Monday, December 15, 2008

Guitar CAGED Chord System Theory

When I analyzed the CAGED system, I think it can be
simplified into just three (3) shapes. The D and C can
be combined. The A and G can be combined. And then the
E shape. So we have 3-shapes namely the D/C, A/G and

Inside these three shapes are found the patterns of
the major scales. Cool huh??? What do you think?

As a guitar teacher dedicated to illuminating the details of music theory for guitar, my goal is to break things down to the basic building blocks and then show guitar players how to develop from there. It sounds like you're on the right track.

The five CAGED chords can actually be simplified into just one shape. In fact, it IS one shape that covers the whole guitar fretboard. It's broken up into five pieces, or forms, so that you can learn and memorize it one step at a time. Eventually, if you learn lots of CAGED songs and apply the chord forms and arpeggio patterns to music, everything begins to bleed together. At that point, you can group the shapes however you see fit.

And yes, major scale patterns can be played inside any and all chord shapes.

The practical application of guitar theory will be thought of slightly different from player to player.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is it Really Necessary to Learn Guitar Modes?

Is it really necessary to learn modes? I've read
somewhere that Slash and Joe Pass don't know anything
about modal theory.

In a Guitar World magazine lesson, Slash just used the
pentatonic rock lead pattern and added chromatic

It's not necessary to learn about anything. In fact, you don't even need to learn how to play guitar. But we study things because they are interesting, provide enjoyment, and help us develop. Guitar modes is a confusion topic, but once players figure out how they really work they are very glad they did.

Many guitarists have their own convoluted way of thinking about musical concepts. As a result their explanations about what they're playing seem inconsistent with certain terminology. To say that Slash and Joe Pass don't know anything about modal scales is inaccurate. Everything is in a mode. They couldn't play music without them.

"Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns and Roses is a great example of Mixolydian mode. The two musical interludes that occur at 1:31 and 2:32 are based on the chords D, C and G which are V IV I (5 4 1) in the G major scale (guitars tuned down 1/2 step). Although the parent major scale is G, it's really the D chord that is functioning as the root.

Many guitar players make the mistake of basing the scale off of the root chord. But the D major scale won't work quite right in this example because the C# note clashes with the C natural in the C chord. The correct way to play over this progression is to recognize that it's a mode of the G major scale based on the fifth degree, D. This is called "D Mixolydian mode" (a.k.a. the Dominant scale).

So the correct major scale to play is G. If you want to apply the pentatonic however, you should follow the root chord, D. What you end up with is a combination of the G major scale and D major pentatonic.

Most guitar players favor the pentatonic boxes. So you could orient yourself in D major pentatonic first (pattern 1 starts at the 7th fret) and then mix in G major scale notes (G major scale pattern 3 overlaps D major pentatonic pattern 1). And this is exactly what Slash plays!

Now, Slash may explain the guitar theory differently, but it's still modes he's playing nonetheless.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guitar Theory Songs, Tabs, and Videos

I really find your book/info helpful and enjoy the updates and full scale marketing you do. One comment I have is regarding the book. In it you name songs or pieces of songs as examples of each area of discussion. I don't know if you already provide it with the DVD or other ways but it would much more useful if those songs or pieces were tabbed (maybe at the back). Now I find myself trying to find the song to listen and apply the information and get somewhat frustrated when I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to.

Songs are the reason why we all play. Knowing how technical things like scales, chords, progressions and modes apply to popular music is key to developing a good working knowledge of guitar theory. This is why I include so many song references in my book, Fretboard Theory.

Learning music theory for guitar is a process that requires work and practice on your part. I provide lists of songs that pertain to each topic, and a few details to indicate which part of the song to focus on, but it's up to you to look up and learn the parts.

There exists already so many great resources to help you learn songs including guitar tab and guitar videos. It just doesn't seem necessary for me to reproduce these things and try to include them in my book. The book would end up being HUGE and costing a fortune. And I'd have to jump through legal hoops in order to get the rights to print the music. I'll teach the theory and leave the tab books to someone else.

With all of this said, I do have some free guitar tablature that I give away to all website visitors who sign up for a free preview of Fretboard Theory (customers get the tab as well). And I have posted a ton of guitar videos at YouTube. This free stuff is intended to help you get started learning the songs I reference in the book.

You could have found this stuff with a little hunting. Like I said, the learning process requires effort on your part!

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, and More

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Difference Between Pentatonic & Major Scales For Guitar

If the pentatonic scale pattern is built inside the
major scale pattern, what's the point of learning the
pentatonic? If you learn the major scale, you
automatically learn also the pentatonic, right?

This is a great question about learning guitar scales. I could add to it, "If all scales are derived from the chromatic scale, what's the point of learning anything else? If you learn every chromatic note on the guitar fretboard, you're touching on any and all types of scales."

Of course, is doesn't work this way. Guitar scales make unique patterns on the fretboard. If you want to create pentatonic sounds, you must know which major scale notes to skip over, hence pentatonic scale patterns.

Since the pentatonic scale notes alone are so widely used for melodies, riffs, solos and bass lines, it's critical for guitar players to map out and learn just these notes on the neck. It's also critical for players to learn how to execute techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides and bends with the special two-notes-per-string pentatonic patterns.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, and More

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Guitar Picking Techniques Pentatonic Scale Sequence

I like the alternate picking exercise you cover in your Pentatonic Scale DVD that you do in groups of 3 notes.

My question is how would you approach the same exercise but in groups of 4 notes (i.e. sixteenth notes)? Would you maintain alternate picking starting on a downstroke ascending, then starting on an upstroke descending as you did on the DVD?

Playing around using a four-note pattern instead of three, I found it more difficult to make it flow smoothly with alternate picking.

My books and DVDs focus more on the topic of guitar theory, but I'll try to address this guitar picking techniques question anyway.

Picking the pentatonic scale in sequences of four notes is definitely more difficult than the three note sequence I usually start guitar players with. Not only is it more work for your picking hand, but the fingers you fret with have to scramble to grab all the notes. It's a bit like playing twister on the fretboard. You'll have to change the way you finger the pattern.

