Ok, i was reading an introductory guide to thoery from UG, but i just dont seem to follow it very well.

Maybe someone could take a shot of explaining it to me as simply as possible. Something isnt clicking, and I am hoping for it to just click and have one of those.. "OHHH HOLY ****" moments
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Ok, basicly look at it like a guide of what sounds good together. If you go around the circle clockwise starting at the top which im guessing is C you'l end up at G wich is the 5th note of the C major scale. And if you play a C major chord followed by a G major i think youl find that it resolves nicely and so on. I just use it when i get stuck writing solos and cant find a good note to continue a passage with.

Edit: And if you keep following the circle from G you'l end up with D, wich happens to be the 5th note of the G major scale. So the next note in the circle would be the 5th note of the D major scale hence the "circle of fifths".
Last edited by fu man chu at Jul 15, 2006,
the circle of fifths is a way to remember how many sharps or flats there are in each key.

(I'm assuming you understand that each note has it own key based off of the increment of w-w-h-w-w-w-h.)
now for instance we know "C" has no sharps or flats, "G" has one sharp, "D" has two sharps, etc. the sharp in the key of G as you will notice is five notes away from G on this chart (go to the letter G and count around clockwise 5 places and you will find F#. when we go to the key of "D" we keep the f#, and we add a new sharp, which is fave places away from the letter D on this diagram, which is C# (or in this case the alias Db). so each time we keep the sharps from the previous letter and ad another one, which happens to be five places away from the root of the key.

you may ask "well why the heck is it in the order of C-G-D-A... etc.?" if you write out the key of "C" -> C D E F G A B you will notice that G is the fifth note. when the key of "G" is written out -> G A B C D E F# you will notice that D is the fifth note of the key of "G". notice a pattern?

so to answer the question there are two reasons it is called the circle of fifths, one because the keys are arranged by the fifth note of the preceeding key (going around clockwise starting at "C"), and two because the fifth note from any root note you pick is the new sharp you add for that key, keeping in mind that any preceeding sharps still apply.

you will also notice that if you pick a root note and go back one note, then count around clockwise 7 notes, you will have all the notes for that key. for instance we pick "A". if we go backwards one step we get a D, then forwards we get A E B F# Db(C#) Ab(G#). those, when put in the right order (A B C# D E F# G#) are all the notes of the key of A grouped together on a nice little chart.

oh yeah...only pay attention to the outside of the circle of fifths for now. in essence the inside circle means that for instance C and the minor key of A have all the same notes. to get a minor the minor scale of A take the A scale and flatten the third note, the sixth note, and the seventh.
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Last edited by rockon717 at Jul 15, 2006,
Yea, i understand much better now. But I dont think i could put it into practice very easily yet.

But i am a bit fuzzy on one thing, finding the notes for the keys.

w-w-h-w-w-w-h
Whole step, whole step, half step, etc...

But after looking at the notes on a fret board Im not sure where these come from.

So if you look at "C" as a root note (C D E F G A B), youd have to go down to the 8th fret (for the low E string)

From what I can see, From C to D is a whole step, D to E is a different string, E to F is a half step, F to G is a whole step, G to A are on different strings, and A to B is a whole step. I dont see how the W-W-H-W-W-W-H works. Im sure i am missing something...no i take that back i am positive I am, maybe someone could help me
Quote by ICANSEEYOU7687
Yea, i understand much better now. But I dont think i could put it into practice very easily yet.

But i am a bit fuzzy on one thing, finding the notes for the keys.

w-w-h-w-w-w-h
Whole step, whole step, half step, etc...

But after looking at the notes on a fret board Im not sure where these come from.

So if you look at "C" as a root note (C D E F G A B), youd have to go down to the 8th fret (for the low E string)

From what I can see, From C to D is a whole step, D to E is a different string, E to F is a half step, F to G is a whole step, G to A are on different strings, and A to B is a whole step. I dont see how the W-W-H-W-W-W-H works. Im sure i am missing something...no i take that back i am positive I am, maybe someone could help me

``````
C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C
W  W  H  W  W  W  H

[B]W[/B]hole step between C & D.
[B]W[/B]hole step between D & E.
[B]H[/B]alf step between E & F.
[B]W[/B]hole step between F & G.
[B]W[/B]hole step between G & A.
[B]W[/B]hole step between A & B.
[B]H[/B]alf step between B & C.
``````

Try not to think of music theory as a completely guitar related thing when you're applying it to the guitar... strings are irrelevant in the construction of a scale.
Oh lol, whoop sorry I see now

Its the steps between the notes when they are in order. So is that how you use scales to improvise? If the next note is suppose to be a step down from a C in a scale, I guess you could play any D on the fretboard?
Quote by ICANSEEYOU7687
Oh lol, whoop sorry I see now

Its the steps between the notes when they are in order. So is that how you use scales to improvise? If the next note is suppose to be a step down from a C in a scale, I guess you could play any D on the fretboard?

Yes!

You sound like another person who has fallen victim to thinking of scales as fretboard patterns, buddy...
Quote by Johnljones7443
Yes!

You sound like another person who has fallen victim to thinking of scales as fretboard patterns, buddy...

well technically scales are patterns on the fret.. but in which the pattern lies can be altered as long as the pattern you use utilizes the notes in the scale of which you are referring
yea ive started learning the notes on a fret board.

A lot of people say this isnt necessary. But I think if I wanna get comfrtable with the fret board, I need to know the names of things as well as where to place fingers and physical positions.

You can build a computer without any knowledge of the parts and what they do, but I guess it does help a **** load
Quote by ICANSEEYOU7687
A lot of people say this isnt necessary. But I think if I wanna get comfrtable with the fret board, I need to know the names of things as well as where to place fingers and physical positions.

Who said that?
Great thread, I finally understand!! Thanks Rockon717...you're explanation was great...now to apply the new info...
Quote by Johnljones7443
Who said that?

Just people ive talked to...

but guitar is hard to take advice on, i guess most of it is preference, unless its thoery which I guess is based on math...well mathish haha
I think I finally get it! Is this why in songs like "Magic Bus," "Black Dog" and "Get Back" you can always hear that A-G-D combo? Whoa, threadstarter I jsut had that "OH HOLY ****" moment
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Quote by ICANSEEYOU7687
Just people ive talked to...

but guitar is hard to take advice on, i guess most of it is preference, unless its thoery which I guess is based on math...well mathish haha

Please, don't listen to someone who says learning the notes on the fretboard isn't necessary.
lol well i decided a while ago i was gnna do it anywayz, just need the time, lol im gonna try to memorize all the root notes up to the 12th fret on all the strings first. and then go for all the sharps and flats and what not.

I thought that might be best

Anywayz, a couple of more questions. I was looking on cyber fret to see what else they had to say and ran into this.
http://www.cyberfret.com/theory/circle-of-5ths-major/index.php

I have a couple of questions with this.

First is this section
memorize the order of sharps (these are the more common keys used for guitar). Get some staff paper and write the key signature for C# over and over until you just know it. Then you will be able to figure out any key signature, using the tricks learned above. Start quizzing yourself, and write the answer on your staff paper. Then do the same for the major keys that use flats.

- after reading down I see that it says that it says the guitar keys. Are the key signatures just the different order of notes for a particular root note?

Order of the sharps? Is that just in the normal order of notes?
And what are the key signatures?

And my next question would be considering something like the Key of A.
A B C# D E F# G# A
After reading a bit I saw that there was no G# on the cricle, only to realize that Ab was also a G#. So do all the flats, you just take them down a note and make them sharps and they are the same? So like Eb is also a D#?
Last edited by ICANSEEYOU7687 at Jul 16, 2006,
bump -

dont wanna make a new thread
:P
Yes flats=the sharp below it
Ab=G#
also for keys remember the pattern: whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half
these represent steps, so for example your key of A is right: A to B is a whole step, B to C# is a whole step, C# to D is a half and so on.

Remember that B to C is a half step, as is E to F.
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