Every now and then I get these great little emails from people that have completed the Unlocking I IV V course, and they’re so encouraging that I thought I’d make a page on the website just for all these stories. Perhaps you’ll find them encouraging too, as you continue on your journey with the guitar!
Disclaimer: Any testimonials or success stories reflect actual results realized by individual players, and will not necessarily reflect your own experience with the course.
If you’d like your own experience included on this page, please submit one here.
These Lessons Have Helped Thousands Of Guitar Players
This little guitar lesson has quite literally helped thousands of guitar players first understand their instrument better, and second, become better players as a result. Here are just a few of the emails that I’ve received:
I – IV – V had unlocked and resolved some of the confusion I had with finding notes and chords.
You are absolutely right, I like to teach myself a few tricks but after many years of experiments you just made it simple. I had a few days of fun and it will last forever now!!!
At last l understand this system, thanks - I have looked at it many times.
Wonderful course!!!! I watched the I, IV, V course 3 times and each time I learned more. Thank you!!! I can see this a great continuation and an extremely helpful course.Wonderful course!!!! I watched the I, IV, V course 3 times and each time I learned more. Thank you!!! I can see this a great continuation and an extremely helpful course.
“Thank you for making it possible, exciting, and fun to learn”
Jonathan: I just wanted to thank you and say how happy I am with your 1-4-5 and guitar scale patterns courses. I started playing guitar when I was 12 - almost 50 years ago - yikes - learned some chords and songs - but was never able to unlock the fret board. I knew a lot of piano theory, but could not extrapolate it to guitar. Never even understood that the fretboard is a bunch of semi-tones which makes the guitar easier than piano in some ways.
Anyway, I stopped playing for decades until this past year when I began to feel a craving for it, especially playing electric lead. I hunted around the internet for instruction - lots of good courses - but couldn't find the right thing for where I am now. My brain can only absorb so much. Eventually I stumbled on the pentatonic pattern and realized this was a piece of the puzzle. Fortunately I discovered your courses and am thrilled - it helps that for 1-4-5 I already understand on some level what we are dealing with - I discovered this pattern when I began, but there is a wealth of information to absorb and apply.
I didn't think I could learn scales and patterns on guitar - it seemed incomprehensible to me. You are a wonderful teacher and I am so happy to finally be learning how to play beyond the level where I stopped so long ago. Learning to integrate some theory with improvisation and expression is my dream and I wanted to thank you for making it possible, exciting, and fun to learn. I have taught subjects in the past that could be considered complicated systems, and so I recognize how artful you have made these courses. I hope you will bring out more of them, although one could review these over and over and keep learning. Please feel free to use this as a testimonial if you want to.
Anyway - you have a wonderful teaching style and I wanted to express my appreciation to you.
I just finished the entire lesson plus the extra videos and will likely revisit some of them again to be sure I caught everything. I can’t say I totally understand it all but it did make lots of things clearer. I’ve been playing for more than 35 years and taught myself and play mostly by ear and now I’m wanting to learn more. I’ve already started practicing much more each day and have seen improvement. It’s my hope that my jam sessions with friends will become more enjoyable the more I practice and learn.
I can say that you do break things down in much easier to understand terms and don’t spend time on slashing but on learning techniques and for that, I thank you very much.
I look forward to your email tips as well. Thanks for the good work and your time.
I enjoyed the Unlocking I-IV-V lesson so much that I vowed I would get more lessons from you. So today I purchased the Guitar Scales Lesson. I'm "Hungry to learn the scales". Over the years, I purchased many lessons from so called Guitar guru's but they always left me stranded with their inability to teach clearly. I would then become frustrated, throw their lessons in a corner and look for the next guitar tutor. It is my firm belief that YOU are the best tutor for learning the Guitar Theory.
Thanks Jonathan... Teaching the guitar is your gift, keep up the great work.
“Explains what I've wanted to know for years!”
Just like to say a big thanks; at last a lesson that explains what I've been wanting to know for years and in a simple format. Brilliant! I'm still eager to learn more of the theory, especially the way you teach it. I didn't take advantage of the special offer when I purchased this as I didn't know what to expect. If I'd known how good it was I would have!
Thanks for the tips. It's funny how I have been playing by ear for over 40 years and never took the time to understand the mechanics of what I play. I do a lot of songwriting and this will make it much easier to know where to go in each key.
“This worked better for me than all the books I’ve bought previously combined”
Just thought to drop a quick reference of Jonathan’s courses for anyone thinking of investing in them to improve their playing and deepen their guitar playing experience.
You know, I’ve bought all kinds of books that teach basic theory and riff examples for guitar in the past. They had their value for sure, but the two things I’ve bought from Jonathan gave me a leg up on creating and interpreting music; they've worked better for me than all the books I’ve bought previously combined. One four five, and guitar patterns. Very simple yet really effective for enjoying and understanding the guitar.
Jonathan is not a rip off artist looking to capitalize on the guitarist who longs to improve and deepen their guitar fretboard flexibility. His courses are inexpensive but really all you need. He understands that a very basic but thorough understanding of guitar theory is needed to enjoy one’s guitar experience.
Thanks Jonathan. You’ve really helped me out by giving me the tools to launch my creativity and bolster my confidence. You’re an honest man.
I really enjoyed the lesson. It was well structured, covered a lot of ground and did it at the right pace with an equal mix of whiteboard and guitar. I gained a lot of insights, especially coming from a completely different music system (the raga based Indian one) and I look forward to your future lessons. I Like the emails with additional snippets such as this one as well.
Great job and I look forward to the next lesson I am going to buy.
Honestly, Jonathan, is it really sensible for me to pay £18 for a video on music theory from you? No! I should, and would, happily pay a lot more! With a friendly teacher, and successful merging of beginners and advanced, I would recommend this to anyone! In 2 days I have totally changed as a guitar player, for the better!
Yours Sincerely, a very happy customer
Jonathan, you caught me, man! I started to get into the bass tutorial then realized I hadn't given One Four Five and Guitar Scales enough time, so I crunched those and I will start the bass class soon. Your 1/4/5 and scales video lessons are fantastic. It has given me renewed interest in music theory and I am enjoying it! Most helpful to me is the blank fretboard sheets and being able to see keys on paper when I am composing. I find I have much more in my bag of tricks to work with. Sometimes tunes just pop out of the paper! I will get back to you when I finish the bass tutorial! Thanks for all you do!
Hi mate, I have received the DVDs (I bought both I, IV, V and scale patterns), both have been extremely helpful. I have played guitar for about 7-8 years but had always been happy to just bang out the pubs favorite tunes playing rhythm. I knew the basic pentatonic scale but wasn't interested in playing lead - to be honest the fret board was a bit too intimidating. That has all now changed. I "get" the fret board and for the first time I really appreciate how cool an instrument the guitar really is!
When watching your DVD I thought I knew pretty much everything you were talking about but listened anyway. What I learned was that I didn't actually know it - I'd heard others talk about it and thought I knew. Now I can join in the conversation and more importantly I can join in the jam!!!
Yesterday my wife (a singer) came into the living room and said "you actually sound half decent now!"
Simply awesome! Thanks heaps.
This was absolutely a wonderful course. I had been struggling with chords, and now I am glad to say this helped me with the fret board and all the chords. I appreciate getting this cheat sheet 🙂 Thank you, Diane
Out of all the books and videos that I have bought along the years, your method is the easiest one for me. Easy for me to understand and do it. I like the way you do things. I think I will stick with you.
The 1,4,5 method that I bought really opened my eyes and my understanding of it all. Now I am going for the scales... let us see! Very well done! My congratulations to you. A lot of work. Thank you.
I just wanted to let you know that your video has already helped me tremendously in understanding how the notes and chords relate to one another. I've been playing guitar for 37 years and never understood the concepts that you've taught in Unlocking I-IV-V. A friend of mine tried to explain it to me several years ago but I never "got it" until now. I feel confident that the knowledge you've given me will open up an entire new world for me in playing guitar. Your lessons are excellent!!! Thanks and I'm looking forward to becoming a better guitar player through your lessons.
“These courses have helped me”
It's great getting info from different angles, and these courses have helped me understand more about playing about my guitar.
“I have never gotten so much for so little before”
In trying to define the value of the lesson your basic course in fret knowledge provided, my first thought was, I don't know the full value yet. This eye opening, easily understood, basic understanding is like learning where a light switch is in a dark room. What that light has helped me find already is amazing and what's still in the dark room yet to be discovered is just a matter of time and effort away. The more I look at what I'm doing the more I see why it all works. I can't say it enough how worthwhile this simple course has been. I have never gotten so much for so little before. A value that delivers a one time benefit is all well and good, but a value that continues to deliver forever is truly hard to find.
I'm an unemployed low voltage electrician (fire alarm specialist ) living in Michigan.... if you can call this living. LOL Your lesson has given me a challenge I desperately needed. It may well prove to be a life saver of sorts... a sanity save for sure. All for under 30 bucks.... quite a bargain.
I loved it, it opened up my eyes.
I am self taught. Just this year I picked up the guitar after 30 years of not playing. This 1-4-5 is going to change how I play now. Just scraped the surface but moving on!
“Cool lesson, very down to earth”
Cool lesson, very down to earth. Being an elementary teacher you kept it simple and to the point. What I learned from the lesson was: chord numbers, relative minor chords, and tones and semi tones and their meanings and operations.
I've been playing since before you were born, so you know I'm a dinosaur, lol. I taught myself and learned by watching other people, like those two guys in Liverpool. I never understood what I was doing, but wrote a lot of songs in the past and recently recorded a couple of CD's.
Your DVD gave me some revelation about chord structure that I sat down and started fooling around with some chords. I also started helping out my buddy at his guitar school so this will come in handy big time. The added weekly tips, I think, will be extremely helpful. I think this old dog is gonna learn and understand some new tricks!
Thanks for creating Unlocking I-IV-V. Having only watched it once since buying it yesterday I can easily say that it is the best and most clear theory lesson I have ever had. I have never seen it explained so clearly which makes me feel that I can actually learn now from some of the courses I have sitting around, courses that I could never really understand or became thoroughly bored with.
Once I have learned all I can from these courses I would like to buy more of your own courses. If the above lesson or any of the free online lessons are anything to go by, then it will be excellent.
Jonathan, I am 53 years old and took some advice from my father 1 month ago. He said, "Marcus, become something."
With what I have learned in 'Unlocking I-IV-V', I WILL become the guitarist I have always dreamed about. I may work a government job, but my passion is guitar. You are the absolute best in this business of music tutorial. I have taken other lessons and was disappointed greatly but your course is DY-NA-MITE!!!
Let me briefly comment on those who feel music theory is not needed; you're foolish. Music theory is the foundation to becoming a guitarist. Don't be like some of the big-time guitarist today playing the same chords and riffs. Become a real guitarist by taking Jonathan's course. It will change your playing and ultimately change your life.
My dream is to make music for the rest of my life
If you're taking this seriously and want to become a great guitarist, go see Jonathan. Simple and powerful instruction is what he gives.
Great job, Jonathan. I can't wait to move onto the next lesson in scales.
Peace, love and blessings to you and your family.
I just finished the I, IV, V DVD and definitely found it easy to understand and helpful!! I want to thank you for uncovering an essential part of learning the guitar. What you have done is cut down the time it takes to get to the eventual goal, which is having fun, making music and securing knowledge. Thanks again!!
“The I-IV-V course was a revelation”
After a long layoff from playing in high school, I needed an efficient path for really learning the instrument. Learning the music theory and proper techniques for playing chords have moved me along.
The I-IV-V course was a revelation but I also got a lot out of Scales when it came to getting restarted. I have not started DRG yet because I am going through a Riff Ninja course, but it is next in line.
I really appreciate your videos and teaching style. I am close to retirement but not there yet, so my practice time averages around 6 hrs/week. I won't be anyone's success story but the material from playguitar.com and riffninja.com have been well worth the money. (I think you and Colin are collaborators and not competitors but not certain.) I enjoy this exploration and am close to buying an electric. So the reason I have not responded to your requests for feedback comes down to my work and home life and the resultant slow progress. This will improve within the next year or two. I may take a few lessons from a human, face-to-face, and when I do I'll already have the basics in my fingers. And I'll have more intelligent questions. I wish I had never quit playing, but I'm glad I resumed. Thanks.
