Chord Voicing and Layering

Sometimes the same old chords get… well, boring. Every guitar player can pick up an axe and hammer away at G, C and D in first position. When you sit around the campfire with your pickin’ and grinnin’ friends, spice up your strumming by layering the chords with different voicings. What is voicing? Have you […]

Introduction to Keys

Did you have a set of plastic building blocks as a kid? Every box has a picture of a super cool project on the front – maybe a house or a robot or a motorcycle. When you open the box and dump the pieces on the floor, you realize that there are WAY more blocks […]

Why Bother with Barre Chords?

Its reputation precedes it. Even non-guitarists are aware of its legend. You don’t want to meet it in a dark alley and you definitely do not want to get on its bad side. It will torture you, make you question everything you thought you knew and drive you to the edge of quitting. It is […]

Navigating the Fretboard

Have you ever gotten lost? Maybe as a little kid you found yourself separated from your parents in a store. What a horrible feeling to look up and realize that you are lost in a sea of clothes racks and mannequins. What about the first day at a new school? Do you remember the fear […]

Intro to the Chromatic Scale

The most basic scale is the chromatic scale. It is made of twelve notes that are a half step apart. The chromatic scale, beginning with E, is: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#. You can easily play a chromatic scale on the guitar by starting with an open string […]

Intro to the Major Diatonic Scale

The major diatonic scale is the most well-known scale in Western music. It is made of eight notes (including the repeated octave) with the interval arrangement of whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. This scale is sung with the syllables do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do in the solfège method. The major diatonic […]

Building with Half & Whole Steps

Kids love to play with building blocks. Their various shapes, sizes and colors can be combined to build almost anything the imagination can dream up. Some blocks are small while others are large… all of the sizes are important. Music is made of building blocks, too. The smallest building block in Western music is called […]

Rhythm Guitar & Lead Guitar Defined

The guitar can be played two different ways – as a lead instrument or as a rhythm instrument. When playing a solo, an intro or a riff that stands out from the rest of the music, the guitar is being played as a lead instrument. When playing lead guitar, the guitarist is using scales, inverted power chords and stylistic techniques. […]

Intro to Note Time Values

Whole note = four beats Half note = two beats Quarter note = one beat Eighth note = 1/2 a beat Sixteenth note = 1/4 a beat

Tonic Notes, Bass Notes and Inverted Chords

Tonic note = note that gives its name to the chord; foundational pitch upon which the chord is built Bass note = lowest note in the chord The tonic note will never change and often serves as the bass note in the chord. However, the chord can be built where a note other than the […]