#1
I suppose this question would be considered a guitar technique, as in a technique to learn theory or notes on the fretboard.


I just recently began teaching myself music theory and have learned arpeggios and their relative pentatonic shapes, and the CAGED system for constructing the basic diatonic chords on the fretboard.

My question is, would it be more beneficial as a guitar player to learn as many chords as I can (dominant 7's; 9,11,13, etc) to understand what notes I can play in every key? In other word, a G7, C7, and a D7 chord all played on the third fret creates a really nice blues progression where you can play the g major pentatonic over it.

Another unrelated question I have is regarding soloing.

Take a look at this video. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nJgwSICbIBk

It's clear to see that Mayer isn't using the restraints of the pentatonic scale and he's going beyond that including additional notes. My quest is how do I know what notes on the shapes I can use? Can I use a specific pentatonic while a specific chord is being strummed? If I can mix different keys of pentatonic shapes, how do I know which note bridges that transition it so it doesn't sound out of place? I hope these questions make sense, I might be able to elaborate more if there's any confusion.
#2
i've probably misunderstood what you've said, but have you tried learning chord construction from intervals? that's way handier than learning tons of chords by rote.

there are a bunch of ways to approach that soloing. i'm far from an expert, so take this with a pinch of salt (also it might be better to ask this in the music theory forum), but you can just use your ears and if the note sounds right, odds are it is; if you know the overall key of the song, you can just use that scale over the entire thing (assuming all chords in the progression are diatonic i.e. all the chords are from within the key, there aren't any weird chords from outside the key); you can target chord tones in your soloing (i.e. if you know the underlying chords, if you hit any of the notes within those chords in your solo when soloing over that chord and it should sound "right"); you can attempt chord scale theory (that's getting beyond me, but if you google that you should be able to find some lessons on it); and probably a bunch of other approaches too that i haven't thought of.

i basically just wail away in the blues scale with a bunch of clichéd licks
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jun 7, 2015,
#3
I would ask in music theory forum but I don't have permission lol. And I suppose this is a technique. But to elaborate more on what I'm saying.....


If you listen to John Mayers "Something Like Olivia", the song is in the key of A#. (Or so I think it is). And when you listen to the solo part of that song, he branches outside of the A pentatonic. He's not using blues notes in the pentatonic so I want to know if he's using notes from other pent scales?
For example, he does a quick little lick where he hits frets 8 down to 6 on the B string (G and F); then on the G string he hits frets 9 and 7 (E and D); then on the D string he pulls off on frets 10 and 8 resolving on the 9 (C and A# and B). When you look at the pentatonic major scale shapes for that key, it doesn't include the 8th fret of the b, or the 8 or 9th frets of the D. My question is, how do I know those extra notes will work? How can I know them? Is there a scale pattern that fits it? Is it just knowing my modes that will assist me with that?
#4
i don't think modes will really help.

do you know the full major and minor scales (i.e. diatonic 7 note scales, not just pentatonic). after that it's just a matter of getting used to how the other notes sound when use alongside the scale i.e. chromatics, notes which are technically outside the scale but which can be made to work if you use your ears and/or know how they're going to sound, especially if you use them as "passing tones", where you don't stay on them for very long and just use them to get back to a note which is within the scale.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#5
You can play any note (interval) against any chord ... it's all about the how you deal with the potential "clashiness" (dissonance) that may arise. For example, you wouldn't typically hold a Bb for ages against a chord whose root is A ... but you may well use this fleetingly on the way to or from A.

A lot of more advanced players will play licks or sequences from completely wrong keys in the middle of something "correct" and then revert to the "correct" stuff again. This is pure ear-candy, just to literally catch the listener's attention briefly, before its gone.

Core to all of this is a knowledge of intervals (not note names) ... which has the benefit of reducing the learning effort by at least 90% (muc more when different chord types get involved). I'd place knowing intervals (sounds, shapes, names) orders of magnitude more important than note names.

I provided a few lessons on this that may help you. The interval lessons are found at

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/music_theory/drastically_cut_learning_time_with_intervals.html

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html

other related lessons linked from there.

Using outside notes is covered in http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/soloing/chromaticism_and_swing_picking.html.

Good luck,

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jun 10, 2015,
#6
^ yeah intervals are the thing
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#7
I've been trying to teach myself as much as I can about music theory without taking classes so everyone's input is very much appreciated.

I enjoy the term "ear candy" because it sounds so sweet when done properly. I want to get my knowledge of guitar up to the point that I can use chromatics and intervals without really thinking about it and I do know it's going to take some time.
Does anybody have any info on learning techniques for ear training? I've done the do-Ray-mi frequently and can match each note, but I have a hard time recognizing notes in music. The technique I've been doing is using the small box shape on the E-A-D strings. Fret 8, 10 on E; 7, 8, 9 on A etc. but as far as applying that, I can't. Do I just need more practice? Or are there other things I could try.
#8
http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/customize


heres a good interval ear training website, you can pick what intervals you want to train with, and it will play an sound clip of 2 notes and you guess the correct interval

this site has abunch of other very usefull tools and stuff just check out the links on the home page.

http://www.musictheory.net/
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Last edited by Rocketface2112 at Jun 10, 2015,
#9
Quote by bdavidshort
I've been trying to teach myself as much as I can about music theory without taking classes so everyone's input is very much appreciated.

I enjoy the term "ear candy" because it sounds so sweet when done properly. I want to get my knowledge of guitar up to the point that I can use chromatics and intervals without really thinking about it and I do know it's going to take some time.
Does anybody have any info on learning techniques for ear training? I've done the do-Ray-mi frequently and can match each note, but I have a hard time recognizing notes in music. The technique I've been doing is using the small box shape on the E-A-D strings. Fret 8, 10 on E; 7, 8, 9 on A etc. but as far as applying that, I can't. Do I just need more practice? Or are there other things I could try.


There's two things you can practice.

First, and most useful, is to recognise where an interval sits in relation to the key note (tonal centre).

A great starting point is listening to/imagining simple nursery rhymes, smple folk songs, national anthems etc. The vast majority of these are based on the major scale, and start on the key note (e.g. C (3rd fret 5th string), or start with the 5th followed by the key note (e.g. G (3rd fret 6th string (bass string)) followed by C (3rd fret 5th string), and then wander round using the 2nd (D), 3rd (E) and 5th (e.g 5th fret 4th string) mostly, with the 4th (F).

Hence if you practice singing the root, 2nd, 3rd and 5th of the major scale (whatever key you like) and can also sing the 5th from below the root, you can match these up aganst these songs quite quickly.

This may sound like a trivial or childish exercise but I promise you it really works.

The reason is that we nearly always hear a melody as notes in relation to the key centre. In real musical situations, you are typically working within a key.

So sing 1,2,3,5 in various orders, in the car, etc (either just in head or out aloud), and check yourself as best you can.

When you have a guitar, do same, and now you can check yourself. Let a fragment of a simple melody come into your head, sing it, and try and rationalise what the intervals are.

Second, less useful initially (and much harder in isolation), is learn to recognise the intervals between successive notes.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jun 11, 2015,
#10
Quote by bdavidshort
I would ask in music theory forum but I don't have permission lol. And I suppose this is a technique. But to elaborate more on what I'm saying.....

pretty sure you do!

Moved to MT
Actually called Mark!

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#11
Both your questions can be answered by deepening your understanding of harmony and chord scale theory.

You should be able to construct ANY type of chord in your head, and you should be able to know what "colors" and note/scale choices work for any specific chord.

For example, I can think of:

9 scales
6 Pentatonics
11 Triads
4 Four part Chords (not including the chord itself)
7 1235 patterns

All over one G13 chord. Options galore. Granted, that's extreme, because only a few of those are total "vanilla" and "inside" sounds, but all convey a G7 harmony.

Now granted, I don't use all of them all the time, but I know what I can make work and reconcile with my own style of playing, because I understand how the harmony of the music works together and how I can connect and delineate it linearly.

Not to mention, I can add FUNCTIONAL chromaticism to any part of the line to further convey the harmony.

I can also (getting into what Jerry said), avoid certain conventions, and play "outside" while still retaining harmonic clarity.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#12
Quote by bdavidshort


Take a look at this video. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nJgwSICbIBk

It's clear to see that Mayer isn't using the restraints of the pentatonic scale and he's going beyond that including additional notes. My quest is how do I know what notes on the shapes I can use? Can I use a specific pentatonic while a specific chord is being strummed? If I can mix different keys of pentatonic shapes, how do I know which note bridges that transition it so it doesn't sound out of place? I hope these questions make sense, I might be able to elaborate more if there's any confusion.


I didn't break down that solo.

But a really common trick is to mix the major and minor pentatonic scales. There's some great lessons on this at Mike Dodge's website.

One basic trick for expanding your palette is a sort of simplified version of chord-scale theory. Use the pentatonic scale which has the same name as whatever chord you're on. So on a C you'd play a C major pentatonic, on a Dm you'd play a D minor pentatonic, etc. Play around with that, and it might give you some interesting ideas.
#13
It's important to remember that the CAGED system is about learning and developing basic technique. The whole idea behind is to learn where your scale/chord/key notes are no matter where your hand is on the neck, that way you aren't always stuck going to "the" A-chord you first learned, or playing "the" pentatonic pattern you know.

Getting that much out of it depends entirely on you knowing what notes are in those shapes and why you're using them instead of others.

It sounds like you have accumulated some knowledge here, but don't really know how to use it all yet. I wouldn't worry about extended chords and such until you have a grasp on how your melodic playing relates to the chords. That's beyond CAGED, but the knowledge from the CAGED system will help you play melodies and chords all over the fretboard as you get better at choosing notes.

The biggest revelation I had learning this stuff years ago was realizing that you're really just playing mix and match with the chord tones. Your chord contains, say, C E G Bb (C7), so what notes do you know will definitely sound appropriate with that chord? You can probably guess: C E G Bb. Not a coincidence, obviously.

Your goal should be to examine some bluesy solos and see just how the notes in the solos stack up against the notes in the chords. They will be related, even if it's something like an Eb played over a chord with E natural.
#14
So if you guys could list what I need to learn in matter of importance as far as giving me the ability to create a song, what would you say I need to learn? I don't know any chords but know the arpeggio shapes and of course the corresponding pentatonic.

I know most _7 chords give a blues tone. I'm very intrigued with intervals because I think that would help me find notes in a scale from strings 6-1 rather than finding those notes all on one string. Should I start there? I want to be able to create a progression that could lead me into a song. What about sound/tone? Any tips for discovering what suits me? Mayer has his tone, SRV, the black keys. Even playing style and the overall composition of the song seems unique to them. I'm having trouble searching for what expresses me.
#15
Came across this while searching for material on intervals.

http://www.thecipher.com/demo_common-materials.html

After looking it over I wanted to ask, should I learn intervals with numbers or should I focus on the note name? I know how to play a lot of songs from my favorite artists but I don't know any of the notes I'm playing, but can eventually figure out the key I'm in.

And thanks to everybody for all of your replies. I value the knowledge and input.
#16
You don't know any chords?

Then you don't know any arpeggios either.

Start there.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#17
Quote by Jet Penguin
You don't know any chords?

Then you don't know any arpeggios either.

Start there.

Agreed, sounds like you're trying to run before you can walk, albeit with the best intentions.

Take a step back from the theory - learn the basics of chord construction, learn some chords and get some songs under your belt. If you want to write songs it helps immensely to have some hands-on experience with other people's songs - listening to recordings is all well and good but going through the process of learning and internalising the song yourself, as well as havng to think about it whilst playing it, there's no substitute for that.
Actually called Mark!

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#18
Well I know the basic diatonic chords. And know the formulas like 1 b3 5 is minor triad and the extensions in relation to the notes in the scale. (9 11 13). But I don't know how to form them on the fretboard without really thinking about it and taking a lot of time. I know what they all mean though in terms of finding whether it's diminished or augmented.

So I should just focus on learning chords on the guitar first? Should I focus on the notes involved in the chord or number?
#19
If you can find and easily grab:

Maj
Min
Dim

Maj7
Min7
Dom7
m7b5
dim7

Off every root of course,

You're good until you want to expand on that. I guess another big step would be to start learning about diatonic and non-diatonic harmony, how keys/modulations work, and basic Chord Scale Theory, and that will give you a grasp on what the "safe" notes per key are.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#20
So right now I should focus on learning chords of all structure and hen progress to intervals to have a deeper understanding of those chords?

How should I approach learning the different chords? Just focus on one key up and down the fretboard or all keys in one position? I'm really anxious to learn and better my playing and think I've reached my breaking point on how far I can teach myself.

I've read it's impossible to completely teach yourself music theory and is absolutely necessary to ask others and be taught from someone else. Is there validity to this statement?
#21
^Technically no, but you can easily mislead yourself with all the bad info out there, as well as miss a few things or be on a different page as the rest of the general community.

You want to learn a few shapes (or at least off multiple string sets) for each shape. Once you delve more into how harmony works, the idea of how to extend certain chords will teach itself more or less.

The way that worked for me is one shape at a time in all keys until it was second nature, and on to the next one, inch by inch.

What I posted is more or less the bare minimum to survive "not knowing a chord", and then you can start extending all the harmony after that, if that makes sense. You can then start learning a few handy voicing for 9 11 and 13 chords, until you reach the point (WAY down the line) where you start improvising all your chord voicings.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#22
Well I understand how the CAGED system works for the basic keys and can form the different shapes corresponding to a specific key up the fret board. But I'm assuming you mean a more complex chord structure or just focus on triads?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just too eager.
#23
If you can play your triads, the next step is to learn all the 7th chords.

No worries, eager is good.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#24
I'll start there then. I've been playing for around 5 years and just recently decided to get into music theory because I was getting bored of looking up tabs and having no comprehension of what I'm playing. I understand I have a long way to go and hoping I'll get there lol.

After 7th chords should I begin on intervals or look more into extending chords? I fully understand how to create chords and name them but I have to write out the scale and figure it. When do I automatically start doing it in my head? lol. Practice makes perfect I suppose.
#25
^Do both at once. It all comes together.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#26
Quote by bdavidshort
But I don't know how to form them on the fretboard without really thinking about it and taking a lot of time.

So I should just focus on learning chords on the guitar first?


Yep. Take the time to actually practice all those triads up and down the neck. All 12 keys. Major, minor, diminished, augmented.

An easy way to do this is in sets of 3 adjacent strings:

Example - C major triad

xxx010
xxx553
xxx766
xxx12.13.12

xx201x
xx555x
xx876x
xx14.12.13

x320xxx
x755xxx
x887xxx
x15.14.12xxx

332xxx
875xxx
12.10.10xxx
15.15.12xxx

Once you have the triads memorized, use a metronome (very slowly). This stuff is pretty useless if you don't actually get it under your fingers.

After triads, do 7th chords (sets of 4 adjacent strings). This should take a little while, just giving it some time every day. After a while they'll get easier and you can do them as a regular exercise.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 16, 2015,
#27
Quote by bdavidshort
I'll start there then. I've been playing for around 5 years and just recently decided to get into music theory because I was getting bored of looking up tabs and having no comprehension of what I'm playing. I understand I have a long way to go and hoping I'll get there lol.

After 7th chords should I begin on intervals or look more into extending chords? I fully understand how to create chords and name them but I have to write out the scale and figure it. When do I automatically start doing it in my head? lol. Practice makes perfect I suppose.

Yes. Extended chords and intervals are all key. Look into the following to start:
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/30
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/31
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/32
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/33
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/40
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/42
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/45
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/48
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/47

I know it seems like a lot, but that should get you started without overwhelming you. Then, as you choose, you can go into more complex examples after mastering the concepts in those lessons.
#28
Quote by cdgraves
Yep. Take the time to actually practice all those triads up and down the neck. All 12 keys. Major, minor, diminished, augmented.

An easy way to do this is in sets of 3 adjacent strings:

Example - C major triad

xxx010
xxx553
xxx766
xxx12.13.12

xx201x
xx555x
xx876x
xx14.12.13

x320xxx
x755xxx
x887xxx
x15.14.12xxx

332xxx
875xxx
12.10.10xxx
15.15.12xxx

Once you have the triads memorized, use a metronome (very slowly). This stuff is pretty useless if you don't actually get it under your fingers.

After triads, do 7th chords (sets of 4 adjacent strings). This should take a little while, just giving it some time every day. After a while they'll get easier and you can do them as a regular exercise.


I've really liked the way you've tabbed this out and I've immediately been trying to break down the notes on the guitar. Do you have any links available to lead me to something like this but for all keys? I think this would really fit my learning style. Thank you for the input!
#29
Upon looking at that a bit further, cdgraves, it looks like I can just used the CAGED system and pluck three strings adjacent to get those triads? I hope I'm analyzing that correctly.

Edit: I realize the 766 doesn't correspond with the G-shape that would be a 558. Nevermind

So instead do all major triads only consist of 1 3 5 combinations?
Last edited by bdavidshort at Jun 16, 2015,
#30
Quote by bdavidshort
Upon looking at that a bit further, cdgraves, it looks like I can just used the CAGED system and pluck three strings adjacent to get those triads? I hope I'm analyzing that correctly.


Yes, those are the mostly CAGED shapes, just put in a specific order to use an exercise, which you can apply to pretty much any chord concept for practice. Working them out in all 12 keys is important, not just for fretboard knowledge, but so they're actually ready to go when you need them.

Once you know your 7th chords up and down, doing the chord extensions is so much easier than trying to memorize them earlier on. You'll be a much more fluent player by doing the "math" of figuring out these concepts with only your guitar in hand.

The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is just sit down with your guitar and work this stuff, without referencing anything. You'll probably want to write out all the notes in each triad inversion. It might get tedious, but while you'll spend a couple of weeks on this, you'll have the rest of your life to use the knowledge.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 16, 2015,
#31
Quote by bdavidshort
Came across this while searching for material on intervals.

http://www.thecipher.com/demo_common-materials.html

After looking it over I wanted to ask, should I learn intervals with numbers or should I focus on the note name? I know how to play a lot of songs from my favorite artists but I don't know any of the notes I'm playing, but can eventually figure out the key I'm in.

And thanks to everybody for all of your replies. I value the knowledge and input.



Learn the shape and the sound of the interval ... learn the name (e.g. b3, b7...). You will literally see them in chords then. You don't need to focus on pitch names for this.
Suggest you read http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html.

cheers, Jerry
#32
Another question. I've learned all the C Triads and feel comfortable playing them up and down the neck and started learning D.

But should I learn them chromatically instead? Or just stick with C major scale for now?
#33
Quote by bdavidshort
Another question. I've learned all the C Triads and feel comfortable playing them up and down the neck and started learning D.

But should I learn them chromatically instead? Or just stick with C major scale for now?



It's ideal to practice everything you learn in all 12 keys. The order you do that in doesn't really matter, as long as you get to all of them.
#34
Quote by bdavidshort
Another question. I've learned all the C Triads and feel comfortable playing them up and down the neck and started learning D.

But should I learn them chromatically instead? Or just stick with C major scale for now?


Circle of 5ths is the standard order for practicing stuff, just because resolution by 5th is the basic pattern in most traditional music. I find it's also good for getting out of "box" shapes because it's harder to rely on visual relationships when you move the pattern by a large interval.
#35
Quote by MeGaDeth2314
It's ideal to practice everything you learn in all 12 keys. The order you do that in doesn't really matter, as long as you get to all of them.


Is it though?

I'm not so sure I agree. Maybe a controversial stance, but hear me out.

Guitar Keys generally come down to 5:

E A C G and D

Flat keys, are generally used in Jazz and in vocalist/capo situations.

Now if you're going to be going into Jazz, I agree, that because of temporary tonicization, or key changes, like Satin Doll Changes keys, 4 times in the first verse, absolutely, learn all 12 keys, and practice them, because those ii V relationships are present everywhere in Jazz.

But if not, I'm not so sure there's a dividend for playing in all 12 keys when the chances that you are going to be playing in those keys, is slim to none.

Now, I can play in all keys without needing to practice them, and that's good. Know your key centers, your intervals etc? Notes on the neck of your guitar? Sure!

Yes, but practice them in 12 keys? There I'm not such an advocate of drinking that old glass of Kool Aid...

Best,

Sean
#36
I'd probably inquire directly as to the person's goals to be sure, but he sounds pretty diligent and eager to learn. I think it's valuable to know all the keys for anyone who wants to play outside their bedroom - you never know when you'll have to transpose something for performance, and I'd feel awful silly if I could tear it up in E, but floundered in Eb.
#37
I tend to agree with Sean.

Due to the layout of the fretboard, learning everything in 12 keys like a pianist, while effective for memorization of patterns, is less effective than it appears.

A better solution would be to play something in each key during a practice session. For example:

Major triads in 3 random keys

Do the same thing for minor, diminished, augmented, and you've played triads in 12 keys for that day. The next session, use different keys. You can do the same process for scales and 4 part chords and anything else you need.

If practicing improv over a progression, maybe do the progression in 5 keys that day.

So don't play everything in every key, but make sure you play in every key on a regular basis.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#38
I guess it depends on time. It's easy to run through 12 keys several times in a 15min warmup, once you've memorized them and can play them at a decent tempo. Outside of practicing rudiments or transposition, I agree the priority should be working on diverse material.
#39
I think the caged system is very limiting. I tune in 4ths and my ststem is the G E system. My chords all fit into the E major shape or the G major shape. When I play a Major9 add #11 chord, I only have one shape for it, and it works anywhere on the fretboard. The root note can be on any string and the chord shape stays the same. Same goes for scales and arpeggios.