Theory Lessons

Vi-ii-V-I’s Made Easy

Theory

you’re finding it difficult to master the basics of jazz guitar, you have got to check out this lesson! By breaking down the most common types of substitutions used in this famous sequence of chords, you’ll learn how to simplify your thought process and be able to comp, o...

Stormy Monday Changes

Theory

One of the most famous forms of the blues, Stormy Monday is a classic chord progression that all guitarists should know. Unlike a 12-bar blues, this form incorporates a lot more changes, and some sweet, minor chords mixed in for good measure. Jump into this lesson now, to get ac...

The Blues Scale

Theory

It all starts with a scale…the blues scale. This variation on the pentatonic scale is one that you’ve heard many times in popular music and believe it or not, is fairly easy to learn. This small group of notes is truly the foundation for the blues and all the styles that the...

Upper Structure ii-V-I

Theory

All jazz players know that ii-V-I’s are the foundation for almost all jazz music. By learning how to rearrange simple ii-V-I progressions into a slightly more harmonically complex progression, you can achieve more “outside” sounds. In this lesson, you’ll learn what makes...

Slow Fusion Backing Track Lesson

Theory

By now you’ve probably checked out the backing track, maybe even figured out the chords and jammed on it a little. But here we have three licks that show you a plethora of things you can do with this type of chord progression. From R&B inspired licks to arpeggios and even some...

Slash Chords Part 2

Theory

This continuation of the previous series on Slash Chords, takes us into a world of suspended sounding chords based on the upper four strings. By following a melody on the upper string and creating chords that are based on fourths, fifths, and occasionally thirds, you can create ...

Slash Chords Part 1

Theory

A very common sight when reading chord charts is seeing slash chord symbols. By learning how to decipher these ambiguous chords and incorporating them into you playing, you will be able to expand your harmony and create new and unique sounds while maintaining the overall harmoni...

Secondary Dominants

Theory

Whether you’re into jazz, metal, rock, blues or anything else, you need to know what secondary dominants are. These types of chord progressions, or ways of altering progressions, are a key component to almost every style of music. Packed with enough theory to make your head sp...

Rhythm Changes Part 1

Theory

If you’re here then I’m sure you know what you’re looking for. This single progression known as Rhythm Changes is one of the absolute greatest ways to learn how to play over complex jazz changes. Let’s face it, there are times when you feel comfortable playing over certa...

Ninth Chords

Theory

The next logical step to learning chords is learning how to expand them past one octave. This is one major stepping-stone to unlocking a whole new world of music theory and all that comes with it. No matter what style of music you prefer; learning and incorporating 9th chords in...

Minor Blues

Theory

The minor blues is one form of a blues progression that was made famous by BB King in his song “The Thrill Is Gone”. By replacing the standard dominant chords with minor chords and by tweaking the turnaround, you can elicit some spooky and melancholy sounds from your guitar....

Major & Minor Scales

Theory

People talk a lot about scales in the guitar world, and if you’re not privy to the info, then you’re missing out big time! Here is your chance to learn the construction of major and minor scales and how they relate to each other. You’ll also understand the different positi...

Major & Minor Chords

Theory

At this stage in your playing, you are most likely familiar with several major and minor chords that appear commonly in music. The next logical step is to understand how those chords function and what roles they play amongst other chords within a song. This lesson is a step-by-s...

Major 7 Sharp 11 Chords

Theory

One of the most undervalued types of chords, this “jazzy” sounding chord can be used in various chord changes and can even function as a substitute for dominant 7 chords…That’s right, a major 7 chord that can also be a dominant chord! This lesson is designed to get you c...

Learning the Fretboard

Theory

Once you have a grasp on the complex relationship between the strings and the frets, you need to take that knowledge and transpose it across the fretboard. By learning the patterns of notes and the tuning differences between the strings you’ll begin to understand how to trave...

Learning Intervals

Theory

One of the most beneficial things a guitarist can do to further their progress is to memorize and get comfortable playing and hearing different intervals. By learning the space between two notes and the various shapes and combinations that exist on the fret board, intervals can ...

Jazz Blues

Theory

If you’re familiar with blues guitar, but you want to take a journey into the world of jazz, then this lesson is for you! The “jazz blues” form is one that incorporates common jazz progressions into a blues format. In this detailed lesson you’ll get the inside scoop on w...

Introduction To Suspended Chords

Theory

Found in so many songs and played by nearly every great player, suspended chords are a very special category of chords with a very unique sound. Sus2 and Sus4 chords are a great (and fairly easy) way to inject a whole lot of new color and life into your playing and songwriting. ...

Intro to Improvisation

Theory

There comes a time in every guitarist’s life when he/she wants to freely play what they hear in their head. This lesson is designed to give you the understanding and the freedom to begin this life-long process. In order to improvise comfortably, we have to not only understand ...

Intro To Diminished Harmony

Theory

A key component to learning and understanding polytonality in chords is the diminished chord, and the various harmonies it evokes. One of the only truly symmetrical scales, the diminished and diminished7 harmony in this lesson is technically very easy to learn. It lies very comf...

Introduction to ii-V-I

Theory

If you know some basic seventh chords you’ll be able to get this concept down in no time. This common chord progression is a staple of western music and is found in nearly every style. It is also the foundation of jazz and much more complicated theory. Using the key of C and t...

Phrygian Mode

Theory

Here is one unique sounding mode! This minor mode is one that can be played over a few different chords and can sound very different depending on how you finger and articulate it. This lesson will give you the tools and the info necessary to whip this scale out at will! The s...

Mixolydian Mode

Theory

Do you want to take your theory knowledge to the next level? This in depth look at one of the most common modes includes fingerings, licks, exercises and real-life application of this particular series of notes. A small bit of knowledge about major and minor scales is required f...

