Hello, everyone. So, I've been playing the guitar for a little over three years now, just playing songs, never actually getting into the "technical" aspects of it. But I really want to now. Like, I REALLY want to know how to construct and create my own music on a guitar. The problem is I have no clue on anything related to music theory, particularly in relation to the guitar.

I know very basic stuff, and I mean basic. I know the music staff, and I know # means one fret higher and b means one fret lower, but other than that, I'm lost lol.

I've been trying to learn all night. It seems to make sense until it starts talking about intervals and once they start naming all the different names of intervals (such as major second, minor second, perfect fourth, etc.) I get so lost.
It's like they're speaking another language. I want to learn so badly, but I don't know where to start, so I've come here seeking advice and suggestions. Some guidance into how I can become a better guitarist. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I appreciate it very much.
i can't do the work for you, but i can certainly tell you how to start.


don't skip a single lesson, and before you move on, find a way to apply everything from every lesson to the guitar.

if you do the work and figure this stuff out for yourself with minimal help, you'll find that you will retain it much better. use the resource provided and have a go at it.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
I'm with AW, on the idea that I can't do the work for you, and the only thing I'd add to it, is if you're interested I mentor players for free. You sound like you might be a good fit for what I do, so if that interests you, send me a message, and I'll see what can do to help you get going. Theory isn't that hard, but it can be a bit overwhelming when starting out.


Be sure to really master the very basic concepts before moving on to the next thing. Sometimes you have to learn it from several different perspectives in order for it to really sink in.
You don't need to know interval names like minor 2nd, major 2nd, etc., until you are quite a bit further along.

You need to know what a scale is...like chromatic scale, major scale, natural minor scale. The notion you can pretty much taken any selection of notes from 12 notes in octave and call it a scale. Like, I could do a four note scale that is

(1) My starting note
(2) 3 semitones above that
(2) 3 semitones above that
(2) 3 semitones above that
then start over an octave higher. So, in key of A, this would be:

A -- C -- Eb -- Gb -- A -- C -- Eb -- Gb

Boom, I just invented a scale, and you can transpose it to any key. In key of D it would be:

D -- F -- Ab -- B -- D ...

Well, I'm sure this scale already exists and has a name. The point is to understand any given scale is pretty arbitrarily selected. Well, arbitrary in the sense ANY combination of notes in the octave can be a "scale." What have become the most used scales -- like the major scale -- are those that composers and audiences like best,, so they get used the most. In Western music, that's the major scale and minor scale (which are very similar).

So, once you know what a scale is, set that info aside and just focus on the major scale. Understand its a system of intervals, which just means a pattern of gaps between notes. I find it easier to think of it as how many semitones between notes:


So starting with C this is:
2 2 1 2 2 2 1
C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C

Because you start with C, that is the "key" and tonic center, so you call this the major scale in C, or the C major scale.

Next focus on what chords are in the C major scale? There are only seven. There is always one chord from each note: There's a C, a D, an E, an F, a G, an A and a B.

But is the C a C major chord, a C minor chord, a C diminished chord, a C augmented? Etc. You get that from the basic "chord pattern" which is to "stack thirds."

You take each of the notes in the scale, like the D and that is the root note of the D chord. You then add the "third" which (if D = 1st, then E = 2nd, and F = 3rd, so you stack an F). So now you have D and F. Then you stack another third from the F (F = 1st, G = 2nd, A = 3rd). S now you have D & F & A. What kind of chords is that?

Well, what are the intervals:

D to F is 3 semitones F to A is 4 semitones. So the intervals are 3 - 4. That's the interval formula for a minor chord. So it's a D minor. You've been playing D minor chords for years, you can look down and confirm the notes you are fretting are D, F and A.

The formula for a major chord is 4 - 3. So, like, if you stack 3rds on the F, so F is the root of this chord, from the key of C, you get F - A - C. Those intervals are 4 - 3. So in the key of C, that's an F major. Work this out for all seven notes. You'll find they are all major or minor except for the B. The stacked thirds on B are B - D - F, which has the interval 3 - 3. That's the formula for a diminished chord. So in the key of C major, the B chord you play would be B diminished.

Now, write out the notes in the major scale for all 12 possible tonic notes. All but C have some accidentals. After you write out the notes, figure out all 7 chords that are in that key. So, like, for D you have:

2 2 1 2 2 2 1
D E F# G A B C# D

Your chords are going to be:


Stack the thirds and fill in the blanks.

Once you have done this exercise for all 12 possible keys, you then do it again for the natural minor scale (formula 2-1-2-2-1-2-2). It won't take that long because somewhere along the way, you'll see some shortcut patterns.

After doing those exercises, read the Wikipedia article on Circle of 5ths, then the article on modes.

That should get you able to write songs in any key, improvise in any key, etc., as a starting point. There's a lot more to learn, to add more complexity, write better songs, etc.

Bernie Sanders for President!
Before you do anything else, look up the major scale formula and write down the notes in all 12 major scales. Then figure them out on the guitar in 3 note per string patterns, from bottom to top of the fretboard.

Once you can do that, you'll have the foundation for every other basic theory concept.

Remember that if you can't play it, you don't know it. You have to know it more than on paper.