Tag Archives for " Guitar Scales "

Are Guitar Modes Outdated?

A common trajectory that many beginning guitar players follow goes something like this:

They learn the basic chords, and a few songs as well.

They learn bar chords, to step things up a bit.

They learn a simple scale, like the pentatonic minor, and get their first taste of soloing.

They want to take their soloing further, so they get lessons somewhere.

They’re given seven guitar ‘modes’ to learn, with a separate guitar scale pattern for each one.

Their names are:

  • Ionian (I)
  • Dorian (II)
  • Phrygian (III)
  • Lydian (IV)
  • Mixolydian (V)
  • Aeolian (VI)
  • Locrian (VII)

At this point, someone who didn’t know better may think a little tribe of small green men had just walked off a UFO and introduced themselves!

And in fact, I’ve talked to several people who just got completely bogged down at this point in their guitar playing.

They stagnated there for a while, sometimes years…

Unsure when to use the Ionian, and when to use a Dorian. (And no, that’s NOT a car that takes you Back to the Future!)

Then they came across my Guitar Scale Patterns course, which throws out that particular approach to the guitar in favor of something much less complicated.

And yet still oh-so powerful…

You see, all those modes are simply re-arrangements of the same thing – the Ionian. Each mode starts at a different scale degree, and goes through the loop.

Now I’ll admit you can do some cool things using modal playing, but I consider that to be a fairly advanced application, and definitely not something that every guitar player needs to learn.

Yeah, yeah, I know.

I always catch the flak whenever I bring up this subject, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

I know lots of guitar players that have gotten by quite happily (and successfully too – at the pro level) without ever relating to the guitar using all seven modes.

There IS a simpler way, and it can get you back on track with your playing again.

Simplify things a little, and you’ll be surprised at how the creativity comes back!

Check it out – Guitar Scale Patterns

I’ve also talked to people that passionately disagree with me.

Mostly, they just can’t get past the fact that modal theory was developed around the piano, and guitar theory should be free to develop differently.

It has become a bit of a sacred tradition of music theory… and beware anyone who tries to change it!

But hey, we can’t all think the same right?

For the average guitar player, I still think my way is faster to learn, and more easily applied.

How To Connect Guitar Scale Patterns

One of the questions I often get is this:

Jonathan, how can I connect the different scale patterns so that I can play across the whole fretboard, and not just a few frets of it?

Well, the method I teach in Guitar Scale Patterns uses just three main scale patterns to cover the neck.

These three patterns only have a couple frets or less in between them, and sometimes completely overlap each other.

So by having a close look at the patterns you know, and how they fit together on your fretboard, you can usually see spots where it simply makes sense to slide from one pattern into the next. It’s a bit like playing connect the dots.

I’ve got a few of my own favorite spots that I teach in Guitar Scale Patterns, but that should really just be a tool to get you started; every guitar player looks at things slightly differently, and in time you’ll come up with your own favorites.

Another tip for finding ways to connect patterns is to simply pick a key – say the key of C, and then play all the patterns you know in that key one after another.

This will get your brain thinking in terms of the whole fretboard, rather than just a portion, and you’d be surprised at how you start seeing it differently after doing an exercise like that!

Anyways, if you’d like to learn more about guitar scales and how you can connect them to play all over the fretboard in every key, I’d recommend checking out my Guitar Scale Patterns course.

There’s a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on it, so you really can’t lose.

And whatever you do, practice is always the key to getting your scales down better, so grab your guitar and play it a bit today!

What IS Guitar Theory?

Guitar TheoryIf you’ve been on my email newsletter for any amount of time, or if you’ve been hanging around Guitar Tips Weekly very much, you’ve probably heard me talking about guitar theory at some point or other.

So what IS guitar theory, and how in the world is it going to help us become better guitar players?

After all, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to do right? Very few people are interested in learning theory for theory’s sake – certainly not me! However, if learning guitar theory can have a practical application, and if it can help me become a more versatile guitar player, than that is something I want to pursue.

How To Apply Guitar Theory To Your Playing

In this video I’ve give you a very brief introduction to HOW theory can be applied to the guitar. I used the A Major diatonic scale pattern as a starting point, and then showed how you can give each note in the scale a number. Each number then becomes the root note for a chord in that key, and by using bar chords, we can relate chords directly to each note in that scale.

So hopefully you can see that very quickly we can build from a simple scale to finding all the relevant chords in a given key, as well as all the notes we’ll need for soloing! The further you dig into guitar theory, the more you begin to see how it all fits together in a very logical manner. Most importantly, by understanding guitar theory, you can apply it ‘on the fly’ while you’re playing!

In the video I also mention my Unlocking the Guitar combo pack, which includes both my Unlocking I IV V course and my Guitar Scale Patterns course. Going through those lessons will give you a very good foundation in guitar theory, and they’re packed with useful examples and ways that you can begin using these concepts in your playing.

Video Problems? Watch the Guitar Theory Introduction on Youtube.

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Cool Guitar Riffs #2

I’ve decided to start a series of videos for the cool guitar riffs lessons. Hence the name “Cool Guitar Riffs #2.” Mostly because I’m running out of things to call them, so why not start giving them numbers?

I once had one of those Siamese fighting fish as a pet, and I wasn’t sure if he would live very long, so I named him Louis, in case I needed to start a dynasty…

Anyways, cool guitar riffs are a lot more fun than dead fish, so back on topic here! Today I’ve got one for you that uses fourths, and the A pentatonic minor scale. That’s the first riff in the video, and I’m sure you’ve heard this style of riff all over the place. It’s a pretty classic sound. Keep in mind that these riffs can sound very different if you simply turn off the talent button and play clean for a moment, or if you just change up the timing a little bit.

The second riff comes out of the A diatonic minor scale, root 5 – also known as the Lydian scale if you like being technical about it. I find it more intuitive to talk about these scales in terms of what they are (A minor diatonic) and where they start (root 5 = 5th string… think about it… that means you’re starting on the 5th string, 12 fret, where you find the A). I’ve never related well to the technical terms like Lydian, Dorian and all the rest, and by and large I don’t find the terminology particularly helpful.

Get on with the Cool Guitar Riffs Already!

Okay, my rant for the day is done – go ahead and hit play, watch the lesson, and then leave a comment below the video when you’re done!

Video Problems? Watch Cool Guitar Riffs #2 on YouTube.

For More Riffs Like This One, Click Here

If you liked the style and difficulty level of this guitar riff, you might like to check out my short course that contains a bunch more guitar riffs in G major.

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The “A” Major Diatonic Scale

Today we’re going to take a look at the “A” major diatonic scale. If you’ve been following along with the lessons, then we’ve already covered a few different scales, including the pentatonic minor scale, and the diatonic minor scale. The major diatonic is an important addition to your collection of scale patterns, because it fills in another section of the fretboard for you.

Try to think of the minor scale and the major scale as just different positions to play the same notes… this may seem strange, but if you look at it, the same notes are present in both scales. The only thing that is changing is the note that you start on, and of course the position on the neck where you’re playing. If you know anything about modes, then you’ll clue in quickly to the fact that the major and minor diatonic

So basically if you’re wanting to solo, you can use either the major scale, or the relative minor – they are both equally valid choices.

Personally I prefer the minor scale, as the guitar is tuned minor and works extremely well in the minor, however you need to know both as you’ll need them to cover the fretboard.

If you’d like to learn more about the various scale patterns found on the guitar, I’d recommend checking out my Guitar Scale Patterns lesson.

The “A” Major Diatonic Scale

Video Problems? Watch the A Major Diatonic Scale on Youtube.

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Finger Exercises for Guitar

Here’s a lesson on finger exercises for guitar. As a guitar player, you are forever strengthening your fingers, not to mention practicing your guitar scales! So, why not do both at the same time?

To be honest, while I was recording this lesson I could feel it in my own fingers… proof positive that these exercises will work you over and build up that strength and dexterity!

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Another way to use these finger exercises is to spice up your practice times. Work on going up and down the scale, then working up and down in increments like I describe on the video.

Doing this forces your fingers to become more familiar with each note and the notes around it, and gets you used to quickly changing directions mid-scale.

I used my electric guitar on this lesson, but these finger exercises are just as good on the acoustic guitar. You’ll just have to work a little harder to accomplish the same thing =).

Stroke my ego… leave a comment below the video and tell me how much your fingers hurt after doing these exercises =)

Watch Finger Exercises For Guitar on Youtube