Melodic Minor

Theory

This mysterious and exotic sounding scale is really a blend of two simpler modes that you probably already know. Using this scale you can launch yourself into a new world of harmony and theory. Whether you’re into jazz, fusion, rock or any other genre, this is one lesson that ...

Lydian Mode

Theory

This major mode is used often over either major 7 or major 7#11 chords and can impart an awesome, atmospheric and airy texture. Whether rock, fusion, jazz or any other genre, this lesson will teach you how to effectively use this mode! The seven modes of music are a quintesse...

Locrian Mode

Theory

Modes are useful ways of thinking about a scale in relation to either another scale or a chord that you’re playing over. This lesson on the seventh of the major modes will teach you how to incorporate it’s “outside” sound within a familiar harmony and also show you how y...

Introduction To Seventh Chords

Theory

So you know all your major and minor triads, the scales that go along with them, and also how to play them in various places on the neck…what next? Well, the answer to that is to take your chord knowledge and bump it up a few notches. This lesson is created to help you learn h...

E Altered Blues – Backing Track Lesson

Theory

Here is an example of what you can do with some complex harmony. By taking a standard 12-bar blues in E and “altering” it with the inclusion of #9 and half-diminished chords you can create tension and release that allows you to really step outside the normal blues notes. Exp...

Harmonic Minor

Theory

These lessons on the “alternate” forms of the natural minor scale will broaden your musical horizons. If you’re already comfortable with the major scale and the natural minor scale, just a few tweaks of either one will provide you with the ability to flow in and out of the...

Half-Diminished Chords

Theory

Otherwise known as a Minor7b5, this type of chord is one that is found in nearly all types of popular guitar music. From blues to rock to jazz, these minor chords function in a lot of different ways. Being able to use half-diminished chords as a substitute for dominant and even ...

First 5 Frets

Theory

The first five frets on the guitar contain so many notes and possibilities that one could spend years just learning this section of the fretboard. Fortunately, you don’t have to! With this in-depth lesson you’ll get access to the understanding of the musical alphabet and how...

Dorian Mode

Theory

If it’s time to take you’re playing to the next level, then here you go! This lesson is designed for the players who are already familiar with standard minor pentatonic and natural minor scales but who want to elevate their playing to a higher degree. This theory-based lesso...

Dominant Sus Chords

Theory

One of the most common sounds in music is a suspended chord to a dominant one before hitting the resolution chord. Combine both of those into one sweet sounding dominant chord and you get a dominant suspended chord. In this lesson you’ll learn the theory behind this unique way...

Diatonic Chords

Theory

What are diatonic chords? Well, any good musician will tell you, they’re essential for mastering your instrument. Learning how to play all the standard chords within one key will not only challenge your fingers, but your mind as well! Part 1 [S3VIDEO bucket="lesson-...

Chordal Vocabulary

Theory

ulti faceted approach to familiarizing yourself with various chord types and fingerings. Ranging from open chord scales to piano voicings, this is a grab bag of sorts for guitarists. By dealing with various “extended” chords that are commonly found in jazz, fusion, and R&...

Chord Scales Part 2

Theory

A natural continuation of our lesson, Chords Scales Pt. 1, this time around the focus is on 7th chords. If you’re looking for a bit more color, variety and musical expression in your chord playing, then rest assured you’ll find what you’re looking for right here. Part...

Chord Scales Part 1

Theory

Before you learn the finer points of more complex and colorful chords you must first learn how simple chords relate to each other within a certain key. Most popular songs generally stay in one key and being able to play all the chords associated with that key is a huge advantage...

Blues Chord Substitutions

Theory

The blues and its many forms are a constantly evolving type of music, and your playing should reflect that. By learning how to alter and substitute chords within the standard form of the blues, you will go from playing stale harmonies to bouncing around the neck using chord melo...

Beginning Rock Guitar

Theory

s video course is perfect for aspiring rock guitarists who need to build a rock-solid foundation of skills. By the end of this series, you will have learned all of the techniques you need to rock out, including left hand and Right hand playing, tuning the guitar, hammer-ons, pull...

Beginning Blues Chords

Theory

Once you’ve gotten a hang of the blues scale and what you can do with it, its time to turn your attention toward playing the chords. These slightly challenging chord shapes are given in specific keys that are common to guitar playing and used through out the blues. In addition...

6th Chords

Theory

6th chords are an awesome way to inject color and tonal difference into your chords. By simply changing a major, minor or dominant chord to a 6th chord, you can create a whole new world of sounds, scales, and arpeggios to explore. This in-depth look at the three types of 6th cho...

13 Chords

Theory

This lesson is for the intermediate player who wants to learn some new chord shapes and ways to use them in daily playing. One of the most common types of chords is a dominant7, and if you can begin the long journey of understanding its many variants, you’re going to be well o...

12 Bar Blues

Theory

The full progression of the blues is really only 12 bars of music. This in depth lesson on the blues form and some examples of it will take you through a step-by-step approach to playing the blues. By showing examples in easy to play shapes and guitar riffs, it makes even the mo...

The Altered Scale

Theory

The mysterious altered scale! What is it, how do you play it, and what chord can it fit over? These are all questions that you’ll soon have the answers to. By breaking this scale down into two parts, I’ve come up with a way to simplify it so that it’s easy to think about a...

Easy Chords & How To Alter Them

Theory

Just as the title implies, in this lesson you’ll learn how to take simple chord shapes such as A minor or D major and transform them using minimal effort into some awesome sounding, and very colorful variations. Don’t let your rhythm playing become dull and stagnant; learn h...
 
 
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