You still should continuously alternate your pick, without skipping or repeating any strokes. I recommend you start with the downstroke at first regardless of whether you're playing up or down the pattern. Once you master the picking sequence, you can starting each way on an upstroke. Again,continuously alternate your pick, without skipping or repeating any strokes.

The purpose of practicing picking by starting with both down and up strokes is to prepare you for whatever situation may come up while playing melodies, riffs, and solos. However you start off, you should be able to continue with alternating your pick.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, and More

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All Dominant 7th Chord Progressions "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"

The music for "Nobody Knows You When Your Down and Out" by Eric Clapton is written in the key of C but most of the chords are played as major and/or dominant sevens.

C E A Dm A7 Dm F F#dim7 C/G A7 D7 G7 C

Please help me understand how that fits into the basic harmonized major scale, I ii iii IV V vi vii.

This song is based on an advanced concept that stems from the chord progression number system I teach in my guitar theory method. Just be sure to master the basic concepts before venturing into advanced areas like this. Music theory is a process, you know.

Jazz players like to play over dominant seven chords. Now, there's only one seventh chord in a key (see Fretboard Theory chapter 10). But, who says you can't change keys and play over the V7 chord each time? Well, which keys go good together? What if you take the intervals from the major scale and play each of them as a dominant seven chord? The key of C would become:

C7 D7 E7 F7 G7 A7 B7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

So this chord sequence is actually a series of key changes. Each seventh chord is a V chord from a different key. But we used the C major scale structure as a guide to determine which keys to combine. If you want to solo over these chords, you'll have to switch the parent major scale for every chord. Yikes, that's a lot to keep track of! But jazz players love it.

Progressions in this new sequence are the same as the diatonic scale but now everything is a 7th chord. For example:

I7 IV7 V7
(Most blues songs are based on this.)

I vi ii V
I7 VI7 II7 V7
(A foundational jazz progression.)

You can hop around however you want. You can even switch back and forth between 7th chords and the diatonic chords (I ii ii, etc.).

The F#diminished chord is basically an F7 chord with the root raised. This chromatic passing tone bridges the gap between the F7's root and the C7's fifth (hence the C7/G).

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, and More

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pentatonic Scale Patterns With Blues Notes

You've done a great book, but when I was working through the blues section I noticed something which might be improved upon. You show the blues notes in the first pentatonic shape in the Em, Fm, Gm and Am positions (on page 16). I thought that in future editions you might be willing to show the blues notes in all of the pentatonic shapes, i.e. the diagrams on page 9 but with the blues notes added to them.

This brings up a good point. In Fretboard Theory I purposely didn't illustrate all of the possible blues scale pentatonic patterns for a reason. It's possible to focus too much on technical things and miss the practical applications.

As stated in the book, the blues scale is really just a musical idea that stems from adding chromatic passing tones to bridge the gaps between the scale intervals. So if you really want to cover all your bases, I guess you should memorize the pentatonic patterns with every possible gap filled. In case you haven't already drawn this conclusion, that would be every note on the whole fretboard! This is not going to help you.

Instead, focus on memorizing the core five pentatonic scale patterns. Then learn how to play melodies, riffs, lead solos and bass lines that are based in the scale. Finally, consider the addition of extra notes and study songs that incorporate the technique. You'll learn how the patterns change as you go. And most importantly, you'll understand the practical application of the blues scale which is worth far more than more patterns!

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Diminished Guitar Chord Theory and the Major Scale

I'm way past there now, but when I was back in chapter 6 of Fretboard Theory I was curious as to why you didn't mention diminished chords as the 7th instead of "minor-flat-5"? At least that's the way I learned in back in school.

The seventh degree of the major scale does not produce a complete diminished chord. Instead you get a root, b3rd, b5th, and b7th. You'd need a bb7th (double flat) interval in order to complete a diminished chord.

One way to think of a full diminished chord is as all minor third intervals. Start on a root, go up a minor third (three frets), then up a minor third again, then up a minor third again, etc.

The chord building lessons in my book, Fretboard Theory, focus solely on the major scale. This foundational guitar theory information should be learned before you venture into more advanced topics.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tri Tone Substituting Guitar Theory

I have been studying Music seriously for about 3 1/2 years and the study of modes really escaped me! Your approach of tying the theory and chord progression aspects together made perfect sense to me, and the added blues section really clarified the the blues changes. The concept of each chord being a different key center was a epiphany.

I have a request. A concept that I have had trouble with (and others guitar players)I'm sure, is Tri-Tone Subs,. If you have any advice I would appreciate it.

I appreciate your comments about my DVD, Guitar Modes - The Modal Scales of Popular Music. I'm glad that the information is working well for you. It's amazing how the right guitar theory instruction can make such a big difference in how players view and understand music.

Tri Tone Substitutions
This topic is beyond the scope of my guitar theory materials, and ventures into a pretty heavy jazz concept. But, I'll try to give you one example anyway.

Play a 1 6 2 5 chord progression in the key of G (any key will work) using all dominant seven chords. Play two beats of each chord, or strum each chord twice. For chords 6 2 and 5, substitute a tri-tone dominant seventh chord on beat two, or the second strum. So the progression will look like this:

G7 G7, E7 Bb7, A7 Eb7, D7 Ab7

Reduce this to the chord roots only and you'll have a typical jazz bass line. Many times just the bass player does the flat fifth substituting.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Do I Need to Memorize Guitar Major Scale Pattern Shapes?

I have worked thorough the guitar pentatonic scale patterns and have them down pretty well. I seem to find the guitar major scale patterns more difficult to remember. Do I need to learn them by shape or can I just build a scale as I go by knowing the scale degrees and steps? Also, do I need to have the major scales down "pat" before I can move on to other music theory topics?

The key to understanding how music works on the guitar fretboard is visualizing shapes and patterns and how they connect. Since everything in music stems from the major scale, knowing guitar major scale patterns is foundational to guitar theory.

I recommend you follow the instruction laid out in Fretboard Theory Chapter 5: The Major Scale. Memorize the 5 patterns on the guitar neck, and then practice connecting them forward and backward in order to complete the whole scale template. Once you can accomplish this in the original key I illustrate the patterns in, transpose the scale to new keys by shifting the template to new fretboard positions. Use the songs listed on page 73-74 to practice with. This way, you can hear the melodic characteristics of the major scale as you review the patterns (this will make practicing a lot more enjoyable).

