduction to the Chromatic Scale

    We’re going to talk about the Chromatic Scale! First, it’s important to know that a majority of the scales and chord shape examples in Guitar Super System are based out of the G Major Scale. With that in mind, the shapes and patterns you’ll learn can be moved around anywhere on the neck, and I’ll...

  • The Chromatic Scale Playing Example

    As you’re probably hearing, the Chromatic Scale doesn’t sound very good on its own. The good news is we’re only talking about the Chromatic Scale for your understanding — we won’t spend any more time playing it in this way. As long as you are aware of the Chromatic Scale, that’s all that matters ...

  • Using Chromatic Notes Effectively

    Chromatic notes are the beginning and the end of all the "correct" notes in your phrases. The perfect way to consider these tones are like stepping stones, where you don't want to stand for too long, but can afford to put your weight on for a moment or two.

  • Introduction to the Major Scale

    Now that you’ve conquered the Chromatic Scale, which sounds… er… really awesome, we’re going to discuss the Major Scale! The Major Scale is very simple to recognize, because it sounds exactly like the childhood song “Do, Re, Mi”.

    The Major Scale is the bread and butter of nearly every guitar pla...

  • The Major Scale: Three-Notes-per-String

    Unlock the code to playing three-note-per-string scales using easy-to-remember patterns. It will take a bit of getting used to, but once you have this concept down, you will be able to play the Major Scale in any key.

  • The Major Scale: Playing Examples

    Occasionally in Guitar Super System, you’ll find quick lessons that you can follow along with or draw inspiration from to create your own ideas, whether it’s something simple like a practice routine or something more involved such as songwriting methods. Everybody learns differently, so a rote ex...

  • Why Three Note Per String Patterns Are Great

    There are different ways you can play modes and scales on your guitar, but I like learning through the three-note-per-string approach best, because you always know how many notes you’re going to play on each string when playing through a given mode — three! It’s also the best and fastest way to m...

  • Diatonic Chords of the Major Scale

    As far as harmony goes, this set of chords will be one of the most important things you learn. These are the diatonic chords of the Major Scale. Diatonic means coming from or derived from a scale or key. So, for example, if our key is C major, then the notes of the key are C, D, E, F, G, A and B....

  • Determining Which Mode to Use Over Chords

    One of the most challenging things to do once you have the mode shapes of a given scale under your fingers usually has to do with finding ways to implement them into real guitar playing, as well as understanding when to use which mode over which chord. This is a solution to that predicament!

  • How the Modes Apply to Chords

    One of the most popular questions I receive in Guitar Super System usually have to do with finding ways to implement the major scale modes into real guitar playing, and understanding when to use which mode. In this lesson, I’ll outline how the modes apply to chords and demonstrate the concepts us...

  • Constructing a Major Triad

    Triads are often overlooked by many guitar players, which is crazy because they are incredibly useful in any musical context, from live performance to songwriting. Really, if you’re using triads in any situation where you’re playing guitar, chances are, you sound awesome.

    Let’s take an example:...

  • Understanding the Triad Study Materials

    This triad sheet is directly from the Berklee College of Music curriculum, and once you understand the concept of triads, these types of chord diagrams will be invaluable for you.

  • Constructing a Minor Triad

    An often overlooked piece of awesomeness by many guitar players, Triads will take your playing to the next level. Learn how to construct a Major Triad and its inversions, plus how to apply these shapes to your playing over chord changes as well as improvising. In this lesson, you’ll learn what m...

  • Constructing an Augmented Triad

    Learn to construct the very mysterious sounding Augmented Triad. The great thing is, these shapes remain the same all the way up the neck, so you only have to learn one shape per string set. For once, there ARE shortcuts!

  • Constructing a Diminished Triad

    Learn about the ominous sounding Diminished Triad and its inversions. It might sound strange by itself, but these Triads build unique tension in your playing when used correctly.

  • Implementing Triads Effectively

    Adapting triads into your guitar playing is one of the most enlightening things you can do as a guitarist. It expands the neck exponentially and provides more freedom than you ever had before, not only from a rhythm perspective, but for lead work as well.

  • The Four Phases of Implementing Triads

    Now that you've learned the triad shapes, it's time to understand how to seamlessly integrate them in your playing. The best way to do that is to use a song we can all sing in our sleep…

  • Improvising Using Major and Minor Triads

    Hear how I like to use Triads in a short improvisation. Download the backing track to try it yourself, too! Use D Minor triads over the D Minor Chord, Bb Major Triads over the Bb Major Chord, and C Major Triads over the C Major Chord. You can also use your Major Scale Modes! This track is derived...

  • Improvising Using Major, Augmented, and Diminished Triads

    Learn to make those strange sounding Augmented and Diminished Triads spice up an otherwise typical blues track. Be sure to download this track and use Bb Major, Eb Major, and F Major Triads over their respective chords. You can use F Augmented and F Diminished Triads over the F Major Chord as wel...

  • Understanding the Purpose of Chords

    Depending on the number of intervals, chords can be defined in different ways, be it diads (two-note chords), triads (three-note-chords containing a root, third, and fifth) or, like we’ll learn in this lesson, four-part chords. These types of chords can be constructed in countless different ways,...

  • The Chord that Changes Everything

    If you're searching for a solution to enhance an otherwise bland chord progression, look no further than the minor-IV chord. Set in the context of the diatonic chords of the Major Scale, this departure from the “rules” of the scale chords can be highly effective in conveying a certain mood. There...

  • The Circle of Fifths

    The circle of fifths is a helpful system of understanding the natural connections within the music we hear. It’s a great visual that can help us to learn about and memorize key signatures. Thinking about how many flats and sharps there are in various key signatures can be intimidating, but the ci...

  • Introduction to Arpeggios with Playing Examples

    Arpeggios are, essentially, chords that are broken out into single note patterns. For example, instead of playing a four note C Major 7 (C, E, G, B) chord where you strum all the notes at once, a C Major 7 arpeggio would have you play C, E, G, B as single notes in a four note pattern. Arpeggios a...

  • Root-Position Triad and Four-Part Arpeggio Exercises

    Arpeggios, when used effectively, can make even the weirdest chord progressions sound cool. Arpeggios are essentially chords, just played in single note patterns, and being conscious of which arpeggios are present over each chord you're improvising over will provide you with a wide array of music...