Tag Archives for " Unlocking I IV V "


The World’s Ugliest Guitar Player

ugliest-animalSo in my “travels” I recently came across an article talking about the Blobfish – recently voted as the world’s ugliest animal.

Anyhow, this Blobfish looks for all intents and purposes like a pinkish blob with eyes, a nose like thing, and a mouth.

Basically, it sits about 900 meters underwater, looking for stuff to eat with its blob-like mouth.

Did I mention it is very blob-like?

Anyhow, that got me to thinking… what would the world’s ugliest guitar player look like?

Of course, we wouldn’t want to make that contest based on physical appearances, but rather on playing.

In my ever so humble opinion, that player would be similar to the blobfish – have kind of the shape of a guitar player, but not really have any defining characteristics.

No structure to what they played, no understanding of how it all fits together. Wandering around on the bottom of the guitar world, looking for scraps other players further up the food chain have dropped.

They would be recognized as a guitar player, but when you inspected a bit closer, you couldn’t really figure out if they had their own style, because most of what they played was simply copying from other more experienced players.

Now, I’m most definitely not calling anyone a blob-player here – just having a little fun with it – but if you’d like to add structure and understanding and character to your playing, then I recommend my Crash Course In Guitar Theory.

The most self-conscious guitar player in the room

I was talking to this guy named Chris – he told me a story I’ve heard all too many times before…

Basically he loves to play guitar with his mates, but his big problem is if there isn’t a page of chords in front of him, he’s totally lost.

He kind of gets by, bit by bit, by watching the best player in their group, but inevitably, he’s always a strum or two behind the group, because it takes him that long to recognize what new chord they’ve moved onto.

Usually the others are pretty good about it, but whenever other people are watching them play, Chris gets pretty self-conscious.

guitar-jammingHe confided in me that he really doesn’t understand much of anything about the guitar, he really only knows the shapes of a few chords, and if you tell him to play a G, he can.

Beyond that… well, it ain’t pretty.

He was asking me what it would take to become a REAL guitar player – not necessarily one that was super good, like a rockstar or something, but rather just someone who could play CONFIDENTLY at a level that would make him happy.

Chris doesn’t have stars in his eyes – all he really wants to do is play with his mates once a week, but be able to keep up!

It drives him up the wall that his friends can take a key – say the key of G – and just start jamming… because when they do this he basically puts his guitar down and goes to look for a drink or something, so he looks “otherwise occupied” and not like he doesn’t actually know what to do there.

I told him there IS a solution – that the days of embarrassment could be behind him in short order…

Click here to find out what I told him…

1 Trick To Figuring Out The Key Of A Song

chris-hadfield-guitarAfter spending 5 months in out space, last week Commander Chris Hadfield safely landed back on earth, with his two crew mates.

In case you weren’t aware, Cmdr Hadfield has gained fame as being the “guitar playing astronaut” even writing and performing music from outer space!

Pretty cool, if you ask me.

He even played a Canadian made guitar! (Larrivee)

But after a trip like that, nothing beats a safe landing…

Which brings me to today’s guitar tip! (were ya wondering how we were gonna get there?)

A lot of people have a hard time figuring out which key any particular song is in, and if asked, they will often (wrongly) tell you it is in the same key as the first chord of the song.

Problem with that is, you can start a song on any chord.

But just like Cmdr Hadfield, the story isn’t over until you’ve landed safely, and that’s the trick of the day – look at the LAST chord of the song, and not the first one!

What chord does the song RESOLVE on?

That should give you a good idea of what they key is.

There are other (more guaranteed) ways to find out which key a song is in, and I’ve gone into those in detail in my course Unlocking I IV V. You can find it here:

Guitar Theory Made Easy

Gagging Down The Blue Pill

Did you ever see the movie the Matrix?

Kind of a weird movie I guess, but it sure spawned a loyal following, and somehow they turned it into a trilogy…

Anyhow, there’s this scene in there where Neo, the main character, is given the choice between taking two pills.

There’s a red pill, and a blue pill.

If he takes the red pill, he will know the truth – that reality as he knows it is a big lie, and all humans are plugged into a giant computer run by the machines that rule the world.

If he takes the blue pill… well, he’ll just go on in sweet blissful ignorance, happily unaware that he’s being enslaved, consumed and ultimately killed by the machines that control his reality.

So he takes the red pill.


Gets disconnected from the machine that rules the world, and finally sees reality for what it truly is.

Well, guess what?

I’m giving YOU a similar choice:

Take the red pill or the blue pill.

When you refuse to learn guitar theory and how it truly explains the reality of what is happening on the guitar, you’re gagging down the blue pill. You go on unaware of the power of applying theory to your playing, and how it can near-instantly improve your guitar playing.

Then, there’s the red pill.

That’s what ” Unlocking I IV V” is – my crash course on guitar theory.

Only a few swallow it, of course.

Theory has accumulated such a bad rap over decades of being taught by the classical musical elite, that by the time it typically filters down the masses, it is just a bunch of super technical terms that few can understand.

Take the red pill though, and the world of music suddenly becomes clear. You’ll learn how an itty-bitty piece of theory has such far-reaching impact on how you approach your entire guitar…

You’ll experience how learning a bit of theory has a multiplying effect – so if you’re at say Level 2 guitar, learning theory could put you at Level 4… but if you’re already at Level 4, well, you do the math.

Even better, once you understand the ‘matrix’ you’ll be able to use it for your own advantage… manipulating chords and notes into sequences that sound awesome, deciphering new songs with ease… the list goes on and on.

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”] quotes_greyHey 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 to nevertheless it is something I have never seen before. Thanks Again!!
Charley Jeffries,
Kearney, Arizona[/box]

It’s a world, NEO, where you achieve the goals you have for your guitar playing.

So – the choice is yours…. Which will you choose?

The Choice Is Yours – Choose Here

How To Decipher Mystery Chords on Guitar

mystery-manSo… mystery chords… What is a mystery chord?

Have you ever fiddled around on your guitar, and come up with a guitar chord that sounds really good, but because you literally just created it by ear, you have NO idea what to call it, let alone how to use it? (Side note – you can use my guitar chord tool to reverse-engineer your guitar chords)

That’s a mystery chord.

I’ve even seen pro musicians refer to their own little mystery chords… For instance, heard Danny Gatton say something like this one time:

“here’s this little thing I came up with… it works in E”

As you’ve heard me say before, guitar theory simply explains what sounds good to our ears.

So, that’s what we use to explain what those chords are.

There are many, many weird and wonderful chords, but there are only 4 main varieties that account for the bulk of the chords you’ll see out there.

  • Major
  • Minor
  • Diminished
  • Augmented

In my Guitar Theory Crash Course (Unlocking I IV V), I go into detail how to build each of those chords.

Once you know how to build them, you also know how to recognize them.

And once you know what to call it, you’ll know how to use it – or at least you will if you’ve taken my I IV V course! (Because I teach all that stuff in there).

Impress Your Friends With This Guitar Trick

campfireLast weekend I went for a quick little camping trip. There’s something about camping – even close to home – that does the heart good. At least, it does mine. And of course I jumped at the chance to take along my old Takamine and get in a little campfire jamming in the evening.

Certain kinds of guitar music always sound better with the crackling and popping of a fire nearby…

Anyhow, I was just jamming away, and one of the guys asked what I was playing. Thing is, I wasn’t playing any particular song, I was just noodling around in the key of G. And everything I played was due to a wee bit of theory that explains exactly which chords are available in each key. I used this little bit of chord theory to jam for nearly half an hour in exactly the same key…

Things were always changing and different, yet I stayed in the same key. I enjoy playing that way – I know others prefer rolling through a list of songs they know, and that’s cool too.

But for those who just love jamming (and for everyone else too – for that matter!) learning a little bit of guitar theory is crucial.

The difference between playing with a little bit of theory under your belt, and not, is like the difference between a modern car and a horse-drawn buggy.

Learn Guitar Theory – The Easy Way