“Renewed my interest in the guitar!”
Before I-IV-V, I had never learned any type of guitar theory (or musical theory for that matter). I had mostly just taught myself the chords, one minor scale, and some simple songs, but did not understand why they were what they were or why certain chords/notes went together better. I-IV-V has helped me to start understanding this and has renewed my interest in the guitar. It seems so much easier now.
“It's made things a lot clearer”
Thanks for some great stuff. I have been playing now for a few years and have not really understood what it is I am doing. I have to say that after a few sessions of watching your videos and reading some of your tips, it's made things a lot clearer and has even opened up a lot more ideas on how to arrange things when playing.
Keep up the great work!!!
I am a 57 year old "wanna be" guitar player. I have played around with a guitar since I was 10. Over the years I have taken a few lessons (slow and BORING) and bought TONS of instructional books. Oh sure.....I learned some things... a few riffs, how to play some chords. I could play several of my favorite songs, but I was FAR from comfortable enough to play in a band.
I reached a point when I said to myself, "Where do I go from here? What else do I need to learn to advance my skills and become a REAL guitar player?" Something was missing.
And then I ran across Jonathan's "Unlocking I IV V" and WOW!!! I couldn't believe it! It was like someone had untied my hands and said, "Now listen closely to this guy and learn this... and become a REAL guitar player".
I have learned to do more on the guitar since receiving "Unlocking I IV V", than I have learned in all my 47 years prior! And I've only been using it a few months!!
Don't make the same mistakes I made wasting a bunch of years goofing around. The lessons are intense. You will have to go over them several times to be able to absorb it all. And you will have to PRACTICE. But it works... better than anything I have ever tried before... and oh... did I mention? I'm playing (part-time) in a band now. Life is good 🙂
Thank you, Jon. Your laid back teaching style is very helpful in my learning of the guitar, and how music in general works. I look forward to the CD!
Jonathan, that lesson in the I IV V about this made things SO much clearer. I have a good grasp on the major scale but was hitting a wall with the minor. This opens a door for me. I love logic! Thanks, Man.
The I, IV, V vid is great! I never could grasp the concept of what "key" a song was in or what to do when I do know the key. Your vid is an eye opener on that. Thanx!
I'm not quite finished, but I've got to say I'm very impressed. I learned (or at least understood) way more theory than I ever got in 3 years of classical guitar back in the 1970s. You've really figured out how to put some really key information into a methodology that is easy to understand and retain. I kept scribbling down "ah ha" moments through-out the video. And I've been able to apply it easily to my playing (which is good as I haven't played in 20 years so I'm pretty rusty.)
Thanks so very much for putting this DVD together. I'll be watching it repeatedly to try to integrate the concepts more fully.
Hi Jonathan, glad I got your course. I have looked at 1-4-5 in the past but now l understand it for the first time. Thanks, Clive.
The I-IV-V video was an extremely helpful tool for me. I have been playing approximately 20 years and had not really ever progressed much in my understanding. I kind of understood the 1-4-5 connection but was never able to know exactly where I was going with the minors depending upon which key I was in. Your video made it so clear to me and gave me an easy way to know quickly no matter what key I was in. Next up for me will be the soloing video.
Thanks for the lesson on I IV V. I have been playing guitar for 20 years and this is something that I knew I didn't know, and it has been hindering my songwriting ALOT.
I've tried to learn it from guitar books, theory books, and jamming with other more experienced guitarists. I just thought I was "theory-challenged" in this area.
Even through I knew 70% of what you said in your video - the 30% that I learnt has already made a huge difference. Especially the strings being tuned in 4ths, the I,IV,V patterns in the scales on the fret board, the minors 3 semi tones down from the I, IV, V progressions... this stuff was all pure gold to me.
I immediately tried this out on the guitar and came with a new song in about 5 minutes flat - it is just what I have been looking for.
Your down to earth style is refreshing and engaging. You are doing a very good thing here and I wish you all the best inspiring and educating many web guitarists. I have signed up for your guitar tips weekly and am already about to watch your session on how to transpose with a capo - something I have never been able to figure out even with much trying......I look forward to it.
“You broke down the mysterious fretboard and made learning easy.”
Where were you when I wanted to learn to play the guitar forty years ago? I know, you weren't alive. Previous instructors made the process hard, or maybe it was my attention span. Either way, I've come farther in two months now that I understand the patterns than I did in many years of trying, getting frustrated, and quitting. You broke down the mysterious fretboard and made learning easy. At fifty five, a great regret was never learning to play the guitar. Because of you and your program I am on the way to erasing that regret from my life. This may sound overstated, but I assure you, it is not.
“Your courses have moved me to a new level!”
I’ve been playing for about a year and found myself no longer progressing. Your courses have moved me to a new level and I’m having so much fun! I appreciate that you fully explain all concepts. Now I understand theory! I really appreciate your teaching style. I feel like I’m getting personal lessons. Thanks for your great courses.
I got both lessons, and the theory was very easy to understand. I can find almost any scale on the guitar now!! Now I just have to get the fingering down.
Thank you so much for the I IV V course.
I started studying the guitar a year ago, not only how to play but as much as I could about guitar theory. I bought a book about scales, all it really did was show me all these different scales and all the boxes for them up and down the fretboard.
I didn't know much more when done than when I started (maybe I'm just slow).
When I watched your course FINALLY someone put the pieces together in a way that made sense. I've learned so much from you that tied together all the bits and pieces together I've learned over the last year. Man what a relief to have this stuff finally make sense.
Yes I have more questions about other scales but I see now there is hope for me. Thank you sooooo much for taking the time to explain this in a step by step approach! It was money well spent, just wish I had found this before I wasted money looking in so many other places - I know they all mean well just that some people are not good at teaching. You are awesome please do more on minor, and major and minor pentatonic scales.
Thanks again Roy in KCMO
“I learned a few new tricks”
I started out with the I IV V course, it was a great refresher. Got the jam tracks, Rock and Blues, and am digging them a lot. Very good for getting used to a band setting, or just to keep us old players 'sharp', and learned a few new tricks (never stop learning, you're dead if you can't learn anything new).
