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Guitar Chord TheoryChord Making Made Easy

Guitar chord theory is studying how to make chords from scales. They are basically made by combining every other note in a scale. However understanding intervals will help with larger and altered chords.

Understanding chord theory will save you a lot of time memorizing separate chords. When you see how they are made you only have to remember one formula for each chord.

Chords come from scales. There are a lot of different scales but the major and minor scales are the main sources for chords.

There are four main types of chords major, minor, augmented and diminished.

Each of these especially the major and minor chords have a lot of related chords

You have most likely seen C7, Dm7 and other chord symbols. Learning how to make them will give you chords all over the guitar neck.

Understanding Music Intervals – Chord Basics

Intervals are the distance between two notes. Most chords are built using major and minor 3rds stacked on top of each other. This is for the root position chord which is where we start and learn the notes and degrees of each chord.

I suggest you open these next few links in a new tab or window to make it easy to switch back and forth. They may help you understand guitar chord theory as I explain it.

It seems complicated at first but it is really just simple math. The better you know the guitar fretboard the easier it will be.

Music Intervals

Guitar fretboard

Major Scale Primer

Intervals are used for scales and chords

The guitar is tuned in 4ths except for the 3rd(G) to 2nd(B) string which is a major 3rd

You may find these pages useful as well as the above links.

Basic Triads

How to Read Guitar Chords

Seventh Chords

The Chord Types – Guitar Chord Theory

There are four main chord types

  • Major
  • Minor
  • Diminished
  • Augmented

The Major Chords

The major chords are formed on the I, IV and V degrees of the major scale

The Minor chords are formed from the ii, iii and vi notes

The vii is a diminished chord when it is a triad, a three note chord

Major chord degrees are written in upper class I, IV and V. This format will be used in many but not all guitar lesson books.

Minor Chords and the diminished, because it has a minor third as it’s first interval are written in lower case ii, iii, vi and vii

A major chord is composed of a major third and a minor third interval.

  • C to E is a Major 3rd
  • E to G is a Minor 3rd

This makes a C chord from the I note, it skips the D and the F?

  • F to A is a Major 3rd
  • A to C is a Minor 3rd

This makes an F chord from the IV note, it skips the G and the B

  • G to B is a Major 3rd
  • B to D is a Minor 3rd

This makes a G chord from the V note, it skips the A and the C.

This is how all major triads are made in the major scale.

The Minor Chords

A minor chord is made from a minor 3rd interval and a major 3rd interval. The opposite of the major chord the minor interval is first and the major one is second.

The minor chords are made from the ii, iii and vi notes of the major scale.

  • D to F is a minor 3rd interval
  • F to A is a major 3rd interval

This makes an D minor chord from the ii note

  • E to G is a minor 3rd interval
  • G to B is a major 3rd interval

This makes an E minor chord from the iii note

  • A to C is a minor 3rd interval
  • C to E is a major 3rd interval

This makes an A minor chord from the vi note

The Diminished Chord – vii

The diminished chord is made from two minor intervals

  • B to D is a minor 3rd interval
  • D to F is a minor 3rd interval

This makes a B dim(diminished) chord. It is also written B°

The Augmented Chord

The augmented chord is made from two major intervals

This chord actually comes from the minor scales, it is a major chord with a raised 5th

  • C to E is a major 3rd interval
  • E to G♯ is a major 3rd interval

Major Scale with Numbers – Guitar Chord Theory

Below is the major scale written twice. This is where chords get those numbers you see in chord symbols.

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

You will see the numbers 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11 and 13 used with chords

The number 2 and 9 are the same note only an octave apart.

The number 4 and 11 are the same note only an octave apart.

The number 6 and 13 are the same note only an octave apart.

Just add 7 to a lower number or subtract 7 from a higher number

Inverting Chord Tones – Guitar Chord Theory

Inverting chord tones is simply placing the lower note one octave higher.

All the chords above came from the root note.

These different ways of playing the same chord are called inversions

For the C major chord you have three notes.

There are as many inversions to a chord as there are notes

The C chord Inversions

  • C-E-G is the root position
  • E-G-C is the 1st inversion
  • G-C-E is the 2nd inversion

The intervals change as the notes are moved

  • C-E-G is a major 3rd + a minor 3rd intervals – root position
  • E-G-C is a minor 3rd interval + a 4th interval – 1st inversion
  • G-C-E is a 4th interval + a major 3rd interval – 2nd inversion

These are not the only way to play these chords. Any combination containing all three notes is a C chord. You can have multiple notes, and will on most major and minor chords.

In other words a 1st position C chord could be C E G C E. Two C’s and two E’s the second C and E are one octave higher then the first one.

This is the beginning of guitar chord theory. There many more chords and aspects to learn.

I have fretboard training software on my computer that I bought several years ago.

It will get you reading music and knowing where the notes are on the guitar at the same time in a fairly short time if you are willing to do some work

Refresher Course

This software won’t become obsolete after you learn the neck. You can then use it to get you playing faster and more accurate.

I should use it more often myself because it’s not just knowing the notes but also the speed that you can recognize and play notes and the different positions.

You also learn to read music while you learn where the notes are on the guitar.

It takes the boredom out of memorizing notes.

Use it for 10 – 20 minutes a day and in no time you will have the fretboard down pat.

Once you know the fretboard you can use the software to increase your playing speed.

It’s very good inexpensive software with a lot of features.

Most important is it gives you a starting point and an organized method of learning the guitar fretboard

Check it out for yourself Absolute Fretboard

Bass Players

This will also work for the bass guitar, up to a six string bass

You will also learn to read the bass clef. Sheet music with bass lines for a real bass not piano is becoming more popular. Learning to read music is always a plus for a musician.

All you have to do is set the software for your bass guitar and you’re ready to go

Learning scales all over the neck will make your playing more interesting. It will enable you to create your own bass lines easier

Here’s the link to check it out.

Absolute Fretboard

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Events TicketsTickets for any Event

Getting events tickets is easier than ever. The internet can save you hours of standing in line unless you like that. That used to be the thing to do for a concert people would get in line the day before so they could get a ticket.

I’ve put together some links to a website that I have used for concert tickets before and found them to have good prices and service.

It’s also good for sports events, theater and Las Vegas shows in case you get the urge to go lose some money and have some fun.

Concert Events Tickets

Whatever kind of music you like you can find what you want here in the way of live music.

There are concerts for everyone’s taste in music and also for the kids and family.

Concert Tickets

Broadway Event Tickets

If you like going to Broadway you can find a lot of choices.

You can find tickets for all these events.

Broadway Tickets

Theater Tickets

Enjoy a large selection of theater events all over the country

Theater Tickets

Sporting Events

You can find sports tickets for you favorite team or event like NASCAR, basketball, Baseball, Football and more

Sporting Events

Las Vegas Events

Check out all the Vegas shows and other events in the city that never sleeps. Save money and go see a show instead of gambling.

Las Vegas Event Tickets

Sell Your Tickets

Do you have tickets you can’t use because of other commitments or you decided you don’t want to go? Sell Them!

Sell Event Tickets

I hope you found this page useful.

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Learning the Lydian ModeIV Chord Improvising

The Lydian mode has a nice bright major sound to it making it good for a lot of music styles.

Modes are scales within scales. This mode comes from the 4th note of the major scale. If you play the C scale from F to F thats it.

This scale would have a raised 4th compared to the F major scale, it’s these little differences in scales and modes that give us unique sounds.


The F Lydian played against an F chord

Here we go with another list of modes for you to use while improvising. This works well over the IV chord in it’s parent scale, a major or maj7 chords.

It also works with major chords with a flatted 5th or raised 11th in them. The flat 5 and the raised 11th are the same note just an octave apart.

The flat five is a “blue” note, one of the notes that give the blues scale its unique sound

Each one starts from the 2nd column and reads left to right the first column tells you what key it came from.

The Lydian Formula

This formula goes 1-2-3-♯4-5-6-7

Raise the 4th of any major scale to make this mode

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Discovering Major Scale Modes

There are major scale modes for major scales that can improve your solo’s just by knowing about them and where they are. They can be used as a base scale like the major scale.

A mode is simply a scale within a scale. If you start on the second note of a major scale and play to the next octave you will have played the dorian mode of that scale.

Now that you know what a mode is let’s get started.

Each mode has a slightly different color or feel to it.

The Major Scale Modes

Below are the C scale notes with their modes.

Mixolydian

G A B C D E F G

Major Scale Modes Formulas

The scale or mode formula that I will put at the bottom of these pages is a way of making a scale or mode from a major scale. You must compare a mode to the major scale and apply the formula.

Let me show you, if you wanted a G dorian scale you would do it like this.

