Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chord Theory Four! Modes!

Okay, now that you have the two basic triad formulas down, we can move to modes, and then to progressions!!
A chord progression is simply chords that sound good when played together.  Now there is a bunch of theory that tells why that is so, and I will not delve into it unless you want me to.  However, I can give a bare bones, and thats just what this lesson is all about!

So remember how all the notes were numbered in previous lessons?  To know the chords that sound good to improvise over in a certain scale, you need to make chords out of each of the scales modes.

A mode is just a scale with a different tonal center, or taking the second note of the scale and playing up the the second note an octave higher.  I'll explain more later. There are seven modes: Ionian (major scale), Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian (Minor Scale), and Locrian. Lets use C major as an example.  So the notes of C major are (C-D-E-F-G-A-B), because of the (whole step-whole step-half step-whole step-whole step-whole step pattern), but the notes of its Dorian mode are D-E-F-G-A-B-C. All it took to get that mode was taking the second note of C major, the root scale, and building a scale using the WWHWWW pattern. So the mode would be called D Dorian. 

So if you wanted to make the third mode, Phrygian, you take the second note of the last mode, Dorian.  Which is E.  So using the WWHWWW pattern starting at E, we end up with: E-F-G-A-B-C-D.

And so on and so forth.  But to save you the work, I have already written out all the modes of C major:

Ionian: C-D-E-F-G-A-B
Dorian: D-E-F-G-A-B-C
Phrygian: E-F-G-A-B-C-D
Lydian: F-G-A-B-C-D-E
Mixolydian: G-A-B-C-D-E-F
Aeolian: A-B-C-D-E-F-G
Locrian: B-C-D-E-F-G-A

Now I know what you are thinking right now, "But why would they sound different if they have the same notes, but in a different order?!"

Well when you improvise, or make chords, progressions, symphonies, whatever, intervals are key (HA FULL CIRCLE TIME).  So even though the notes are the same in C Ionian (C major) and D Dorian, the intervals from the root note are completely different and give the scale a different feel.  You can also make different chords from it, which is tomorrows lesson.

Comment, rave, rant, whatever.  Or more of last nights dinner, thats always interesting.

Cordially Yours,


Monday, October 4, 2010

Chord Theory part three! Major Triads!

Since last lesson was a bit over complicated and I basically just spit out as much jargon as I could, so for this lesson, I will just talk about chords and stuff, no real theory!

Most chords are called Triads, because they are made of three notes.  But that does not mean they ONLY use three strings.  You can double up some of the three notes to make the chord sound fuller.  Triads have formulas, as the last lesson said. 

Basically you make them using different notes of a Major scale.  The formula form a Major Triad (or chord) is 1-3-5.  So you use the first note of the scale, which gives the chord its name, the third (which makes the chord sound happy), and the fifth note.  In C majors case, that would be C-E-G.

Now the next triad we will explore is the minor triad, you know, the sad one =D.  Its formula is 1-b3-5.  The b means that you flat that note, or just lower is a half step.  So The becomes a D# note.  So the notes of a C Minor triad are C-D#-G

Easy enough right?  Bonus points to whoever looked at the sweep shapes and noticed where the flatted notes were on the minor shape. Also, if you noticed that the last lesson and this lesson are really similar, and are almost the exact same thing, remember that the more times you read something, the better your mind retains it.

Sorry for taking so long, but I think this nice refresher lesson was needed =D.

But if not, do tell me, or tell me how great it was, or talk about last nights dinner.  Whatever keeps that little boat a-floatin. 

Cordially yours,


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chord Theory Part Two! Consonant Intervals!

Back so soon??  Thats right, more music theory for ya to gnaw on!  Last lesson was just assigning interval names to the notes of the major scale, now we can begin to explore dissonant and consonant intervals, with a major chord formula. A consonant interval is an interval that sounds peaceful, cheerful, and happy.  Those are what Major chords are made of.  Remember how the major sweep shape sounded happy?  Its because of the consonant intervals! So now to make a C major triad (three notes, same as a C major chord, just a fancier name =D) you use the 1, 3, and 5 notes.  In intervals, thats 4 notes from the root, then 3 notes from that note. You end up with "C E G", the notes of a C major chord. 

Now if you want to make a major chord, all you have to do is:
1) Use the scale formula WWHWWWH to find the notes of your major scale
2) Take the root note, the third note, and the fifth note. 
3) Now put each of those notes in a coherent order on the fretboard, and BAM you have a Major chord!

If you want to make a chord sound fuller, double up the notes, like adding the additional G note on the Low E string with your C major.

Sorry if its complicated, I am not too good of a teacher, and I am really trying to premeditate this as best as I can lol.  So leave hate mail, rate mail, whatever you want in the comment box.  You are all awesome.

Cordially yours,


Saturday, October 2, 2010

General Chord Theory part one! Intervals

Since the best way to play your own sweeps is to know how to construct their chord forms, and work them into progressions, I will deviate from general sweep picking form for now and delve a bit further into chord theory!

So now that you have a C major scale (CDEFGAB) all set up using the whole step formula from last time, now you can make chords off it using the notes found in the scale.  Remember those interval thingys I brought up briefly? Well now they have a purpose. Certain intervals sound happy, some sound sad, its just how music works.  Since there are seven notes in the C major scale, lets assign them number values, just to make this simple, without dragging in "major thirds, perfect fifths" and stuff.  So now we can think of the major scales INTERVALS as being 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, one being the root and so forth.  Now to construct chords, we will take certain combination's of intervals that sound good together, and have some easy formulas to memorize so you can make them on the fly!

 But not right now lol.  Maybe later, or definitely tomorrow.  And, as you know the drill, comment to rage, praise, or give suggestions on where you want the lessons to go next.  And Allen, circle of fifths will be soon, first I have to build up the general knowlege!

Cordially Yours,


Friday, October 1, 2010

Sweep tha floor pt Three! Theory without sound!

An Arpeggio is simply where you play the notes of a chord separately; without them ringing out.  And thats all sweep shapes are!

You make chords by using the notes from a major scale.  Remember the root from the last lesson? Thats the first note of a scale, like you would get a C major shape from a C major scale.

A major scale has a pattern of notes called intervals.  Intervals are the space between notes.A whole step is two notes, and a half step is one note.  So from C to D is a whole step.  And D to D# is a half step. 

Now major scales have a set pattern.  Its whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole
step, whole step, half step.  You start from whatever note you want to be your root.  So if you want a C major scale, you start from the C note, then move a whole step down to the D note.  Then another whole step to the E note.  Then a half step from E to F.  And so on until you get back to the root note, which is C.
By the time you are done, you will have the notes a C major scale!   C D E F G A B

Since I am lazy and have done enough typing, I will finish up the actual chord theory tomorrow!  As always, complain in the comments, or praise, whetever floats your prospective boat.

Cordially yours,


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sweep Picking part Two!!

As always, thankee kindly for your awesome comments! So since I covered general sweeping form, its time to get into the actual shapes!

A shape is just a movable pattern whose root note changes whenever the shape is moved up and down.  A root note is the first note in whatever scale/ chord the sweep is based off of.  Thats most of the theory you'll need for now.

Since I am lazy, I don't want to make a 3 string and a five string sweep tab.   So I will just have the five string, and you can just use the last three strings from it for your easier three string version. And without further rambling, here is a C major sweep:

I also added its counterpart, the C minor.  Major= happy, Minor= Sad.

The root note is the 15, or C.  Get it?? C major sweep has a C as its root!
That would mean that a D major sweeps root would be?? Thats right!  A D!!

Any questions and stuff, feel free!! Tomorrows lesson will cover how to make your own sweeps, and possibly sound examples.

As always,

Cordially yours,


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sweeping stuff- palm muting and general picking!!

Through the comments, I was unable to get what you guys really wanted, (not to say that they weren't awesome and completely, totally, and undeniably appreciated) so I will make a series on all aspects sweep picking.  It seems to be the one thing that people consider to be that "Virtuoso" technique.  It is not.  The most difficult part of sweeping is muting the strings with your picking hand, and coordinating each hand to the others movements.  Its really cool too, because one moment sweeping will be really difficult, and you can't get it fast or flowing, and then all of a sudden, BAM.  There is a giant leapfrog from beginner to proficient.

So first off, palm muting.  Assuming you are using an electric guitar, the largest problem you will face, (especially with distortion), will be excess string noise.  It is easily rectified by applying light pressure using the palm of your hand near the end of the bridge.  Just block out each string right after the note has sounded, so the next not does not "bleed" together with it.  An easy practice is to hit all the open strings, and seeing if you can dampen them out after being played. I will have a sound recording tomorrow to demonstrate better.

Next is picking form.  With sweeping, you are not alternate picking.  That is, you are not individually striking each string with a back and forth wrist movement.  You want your pick to glide across the strings gracefully, using a forward wrist movement when going down, and backwards when going up (hey, I want to cover all the bases here).  This is when palm muting really comes in.  As you are gliding around, you want to use your palm on the strings you just finished playing.  I hope I am being clear, if not, leave a comment please. 

Thats about it for palm muting, and general wrist movement and stuff.  Its not too complicated, its just that if the fundamentals are not down, the more advanced concepts seem impossible. Tomorrow I will show a major and minor sweep and show why they are called that.  As always, leave comments to whine, cry, praise, thank, or anything else.

Cordially yours,