Thanks man, these really help explore stuff so I don't waste time screwing around in a real jam setting, which makes at least the drummers I know very happy. Peace out and Rock on brother!
I received the DVD and have already reviewed it twice. Found it very useful. I learned guitar as a kid and played rhythm guitar in a country band, but never learned any theory. I now play just for my own enjoyment and some sing alongs so I need to be able to pick out chords for new songs. Your DVD is a great help and of course your folksy style is entertaining.
I don't have words adequate enough to say how great this course is. It truly is the "bed rock" you will build on the remainder of your life. It is so clearly and simply shown.
Mr. Jonathan Boettcher is a Master instructor in my view. I'm so happy I found this course. If I were rich I would buy-up the copyrights from Jonathan and distribute this course to everyone who expressed a desire to play a guitar free of charge. Seriously!
Jonathan I watched both lessons yesterday!! They were awesome!! I have never studied theory and the Unlocking I IV V lesson was fascinating and I learned a lot!! Being over here in the Middle East I was glad I got the DVDs at home before I left again!! I really got a lot out the scale lesson also!! The fretboard makes a lot more sense!! Now it's not blank but more like a canvas I can explore and expand while improving my playing!!
My resolution for this New Year was for the first time to really understand so I could really play!! Not play but have a better understanding of my instrument and music theory as a whole!! I can't wait to re-watch them!! It's great because now I have the tools I need to be able to play like I've always wanted to!! Also the up down strumming was also informative!! I'd never realized how important it was to vary your strumming!! Thank you so much forth the lessons and all the great website info and email lessons!! You are a remarkable teacher and I thank you!!!
I am in my late 60's and I started with classical guitar lessons about 2 years ago. I really love it, but it isn't quite as easy as I thought it would be!! Wanting to have more fun with the guitar, I joined a jamming group which I love. That's where the 1-4-5 comes in handy. I wouldn't know what to do without it. Now I want to know how and why, that's where the theory comes in.
I found your DVD excellent. You did a great job of explaining everything clearly. I am still trying to grasp it all. It gets a little complicated at the end, but I only watched it once so far, but I took lots of notes. It seems easier to have notes in front of me. Anyway, it was money well spent. Thanks!!
Having fun with my guitar and loving every minute of it!!
Before I purchased the course, I was skeptical about it. I thought it would be another regular how-to-play lesson. But I gave it a chance and I understood that I was so wrong about it. It just enlightened my understanding of the fretboard instantly. I recommend it to everyone.
“You're clearing up a lot of questions...”
I went thru your I-IV-V DVDs. You know, I've picked up the guitar a few years back, after a 40 year hiatus, and started taking lessons from some local guys. They've been trying to teach me the same things, but haven't been nearly as effective as your presentations. I sort of knew the concepts but was still kind of fuzzy because my local teachers were not presenting the material in a way that made sense to me.
Your presentation, though sort of "low-tech" with the markers and white board instead of Powerpoint, I believe was much more effective, probably because you took a lot of time to present the material, which allowed it to sink in better. Hooray for low tech!! I am a big fan of the KISS theory!
Anyway, I look forward to getting your weekly updates. You are clearing up a lot of questions I've always had about the guitar.
Hi from an Australian that lives in New Zealand.
I've read your posts for at least a year and have enjoyed the humour. I finally bought one of your courses, Unlocking I IV V.
As an accountant, I'm glad I can now relate to guitar numerically. Have enjoyed first part of the course so thanks for that.
I got both the Unlocking 1-1V-V DVD and also the Guitar Scale Patterns DVD. I think your style of teaching is great because you take your time and don't miss out on the important details. Often I find instructors gloss over this and leave you to sort it out if you are able to. I now have a full understanding of chord construction and of how useful scale patterns are. It's really great because I didn't find either course at all boring. I was really interested throughout.
Thanks very much for your help. I now have a real basis to work from in my guitar playing.
Thanks for the info. I have heard several of those names: tonic, subtonic, mediant, etc because I read a lot of the guitar magazines and you're right - it's usually the more formally trained and experienced that use those names. I was always thinking what the hell are they talking about hahaha, so thanks for clearing that up for me.
I have watched and studied the Unlocking One Four Five and I have to thank you for the lesson. I knew when I saw you advertise it that this is a lesson I desperately needed to purchase because I can play but I had no idea why I can play this chord with that chord or why I can't play this note and that note etc etc... and Unlocking One Four Five has answered all that and then some.
I really enjoy playing a whole lot more because now I am not thinking so much when I'm playing, I'm just playing and enjoying it. I would have bought this lesson a lot sooner but I am only working part time right now and my wife and I just had a baby girl, so times are a bit tough but the lesson was worth every dollar. Thanks again.
I have been playing for years and have never really got anywhere, as I believe that you need to know the theory side of things to advance. Since I have been learning from your teachings, I believe that I have improved a lot except the thing that lets me down is my finger speed and I get too carried away with things. This is also really helping me teach my young lad as well.
Thanks heaps from Australia QLD
“I seem to be getting better!”
I have been playing for a long time and could always get by. Now you have given me a lot more tools and knowledge to bring me to a higher level that seemed to have not been obtainable before. I am playing more and seem to be getting better. As well as not so frustrated.
You are a diamond in the smooth!
I have sped through the Instruction offerings and was very pleased with the eye-opener issues you have clarified (dare I say, "solved"?) for me. I liked the way you developed the "Rule of Thumb" structure, followed by sequentially adding the various items pertaining to Chord formation, I - IV - V protocols and handy-dandy graphic outlines of related positions on the fretboard, etc., etc. You are a unique and very good instructor. I found your demos on the guitar very useful and pleasant.
Thanks again for your great work(s).
I did learn a few new tricks, some I'd forgotten, and a few new insights. It was well worth the download price. Well once again you outdid yourself. I now see where I can venture when playing in a certain key all the possible notes for me to use for each degree of each degree of the scale I decide to use, it's great.
I recommend this video for future want-to-be musicians, I wish I would have had something like this to view when I began 45 years ago. I had to learn it by trial and error and a lot of time searching and asking questions from other players. We never learn it all, but as long as one is willing to learn there is always a reward. Keep up the good work.
Hi Jonathan - thanks for the additional info on the minor of (1-4-5). I really like your lessons. I have studied some guitar theory in the past, but your efforts make it so much easier. Before getting your DVD's, the fret board seemed like years of work to learn. I had learned some positions but never felt like I would be able to master it. Your lessons are giving me hope and energy.
Thank you for the follow-up email to find out my progress with the 1-4-5 program. Firstly, please know I feel very lucky I bought the lesson. It cleared the confusion and vagueness I had regarding the fret board. You presented the unlocking 1-4-5 guitar concept in a manner that is effortless to understand. I feel very confident that I can write or rewrite music using this new 1-4-5 chord/major scale concept knowledge.
I found the 12 bar grid template a great tool to understand how music is made. I am glad I am no longer confused on concept of the 1-4-5, 1-3-5, 2-3-6, minor and major chords. My current level: In addition to unlocking 1-4-5 with your awesome lessons, I just completed learning all the minor and major pentatonic scales all modes.
I've been playing the banjo for a couple of years. I've had books and taken long hard looks at 1-4-5 and did not understand it fully. I got a cheap guitar a few weeks ago and started to look for lessons and info on the Internet. I saw your website and saw your 1-4-5 course so I took a chance and I am so glad. Your video is fantastic - the way you explain 1-4-5 and how it works is easy to understand. I've watched it twice and feel I know 80% of it and it is so interesting - the hour went by so quickly. My grandson has been playing the guitar from school and got a high grade. I asked if he understood 1-4-5 and he said, "No, we just passed over it." But when I told him, he could not wait to see it (he's at Uni-Nottingham). So thanks!
I really found your Unlocking I IV V course very helpful, especially running through it 2 or 3 times, over a couple of weeks. It is amazing how much you pick up the second or third time you watch them. Once again many thanks.
I want you to know how much I appreciate all of your help and assistance in learning how to apply Music Theory and especially Guitar Theory to my understanding of the Guitar. I was a Instructor of Religion at Saint Leo University for almost 10 years and have taught in the classroom setting of community colleges for many years. I have several earned degrees and am at home in the college classroom setting. I know talent and dedication when I see it and you have both! For me it is very important to know that you personally have developed these courses out of your own struggle and challenge to master the Guitar. It is also important to know that you are personally available and dedicated to helping people master these concepts on the Guitar. I have been playing every day since my wife bought me a nice Martin Guitar last September to help me recover from a heart attack and open heart surgery. I am dedicated to it. I spend at least 90 minutes a day on my Guitar and more on the weekends.
I have purchased over 20 different books and videos. I have studied on line through the most popular guitar web site. While I have learned a little bit from all of these sources---nothing has made the guitar come alive like your videos! Your videos put all of the pieces together and result in your being able to actually visualize, conceptualize, and tactically play the guitar! Your videos are the missing link where all of the various lessons come together and find a greater meaning like the missing link to a puzzle. I hope that you will provide instruction for all levels of Guitar instruction. I am currently serving as Chaplain to the Palliative Care Team at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Florida. I am hoping soon to be good enough to play my Guitar in our chapel and to play some beautiful music to our dying patients to comfort them. Thank you for taking a personal interest in my learning how to play the guitar with understanding.
I have spent several hours watching and studying your videos. They are excellent. I will tell some of my colleagues at work about your Guitar Videos.
This lesson is true to its name. It really unlocked what I’ve been missing after playing for nearly 24 years. Now I understand keys. I’ve been trying to figure this out for years and asking people how to do it. This lesson finally gave me what I was missing. It has a lot packed it. Takes a while for it to sink in, but now I’m creating instead of memorizing!
“Helped me to jam - which I could never do before”
I learned to play the pentatonic scale in A a long time ago however I couldn't relate it to anything until I purchased the Guitar Scales Pattern and Unlocking the Guitar series (jam tracks were a bonus item).
Playing over the tracks has helped me to "jam" which I could never do before. Bouncy Blues is my favorite track as it is in the A key and has a nice easy swing to it. For a relative beginner at lead guitar (I am a 40 year strummer) playing these series + tracks has made my playing much more fun.
Go ahead and purchase - you won't regret it.
Good lesson and explanation! These really help a lot to someone, a novice, like me! Can you add the captions too? It is just a recommendation, and that is, for those, like me, that their english is their second language.
Just wanted to say that your I, IV, V has been fantastic for me. Now granted, I am still working through a lot of the material and mating it all together in my head, but none the less it has given me a much better knowledge of the fretboard. I recently picked up the guitar again after too many years away from it, and I have to say... your material is exactly what the doctor ordered. The tips that you have on your blog have been as much of a help as the DVD's. It's become a standard practice of mine to use the material both that you send in email and the material on your blog as practice for the day and through out the week. Your blog has become like having you as a teacher in my living room in the morning before work and again when I get in after work.
I can't thank you enough for what you are doing... you have renewed my confidence in actually being able to master my own technique and playing style. I had started with very limited exposure and instruction in playing guitar years ago... but decided to pick it up again when a recent move turned up a left behind acoustic in my attic, and then coming across your material and exposure to your blog and instruction. I now have 2 acoustics and have gained enough confidence to purchase a Fender Strat to develop my electric guitar playing as I'm more of a rock/metal fan since being a teenager back in the 80's.
That's the beauty of your instruction: I have been able to work with both the acoustic and electric and I am amazed at the progress I have made. I feel that the instruction I have received...both on your DVD and blog... has afforded me the ability to progress much faster and more efficiently than just having a weekly instructor to visit. (Plus I would be hard pressed to find an instructor who would be in my living room at 4:30am while I practice with my morning coffee before work, and then come back at 5pm when I return for more practice... you're always here.)
The thing is, I had felt that playing guitar efficiently would be something that I just would not grasp...especially fret board knowledge and theory... thank you for proving me wrong. The patterns that you define and the theory that goes with it has allowed my brain and my fingers to come together in an understanding that makes everything flow. I have to tell you, playing is one thing... understanding what you're doing... that's the key. Your patterns make what I once felt would be too complex simple to follow and it sticks in your memory. You have given me many AH-HA moments.
Again, thank you for what you're doing, and keep doing what you do, because I couldn't be doing what I'm doing if you didn't. LoL
You're awesome and I greatly appreciate all your doing.
Hello Jonathan, I've never written to you before, but I thought maybe it was time to express my gratitude. I retired five years ago and always wanted to be able to play guitar. I stumbled around trying, but could never get anywhere. I bought Unlocking 1-4-5, Guitar Scale Patterns and 30 Blues Jam Tracks.
My reason for contacting you is to let you know what a difference its had. I only play guitar for myself and family. I immerse myself and the troubles of life disappear.
Anyway, as a beginner the most important, advancing information was your instruction to learn the pentatonic scale. Learning that scale changed everything and all advancement I've had stems from that kernel of insight.
Your video was rough, the info was invaluable, and your follow up is most impressive. I am a guitarist who accompanies himself (myself) in order to sing. The first frets of my Yamaha Classical guitar are worn out. But that is as far as I can go. I love the theory that you have handed to me so that I can build a scale and figure out the relevant chords to any song. I will be back, but I am still assimilating. I want more. I have been playing with my guitar for about ten years and I can cheat, but I know that I can be a better cheater... The things that you teach are invaluable. I am willing to go farther with you.
I am at the moment reading through JB’S Guitar Chord Secrets which is an online instruction book. This is a great book and it covers all the stuff included in your 1, 4, 5 and Guitar scale patterns courses which I purchased from you recently. Down the years I have bought guitar books galore but never quite got anywhere. Your courses opened the door for me and a big help is the visual screen help where I can see and hear what is happening as opposed to ploughing my way through instructions in a book. I am able to increase my competence because although I knew a lot from years of reading instruction books, I just could not get it until I discovered your courses. You also have a nice easy manner and this helps. In addition, of course I am semi-retired and I have more time.
“I'm impressed with the quality of the jam tracks”
Slowly, because I'm still working full-time and it really cuts into my practice time. But I am making progress thanks to the 1-4-5 course and lessons on scales.
I am impressed with the quality of all of the jam tracks; sounds like they were assembled in a studio. Your lessons along with Colin's are giving me a lot to work on, maybe too much given my time constraints, but I'm going up and down the fretboard multiple times with the pentatonic scale (almost) every day.
“After going through the exercises... I GET IT!”
Hi Jonathan, I have had my first run through the course and true to your assertions, after going through the graphs and doing a few exercises with them, I GET IT. For the first time after playing for 30 years I can really understand the logic of chord makeup. I have in the past made up the odd chord (usually by accident) because it seemed to sound good....now, using the chart, HEY PRESTO I can use those "bodgy" chords with confidence.
As for diminished and augmented...I just didn't have a clue. I am going to spend more time on it and I am sure there will be several more revelations hiding there as well.
So, thank you. Well done!!!
Well, it took me a while but I finally made it through both of your CDs, “Unlocking I - IV - V", and "Scale Patterns". I have been playing for over 40 years, and am something of an accomplished fingerpicker (Chet Atkins style). While my favorite is country, I also enjoy playing some of the classical pieces by people like Mendelssohn, or Schubert, and to be honest I wasn’t certain I could learn much from a beginners course, but I felt it was worth a try.
Actually, I was wrong.
Old dogs can be taught new tricks, IF they are willing to admit they don’t know everything.
Having spent several hours with your material I was very pleased, and found quite a few tips which I’m sure will be helpful. In my opinion the good thing about your course is that it will help the raw beginner as well as the experienced player, especially with your emphasis on scales.
Congratulations on a job well done, and keep the special tips coming. I enjoy them.
I received the DVD, but have only had time to view about half of it. You have a way of making Greek sound like English as far as music theory goes. I always get very bogged down and frustrated with music's nuts and bolts, but you have unlocked some stuff for me that I've just not been able to grasp until now. I've never aspired to be Al DiMeola or John McLaughlin, but just want to have a basic understanding of the guitar and a bit of the how and why, so thanks!
“Unlocking I-IV-V taught me a LOT!”
Thanks a lot! I was kind of a jock in school and didn’t have the patience to read music and had no interest in band. But, I took guitar lessons from a guy that taught basic chords. Didn’t learn much.
Your Unlocking I-IV-V taught me a LOT, along with the keys sheets and jam tracks. Great course!! I have also taken others, one lead guitar course, the guy played so fast I couldn’t keep up. He seemed more interested in showing off. But yours was the best!
I’m now in two praise bands and enjoying it a lot!
Jonathan, Great, great job on the 145. I now look and know a lot more about my fretboard then I did. I will in the future get more of your courses. Thanks a lot. Jim
“Joe Clarke "Eco Joe"”
Dug into the course immediately. Great! Your approach/explanations are excellent. This is the first course that has actually given me a much better understanding of theory. The I,IV,V theory had never been brought to my attention prior to your course. Keep it up. Good work.
“I'm actually playing instead of flailing now!”
Hey Jonathan, the two classes I purchased from you were awesome. I'm actually playing instead of flailing now.
“Every aspect of my playing is improving faster than I ever thought was possible”
Just a quick note to let you know that I have enjoyed both of your videos immensely.
I have been struggling with the theory aspect of guitar for almost 40 years now.
For the first time in my life, I am starting to make sense of the scales, chords, modes, intervals and how they all relate to one another and work together to make music a fun and enjoyable experience once again.
I have never considered myself to be a person of inferior intelligence, but the confusion that I had with these concepts has led to an endless amount of frustration on my part.
Thank you for taking the time to put this together, and explain it in a way that the average person can understand.
For the first time in my life, every aspect of my playing is improving faster than I ever thought was possible.
Please keep up the good work and keep me informed of any future projects.
You filled a gap in my music theory that was missing for a long time. I had known about the 1-3-5 rule to make up a specific chord (A cord uses notes 1-3-5 to make up a chord), and I knew about the 1-4-5 rule to select the basic 3 chords in a key. But I no idea they made up a specific pattern on the guitar neck. I wondered how other guys learned those scales!
It's not going to make me a better guitar player overnite, but it has eliminated the reason I gave up trying to play solos.
Thanks for the tip on the minor scales, that's way too simple. The barre chord info also helped with my minors.
I would like to thank you for putting these courses out simplified and user friendly and good to understand without being too complicated or too expensive.
In my opinion these courses are a must for anyone wanting to learn more with music theory. I've seen a lot of courses, but yours are definitely needed to cut years off learning time.
Hey Jonathan, thank you very much for this one. It has done more wonders for me. It's like my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of music. I realize that this is probably very basic stuff but nevertheless it is something I have never seen before. Thanks Again!!
“Understanding how scales work is very valuable”
Hi Jonathan, I think the most valuable course for me was your early courses in a basic 145 approach, and a basic 145 approach to scale theory, to get the understanding of how basic Country and Blues worked.
From here have studied in many music theory areas and approaches, to learn what I wanted to know and what worked for me. There is no 100 percent right or wrong way, but understanding how scales work and work together, and able to apply it is very valuable, and there's always different approaches.
But think the earliest courses were the most valuable to me, because it gave me the basic understanding when I was starting over again from 2006, when I needed it. Your soloing courses have your own soloing style and method, that works really well for you. All you need is the right lyrics to be added, and you would have a few songs.
I picked up the guitar about a year ago with the intention of finally learn to play it. The guitar had been sitting there in the corner for maybe fifteen years, silently accusing me for not putting in the effort to learn to play. Anyway, after a year of going through countless YouTube lessons and luckily a few lessons with a teacher, I wanted to learn something about the music theory. Especially when it comes to playing guitar. After watching your 1-4-5 lesson several times now I really feel that it gave me a good basic understanding on which to learn more. I had read about scales and chords in the books but never really got to grasp the basics. After your thorough explanation even the books seem clearer now.
I've only gone through the patterns lesson once so far. I like your easy going way of presenting the information and am looking forward to learning more about the patterns. I do feel that the combined offering of these two lessons around the New Year's was a real bargain.
I hope that these wishes actually reach you and not just the marketing guys. I wish you a good spring season!
I am so pleased with your 1-4-5 lesson. I have purchased lots of guitar/fretboard theory books but only had a vague idea as to how all the concepts were related.
Then I discovered your lesson! The light actually went on and I was able to pull everything together. Now it makes sense and I would like to thank you for doing such a fantastic job.
I watched the DVD, and it was like someone turned on the light! I began rhythm guitar lessons at age 59. I took lessons for about 18 months... always the same type of lesson. He would teach me the intro of a song... and we wouldn't go any further. Next week, he might start to show me the same song. He never taught me anything about theory! I finally decided that he was an excellent musician, but not a good teacher. I got so perplexed that I thought about quitting... but I'm a stubborn old man!!! LOL I quit taking lessons last April, but I still play almost every day... just because I enjoy it! Your DVD is great!!! I wish I had bought it two years ago!!
“Your teaching method for me is superior”
I am a beginner, 66 years old, purchased my first guitar (acoustic) 2 years ago, took lessons for short time, purchased Hal Leonard Beginner book. Struggled a lot. 6 months ago I was given two electric guitars. Then I purchased Guitar Theory DVD from Steve Stine, and I began to understand the theory and fretboard. More recently, I purchased 3 DVDs from you over 6 week period, starting with Bar Chords (Stine has limited info on Bar Chords). I thoroughly enjoyed the Bar Chord lesson, but then it led me to your Unlocking I, IV, V, DVD and more recently, your Guitar Scale Pattern DVD.
Your teaching method for me is superior, I had enough theory already for basic understanding, but you helped me understand in a way that has accelerated my learning and practice. I spend 3 hours per day, between replaying your DVDs and actual practice; sometimes more. I learn something new every time I replay one of your DVDs; something clicks. I can't thank you enough for the clarity and understanding your teaching provided me. No one is too old to learn!
“I have learned more about playing in the last year with your courses than the previous 40 years”
Jonathan, I have purchased Unlocking I-IV- V, Guitar Scale Patterns and Bar Chords Made Simple. I bought my first Guitar in 1975. I started with a little Pop and Rock n Roll. Later I moved to Blue Grass. I love playing. But, I must say I have learned more about playing in the last year with your courses than the previous 40 years. Thank you. I would recommend them to anyone.
I have watched your DVD's and I found them very helpful. I'm almost 65 years old and have been strumming the guitar since I was about 14 years old. I'm mostly self-taught with a few instructions from family members who play, but never any formal training. Your lessons have helped me understand exactly what is going on with the fret board and where to find my notes. Although my fingers don't work as well as they did when I was young, I still enjoy trying to play my favourite tunes. Keep up the good work. Wish I would have had you around 50 years ago. Thanks again.
I bought the Guitar Patterns package a while ago and have only viewed the Unlocking 1,4,5 so far. But I must say that you take the somewhat scary subject of music theory and make it very easy to understand. I'm quite sure that the rest of the material (Guitar Patterns i.e.) and the good jam tracks will get me well on the way to playing good solos while understanding what I'm doing and why it works.
“Very clear and easy to understand”
Well, I've just finished watching part 1 of I, IV, V. Really good. Very clear and easy to understand. You have a great way of presenting and I found the whiteboard session interesting to watch rather than boring and dry, even watching the important bits the second time around. I'm really happy that I was able to learn all of that important information in one hit like that. Arigato gozaimasu (thank you). I'm Australian but living in Japan.
I have used 3 or 4 different on-line guitar lessons and none compare with I IV V. Clear, easy to understand explanation of the fretboard, scales, chord progression and how to transpose different keys. Presented in a relaxed, very personable style, this is as close as you can get to having a one on one, online guitar teacher.
I have recorded your 1 4 5 lessons onto my phone and wack the headphones in so that I can take it in as I'm crashing out.
Anyhoo. Thank you very much one again. Loved the presentation, loved the content and I'm very happy that I learned so much from your video. All those years playing D minor etc... Now I know how those chords came about.
“I understood the language he was using!!”
I would like to give you some feedback on your I-IV-V course.
Let me begin with how I was very, how do I say, "unsure", about buying another guitar course. I've wanted to learn some theory for a very long time and each time I tried to find material with diagrams, etc, it was confusing. (Especially the ones with the neck diagram with all the dots). I've bought courses in the past, spending what I really shouldn't have spared and was disappointed.
So, I spent time learning chord shapes, teaching myself to play and over the years, I have written many songs, some are even pretty good! But it wasn't easy, always a time consuming effort to find what sounded good with what.
I've watched your I-IV-V go on sale then go off and on and..... finally I bit the bullet and ordered the download version. I began the first video, which started out very basic but I was determined to watch every minute. I really appreciated how you communicated with your viewer. Never in a condescending, "I'm a smokin' hot guitarist and you're not" manner. I got to the "meat" of part 1 and by the end of it I knew I'd already gotten more than I had from all the "chord searching" that I'd done through the years.
I didn't go back to part 1 again for close to a week. I got my diagrams out that you provided, started part 1 again, followed your white board lessons, finished it and went to part 2, finished it. Then I went to a Youtube video (that I got in the email) of some guy talking about George Harrison's "Something" and how it was written, etc and I understood the language he was using!! I retained what you taught in the course!
By the way, this is the second time that you have surprised me......... I bought the download version of Barre Chords and I didn't regret one penny of it! Again, I don't regret one penny of the I-IV-V course!
I would have liked to have gotten more on minor, diminished and augmented (just as you did for the major) and perhaps in the future I can get the course with that information in it but for now, I'm going to use my new found knowledge to continue in my guitar journey.
Thanks, Jonathan and keep up your clear way of teaching!
New Mexico, USA
These are really good lessons.
Very well explained
I've purchased most of your courses and have found them invaluable. I've advanced my guitar playing ability from Learner through to Intermediate. Although I don't play in a band, I jam regularly with friends and they have noticed the improvement particularly with my soloing.
Thanks so much to you for your highly instructional courses and jam tracks.
“This Really Opened My Eyes”
I have really enjoyed your DVD and plan to watch it several more times until I have it down. I have actually been playing around on the guitar for many years but like you said, I didn't really know theory at all. You have already taught me a great deal and I am very grateful. I look forward to moving forward from here to a place where I can play the way I have really always wanted to but just didn't know how.
I have usually only played for my own "stress relief", if you will, in the past but recently I tried playing in a jam session at a local VFW with a bunch of older guys and I was embarrassed because I just couldn't keep up. I know quite lot of chords actually but just have trouble doing it right, I was also a little nervous because of lack of confidence I guess. Seeing the patterns and how it fits together really opened my eyes and made so much sense.
“My knowledge has improved considerably thanks to you!”
My knowledge has improved considerably thanks to you!
I have unfortunately for me started later in my life, I find some challenges in doing so but slowly I am gaining some ground, I like the way you explain things in a common sense way, thanks Jonathan.
I learned more with Unlocking 1,4,5 than during my first year of lessons with a kind of canned approach teacher who taught from one of the music store books. I'm now at age 62 starting to understand the instrument I've played for 40 years.
“The best that I have ever seen”
These lessons that you have prepared are the best that I have ever seen.
For once I am getting it! Nice going!!
“It will make me a much better player”
The Unlocking I IV V lesson has taught me a lot about my guitar, after viewing the lesson once and taking notes I am already memorizing each note on the fret board, learning the major and minor scale patterns, understanding which chords work well together and which keys they go together in. I'm glad I invested in this lesson and I think throughout the years of applying this to my playing it will make me a much better player.
I got energetic and did your I-IV-V course this evening.
Wow! What insight, and simply taught without any frills, and immediately applied to the fretboard which gave me an incredible understanding of the guitar. I have lots of homework.Looking forward to the Scales course, but will explore the I-IV-V for a bit longer first.
I wanted to let you know that Unlocking I-IV-V Revealed was like finding the Holy Grail of Music Theory! I have always played guitar but I always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Like so many, I looked at hundreds of How-to-play-piano Youtube videos. I would get bits and pieces on "how to play" piano but never the whole product to put it all together. I gave up and went back to guitar.
One day I took a chance, bought Unlocking I-IV-V Revealed and it was one of those things where the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun came out with the Angelic Hymn! It all came together. I learned what it means when they ask what key a certain song is in, what notes are in that key, the scales, the single notes to play, and the chords to play. I took Unlocking I-IV-V and applied it to piano.
I am now playing and learning all my favourite songs without using blasted sheet music. I can now sit down and just tickle the ivories making my own music by the theories of Unlocking I-IV-V. With your system I can now apply it to any instrument I want to play.
I just wanted to compliment you on the excellent course I recently purchased (Unlocking I-IV-V). I have been through it 3 times now and still get something more out of it each time.
“Maureen Susan Prince”
I have gone over the first lesson from I-IV-V again, so I haven't gotten far yet, but even that was just so much fun and opens up a whole new vista to me. I have wanted for years to understand all the basic stuff about how music fits together but have not come across anyone who has ventured into this stuff. None of the places I've come across have anything like this and those in the know always say "Don't worry about it - you don't really need to know". This may be true but I like to understand the principle of the thing! Now at last I have some insight into what's going on, even from the little I now know. Having the DVD means there's no embarrassment about repeating things I didn't get the first time.
I don't understand why we don't all get taught this stuff in school-it goes to understanding the world around us! I will certainly pass this on to my kids and think it's great stuff. Hopefully down the track I will use this understanding to improve my playing and I can see it will certainly help me be more creative altogether.
Thank you very much for putting this out there at a very affordable price. Top value for dollar!
This is not a question but rather an acknowledgement of developing quality materials.
I am retired and volunteer teach guitar to at-risk school kids. I select a couple each year and lend them a student guitar that they can then own after good grades and behavior at school for one year as they let me tutor them academically.
While I play adequately and teach marginally, I am terrible at lesson planning. Borrowing ideas/techniques from your courses has made all the difference.
You have helped to turn several students around to achieving academic success and personal growth.
Thank you for this assist.
“Leo van Esschoten”
I must tell you, I was somewhat skeptical about the lessons and held off quite a long time. But, finally I decided to order the I-IV-V lesson. I am glad I did! I have some books on teaching guitar and one of them did a chapter on the I-IV-V material. Sadly, the way it was presented in that book just did not click with me. Your video lesson was a different story! The concept came across loud and clear! I will be viewing the files quite a few times and do the home work!