This is the formula for a Dorian mode 1-2-♭3-4-5-6-♭7.

Building Modes

To make a G dorian scale we look at the G major scale

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Major Scale Formula

1 2 3♭ 4 5 6 7♭ Dorian Formula

The 3 would be a B♭ and the 7 would be an F. Got it?

This is a tool for making scales and modes easier to relate to something.

You could think of the dorian mode as a major scale with a lowered 3rd and 7th. This can make it easier for some of us to remember if we know the major scales.

This way of remembering will work for some scales or modes but not for others because there are too many differences in the two scales.

I’ll list all the modes even though some are only used rarely or by advanced Jazz players.

Each of these will link to a page about a particular mode in the major scale. They will go in order like the list up above.

Major Scale Modes

The Ionian Mode

This mode is the major scale. You may already know about the major scale but this is one of the modes.

The Major Scale – Ionian Mode

The Dorian Mode

The Dorian mode gets quite a bit of use. It’s a mellow sounding minor mode. It can be blended with the pentatonic and blues scales.

Dorian Mode

The Phrygian Mode

This scale mode has a Spanish Flamenco sound however the three chord from the major scale does not get used as a tonal center for many songs. If you wanted an E minor tonal center you would work in the keys of G and D.

Phrygian Mode

The Lydian Mode

The Lydian mode is based on the 4th note of the major scale. It’s a good choice for improvising over the I and IV Chords. It has a bright kind of sound.

Lydian Mode

The Mixolydian Mode

This scale has a bluesy major sound unlike the pentatonic and blues scales which tend to have more of a minor sound. This can vary with different players too.

Eric Clapton has been know to use the Mixolydian Mode

Mixolydian Mode

The Aeolian Mode

This scale has been covered but it is a mode so let’s look at it again. It’s a fairly useful scale.

Aeolian Mode – AKA – The Natural Minor Scale

The Locrian Mode

This scale can be useful for a dominant chord lick. It’s an extension of the dominant chord.

Locrian Mode

I hope you found this page useful.

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Learning Guitar Scales – A Tough Job

Learning guitar scales and modes can be very boring making it harder to concentrate and remember, like all those dates in history class I could never remember.

Major Scale First

I think learning the major scale first is the way to go.

Let’s learn the C scale first, an easy one no sharps or flats

If you learn the C major scale you will have also learned the following;

Major Pentatonic – C D E G A C

Minor Pentatonic – A C D E G A

Ionian Mode -The Major Scale – C D E F G A B C

Dorian Mode – D E F G A B C D

Phrygian Mode – E F G A B C D E

Lydian Mode – F G A B C D E F

Mixolydian Mode – G A B C D E F G

Aeolian Mode – Natural/Relative Minor Scale – A B C D E F G A

Locrian Mode – B C D E F G A B

Two More Scales

If you add the note between the D and E of the major pentatonic you will have the major blues scale

Also if you add the note between the D and E of the minor pentatonic scale you will have the minor blues scale

Same Scales

The major and minor pentatonic scales are the same notes

What makes them different is where you start or the root note

The C pentatonic sounds better if played over the C chord form.

The root note is more powerful than the 6th or A note making your solo want to return to the root tone.

Learning Guitar Scales – The Modes

The same is true of all the modes above.

They are the same notes as the C scale but they start on a different note.

These can be used over the chords in the C scale.

For example’

Ionian Mode – use over I or any C chord except for dominants

Dorian Mode – Use over ii chord D minor chords

Phrygian Mode – Use on Em chords – limited because of the F note

Lydian Mode – Use over IV chord or any F except dominant

Mixolydian Mode – Use over V chord or any G dominant

Aeolian Mode – Use over vi chord or any A minor Chord

Locrian Mode – Use over vii or Bm7♭5 chord – limited except for Jazz Players

The hardest part of learning guitar scales is where to start? How many times do I have to play the same scale? Which scales to learn first?

Getting organized is the key to it all

I found a software program that helps you learn any of the major scales, modes and other scales.

It’s amazing how a computer and some software can make learning these scales so much easier than when I learned them. Some I didn’t learn till years later because it was such a pain and if you didn’t use them a lot you would forget them.

If you are willing to take a little time each day and use it you will learn all the scales everywhere on the fretboard

Try it for Free

You can try a free trial version here Guitar Scales Method Trial

Right or Left Handers

It’s simple software with a full length fretboard for right or left handed players

Take your time and follow each step. You’ll learn music basics, chords and much more.

If you apply yourself you will know the guitar neck and scales in a fairly short time

Been Playing for Awhile?

Even if you have been playing awhile you can benefit from this product, you will be surprised how much you don’t know as well as you think you do

I wish this was around when I was learning guitar

Once again here is the link to this software that will save you hours of practice by organizing these scale for you to learn.

Guitar Scales Method Trial

P.S. You are Never done learning guitar, there is always something new to learn. It’s a lifestyle enjoy it

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Guitar TunerEssential Tool for Guitarists

A guitar tuner is just as important as guitar strings you gotta have one.

Guitars are effected by temperature and humidity and need to be checked on a daily basis or more if you stretch the strings a lot.

Guitars can be hard to keep in tune if you are constantly going to and from different places to play or just practice. Heating and air conditioning effect the guitar’s tuning along with the weather and humidity.

For this reason you should have a guitar tuner nearby all the time. If you travel around with your guitar put one in your case. Even a simple tuning fork will do.

Online Guitar Tuner

I moved the tuner here to get it out of the way. You can find this page with the “Tune Up” button in the navigation bar on the left of any page you are on.

If you play in tune all the time it will be easier to play by ear because the notes will be the same constantly.

Here is an “A” note for tuning.

Most of the tuners you see today are digital like everything else in electronics

Some of them have a visual screen along with the audio tone. A lot of them are chromatic too, which means you can pick any note you want for tuning.

Another way they differ is some are pedal tuners which you can use like a stomp box and some are clip ons that you can place on the headstock or sound hole on an acoustic.

One thing I learned checking these tuners out is that there are a lot of guitar tuners out there.

Guitar Tuner Companies

I’m putting links to these tuners in a list by the companies that make them rather than just the type of tuner.

Most of them make several types so you can check them all out and you may have a company you prefer. I would buy another Korg tuner if mine broke because it has worked perfectly without a problem and they have good prices.

Some I’ve never heard of but I trust the company that’s selling them. Every company starts out unknown until their products or services prove themselves to the public, so don’t be afraid to try a product because you never heard of the company.

Boss Tuners

BOSS is the division of Roland Corporation recognized for its guitar and bass effects pedals.

But beyond these pedals, BOSS has innovative multi-effects, rhythm machines, personal digital studios and other easy-to-use tools for musicians.

All images link to the Boss Tuner Page

Korg Tuners

Korg is recognized as an innovative manufacturers of electronic musical instruments and accessories. They invented the world’s first handheld electronic tuner.

All images link to a Korg Tuner Page

Fender Tuners

Fender has two tuners a chromatic and a pedal tuner for guitar and bass. They are more into guitars and amps than accessories.

All images link to a Fender Tuner Page

Fishman Tuners

This company has been around a long time. I purchased a transducer for an acoustic guitar back in the 80’s from these guys. They are all about acoustic sound.

They have one tuner for acoustic guitars at a “very” good price. It’s chromatic and visual, attaches with a clip.

Planet Wave Tuner

This company now owned by D’addario(String Makers) has been arond since 1994. They have a large line of guitar and bass accessories

All images link to a Planet Waves Tuner Page

Peterson Tuners

This is an old company responsible for the first electronic organ and the first strobe tuner in 1968.

All images link to a Petersons Tuners Page

Both images link to a Yamaha Tuners Page

TC Electronic Tuners

All images link to a Petersons Tuners Page

Ibanez Tuners

Ibanez is the kind of acoustis guitars I use but they make tuners too.

A guitar tuner is just as important as your strings, stay in tune at all times.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Music Gift Ideas

Music gift ideas. Give the gift of music it’s always appreciated, wether it’s an mp3 player,a music download, a CD, sheet music for the musician, a band poster or a band T shirt and let’s not forget Satellite and HD radios.

Need some ideas of what to give your family members and close friends for gifts. How about Music?

Music was always one of my favorite gifts. A new Beatles or Stones album was always a good gift. Today you have many options for music besides albums. You can hand pick the tunes you like from an album online. You don’t have to get the whole album.

A gift of music doesn’t have to be music itself it can be a radio, mp3 player, a band T shirt or poster for the wall.

You can also give a gift card from a music related site so you don’t have to worry about buying the wrong thing for that finicky person

Music CD’s/Downloads

Did you know that todays CD’s are better than the original recordings. They have found ways to get more out of the original record tracks. Things like the drummers cymbals and bass lines that have been in the background are easy to hear.

If you have an older CD or album that you really like try a new enhanced CD. They will say enhanced or something to that effect if they have been redone. I think it’s all part of the HD(High Definition) thing.

I use a couple different sites for buying CD’s and getting downloads.

I use these sites because they all have good prices and I know they are legal CD’s and downloads of the original artist not a bootleg from someone’s computer.

Music CD’s

Amazon-Music Cd’s

Walmart-Music Cd’s

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Music Downloads mp3

Amazon-mp3 Downloads

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The next one isn’t actually a music gift but most people that like music also like to have a little fun and they may like a video game.

These games aren’t just for kids. Us older grown-up kids like them too.

Amazon-Games

Walmart-Games

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Concert Tickets

A concert ticket to your favorite band or even a sporting event is a great present too.

You can get tickets for an area close to your town.

You can also get tickets in advance and get good seats at a lower price to please your concert goer and save you some money.

Concert Tickets

Sports Tickets

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Satellite Radios & Subscriptions

Satellite radio is a way to listen to music commercial free. There are over 130 music channels to choose from. They cover any style you like and there are also specific artist stations.

You can get comedy and sports also with XM radio. You can pretty much pick and choose what you want to subscribe to.

They are running specials right now until the end of the year.

The company Sirius and XM Radio have teamed up to give you anything you could possibly want from a radio. Music, Comedy, Talk shows, Sports of all kinds worldwide.

SiriusXM Home Page

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Band/Music Posters

Posters are like paintings but they cost a lot less. They are a good way to decorate a wall in a bedroom, basement or your music room if you have one. They get hung up in living rooms too.

Kids like to hang posters of their favorite people wether they are popular musicians or a sports figure.

123Posters – Music Posters

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Band T-Shirts

Every concert I have ever been to there are people outside the concert hall selling band T shirts for whoever is playing that night.

Some of them selling bootleg T-shirts. In other words they didn’t pay some royalty money to the artist or recording company. These shirts are usually cheaper and are of low quality.

That isn’t true of Rock.com. They are official sellers for whoever is on the shirt. They also have hoodies and other stuff for your gift selection.

Official Rock Band T-Shirts & Gear

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More Music Gift Ideas

Musicians – Guitar Players

This section is for the ones that not only listen to the music but play it as well.

One of the things that will help your playing is reading about top guitarists in magazines. There are magazines that have examples and they discuss what kind of gear they use and alternate tunings for a particular song and a lot of other tips on playing.

A good way to learn little guitar tricks to impress your friends and fellow guitarist’s.

Here is a list of them one is for bass. The one I read is Guitar Player and has been around a long time and has some good articles and lessons.

These magazines vary in price. I pay about $15.00 a year for Guitar Player.

All the magazine links open in a new window.

Guitar Magazines

Guitar Gear

Here is a list of basic accessories guitar players need from Same Day Music. All the links open in a new window.

Basic Gear

Sheet Music/Books

I have two sites I use for sheet music and books. The first link is to Music Notes.

Sheet Music Plus

This is a good site for Mel Bay lesson books plus a lot of other artist books and regular sheet music.

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Backing Tracks

Backing tracks are a great way to practice licks or just jam and try new ideas.

These tracks are good for any instrument not just guitar.

Planet of Rock uses real music(No MIDI) and you can pick from head banging to mellow with a large selection of popular bands.

The first link is the home page and the second link is for the Blues section.

http://www.planetofrock.com/index.php/The-Blues/View-all-products.html

Planet of Rock – Home Page

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Guitar Learning Software

There are quite a few of these and they all have a certain purpose.

Guitar Fretboard Software

This software does what the name implies. It teaches you the guitar fretboard through a series of exercises.

You also learn to read music and develope some timing.

This is good for beginner to intermediate software. It can also be used by advanced players as a practice tool, the speed can be set from 40 to 200 BPM(Beats per Minute).

Absolute Fretboard Software

Guitar Scales Method

This is good software for anyone that wants to learn the major scales and modes inall the positions on the guitar neck.

Guitar Scales Method

Guitar Speed Software

Guitar speed is all this software does. It guides you through the process of developing speed and accuracy in timing along wqith other beneficial playing aspects.

All you have to do is apply yourself.

Guitar Speed Software

Adult Guitar Course

Learning Guitar For Adults

I hope you found this page useful.