After you can complete the scale template forward and backward in various keys, the next step is to learn lots of major scale songs. Melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos, and even bass lines will all demonstrate how to apply the patterns in musical context. And listeners will appreciate hearing something familiar too!

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Connecting Pentatonic Scale Patterns For Guitar

I want to move through all the notes in succession all the way through the neck for a particular key. When you move from pattern 1 all the way through to pattern 5 using the major or minor pentatonic scales, how do I ensure I move to the next note for the next pattern?

This is a common music theory question about learning pentatonic scales for guitar that basically asks whether or not there is a "correct" way to finish one pattern and then start the next. In addition, some guitarists wonder if they should connect the patterns in a continuous manner so that they don't skip or repeat any notes.

The answer to both questions is no. Players should just play up and down a pattern in one position and then move up the guitar neck to the next, restart, and play up and down the new pattern in the new position. At this stage you're just trying to train yourself to access the scale notes in any position, or "map out" the guitar fretboard.

After you have memorized and can play all five pentatonic scale patterns ascending and descending you need to transpose to new keys and practice connecting the patterns again.

The final step is to put the patterns to use by learning lots of pentatonic scale songs. Pentatonic melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos, and bass lines will be in various keys and move through the patterns in various ways including starting and stopping, reversing direction, skipping and repeating notes, and shifting positions. Through this song learning process you'll develop a practical understanding of the guitar theory behind applying the pentatonic scale, both major and minor, to different music styles.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Playing Minor Pentatonic Scales Over Seventh Chords and Blues Progressions

On page 115 you allude to a concept that I hadn't considered before which is that in a major blues when the I-IV-V are all Dom7s, that we are really using three different keys.

In the case of a blues in C, C7 would be the V of G, F7 is the V of Bb, and G7 is the V of C.

You use this to allude to the fact that a blues solo can be complex by changing major scales to match the chord changes.

My question is why will a single Pentatonic scale in one key work. I have played it that way for years, but now that you have opened my eyes to the fact that the key is actually changing I am questioning what I know. I understand why it works over all of the chords in a single key, but why does it still work when the keys are changing?

This is a great question about applying guitar pentatonic and major scale patterns to songs in a blues music style. Playing the minor pentatonic scale over a chord with a major third interval in it, is actually breaking the rules. As a result, some of the scale and chord tones clash. This dissonance gives blues and blues-based rock music an edgy sound that most guitar players find pleasing to the ear (your grandparents, not so much).

Although this is more music theory information than most guitarists want or need to know, here's how the scale works over what appears to be a typical I IV V (1 4 5) blues chord progression in the key of G. Remember, as I explain in my book Fretboard Theory, each dominant seven chord is actually the V chord of another key.

G7 (V chord C) with G minor pentatonic scale
You get a root, flat third, fourth, fifth, and flat seventh. All the notes relate perfectly to the chord, and the parent C major scale, except for the Bb which is a minor third. This interval contributes to the sour but cool "blues" sound.

C7 (V chord F) with G minor pentatonic scale
You get a root, second, fourth, fifth and flat seventh. All the notes relate perfectly to the chord, and the parent F major scale.

D7 (V chord G) with G minor pentatonic scale
You get a root, flat third, fourth, augmented (or sharp) fifth and flat seventh. You already know that a flat third, or minor third, interval contributes to the bluesy sound. The sharp fifth interval creates an augmented chord which increases the tension and leads to and resolves back to the tonic, G7. D7 augmented, which can be heard at the beginning of "Stormy Monday" by The Allman Brothers Band, can be played like this:

Root D - string 5, fret 5, ring finger
Major 3rd - string 4, fret 4, middle finger
Sharp 5th - string 3, fret 3, index finger
Root D - string 2, fret 3, barre with index finger

Isn't it amazing that a concept that is so easy to play on the guitar fretboard ends up being based on rather complicated guitar theory? I guess some things are easier done than said. This certainly applies to using minor pentatonic scale patterns in blues guitar music.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Is Guitar Theory? Applying Music Theory to the Guitar Fretboard.

This guitar blog post will answer the following questions:

1. What is guitar theory?
2. Why do guitar players have to learn theory and what are the benefits?
3. What does guitar theory include and where should a player start?

Theory is the study of music - how it's written, notated, discussed, thought of and played. Guitar theory is the study of how music theory specifically applies to the guitar fretboard and usually focuses on how all the different components of songs, such as scales, chords and progressions, fit together. It's a topic best suited for intermediate and advanced guitar players who already know the basics of playing such as chords and easy songs and want to take their knowledge to the next level and navigate the fretboard like the pros. These things are required if you want to be able to improvise, compose, or just understand the music you play better.

The Benefits of Guitar Theory
Many players who don't understand the inter-workings of music are limited in their ability to apply what they know. For example, a student might learn a new scale pattern from a scale book or a new chord shape from a chord chart but have no idea where it fits into songs. Without knowledge of how something functions it's pretty much useless.

What Does Guitar Theory Do?
Guitar theory will explain what musical elements are and what they do. For example, a new chord shape might be seen as an extension of a common barre chord. Wherever this common barre chord is played the new shape can be substituted for a new sound. A scale pattern might fit together with a specific chord progression. Each time this progression is used the scale tones can add melody and harmony. In music, knowing how the pieces fit together makes all the difference.

Where to Start Learning Theory?
Music can be approached and studied from many different angels. Guitar players can study notation, technique, rhythms, scales, chord construction and so on. While all musical topics are interesting and have their benefits - mapping out scales, chords and progressions on the fretboard is what ultimately has to be done. If you're interested in developing this type of working knowledge of guitar music theory, then follow the outline below.

1. Guitar Scales

99% of guitar scale work in popular music is based on either pentatonic or major scale patterns. Focus on learning and memorizing these patterns. The pentatonic scale patterns are simpler and easier to apply, so they make a perfect place to start. Below is a fretboard diagram which illustrates the first and most commonly used pentatonic scale pattern. The notation example that follows shows you how to play the notes in order by pitch ascending and descending.

