Friday, December 25, 2009

2009 Year in Review

I knew 2009 was going to be a good year when my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl. I've been a fan since I was child. My earliest memories are of watching them win in the 70's. I suffered through many bad seasons in the 80's and many disappointments in the 90's. It makes the championships now all the more sweet.



I turned 35 in March which also marked my 21st year of guitar playing. I never wanted to be a rock star. I just wanted to make a living playing guitar. Thousands of gigs, lessons, books and videos later I'd say I made it!

I find it humbling to realize that my music career is dependent upon all the people who work real jobs. In a sense I'm a kind of freeloader. We need farmers, construction workers, doctors and nurses before we need artists and musicians. We need clean water and electricity before we need guitar lessons. Entertainment is a luxury that is made possible only after the necessities of life are taken care of. And the whole industry relies upon ordinary workers who have the discretionary income to support it. Musicians, artists and entertainers ought not let their talents go to their heads. We're not as important as we think.

One of the freedoms of my job is that I can fill orders from anywhere. My wife, daughter and I always take trips during the summer with boxes of books and DVDs in tow. This past summer we visited Niagara Falls. Although I have always lived within 5 hours of one of the great wonders of the world I had never seen it. It was spectacular.



I don't gig anymore and have no desire to get back into it. The thought of going back to the bars, clubs and parties makes me want to vomit (which I saw plenty of back in the day. Even hurled at the gig a few times myself.) But I can understand why many people enjoy it. I guess I just had too much of a good thing. These days my only live playing is at church. It's a privilege to serve in a music ministry that honors God (especially considering all of the dis-honoring I participated in before).



Consider this: Music is not something we create ourselves, but rather it's something that has already been made for us and we simply discover it (if we've been given the gift). Think about it.

I recently finished reading the Old Testament beginning to end. It was a project that I started earlier this year. It required a lot of discipline and was tedious at times. I can't believe how fickle and foolish the Israelites were despite being privy to God's miracles, revelations and blessings. And the story is left incomplete because sin was not eliminated as God had promised. He says he's sending someone. Perhaps setting things up for a sequel?

I really enjoy getting outside and easing my mind with recreational activity. This past fall I finally felt comfortable enough on my quad to loft myself into the air on it. Fun!



What will 2010 bring? Hopefully a new book or DVD. I just need to figure out how to create more time to complete the projects I'm working on. Unfortunately, filling orders, answering emails, and blogging take up most of my work day. I still do most work myself. It may be time to hand some things over to others.

Oh, and I hope to start practicing my guitar on a regular basis again. Use it or lose it!

Merry Axe-Mas and Happy New Gear!


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
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Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brown Eyed Girl Intro Tab

The guitar introduction to "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison features major scale patterns played in thirds. The first phrase is played over a G major chord and uses the G major scale starting with G at the 12th fret of string 3. The second phrase is played over a C major chord and uses the C major scale starting with C at the 13th fret of string 2. The very last phrase is part of a D major barre chord and requires a bit of finger or hybrid (pick and finger) picking.

Brown Eyed Girl Intro Tab

E--------------------------12--13--15--13--12---------|
B----12--13--15--13--12----13--15--17--15--13---------|
G----12--14--16--14--12-------------------------------|
D-----------------------------------------------------|
A-----------------------------------------------------|
E-----------------------------------------------------|

E-----------------------------------------------------|
B----12--13--15--13--12----10----------10-------------|
G----12--14--16--14--12--------11--12-----------------|
D--------------------------12-------------------------|
A-----------------------------------------------------|
E-----------------------------------------------------|


Playing major scale patterns in thirds is covered in Fretboard Theory Chapter 9: Intervals.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Confused About Guitar Modes

Why am I having a hard time understanding modes and modal guitar scales?


Guitar modes is a very misunderstood topic. The reason is because it's a music concept that stems from others. If you don't know the others, then you're not going to get it.

If you truly want to understand music modes and how they relate to popular music and guitar playing, then I suggest you first study chord progressions and playing by numbers. I cover this in Fretboard Theory Chapter 6. I also have a DVD entitled Guitar Chord Progressions and Playing by Numbers.

Also, modes are based on major scale patterns for guitar (which are taught in Fretboard Theory Chapter 5). Make sure you understand how to cover the whole guitar fretboard with major scale patterns and can play major scale songs.

After you have developed a good working knowledge of chord progressions and major scale patterns you'll be ready to explore the modal scale concept (which I have covered in the book and on DVD). I actually get you started on it in chapter 7 which is about roots, keys and applying scales (the heart of guitar modes). But I don't put it into modal terms until chapter 8.

With learning music theory for guitar, it's critical to completely master the fundamentals before venturing into more complicated and advanced subjects. Be sure to take things one step at a time as each concept prepares you for the next. Walk before you run!


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Roxanne CAGED Chords and Guitar Tabs

"Roxanne" by The Police is a great example of using partial major and minor shapes based on the CAGED guitar chord system. This song also includes suspended 4 chords. See the Roxanne chords and guitar tabs below.

Opening Verse Chord Progression
Gm ("Em form")
Dm ("Dm form")
Gm ("Dm form")
F ("C form")
Eb ("C form")
Fsus ("E form")
Gsus ("E form")

E----3----1----6----5----3----1----3------------------|
B----3----3----8----6----4----1----3------------------|
G----3----2----7----5----3----3----5------------------|
D-------------------7----5----3----5------------------|
A-----------------------------------------------------|
E-----------------------------------------------------|

To learn more about the guitar CAGED system see Fretboard Theory Chapter 3 or the CAGED Template Chord System DVD. Chord extensions such as sus4, maj7, and add9 are covered in Fretboard Theory Chapter 10.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Guitar 7sus4 Chords

"Hard Day's Night" by The Beatles and "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" by Joe Jackson are currently the only songs I know of where the guitar uses this fingering to play a 7sus4 chord. In "Hard Day's Night" it's a G7sus4 and the very first chord you hear before the verse begins. "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" uses the same chord along with an F7sus4 two frets lower during the bridge.

E----3------------------------------------------------|
B----3------------------------------------------------|
G----5------------------------------------------------|
D----3------------------------------------------------|
A----5------------------------------------------------|
E----3------------------------------------------------|

The most common type of 7sus4 chord is A7sus4 played in the open position. You can hear this exact fingering used in "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd, "Tom Sawyer" by Rush, and "Closer I Am to Fine" by the Indigo Girls (capo 2).

E----3------------------------------------------------|
B----3------------------------------------------------|
G----0------------------------------------------------|
D----2------------------------------------------------|
A----0------------------------------------------------|
E-----------------------------------------------------|

To learn more about chord construction, intervals, and chord extensions see Fretboard Theory chapters 6 and 9.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes