Baby Steps To Learning Lead Guitar. Lesson 1: Basic Music Theory

author: JohnUTFB32 date: 10/14/2010 category: music theory
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I wrote this out to help those of you who are in the same situation I was in a couple of years ago. There are probably more self-taught guitarist than there are for any other instrument and if you are like me the technicalities of playing can come slowly even if you have a natural aptitude for music. I'm going to go through the step by step process of how I learned to play lead guitar, and try to avoid complicated aspects of music theory and simplify it into a way that is easier to grasp. I started playing and went through phases just like most guitarist have. Most people hear other people playing guitar and decide that they want to learn to play as well, and as you start you learn your chords, simple picking, and tabs to songs that you like. If you make it past this phase, you make it further than most people who pick up a guitar, and then you start to get to where it's actually a hobby of yours. After that, strumming rhythms become more comfortable and picking improves drastically. You begin to throw in hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides into your playing naturally. That's the point I was stuck at for a while, and I was enjoyable to listen to and I knew a lot of songs but I wanted to progress to become a better musician. If you're feeling the same way, then these lessons might help a lot. Whether you want to learn lead, or your satisfied as a rhythm guitarist all of this is good to know if you want to get better. If you want to learn lead it is extremely important that you start to learn some theory and technique. Musical Keys: I'll start with musical keys. It is a good idea to have a cheap keyboard because keyboard's make it very easy to see things because the keys repeat in a pattern going from the lowest to highest note. The keys that are located identically in the pattern of keys are the same note just at different octaves. Between these octaves are a total of 12 white and black keys. Each musical key contains 7 of these notes in different variations based on the key you select. We will use the Key of C Major for the examples. Pitches in the key of C: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C Each major key also has a corresponding minor key with the same notes. Pitches in the key of Amin: A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A Chords: Each key also contains 3 principal chords and other secondary chords. TO SIMPLIFY IT, just remember that the principal chords in a key are the root note (C Chord), 4th note (F Chord), and the 5th note (G Chord). The secondary chords are the root minor note (A minor Chord), 4th minor note (D minor chord), and the 5th minor note (E minor chord). You can play any song in any key if you adjust all notes accordingly Guitar Example: (The Troggs Wild Thing) (***Strum each chord out once.) Key of A Major : A, A, D, D, E, E, D,D Key of G Major: G, G, C,C, D, D, C, C Scales: The basics of lead are just learning your pentatonic scales. TO KEEP THINGS SIMPLE the basic major scale is the key pitches listed above for C major (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C) and the minor scale is the notes listed above for A minor (A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A). Now don't feel overwhelmed like you have a lot of scales to learn the finger pattern repeats itself on the neck and is the same for every key it just changes its root note location on the neck. For Example
A minor Scale
e|---------------------------------------------5--8-----------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------5--8-------------------------------------|
G|-----------------------------5--7---------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------5--7----------------------------------------------------|
A|--------------5--7------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----5--8----------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
C Major Scale
e|---------------------------------------------35-----------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------3--5-------------------------------------|
G|-----------------------------2--5---------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------2--5----------------------------------------------------|
A|--------------3--5------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----3--5----------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
Also notice
 
B minor Scale
e|---------------------------------------------7--10-----------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------7--10-------------------------------------|
G|-----------------------------7--9---------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------7--9----------------------------------------------------|
A|--------------7--9------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----7--10----------------------------------------------------------------------|
which is the same as the a minor scale pattern just moved up to frets. You will assign each finger a fret in order to play this scale (1-index, 2-middle, 3-ring, 4-pinky). So the minor pattern would be simplified to 1-4 1-4 1-3 1-3 1-3 1-4 and the Major scale is played 2-4 2-4 1-4 1-4 2-4 2-4 Start out with those memorize them going up and going back down. Once you accomplish this your ready to move on!
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