2. Guitar Chords

There are literally thousands of different types of chord shapes that can be played on the fretboard but most of them can be traced back to just 5 common open forms. These forms are C, A, G, E, and D. Together they make up what's called the guitar CAGED chord system, which includes arpeggio patterns, inversions, fingerings and voicings. In the fretboard diagrams below you can see how the open C form can be moved up, played as a barre chord, and then reduced to more practical forms. These chord shapes occur all the time in popular music.

3. Guitar Chord Progressions

Understanding guitar chord progressions and playing by numbers will help you chart and learn songs better. You'll also better understand the construction of the songs you play and remember more. Chord progressions are also foundational to many other music theory topics including applying scales and playing scale modes.

Progressions stem from major scale patterns. Learn how to build triads and chords using the major scale. When you do this, a major/minor number sequence emerges that is quite possibly the most important foundational concept in all of music. Have you ever heard someone refer to a song by numbers such as 1, 4, 5? The system is all based on major scale degrees.

Hopefully now you have an idea of what guitar theory is, why it's so beneficial to learn, what it includes and how to get started. With music theory each concept builds on the one before it. Learn things in the right order and everything will fit into place both mentally and physically on the fretboard. Be sure to take your time and allow yourself to fully absorb and apply each subject (this should include learning lots of actual song examples). As you go, light bulbs will turn on in your head and you'll surely achieve more success and experience more enjoyment as a musician.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Guitar Theory Book Song References and Tab Resources

What is your recommendation for the best way to procure the guitar tablatures
that are referenced throughout the music theory book? I know that there can be
several ways to do this, but my question is for your recommendation as
to the best way to do it ... thank you.

Fretboard Theory is not a tabbed songbook but rather a method for learning the theory behind music and popular songs, with lots of references present. Although I help you get started with the free tab I give away to all website visitors, the rest of the song recommendations will need to be looked up and learned on your own. You can find these songs transcribed in guitar magazines, tab books, other instructional books, and video websites.

I urge you to consult with the most accurate sources available. At this stage of your development you want to make sure you’re not missing the important details so don’t be afraid to pay for the good stuff. The tab you find on the Internet is rarely complete or accurate.

During my research for this book I relied heavily upon tab books published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. This company has an excellent selection of authentic guitar and bass transcriptions. For more information including a complete listing of the artist series tab books and sheet music available visit your local music store or log onto Also, check out and These two web sites offer you the option of purchasing and immediately printing authentic tab by individual song. You don’t have to wait for materials to arrive in the mail and you don’t have to pay for a whole book!

Don’t forget to also search the videos posted at and for live performance clips and song learning lessons.

Best Notes for Guitar Bends with the Pentatonic Scale

You mention focusing around the root of the pentatonic scale when soloing (in the minor vs major section), and it sounds great. My question is in regards to bends, which is the skill I am focusing on now (along with hammer ons and pull offs). Are there any rules of thumb as to which are the best notes in the scale pattern to bend, most typically? the root? the third from the root? It would be cool to have a few particular notes in each pattern to focus on as it pertains to learning bends and small riffs containing them on the guitar.

The most common bends are to the root and fifth. When you bend the second note on string two in pentatonic pattern one, you're bending to the minor root of the scale. When you bend the second note on string three in pentatonic pattern one, you're bending to the fifth of the minor scale.

These same bends are used by guitar players with the major pentatonic scale too. The first example becomes a bend to a sixth interval. The second example becomes a bend to the major third.

The best way to learn about what scale notes you can bend on the guitar is to learn lots of riffs and lead guitar solos from popular songs. That's why I reference so many in my book, Fretboard Theory (and my guitar theory DVD programs as well). Look them up and learn them! The free guitar tab I give away to all website visitors will help you get started.

Major and Minor Diatonic Scales Guitar

I am interested in learning more about the diatonic scale. how it is built and how to harmonized it. i would also like to know what the difference between major and minor diatonic scales is please write to me when you have a chance.

The term "Diatonic" refers to the major scale. Major scale patterns are taught in Fretboard Theory chapter 5. The rest of the book will fill in other guitar theory gaps and help you put everything to good use (including lots of song references). Minor scales are simply modes of the major scale. They do not require you to learn new patterns. Once you map out all the notes of the major scale on the guitar fretboard, you use the same patterns for minor tonalities. This is based on guitar modes. The modal concept is also taught in Fretboard Theory, plus my DVD Guitar Modes - The Modal Scales of Popular Music.

Comments About Guitar Theory Information

First off let me say that you have done a great job of compiling some great information on guitar theory. My aim is not to be critical, or trash you book in any way. I just wanted to give a little feedback.

The first comments will be general in nature, followed by my thoughts as this book pertains to my particular needs/expectations.

1. It might be useful to create a reference section in the back which has some selected patterns/scales, but mostly it would be helpful to have all of your song reference charts in one place so that one doesn't have to search the entire ebook to find a song that they are remembering was referenced somewhere.
2. The song charts would be more useful if the songs were alphabetized. I have looked for songs that I knew were there, but continued to overlook.

1. I have read Fretboard logic 1-2, Plane Talk, and many other books on CAGED systems, lead patterns, and Nashville numbering, so most of your material was not new to me. That is not a criticism, but just a fact.
2. I purchased your book for its claim to connect these systems of patterns, and shapes to actual songs. I was disappointed to find that your free tab email had more specific song information than your book.
3. I did not understand your reasoning in providing a single chord shape, or partial shape, for a song and leaving it at that. Jack and Dianne for example. You show that the song uses a partial C form for a D, and leave it at that. The problem is that because this song uses a shape that is not usual, all of the tabs out there are incorrect. So using your clue with a bad tab leaves me back where I started which is having to go buy the music book.
4. Songs like Stairway to Heaven are listed in multiple places separated by tons of pages. It is listed in partial C form on page 26, in partial A form on pg 30, partial G form on page 33, etc, etc
5. Some of your song reference charts seem incomplete. Pg 63 minor forms. It doesn't list the key, just that it happens to have a minor form. Which form in what key? The blues approach on pg 102 has the same missing info.
6. Your application of the pentatonic and major scales was excellent. Your lesson on combining the two scales was the best that I have seen. That type of application was what I was hoping for in terms of partial chord forms, and there specific use.

I know that most of my personal comments revolve around the same issue of specific song information, and that you intentionally stay away from some of that because you don't want to just be a tab book, but you make the assumption that tabs that can be found on the internet are correct, when in my experience most are incorrect.

I am an experienced guitar player who has the information and skill to play most songs, but lacks the knowledge of specific song CORRECT information, which will allow me to play songs like Jack and Dianne which uses simple progressions with interesting chord shapes to increase the dynamics of the song. This is the information that I have been looking for and the specific reason that I purchased your book. As you know even purchased sheet music is incorrect/incomplete a lot of the time.

I expected more information on the creation of progressions around these partial forms, and more examples of contemporary artists to aid in the illustration of those principles. That is one of your major sales pitch points, and again, the reason I purchased.

By at least providing key signatures where missing, and making it easier to search and combine the song information that you do provide would go a long way to increasing the effectiveness/usefulness of your book.

I hope that I haven't been overly critical, or discouraging, but I wanted to share my thoughts.

Thanks for sending in your comments. I really appreciate the feedback. My answers to your questions are numbered below.

1. Good idea. I've already anticipated that moving the song lists to a reference section at the back of Fretboard Theory will be necessary (especially as I continue to add more).
2. I debated on whether to alphabetize the songs by song title, or group them by other criteria (like keys, etc.). Maybe I should try to do both.

1. Fretboard logic 1-2, Plane Talk, and many other books on the guitar CAGED chord system fail to connect the information to real songs. This is what distinguishes Fretboard Theory from other guitar instruction. Many of my customers are students of other guitar theory methods and find that my materials finally help them complete the learning process. They credit this to the song references and examples.
2. I don't know how I can emphasize any more that my book doesn't include tab to teach you songs. It is a method for learning music theory behind songs.
3. The purpose of illustrating examples of chord shapes is to help you apply what you learn to popular music. Other guitar theory methods leave this critical information out completely. I can't notate the songs for you because that would violate copyright laws (and the main publishers are not interested in granting printing permission to publishers outside of their organizations).

The song recommendations will need to be looked up and learned on your own. You can find these songs transcribed in guitar magazines, tab books, other instructional books, and video websites.

During my research for this book I relied heavily upon tab books published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. This company has an excellent selection of authentic guitar and bass transcriptions. For more information including a complete listing of the artist series tab books and sheet music available visit your local music store or log onto Also, check out and These two web sites offer you the option of purchasing and immediately printing authentic tab by individual song. You don’t have to wait for materials to arrive in the mail and you don’t have to pay for a whole book!

Don’t forget to also search the videos posted at and for live performance clips and song learning lessons.

4. "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin contains many different guitar parts based on everything form CAGED chord forms, chord progressions, modes and more. It's a jackpot of musical information. That's why it's mentioned in different sections of the book.

5. Look up the songs and focus on the parts I list. Then you'll know what keys and forms!
6. I'm glad the sections on how to choose the right scale to play over chords worked for you. I think the CAGED chord application information you're seeking is implied, but perhaps I could be more specific. For example, at the end of my DVD The CAGED Template Chord System I take you through a simple three chord progression (GCGD as used in "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison) and show you how to duplicate the chord changes in different positions using chord inversions based on the CAGED system.

I hope this helps. If you have any other guitar theory related comments or questions, please send them my way. You can create an account and sign in to continue this discussion.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Are Modes and How Do They Work?

I've had some confusion on how the modes work for awhile now. I've read several guitar lessons and have had several guitar players to try and explain the modes to me but still I'm lost, I'd greatly appreciate some help and a final explanation on them and how they work.

Guitar modes stem from major scale patterns and chord progressions. Without first mastering these fundamental music theory topics, you'll never understand the point of scale modes. It's critical when studying guitar theory to start from the beginning and take things one step at a time. In music, each concept prepares you for the next.

To learn more about scales, chords, progressions, modes and more, see my book Fretboard Theory. When you're ready, my DVD entitled Guitar Modes - The Modal Scales of Popular Music will explain how the modal concept functions in popular songs.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

How Often and How Long Should I Practice Guitar Each Day?

How often should I practice guitar each week and for how long do I play each session?

In order to develop new skills and get good at anything, you must do it a lot. If you want to progress as a guitar player, then you need to get your instrument in your hands every day. You don't need to practice for hours on end, but you ought to get in at least 30 minutes each day. It doesn't have to be all at once. Your practice time can be broken up into smaller sessions with 10-15 minutes here, 10-15 minutes there.

It's inevitable that you'll miss a day now and then. But if you plan on playing guitar every day, then you're sure to cover most of them.

If you should ever have extra time, then certainly you can practice for longer periods. Just be sure to get some playing in even on busy days. Grabbing your guitar before you go to bed and reviewing things for 5 minutes will at least help you to retain what you've learned and keep your finger calluses from getting soft.

Another key to successful guitar playing and productive practicing is getting involved with some type of guitar activity or commitment. For example, schedule jam sessions with other musicians, start a band, book a gig, study with an instructor, take a guitar theory class, play at church, or any other opportunity you can participate in. These ideas will not only increase the time you spend with your guitar in hand, but you'll also enjoy the social interaction and fellowship.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pentatonic Scale Guitar Licks and Tricks

The area where im suffering the most is when it comes to licks and tricks using the pentatonic scales, they are in key, but kind of boring. Do you know of any good video's that just focus on licks, technique, and cool sounding guitar tricks?

In order to learn how to riff and jam with pentatonic scale patterns, you need to learn lots of pentatonic scale songs. Pentatonic melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos, and even bass lines from popular songs will demonstrate exactly how to apply the patterns in a musical context including technique and tricks. That's why I include so many song references in my guitar theory book and DVDs. After you have built up a solid repertoire of examples, then you can work the licks and phrases into your own playing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Major & Minor Seven Chord Extension Guitar Lesson

At their core, major and minor chords are built from triads which consist of root, third and fifth (1 3 5) intervals. These intervals are derived from the major scale and named according to their scale degree. Other notes, or extensions, from the major scale can be added to chords such as seconds, fourths, sixths and sevenths (2 4 6 7). Adding extensions creates more complex chords with richer sounds. This free guitar lesson will give you a quick introduction to this topic and how to apply this music theory principal to the fretboard and popular songs.

