The Basics. Part 6

The Basics Extended. This lesson teaching you how to write songs and create your own chord progressions.

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This is the first extension of the five basic lessons. Please review the first five lessons to have a better interpretation of the lesson. 1. Song Writing: This is a short but extremely valuable lesson. By the end, you will know how to write your own songs. What's that you say? You thought that writing songs was just playing random chords and finding out what sounds good?? Sorry to say, but there is an actual method to writing songs and chord progressions. But the good thing is that writing by this method, you'll be sure to know that every chord you use will sound good together!
Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major, Minor, Diminished.
That there is the one small line of writing that will help you forever when writing your own music. What you will need to know are the scales. To start, you first of all have to establish what key you would like the song in. Let's say 'A major' for example. There are seven words in the method above; this is because there are seven notes in any major or minor scale. Make sense? Good.
The seven notes in the A major scales are: 
A, B, C#, D, E, F# and G#
Now its time to put it all together! Just match up the seven method words and the notes of the scale!
Maj, min, min, Maj, Maj, min, Dim. 
 A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#.
So this means that when writing a song in the A major key, the chords that can be used are: A Major, B Minor, C# Minor, D Major, E Major, F# Minor and G# Diminished! Well done! Now you can have endless hours of song writing at your fingertips, well... for the rhythm sides of things anyway! Cheers! You're on the path to success! I'll be posting lesson seven as soon as possible!

46 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    nyl
    to whom ever writes the article about the basics part6 it really gives an idea. i suggest that you should have explained about the WWHWWHWH steps so that they learn also on how to figure out the chord that they can use if they want to start on other keys.
    FalloutGREEN182
    hey good lessons, they really helped me, i just wish i would have looked here before i started taking guitar lessons, but im kind of confused with the part where you pick a key for your song you want to write and how you know what chords to play in it, so can some one help me out with that? great lessons
    sing4am
    another test E--2----- B--2----- G--0----- D--0----- A--1----- E--2 -----
    petergillies
    guys im sorry for all confusion. When high voltage ripped these, he decided to put them ALL in 'the basics' section... where they clearly shouldnt all be. All i do for work is teach and i wont come near this kind of work for at least 6 months to a year. When students start out, they dont care about scales and a bunch of boring stuff like this! it takes a while to start questioning where things come from and asking how do 'i' actually write music?? THAT'S when i will start teaching this stuff to my students.
    SilentDeftone: I'm glad your lessons are helping some people; however the quality of your lessons has degraded. The first few were decent, but as you progress they have just gone downhill. I don't know if that's because of lack of commitment or lack of knowledge. The main problem that I find in your lessons is that you don't really explain why anything is the way it is; you just say 'Here do it this way'. It's nothing personal. I'm not trying to attack you! -SD
    Yes SD, it was a lack of motivation. I worked way too hard on my website for a while and just plain burnt out.. havn't really touched it since. Ive written and changed new/old lessons with the intention of creating a new web site, but i am not motivated to go through that kinda work these days! i might post the lessons somewhere else seperately?? and about the bit when u say i dont explain anything, exactly true. you're correct. ive found it takes a certain level of guitarist to actually question why things are the way they are. Not only that, but if u go telling them why things are the way they are when they're not 'ready' for it, it just goes in one ear and out the other. Sorry for the frustration it must cause u and other compitent guitarists reading these/this. take it easy.
    difitzio
    so simply put yet so valuable that is a fantastic lesson for begginer players (or intermediate as I like to call myself!) If you actually review your comments... What scales should I learn after major? Is there a point in learning major pentatonic if I know the major scales?
    lewisb87
    Hey Voltage could u please send me the chord scales for each key coz im a lil confused how to work it out! (or ne1 else who feels like sending it to me) my email address is lewisb87@hotmail.com. Thanks all
    bilytalentwanab
    i am a really bad begginer and im really trying but i honestly cant understand all of the technical terms you use.. could you make one in simple terms for all of us who arent verry bright
    rockshed22
    i learned so much from you dude!! i really owe you one!! good thing theres a one like you who post this kind of article just to help us noobs.. tnx again, you really are a gifted one! aha! (well i guess they wont be calling me noob anymore coz of you!)..=)
    JakeLP
    I have a question. idk maybe i'm retarded but how does this apply to powerchords because they aren't major, minor or diminished, or am i wrong there too?
    ahigs
    great work, im a little diasapointed there wont be a seventh lesson but i understand your reasoning. ive been just covering songs that i like now this has really helped. ive gotta say a agree with silentdeftone in that the standard deteriorated but still nice
    Sladin
    nice lesson...im learning my music theory and everything and i didnt know about writing in Keys...and i didnt know hardly anything about keys....and now i do
    nickwentinsane
    rockersk8erdude wrote: that was good now i just have no idea what the heck a em or am cord is!!!
    Em is E minor its a minor third with a major third stacked on top, and the root note is e. Am is A minor its a minor third with a major third stacekd on top of it, and the root note is a. If you want to make the chord major, you start with the major third on bottom, and than add the minor third on top of that.
    ansie
    thans 4 the help now my songs dond sownd like garbage any more thums up
    Normandy114
    Really Good, A major chord scale is a really good simple one for showing off with, good choice.
    Spanner
    You are correct Silent Deftone (nothing personal high voltage) as I dont only teach my students their chords, I also show them how to use em, maybe in a classic track or something, because if they dont know how to use them, they wont get anywhere
    high voltage
    Suppa: good lessons...my little brother is learning guitar and these have helped him out [POSTED: 03 February 2005 - 09:51]|
    Excellent. That's what I like to see. Young, fresh guitarists. If you or your brother needs any help feel free to personal message me with any comments, questions or concerns. Cheers to anyone who enjoyed my six lessons. As for the seventh lesson, I'm currently in doubt there will be a seventh. At the moment, I've stoped working on it, due to SilentDeftones disgraceful comments. Good luck all. You may see my seventh lesson. We'll wait and see! Until then, keep on playing guitar and trying hard I suppose. Best of luck, Chris.
    SilentDeftone
    I'm glad your lessons are helping some people; however the quality of your lessons has degraded. The first few were decent, but as you progress they have just gone downhill. I don't know if that's because of lack of commitment or lack of knowledge. The main problem that I find in your lessons is that you don't really explain why anything is the way it is; you just say 'Here do it this way'. It's nothing personal. I'm not trying to attack you! -SD
    logen99999
    wow, i've been playing guitar for almost 3 years now without theory at all. i learned the blues scale and i know to play it to the root notes and their chords but this lesson opened up new worlds of improvising to me. granted i will have to memorize the entire fretboard and its notes but it's worth it. about 15 min ago i created my very own riff and scale solo based on the A chord all thanks to theory. i recorded myself playing the chord riff on my computer and then i just play an improvised solo on the a major scale. it sounds pretty cool to be and i cant stop playing it and experimenting. I?ve come to the point in my guitar development where I really need a formative way to shape and create solos. I?ve managed some good ones without theory but I?m beginning to see how easy scale theory makes soloing as long as you have enough practice to ride the scales from top to bottom (just a matter of practice). All in all great article, it helped me a lot!
    Suppa
    good lessons...my little brother is learning guitar and these have helped him out
    SilentDeftone
    You basically badly explained my lesson, which can be found at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/c... You should have covered common chord progressions, for example 12 bar blues is I7 IV7 I7 I7 IV7 IV7 I7 I7 V7 IV7 I7 V7, or the most common jazz progression of ii V7 I, or even I IV V for rock and/or blues.
    Naya
    I really liked it! I've taken lessons and this pretty much told me all I would have needed to know if I had wanted to learn tabs on my own! Good job.
    Guardian angel
    its a fair post ! but here is what we are realy dealing with when useing the CAGED SYSTEM ( KEYS ) USEING THE 5 OPEN CHORD FORMS C,A,G,E,D moved into closed formations which brings us into barre chords ! and a master fretboard pattern's for any key so as a general rule if you stay in the key everything will sound fine now as far as song writeing go's i use a systamatic formula because ( one chord sounds good when its followed by another ! ) now ( tension and resolution ) are another thing so certain chord's sound good when followed by one that creates the feeling you desire ( so called chord leading ! ) take a look below at the chart for major chords I CHORD MAY LEAD TO ANY OF THE OTHERS CHORDS II - MAY LEAD TO THE IV / V / OR VII CHORDS III - MAY LEAD TO THE II / OR VI CHORDS IV - MAY LEAD TO THE I / V / OR VII CHORDS V - MAY LEAD TO THE I CHORD VI - MAY LEAD TO THE II OR IV CHORDS VII - MAY LEAD TO THE I / OR III CHORDS ITS JUST THE WAY TO USE IT AS DESCRIBED NOW AS FAR AS MASTER FRETBOARD PATTERNS GO ID LIKE TO DO ONE ON THAT IF IT HAS NOT BEEN DONE BEFORE HERE ? IT TOOK ME 2 YEARS OF HARD WORK TO UNDERSTAND THAT CAGED SYSTEM WITH NOTHING TO GO BY BUT EXPERAMENTATION A SMALL AMOUNT OF READING LIKE THE POST DESCRIBES AND THE REASON YOU SEE ALL THE OTHER NUMBERS OR NOTES ON THERE ( IS BECAUSE IT A CHORD SCALE RELATION SHIP ) PERTAINING TO THE ROOT AND SCALE STEPS SUCH AS A FLAT FIFTH OR FLAT SEVENTH WHICH IS EASILY SEEN WHEN THE PROPER CHARTS ARE VISABLE I HAVE ONE FOR EVERY MAJOR KEY AND FOR EACH OF THE 5 OPEN CHORD SHAPES IT DEALS WITH WANT TOO SEE ONE ! OK THIS IS THE C CHORD FORMATION WITH SCALE STEPS AND IM NOT GOOD AT THIS SO WELL SEE HOW THE TAB COMES OUT WITH THE OPEN STRINGS AS A GUIDELINE E--b3--3--4--b5--5 B--b7--7--R--x--2 G--b5--5--x --6--b7 D--x---2--b3--3--4 A--x---6 --b7--7--R E--x---3--4-- b5--5 when each position is done with the remaining chords that link together so it took some time to do mine as you see from above ( its the missing link guy's ) after all it took two years to see the shapes come together like it should and ive just took 2 years off your learning it so dont waste your time get buzy !
    jono034
    thank you for pointing this out, we are working on finding out the full details right now!
    jono034
    thank you for pointing this out, we are working on finding out the full details right now!
    NefariousGlow
    I found the lesson helpful, but i am still very confused when it comes to guitar theory. Should i learn all the notes on the fretboard before i continue to batter my brain with no results?
    petergillies
    high voltage: Suppa: good lessons...my little brother is learning guitar and these have helped him out [POSTED: 03 February 2005 - 09:51]| Excellent. That's what I like to see. Young, fresh guitarists. If you or your brother needs any help feel free to personal message me with any comments, questions or concerns. Cheers to anyone who enjoyed my six lessons. As for the seventh lesson, I'm currently in doubt there will be a seventh. At the moment, I've stoped working on it, due to SilentDeftones disgraceful comments. Good luck all. You may see my seventh lesson. We'll wait and see! Until then, keep on playing guitar and trying hard I suppose. Best of luck, Chris
    You disgrace me. no wonder you aren't gunna post the 7th lesson, because I havnt wrote it yet! how can u get off on ripping my work and taking compliments like that - and u dont even accept any criticism.. Everyone - check www.geocities.com.apeguitar.. go to the lessons page. all of "high voltage's" 6 lessons are in fact my own. Like i said in the lesson 5 comments, these last few lessons are about content - the content works and yes, i am a teacher and i teach my students all about what chords to use, how to use them...u cant do all of ur guitar theory over the internet! i gotta make money somehow! again, high voltage....shame shame.
    petergillies
    funny how high voltage says there wont be a 7th lesson...you know why? because i havnt written one yet for him to steal and post on here for his own glory.