Major Scale Patterns and Chord Progressions
Before you begin to study extensions you should first learn how to build major and minor chords (triads) from the major scale. This would include guitar chord progressions and playing by numbers (a.k.a. the "Nashville Number System"). You might even need to take a further step back and learn major scale patterns. Remember, each guitar music theory topic builds on the one before it. Major scale patterns and building chords are two topics that are foundational to understanding and applying chord extensions.

Chord Building Theory
If you've already been through the process of building chords for the entire major scale, then you're ready to start adding chord extensions. All you have to do is repeat the whole process, but this time add an additional interval to the triad. For example, a seventh interval ( or 7). Starting on a G note in the key of G, 1 3 5 7 are G B D F#. The F# note is a major seven interval and is just one note shy of an octave. Any time you add an F# to a G major chord you create a G major seven chord (or Gmaj7). This can be done with any G major chord shape in any position, and any F# note regardless of the octave. You'll have to rearrange your fingers in order to accommodate this extra note.

Next, add a seventh interval to the ii chord in the key of G, A minor. To do this, count the notes of the G major scale STARTING ON A. If you do this correctly the seventh note away from A is G. This interval is called a flat seven because it's one fret less than a major seven (or two frets shy of an octave). When you add a G note to an Am chord you create an A minor seven chord (or Am7). This can be done with any Am chord shape in any position, and any G note regardless of the octave. You'll have to rearrange your fingers in order to accommodate this extra note.

Now that you have identified the seventh interval for the first two chords in the key of G you can continue the process with the rest of the scale. If you do this correctly the following sequence should emerge:

Harmonized Major Scale With Sevenths
I Gmaj7
ii Am7
iii Bm7
IV Cmaj7
V D7 (which means "dominant" seven)
vi Em7
vii F#m7b5 (whoa, that's a mouthful!)

Dominant Seven Chords
The V chord, D7, is unique in that it's a major chord but it has a flat seven interval like the minor chords. Because of this it has special name which is "dominant" seven. For some strange reason, it's the dominant seventh chord that is written simply as "7." The major seventh chord must always include "major."

As with any music theory topic you learn about, you must apply extensions to the guitar fretboard by playing songs. The follow lists will help to get you started by naming some well-known tunes that use seventh chords.

Guitar Songs That Use Major Seven Chords (Maj7)
"Under the Bridge" Red Hot Chili Peppers (verse end)
"Fire and Rain" James Taylor (intro/verse)
"Plush" Stone Temple Pilots (verse)
"Everyday" Dave Mathews Band (intro/verse)
"Riviera Paradise" Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble (verse)
"Dust in the Wind" Kansas (intro)
"Best of My Love" The Eagles (intro/verse)

Guitar Songs That Use Minor Seven Chords (m7)
"Tears in Heaven" Eric Clapton (chorus)
"Change the World" Eric Clapton (chorus)
"Let it Ride" Bachman-Turner Overdrive (intro/verse)
"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" Bachman-Turner Overdrive (intro/verse)
"Oye Como Va" Santana (intro/verse)
"Long Train Running" The Doobie Brothers (intro/verse)
"Black Water" The Doobie Brothers (intro/verse)
"Stairway to Heaven" Led Zeppelin (interlude)

Guitar Songs That Use Dominant Seven Chords (7)
"Black" Pearl Jam (intro)
"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" James Brow n(intro/verse)
"Nothing Else Matters" Metallica (intro/verse)
"Cross Road Blues" Cream (intro)
"Roadhouse Blues" The Doors (verse 2)
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" KT Tunstall (intro/verse)
"Sitting, Waiting, Wishing" Jack Johnson (intro/verse)

Guitar Songs That Use Minor Seven Flat Five Chords (m7b5)
"Change the World" Eric Clapton (chorus)
"Smooth" Santana (verse)
"I Will Survive" Gloria Gaynor (verse/chorus)

Other Songs Worth Learning
"It's Too Late" Carole King
"Ventura Highway" America
"Let's Stay Together" Al Green
"One" U2
"Collide" Howie Day
"Daughters" John Mayer
"Ooh Baby Baby" Linda Ronstadt
"Don't Know why" Nora Jones

This is merely an introduction to adding seventh intervals to chords. Because there are so many different ways to make major and minor chord shapes on the guitar fretboard, there are many ways to build chords with sevenths too. In fact, the whole CAGED chord system can have seventh intervals added to it. Once you get a handle on extending chords with sevenths, you can try adding seconds, fourths and sixths. From there, you can get into chords with multiple intervals added, but don't get ahead of yourself. At least with this newfound guitar theory knowledge you can now begin to understand what those numbers next to chord names are for!

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Music Theory Teacher Desi Serna Quoted About Guitar Riffs

Rock's greatest riffs: The memorable ones grab you and pull you into a song

Brothers and sisters, would-be guitar heroes, and worshipers of rock, let us take a few moments to celebrate the glory of a great riff.

It’s the glue that makes a song stick in your brain like cotton candy on a child’s pudgy little fingers. It’s the musical flame that sears your soul. It’s what you play when you’re showing off your new guitar to your buddies.

Think “Layla,” and “Iron Man.” Think “Whole Lotta Love,” “Foxy Lady,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Seven Nation Army,” “Pretty Woman,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

The list goes on forever and we all know them when we hear them, but what are they really?


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rolling Stone Magazine Endorses Guitar Theory Lessons

Aside from its usual fare of bands, pop culture and political figures Rolling Stone magazine seems to be keeping a keen eye on notable sensations in other areas including, of all things, guitar theory lessons. In the magazine’s March Site Specific column Shredding 101: Mastered Guitar Hero? These sites can teach you how to play for real, I was hailed as a “Music theory expert” for my iTunes guitar podcast. Recommended “For true geeks only,” my guitar lessons were cited for their clear and accessible instruction on scales, chords, progressions, modes and other music theory related topics.

Like the presidential candidate the magazine endorses, I have a special and personal connection to my online audience as a result of my independent, grassroots campaign to reach lost guitarists and share with them the benefits of learning music theory in a new and refreshing way. I provide aspiring guitar players with an abundance of free online guitar information including audio, video, articles and forum discussions. Sharing my guitar expertise and music knowledge not only garners me national recognition but also helps to promote my website where I sell my own books and DVD programs.

Check out the Rolling Stone magazine "Guitar Music Theory Lessons Podcast" article yourself!

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Guitar Theory Numbers & Intervals On the Fretboard

Guitarists play and use intervals for melody, harmony, riffs, lead guitar solos, and bass lines. Understanding how intervals are played on the fretboard is an important part of learning about guitar theory, understanding music and popular songs. In this free guitar lesson you'll be introduced to what intervals are, how they're numbered, which intervals are commonly used, and what songs make good examples of using intervals such as thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths and sevenths. This music theory instruction is based on the book Fretboard Theory Chapter 9 Intervals by Desi Serna.

Musical Steps
You can express the distance between notes in terms of frets, steps, or intervals. Frets is an acceptable term to use when dealing with other guitarists. Steps is a general music theory term used and understood by all musicians. But thinking of the distance between notes as intervals is the most concise and universal way. This allows you to think of the distance as an independent unit of measure rather than a series of frets or steps.

Major Scale Interval Theory
The major scale is used to measure the distance between notes. For example, the distance between the first and second notes of the major scale is two frets, one whole-step or a “second” interval. The distance between the first and third notes of the major scale is four frets, two whole-steps or a “third” interval. There are seven notes in the major scale and thus seven intervals. An eighth term, octave, refers to a higher or lower occurrence of the same note.

Playing in Thirds
Guitar players map out interval shapes on the fretboard, then use these note combinations to play musical parts. For example, you can try playing entirely through a major scale pattern and adding a third interval to each note. In other words, play through the major scale two notes at a time with the second note always a third a head. In order to do this correctly you need to ONLY use notes from the major scale you're playing in. As a result, some third intervlas are major while others are minor. Playing in this manner is one way to harmonize the major scale (and is similar to how guitar players learn chord progressions and playing by numbers)

The famous guitar intro to "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison is a great song example of playing a major scale melody harmonized in thirds. “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed is a song that uses this same technique on the bass guitar. Many other famous songs have prominent guitar intros, riffs or solos that use third intervals.

Third Interval Songs
“Brown Eyed Girl” Van Morrison
“Blackbird” The Beatles
“Two Step” Dave Matthews Band
“Tripping Billies” Dave Matthews Band
“Lover Lay Down” Dave Matthews Band
“Grey Street” Dave Matthews Band
“Rhiannon” Fleetwood Mac
“La Bamba” Los Lobos
“Peace Train” Cat Stevens
“Wanted Dead or Alive” Bon Jovi
“Heaven” Los Lonely Boys
“Patience” Guns and Roses
“Your Body is a Wonderland” John Mayer
“Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” Bryan Adams
“Scar Tissue” Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Walk on the Wild Side” Lou Reed

Power Chord Fifth Intervals
Playing in fifths is another way to harmonize the major scale using intervals. Fifth intervals are simply power chords. Full chords consist of a root, third and fifth interval, so power chords are theoretically not chords in the music world. They're intervals. In fact, they are the most common type of interval played on the guitar. Any time you use power chords you're playing "in fifths." The guitar riff in "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath is just one example of many that use power chords, or fifth intervals (songs can begin at any major scale degree or mode). Fifth intervals can also be inverted by putting the root above the fifth. This is heard in the intro to "Smoke On the Water" by Deep Purple. (Some players mistake these shapes for fourths.)

Fourth, Sixth, Seventh and Octave Intervals
Other intervals can be worked out on the guitar also. Just play through a major scale two notes at a time with the second note a certain distance ahead. Be sure to only use notes found in the scale you're using. Once you get interval shapes mapped out on the fretboard, try moving them into different octaves and positions on the guitar neck or transposing them to new keys.

Intervals and Guitar Music Theory
Understanding how intervals are played and used in popular songs is critical to developing a solid knowledge of music theory. The harmony that intervals create are not just used in guitar riffs and solos but parts played on other instruments as well including voices. Singing in harmony is no different than playing in thirds or fifths, etc. In fact, many singers will work out a vocal harmony part on an instrument first in order to teach themselves how to sing the intervals correctly. Smart players use guitar theory and intervals to help them in all aspects of their musicianship.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google Me!)

Friday, February 15, 2008

"Black Magic Woman" Santana Chord Progression, Pentatonic & Major Scale

Learn guitar theory on the fretboard with this free lesson. Covers topics including chords, chord progressions, combining D minor pentatonic and D minor scale (F major scale), and Aeolian mode. Performed by guitar teacher Desi Serna.

Play along with a "Black Magic Woman" by Santana rhythm jam track. It is recommended to open this file in a new window. Santana Guitar Play Along Jam Track

For more information about learning guitar theory visit:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guitar Modes and Modal Scale Theory

Modal scales, sometimes called church modes, are the seven different ways the major scale can function in music. The major scale has seven notes and each one can be established as the root. Each root, or mode, has its own tonality and sound characteristics. Since all music is either based on or thought of in relation to the major scale, everything is in a mode. Understanding modes is critical to developing a knowledge of guitar theory. Modal scales have created an enormous amount of confusion, more than any other musical concept, and most of the available information about them is either incorrect or misleading.

Modal Scales Are Not Patterns
Modes aren't really separate scales and they certainly don't require learning separate patterns. Modes are based on the major scale and its patterns. In order to understand the theory behind modes, you must understand the major scale.

Major Scale Patterns
The notes of the major scale are scattered all over the fretboard. Trying to memorize the huge pattern as one unit is nearly impossible. The way to learn the whole scale pattern is to focus on small parts of it at a time. The most common way to do this is to break the large pattern up into 5 pieces. Once you memorize the individual pieces (a.k.a. positions or patterns) you can connect them and complete the whole fretboard. Even though each pattern is unique, they all are simply pieces of the entire unit. In other words, on their own the patterns don't become anything new. They are always major scale notes.

Chord Theory
The major scale can be played over any one of its notes or chords. For example, the G major scale can be played over a G major chord, Am, Bm, C, D, Em or F#mb5. When you play the G major scale over a G major chord the sound is the typical, happy major sound. This would require that you have a friend strum the G chord or perhaps you have a recording or looping device that can play back a rhythm track. You can play any part of the G major scale in any position or pattern. It doesn't even matter what note you start on. Just simply jump into the scale (anywhere you like) and play the notes (any order you like).

Now, play the G major scale over an Am chord. Again, this would require that you have a friend strum the Am chord or you use a recording or looping device that can play back a rhythm track. Suddenly, the sound changes. It's now dark and jazzy. You can play any part of the G major scale in any position or pattern. It doesn't even matter what note you start on. Just simply jump into the scale (anywhere you like) and play the notes (any order you like). 

Different Scale Modes
In the above example, why did the sound change? Because mixing notes and chords is exactly like mixing colors. Yellow and blue make green but red and blue make purple. Likewise, the G major scale over a G chord makes the so-called "Ionian Mode" sound while the G major scale over an Am chord makes the so-called "Dorian Mode" sound. So, it doesn't matter what kind of pattern or position you're actually playing the scale in nor does the note you start on mean anything. It all depends on what note or chord the scale is being mixed with.

Hear and Play Guitar Modes
In order to understand how colors change when mixed is something you have to see. Likewise, in order to understand what modes are you have to hear the sound of the scale change as you mix it with different chords. All the theoretical explanations in the world won't get the point across. You must play modes to hear them. Many music theory concepts have to be applied before you'll understand them and modal scales are no exception.

Greek Mode Names
Each scale note, or chord, has its own unique sound characteristics and identifying modal name. The seven Greek names, which have origins in the church, are Ionian Mode, Dorian Mode, Phrygian Mode, Lydian Mode, Mixolydian Mode, Aeolian Mode and Locrian Mode. The modal scale names are the same on the guitar as they are on every other instrument. This type of music theory is relative to all musicians.

How to Learn Modes
Modes spring from the understanding and application of other musical concepts. To learn modes, first learn the major scale and its patterns. Next, learn how the major scale is used to build chords. Finally, learn how these chords are used to make guitar chord progressions. With music, each concept supports the next. Don't try to get ahead of yourself by studying advanced theories that you're not prepared for.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, Modes and More

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Theory Behind Guitar Chord Progressions and Playing By Numbers

Understanding chord progressions is essential to learning guitar music theory and becoming a good player. Recognizing chord movement and playing by numbers can help you to:

• Chart, learn and remember songs better
• Apply scales correctly
• Play by ear
• Compose and improvise your own music
• Understand guitar theory and apply it to the fretboard

Major Scale Triads
If you're already familiar with major scale patterns and basic guitar theory, then you can begin to understand guitar chord progressions. The major scale has seven notes and each one can be played as a chord. To build guitar chords, each note is combined with notes three and five degrees ahead in the scale. For this reason, these intervals are called root, third and fifth (or 1 3 5). Combined, the three chord tones are called a "triad".

Root, Third and Fifth Intervals (1 3rd 5th)
When you apply this chord building concept to an entire major scale not all chords end up the same. For example, some chords have major thirds (two whole-steps or four frets above the root) while others have minor thirds (one and a half-steps or three frets above the root). This occurs because the distance between major scale tones varies (some notes are a whole-step apart while others are a half-step apart). Coincidentally, the fifth intervals are all the same with the only exception being the chord built on the very last scale tone.

Nashville Number System
This order of major and minor creates the following chord sequence: 1. major 2. minor 3. minor 4. major 5. major 6. minor 7. minor (flat 5). Sometimes referred to as the "Nashville Number System," this sequence is the foundation of music theory and is often represented by Roman numerals. Major chords are written in upper case and minor chords are written in lower case as follows: I ii iii IV V vi vii

Keys and Chord Patterns
Different keys have different chords built from different notes determined by different key signatures (sharps and flats). What makes the chord number system so useful, and a must for any serious guitar theory student, is that it remains the same regardless of key. For example, the first three chords in G major are G, Am and Bm, the first three chords in A major are A, Bm and C#m, the first three chords in C major are C, Dm and Em, but in all keys the first chord is major, the second is minor and so is the third. The number system can be visualized on the guitar as a chord pattern so that you don't have to be concerned with key signatures and notes. Move this pattern around the neck and you'll instantly be able to see all the chords for each key. Guitar players have a music theory advantage because of this ability to shift patterns on the fret board.

Learn New Songs
Playing chord progressions and playing by numbers go hand in hand and the concept is easier on the guitar than most other instruments. You just have to know the right way to map things out on the guitar neck. You'll be surprised to realize that many songs that appear to be quite different because of their position on the neck and chords used, are actually the same progression in terms of numbers and theory. No more cluttering your mind with endless amounts of chord information because you'll be able to recognize simplify things with numbers. Can you imagine how much quicker you'll be able to learn and remember new songs?

Learn and Understand Guitar Music Theory
Charting chord progressions has more benefits than just playing songs. Progressions play a role in understanding guitar music theory including applying pentatonic and major scale patterns correctly, identifying modes and modal scales, using intervals and adding chord extensions.

Play By Ear
How do some players know what's coming next the first time through a song? Easy, knowing where to look is half the battle! When you can see clearly all the chords of a key, it's easier to guess the change or even anticipate the movement before it happens. Since many songs are based on typical progressions, you'll become very familiar with common changes. You've probably heard musicians calling out numbers on the bandstand, right? Now you can know what they mean and experience the benefits of the system for yourself. Not to mention, you can sit around and talk theory with real musicians without feeling like an idiot.

Improvise Compose Your Own Music
Establishing keys, determining chord movement, applying scales and playing by ear are all necessary for jamming and song-writing. Don't leave spontaneity to chance, work out the technical details first and then you'll improvise and compose much better.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, Modes and More

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Guitar Music Theory Lesson "No Woman No Cry" Bob Marley Pentatonic & Major Scale

Learn guitar theory on the fretboard with this free lesson. Covers topics including chords, chord progressions, C major pentatonic and C major scales. Featured is a solo instumental version of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" performed by guitar teacher Desi Serna.

Play along with the rhythm track at the link below. It is recommended to open this file in a new window. Bob Marley Guitar Play Along Jam Track

For more information about learning guitar theory visit: