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UP Music Circle Archives: Basic Guitar Workshop

Prepared by Arbie Glenn C. Pineda Presentations Committee AY 04-06 Musical Director AY 05-06 (rev. 02-06)



Guitar Anatomy & Functions Headstock The Neck The Body Guitar Wood Types & Tones Body Wood Body Tops Neck Wood Fret board Wood Guitar Strings General Guitar Maintenance Cleaning the guitar Restringing Intonation p. 1 p. 1 p. 1 p. 1 pp. 1-3 p. 1 p. 2 p. 3 p. 3 pp. 4-5 pp. 5-6 p. 5 p. 5 p. 6


Chord Construction The Major Scale Triads 4-Note Chords Extensions of 7th Other Chords Dropping Notes Constructing Complex Chords Chord Voicings & Inversions Chord Substitutions Chord Families/Types The Tri-tone Substitution Omitted/Added Roots Substitution pp. 6-9 p. 6 p. 7 p. 7 p. 7 p. 7 p. 8 p. 8 p. 9 pp. 9-10 p. 9 p. 10 p. 10

Technical Aspect The C-Scale in 7 Positions Pattern Exercises The 7 Modes Application of Modes The Pentatonic/Blues Scale Artistic Aspect Motifs Space Chromaticism and Appoggiaturas Repeated Notes Tension and Release pp. 10-16 p. 10 p. 12 p. 13 p. 14 p. 15 pp. 16-17 p. 16 p. 16 p. 16 p. 16 p. 16

Guitar Body and Maintenance

Guitar Anatomy Your guitar may have a different arrangement of pickups, knobs, switches, and/or tailpiece, but the function of these parts will pretty much be the same on all guitars. There are some variances, however. I. Headstock a. b. c. d. II. The Neck a. b. c. Fret board also known as the fingerboard, this determines the range of frequencies that the strings can produce Fret there are usually 20-24 frets on a guitar; strings are held down behind a fret to change the note a string will produce Strings Standard tuning is from low E to high E (E-A-D-G-B-E). Sound is produced by vibrating the strings. The longer the string, the longer the distance that vibration has to travel. The longer the distance, the lower the note or frequency. Tuning machines where the strings are tied String Tee / String Retainer (electric) this prevents the strings from being strung out of place. Truss Rod Adjustment the neck may become bowed over time, and the truss rod makes it possible to correct that curvature. Nut guides the string

III. The Body a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Upper Bout the (usually) smaller curved part closest to the strings; also known as the treble bout because it is responsible for the volume of the high-frequencies Lower Bout the (usually) larger curved part behind the bridge; also known as the bass bout because it is responsible for the volume of the low-frequencies Pick guard protects the wood from pick scratches and dents Bridge / Tailpiece this is where the other end of the strings are tied down; it is called a bridge because it enables the vibrations to travel from the strings into the hollow body of the guitar Adjustable Saddle controls the intonation of the guitar Sound hole responsible for amplifying the vibrations of the strings Pickups (electric) the pickups have magnets which monitor the strings and vibration; the neck pickup generates a fuller sound, while the bridge pickup generates a brighter sound.

Guitar Wood Types & Tones There are a lot of woods used for different guitars. Each wood produces different tones, and so one must consider what kind of wood a guitar is made of before buying it. Is the tone and sustain right for what I will be playing? What are the pros and cons? These are things we must consider before deciding to shell out 4-5 digit sums for a guitar. We shall discuss only the commonly used wood found in many of the guitars sold in our country. For a complete listing of guitar wood types, visit www.jemsite.com. I. Body Woods A. Mahogany Open grained with large pores, Mahogany has a more uniform grain pattern and density than Swamp Ash. Its density is constant within the ring and from one ring to the next. So its rigidity is inherent in its composition, not in a skeleton with soft sections in between. Its constant density compresses the mids a little, and this can be considered a thick sound, because it does still produce good lows and low mids. Without the mids popping out, being responsive to dynamics, its more of a wall of sound Its not that it isnt midrangey, because it resonates those guitar frequencies well, but its not as responsive to them as an Alder or Ash. It also combs away more upper midrange frequencies for a more nasal sound. It has a good balance of fundamental and overtones for higher register soloing. High notes are richer and thicker than Alder or Ash. Production notes: There are many different kinds of Mahogany, and unless it has a sparkle to it like some of the Japanese and US guitars it will have a similar sound from one piece to the next. A nicer piece of mahogany has iridescence to it usually combined with what looks like wide stripes, almost as

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if its been pieced together by multiple 1 strips. Catalog photos often reveal that the endorser gets a better piece than the production line. B. Soft Maple Used extensively in Korea, its not as hard as hard maple. But its a little heavy, bright in the upper midrange, and dull sounding in the lows. The extreme snappy highs arent there either because the pores are so tight that the highs get compressed. Some redeeming qualities can be brought from it with the right pickups, if you like a brassy, searing upper midrange sound for the bridge or a dry, combed rhythm sound. Production notes: Korean factories love it, for some reason its abundant and cheap for them. Its harder on router bits than basswood, but they seem to be less concerned with clean, sharp cuts over there, indicating that they do not compensate with more frequent bit sharpening and replacement. C. Hard Maple This wood shouts. It is loud with a strong upper midrange, bright highs, and tapered off but very tight lows. A pickup that produces good lows will find them in a Hard Maple body, but they will be tight and will not interact with a loud half stack. Production notes: Very heavy and hard on tools, its rarely used in factories. It makes a good slim bodied guitar. D. Spruce Very soft to the touch, it is extremely stiff for its overall density. Like Alder, its another wood with a hard skeleton and soft meat. So in a solid body, it will produce tremendous resonant, open midrange, while retaining high frequency attack and having good low end breathe. Because of the low density overall the sound wouldnt be perceived as having less midrange than Basswood. The mids will be just as powerful and dynamic amidst the addition of clear highs and lows. Probably the most full frequency body material accepted. Production notes: Rarely used because its softness requires a heavy finish, or a composite shell like the Parkers. The Parker isnt the best representation of the sound of a Spruce body since there are many other unique construction methods and synthetics used in the Parker. Would work well with veneer caps or a top, and would offset some of the compressed sound you get with neck through construction. II. Body Tops Tops seem to create a situation where the attack of the notes will be more like the top wood, while the resonance and decay more like the bottom wood. The thickness and carve of a top dictates the degree of its effect on the sound. The glued unit will be more rigid than a single piece, so generally sustain increases. A. Maple top on Mahogany The staple of vintage construction, the Maple adds crispness to the mahogany, but the lows and low mids of mahogany are still as apparent. The Maple combs out some of the upper mids, not because Maple lacks in these areas, but because it is vastly different from mahogany in its handling of the upper midrange. There is fighting going on in that range between the two pieces that results in a canceling out of some of those upper midrange frequencies. Thats part of the smoothness associated with the Les Paul & PRS types. B. Rosewood tops Rosewood tops will add some sustain, by virtue of the density, but also the lamination itself. Its oiliness will dampen the attack and the higher treble frequencies. So Rosewood over Mahogany will really be smooth, while Rosewood over Ash will retain some open midrange resonance. Rosewood over Alder or Basswood will be a sustain boost with little affect on the tone besides the high mid combing from the lamination, since the high dampening from Rosewood is redundant.

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III. Neck Woods A. Maple The most common electric guitar neck wood, Maple has a uniform grain, its strong and stable, and it has less reaction from environmental changes than other hardwoods. Its tone is highly reflective, and focuses more energy onto the body wood. All things being equal, bolt-on Maple necks are less of a factor on the guitars tone and emphasize the body wood. B. Mahogany The even density makes stable necks, and the open pores make the neck a little more responsive than a maple neck. The Mahogany will absorb a little more of the string vibration than Maple will, and compresses the attack and the highs a little. C. Rosewood Heavy, oily wood, a Rosewood neck will produce excellent sustain while also smoothening out the highs. Generally with greater sustain comes a brighter top end. This is not true of Rosewood. It mutes the high frequency overtones, producing a strong fundamental that still has the complexities of mid and low mid overtones. IV. Fret board Woods Perhaps more significant than neck wood, the fret board is the place your string launches from. It is the bridge on the other side. Fret board differences are as dramatic as those between a hard tail and a tremolo. A. Maple Very bright and dense, Maple is highly reflective. When used on a fret board, Maple encourages tremendous amounts of higher overtones and its tight, almost filtered away bass favors harmonics and variations in pick attack. B. Rosewood The most common fret board, Rosewood is naturally oily, and works well for any surface that sees frequent human contact. The sound is richer in fundamental than Maple because the stray overtones are absorbed into the oily pores. C. Mahogany Mahoganys warm lows and a thick sound overall make extended lows very full and can produce muddiness in the signal. The low notes are very strong and sometimes overbearing for a pickup. A bright, crisp active pickup that thins out the low end could be a good combination. D. Ebony Ebony has a snappy, crisp attack with the density of Maple, but with more brittle grains, oilier pores, and a stronger fundamental tone than Maple. It has a tremendous amount of percussive overtones in the pick attack, that mute out shortly thereafter to foster great, long, sustain. E. Hard Maple Hard Maple will have the tightest lows for the extended range. Low notes will have a sharp attack, plenty of harmonics, and excellent sustain. F. Spruce Spruce, while capable of reproducing extended lows, is too soft not to get mushy. A neck through, a laminated top, or both would provide the needed rigidity while still highlighting the good points of Spruce. Any laminated top 1/8 or thicker will improve the tightness of the low end. The existence of the lamination will tighten any bodys muddiness. The same qualities hold true in the laminate top descriptions.

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Guitar Strings A string is constructed of a core (the center around which the windings of the string are wrapped) and the windings (the wrap of wire around the center core). There are three things to consider when buying strings. One of the first things to consider when buying strings is what gauge to choose. The heavier the gauge, the louder and fuller the sound will be - but heavy gauge strings will also be more difficult to press down. Second is string wraps. The three most common string wraps are Round Wound, Flat Wound, and Silk and Steel. Round Wound - The most popular type of string wrap in the world today, round wound strings are found on virtually every new acoustic, electric, and bass guitar. They are designed with a round wire wrap over a round or hexagonal core. The sound is characterized by a bright tone with great sonic projection and sustain. Flat Wound (or ribbon wound) - Before the invention of round wound strings, the flat wound string was the "king" of the guitar world. Instead of a round wrap over the core it uses a flat or ribbon-like wrap. This creates a very smooth playing surface which is easy on the fingers. The trade-off, however, is that the tone is less bright and there is not as much sustain. These qualities make flat wound strings very popular with fast-picking jazz guitarists and walking bassists who want to produce an "upright bass" tone. Silk and Steel - This string is great for steel string acoustic professionals who want a lighter touch and a more subdued tone - without having to purchase a nylon string guitar. The steel core of the string is a wrapped with silk fibers covered with another wrap of silver-plated wire. This creates a string with less tension than traditional steel strings. These features make silk and steel strings ideal for the beginner who owns a folk guitar but has difficulty pressing down the steel strings. String composition is the final consideration when selecting a string for your guitar: I. Acoustic Guitar Strings Acoustic guitar strings have a pretty tough job in comparison to other strings because they not only have to sound nice, wear well and look good, but they also have to be loud. A. Bronze Wound In guitar strings, bronze is alloy which is actually a mixture of copper and tin or copper and zinc. An 80/20 bronze string is made of an alloy comprised of 80% copper and 20% tin or 20% zinc. These alloys are sometimes called brass. Bronze strings produce a very brilliant, crisp sound when new but begin to lose their new sound after only a few hours of playing. Performers who change strings a lot typically love them. And many players like the "played in" sound that bronze strings provide as the brightness begins to fade. B. Phosphor Bronze Wound Phosphor bronze (P/B) is second in popularity to the 80/20 bronze strings for acoustic guitar. They produce a bright, but slightly warmer and darker sound than bronze strings. The small amount of phosphorous in the alloy helps them retain their new sound longer than bronze. The P/B string was introduced to string making by D'Addario in 1974. Most American made acoustic guitars are factory strung with Phosphor Bronze strings. C. Pure Nickel Wound Most strings of the 50's were wound with an alloy called Pure Nickel. It wasn't really "pure" but that's what we call it. Pure Nickel strings have a soft feel and produce that warm, vintage tone. Examples are the Fender 3150 Original Bullets. D. Nickel Plated Nickel plated steel is the alloy most widely used in string making today. Commonly known as NPS, it is a steel winding with a nickel plating applied. The nickel plating enhances the feel and reduces finger noise and fret wear. They are hotter and provide greater sustain and a brighter sound than pure nickel.

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Stainless Steel Wound Stainless steel strings are hotter, brighter, and provide more sustain than either pure nickel or NPS. They are more resistant to oils, acids, and sweat and are, hands down, the longest lasting strings. Stainless is a harder material so it feels a little different and can cause more fret wear. Most flat-wound sets and pedal steel guitar sets are made of stainless. Examples are the Fender 3350 Stainless Bullets.


Electric Guitar Strings Electric guitar strings are different to acoustic strings because they don't have to be acoustically loud, instead they create their signal through magnetism. This requires totally different materials to get the best performance. A. Nickel Plated Wounds Nickel Plated Steel strings are by far the most popular for electric guitars today. Steel is a highly magnetic material that produces a bright sound, and the nickel plating provides a smooth string surface. B. Stainless Steel Wound Stainless Steel strings provide the most power in volume and sustain due to their high magnetic qualities. Their stainless steel construction makes them resistant to humidity and skin oils giving them the longest playing life of any type of string. C. Pure Nickel Wound Pure Nickel strings are not as magnetic in quality as steel or nickel plated steel strings. Jazz guitarists often choose nickel strings because they produce a "darker" sound.

General Guitar Maintenance I. Cleaning Your Axe You can't play your guitar without touching it. And you can't touch it without getting it at least a little bit dirty. If you take a bit of time to do some "preventive" cleaning each time you play, you can avoid a number of future problems. No doubt about it, a soft cotton cloth is the best for polishing and cleaning guitars. You can get a flannel "guitar polishing cloth" from your local music store and rest assured that it is safe to use on any instrument. An old 100% cotton T-shirt also makes a great guitar wiping tool, and the more it has been laundered the more free it is from lint. It is best to avoid wiping with the printed area of T-shirts. Some of the silkscreen paints are thick enough to scratch a delicate finish. As you wipe down the entire guitar after each time you play it, you actually do a bit of polishing, too. In fact, simply wiping with a cotton cloth will keep a guitar looking like new. Some areas, such as the face under the strings, may seem a bit hard to reach, but it's not that difficult if you simply shove the wiping cloth under there to take off the surface dust. You can greatly extend the tonal life of strings by wiping vigorously each time you play. Some players even wipe their strings down from time to time during a playing session. Simply grip the string through the cloth, and scrub up and down the length of each string. You can also keep the fingerboard relatively clean by wiping right over the board, strings and all. If you need a bit more cleaning power, try moistening the wiping cloth with a little mild detergent in water. Spray the cloth, not the guitar. That way you'll be able to control how much water actually gets on the surface. The idea is to use as little moisture as possible, to avoid it getting into any tiny voids in the finish. II. Restringing This will be demonstrated by UP Music Circle clinicians.

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III. Intonation Intonation is the accuracy in which a guitar or bass guitar can produce a fretted note. Setting the intonation is the act of adjusting the length of the strings (by moving the bridge saddles) to compensate for the stretching of a string due to pushing it down to the fret board to produce a note. To adjust the intonation of your guitar or bass, you move the bridge saddles toward or away from the fret board until the 12th fret octave and its harmonic are equal and the same open-string note is exactly one octave below those. Accurate intonation is critical to sound quality. When a guitar or bass guitar has an inaccurate intonation setting, you may notice that chords played at the bottom of the neck sound correct, but the same chord played higher up the fret board have some notes that become out of tune, making the chords sound more like noise than music. Because adjustments such as action (the height of the strings from the fret board), truss rod tightness, string thickness or material and the magnetic pull of your pickups can effect an instrument's intonation, adjustments must be performed as the last step in setting up your guitar or bass guitar. When you are checking the intonation of your instrument, it must be done in your normal playing position in order to correctly account for any neck flex which affects the string height (action). Adjusting an instrument's intonation consists of setting the bridge saddles to produce the note at the 12th fret exactly an octave higher than that of the open string. With the aid of an electronic or digital tuner, compare either the open string or the octave harmonic at the 12th fret with the fretted octave at the 12th fret. Use slight finger pressure, as any extra pressure ("articulation") will disrupt the accuracy of the adjustment. If the fretted note is sharp, move the saddle away from the pickups and fret board; if it is flat, move the saddle toward the pickups and fret board. If you periodically check your intonation, adjustments should rarely take more than a few minutes, provided you stick with the same tuning, action and string gauges. Check the intonation every time you change your strings, especially if you are changing tunings, gauges, or even brands. Even the slightest differences between sets of strings can make a noticeable difference.

Basic Chord Theory

Chord Construction I. The Major Scale The foundation of constructing chords is the major scale. The major scale is constructed through a series of whole and half step intervals: R-W-W-H-W-W-W-H, where: R stands for the root (for example, a C major chord is rooted in C) W stands for whole-step interval (on the fret board, this is equal to two frets up: for example, from the first fret to the third fret) H stands for half-step interval (on the fret board, this is equal to one fret up: for example, from the first fret to the second fret) If we take the root of C, the major scale would then be: CDEFGABC In similar fashion, the major of scale of D would then be: D E F#/Gb - G A B C#/Db D The major scale can also be referred to, in place of the RWWHWWWH, in numerical terms as (with the C Major Scale as an example): R C 1 W D 2 W E 3 H F 4 W G 5 W A 6 W B 7 H C 8

This numerical reference will be essential in constructing the different types of chords, which we will tackle in the next sections. Furthermore, they can also be referred to as first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth.

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Triads A triad is any three-note chord. The two most basic triads are: 1) the major chord, and 2) the minor chord. A major chord is constructed using the formula: 1 3 5. For example, in constructing a C major chord, we would use the notes: C E G. A minor chord is constructed using the formula: 1 b3 5. For example, in constructing a C minor chord, we would use the notes: C Eb G.

III. 4-Note Chords Four-note chords would add the 7th to the triad. There are three types of four-note chords: 1) the major seventh, 2) the minor seventh, and 3) the dominant seventh. A major seventh chord is constructed using the formula: 1 3 5 7. Notice that we just added the seventh to our major chord formula. For example, in constructing a Cmaj7 (C major seventh), we would use the notes: C E G B. A minor seventh chord is constructed using the formula: 1 b3 5 b7. Notice that we just added the seventh to our minor chord formula. For example, in constructing a Cm7 (C minor seventh), we would use the notes: C Eb G Bb. A dominant seventh chord is constructed using the formula: 1 3 5 b7. Notice that we just added the flat-seventh to our major chord formula. For example, in constructing a C7 (C dominant seventh), we would use the notes: C E G Bb. IV. Extensions of 7th Any four-note chord can be extended; these are continuations of the seventh. You can extend any fournote chord by adding: The ninth (Cmaj9, Cm9, C9) The ninth and eleventh (Cmaj11, Cm11, C11) The ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth (Cmaj13, Cm13, C13) HINT: The 9th, 11th, and 13th are just octaves of the 2nd, 4th, and 6th, respectively (7+2=9, 7+4=11, 7+6=13). These are called extensions of 7th because it literally means continuing the seventh. YOU CANNOT GO TO THE NINTH/ELEVENTH/THIRTEENTH WITHOUT PASSING THROUGH THE SEVENTH: wrong major9 : 1 3 5 9 correct major9 (Cmaj9): 1 3 5 7 9 wrong minor11 : 1 b3 5 11 correct minor11 (Cm11): 1 b3 5 b7 9 11 wrong dominant13: 1 3 5 13 correct dominant13 (C13) : 1 3 5 b7 9 11 13 It is important to note that there is a reason why these are also called continuations. Ideally, the succession of 7-9-11-13 is important in theory; you cannot go to the ninth without passing through the seventh, you cannot go to the eleventh without passing through the ninth, you cannot go to the thirteenth without passing through the eleventh. But since the guitar can make use of only a maximum of six notes per chord, we can drop some notes (note-dropping will be further discussed later on). V. Other Chords There are two types of suspended chord: the suspended 2nd and the suspended 4th. Suspended chords imply that the 3rd is replaced by the suspended note. For example, to change a C major chord (C E G) to a Csus2 (C suspended 2nd), the third (which is E) would be replaced by the second (which is D):

C Major

CEG 135

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Csus2 Csus4 Cmsus4

CDG 125 CFG 145 CFG 145

Notice that the Csus4 (major suspended) and the Cmsus4 (minor suspended) have the same notes. For this reason of ambiguity, suspended chords are mostly used for major chords. The augmented chord implies that the fifth is augmented or raised/sharped. For example, a Caug (C augmented): C - E - G#/Ab (1 3 - #5). The diminished chord implies that the fifth is diminished or flatted. For example, a Cdim (C diminished): C E Gb/F# (1 3 b5). The power chord (1-5) is preferred by rock guitarists because there is no third, hence it is a neither major nor minor. In rock settings, full-bodied chords (with the third) suggest too much and therefore get in the way of a solid, raw groove. VI. Dropping Notes Unfortunately for the guitar, we can only use a maximum of six notes per chord (due to the six strings). In effect, bigger and complex chords have to be simplified. In cases of very big chords, we need to retain ONLY THE NOTES THAT DEFINE THE CHORD. For example, let us construct a Cmaj13. In theory, a Cmaj13 would comprise of: C 1 E 3 G 5 B 7 D 9 F 11 A 13

The important notes in this chord (Cmaj13) are the notes highlighted in bold: The root (C) This tells us what key the chord is in. Although in constructing really big chords (for example, Cmaj13sus4b5), this note can be dropped if you are playing with a bassist (since most bassists play on the root). If you are playing solo, however, this note is important. The third is important because it tells us what the gender of the chord is. Without the third, we would never know if the chord is a major or a minor. This note tells us that the chord is a seventh chord. Without the seventh, and we add the 13th, our chord would simply be a Cadd13. Without this note, our chord would simply be a Cmaj7.

The third (E)

The seventh (B) The thirteenth (A)

The other notes can be dropped if we so like. VII. Constructing Complex Chords How do you construct a Cmaj11b9aug? To do this, we must first dissect the chord. There are three requirements as dictated by the chord: 1) a major 11th, 2) a b9 (flatted ninth), and 3) an augmented fifth. The steps on how to construct it: 1. Determine the notes of the first requirement: Cmaj11 1 3 5 7 9 11 C E G B D F 2. Add the second requirement: Cmaj11b9 1 3 5 7 b9 11 C E G B Db F 3. Add the last requirement: Cmaj11b9aug 1 3 #5 7 b9 11 C E G# B Db F

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Consider the notes that can be dropped. In Cmaj11b9aug, ALL the notes define the chord. Hence, no notes can be dropped: The root 1 C The third 3 E The augmented/sharped fifth #5 G# The importance of this note was already explained. The importance of this note was already explained. In most cases, the fifth can be dropped (since it wont be missed by the chord that much). But in this case, the fifth (sharped) is needed to define our chord as an augmented. The importance of this note was already explained. In cases of extensions of seventh, the ninth can be dropped en route to the eleventh (unless it is a major9 chord). But in this case, the ninth (b9) is essential. The importance of this note was already explained.

The seventh 7 B The flatted ninth b9 Db

The eleventh 11 F

Chord Voicings and Inversions I. Chord Voicings A voicing is an arrangement of notes. The notes can be shuffled in any order. 1 or 2 notes can be dropped an octave --- to create a more open sound, or to make them more playable on the guitar. This is called an open voicing. If the notes in a chord are thought of as the voices in a choir, we can think of three degrees of openness. First is a closed voicing. This is where the notes in the chord are voiced as close as possible (closeness in octave, not in frets; as much as possible, all notes are in one octave). Closed voicings are very difficult to play in the guitar, and are generally avoided because of big stretches involved. The second is a drop-2 voicing. In a drop-2 voicing, the second voice from the top is dropped an octave. The drop-2 voicing can be used for comping, but mostly also for chord soloing. The third is a drop-3 voicing. In a drop-3 voicing, the third voice from the top is dropped an octave. In general, the drop-3 voicing sounds very full and is excellent for rhythm playing, comping (instrument accompaniment), vocal accompaniment, or anything where you want the guitar to sound full. Because most guitarists are tuned in fourths, the openness of the drop-2 and drop-3 voicings suit the guitar much better. II. Chord Inversions Inversions are the movement up of each voice in a chord. Any chord that has its root in the bass or bottom, is referred to as a root position chord, or first position chord. If we move each voice up, with the third in the bass, that becomes the second position inversion. If we move it up further, with the fifth in the bass, that becomes the third position inversion. Chord Substitution Any chord can be substituted for another which has the same tonic, dominant or traveling function. A substitute chord, or series of substitute chords, can provide alternate harmonic paths while maintaining its original function. Or, the substitution can imply two functions simultaneously. The following are some of the most commonly used types of substitutions. I. Chord Families/Types A lot of people are initially confused by the sheer number of different chords. So hopefully this will shed a little light on the subject.

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There are only three (3) main types or families of chords. The major, the minor, and the dominant seventh. Now once you know which family or type a chord fits into, you can substitute any chord within the same group or family (melody permitting this will be discussed further later). For example: Cmaj9 can be substituted for C, as long as there is no melody conflict, because they are from the same family (in this case, the major). Substitution works both ways. Complex chords can be simplified. For example, for a C9#11, you can just play a C7 (the dominant seventh family). II. The Tri-tone Substitution The tritone substitution is a dominant, or secondary dominant 7th chord whose root is a tritone (3 whole steps) away from the original chord. These chords are interchangeable because the tritone interval pitches are identical in each. For example, the In turnarounds it's common to do this for any of the chords. It is a powerful technique for both chordal playing and improvisation. III. Omitted/Added Root Substitutions Lets take a look at three simple, basic chords including the notes that comprise them: C C C D E E E E F G G G A B B A

C major E minor A minor

C-major has two notes in common with E-minor (E and G) and two notes common with A-minor (C and E). Remember that the root gives the chord its identity. As A-minor also have the C, the identity of C is not completely lost, even though C is no longer the root. If we add that the 3rd - E - gives character, we see that E is also part of A-minor. The note that is lost is the fifth - G, which is the least important note in the chord. As the fifth gives stability, we may lose stability, but we maintain the notes that give identity and character, even though both the identity and character change when we substitute chords. If we change from C-major to E-minor, the root note of C is lost, while the less important fifth is maintained. Even though both E-minor and A-minor has two notes in common with C-major, a shift to A-minor will be a closer shift compared to E-minor, because the two most important notes in the C-major chord is maintained. We can substitute C with Am or Em, but Am is closer. You might substitute chords with other chords that have only one note in common, but you are then moving farther away from your harmonic point of departure. Another guideline is that you can substitute a chord with another chord that has the melody note (also called the accent of the chord) in it. If the melody note is G and you want to substitute the C-major with something else, Am may not be the best choice because there is no G in an Am chord. A G-major or Eminor might be a better choice - if the best solution is not just to stay where you are - with the C-major chord. But remember: Your ear should be your guide and your taste should be the judge. There are no strict rules saying what you shall and what you shall not do.

Improvisation is, in the simplest of sense, creating melodies on the fly or off the cuffs. Improvisation has two aspects: the technical and the artistic. We must first learn the technical aspects before we can apply our own artistic ideas. To use an analogy, one must first learn to walk before one can play sports such as basketball and football. Technical Aspect I. The C Scale in 7 Positions Well begin by learning the C scale in seven positions. By learning the 7 positions, tackling the 7 modes will be easier. Now since the structures are transposable, by learning the C scale in seven positions youve already learned all of the scales in seven positions. There are actually 12 positions, but well be discussing the 7 most practical positions.

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Heres the definition of positions. When we lay our four fingers on the fret board, the fret number that our first finger is on is the position (for example, first finger on second fret is SECOND POSITION). The box structure is different for each position, but they are the same scale.

E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number Finger

----F------------------------------------------(F)--1 1

----------------------A-------E------(B)-----------2 1

----G-------D----------------F-------C------(G)--3 2

----------------------B------------------------------4 3

----A-------E-------C-------G-------D------(A)--5 4

C-Scale in Second Position (F Lydian)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number Finger

----G-------------------------F-------C------(G)--3 1

----------------------B------------------------------4 1

----A-------E-------C-------G-------D------(A)--5 2

-------------F---------------------------------------6 3

----B----------------D-------A-------E------(B)--7 4

C-Scale in Fourth Position (G Mixolydian)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number Finger

----A-------E-------C-------G-------D------(A)--5 1

-------------F---------------------------------------6 2

----B----------------D-------A-------E------(B)--7 3

----C-------G-------------------------F-------C---8 4

-------------------------------B---------------------9 4

C-Scale in Fifth Position (A Aeolian)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number Finger

----B----------------D-------A-------E------(B)--7 1

----C-------G-------------------------F-------C---8 2

----------------------E-------B---------------------9 3

----D-------A-------F-------C-------G-------D---10 4


C-Scale in Seventh Position (B Locrian)

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E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number Finger

----C----------------------------------F-------C---8 1

----------------------E-------B---------------------9 1

----D-------A-------F-------C-------G-------D---10 2

------------------------------------------------------11 3

----E-------B-------G-------D-------A-------E---12 4

C-Scale in Ninth Position (C Ionian)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number Finger

----D-------A-------F-------C-------G-------D---10 1

------------------------------------------------------11 2

----E-------B-------G-------D-------A-------E---12 3

----F-------C----------------------------------F---13 4

-------------------------------E-------B------------14 4

C-Scale in Tenth Position (D Dorian)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number Finger

----E-------B-------G-------D-------A-------E---12 1

----F-------C----------------------------------F---13 2

----------------------A-------E-------B------------14 3

----G-------D----------------F-------C-------G---15 4


C-Scale in Twelfth Position (E Phrygian) II. Pattern Exercises Patterns can help develop your ear-to-hand coordination (the following exercises show C-scale in ninth position as an example). The following exercises are in tablature form. A. Broken thirds (1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, 5-7, 6-8 etc)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Finger

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9-----------------10--------9-------12--------------------------------8-----------------10--------8-------12-------10----------------12--------------------------------8-------12-------10----------------12-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1 4 2 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 4

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Groups of 3 in triplets (1-2-3, 2-3-4, 3-4-5, 4-5-6, 5-6-7, 6-7-8 etc)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Finger

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8------------------8--------10-------8--------10------12-----------------------8-------10-------12-------10------12-----------------12---------------------------------------------------------------------1 2 4 2 4 1 4 1 2 1 2 4


1-2-3-1 pattern (1-2-3-1, 2-3-4-2, 3-4-5-3 etc)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Finger

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8---------------------------8--------10--------------------------------8-------10-------12--------8-------10------12-----------------10------12---------------------------12--------------------1 2 4 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 2 4


Hannon pattern (1-3-4-5-6-5-4-3, 2-4-5-6-7-6-5-4 etc)

E string B string G string D string A string E string Finger

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9---------------------------------------------8------10------12-----10-------8-------------------------8------10-----12---------------12-----10------8---8------12-------------------------------------------------12------10------------------------------------------------------------1 4 1 2 4 2 1 4 2 1 2 4 1 4 2 1

You can create your own pattern, like a 1-2-3-4-2-3-4-5, or broken fourths, etc. III. The 7 Modes Theoretically, there are many modes possible to derive from the major scale. But for now, we shall be discussing the seven primary modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. Each one corresponds to a different note in the major scale. For all examples, we shall be using the C Major Scale. REMINDER: The following table is in reference to the key of C. Mode Notes in the mode Numerical Reference C Ionian D Dorian E Phrygian F Lydian G Mixolydian A Aeolian B Locrian CDEFGABC DEFGABCD EFGABCDE FGABCDEF GABCDEFG ABCDEFGA BCDEFGAB 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7-8 1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-8 1-2-3-#4-5-6-7-8 1-2-3-4-5-6-b7-8 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-8 1-b2-b3-4-b5-b6-b7-8 R-W-W-H-W-W-W-H R-W-H-W-W-W-H-W R-H-W-W-W-H-W-W R-W-W-W-H-W-W-H R-W-W-H-W-W-H-W R-W-H-W-W-H-W-W R-H-W-W-H-W-W-W C major D minor E minor F major G major A minor B diminished W-H Reference Use For

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Why do we need to learn modes? The answer is, it will be easier for us to discuss and understand the chord scales we will be using for improvisation. In every key signature, there are 3 major chords, 3 minor chords, and a diminished chord. For example, in the key of C: C C major I D D minor ii E E minor iii F F major IV G G major V A A minor vi B B diminished vii*

IF WE ARE PLAYING A SONG IN THE KEY OF C, THESE ARE THE ONLY CHORDS THAT WILL FIT INTO A HARMONIOUS MELODY. The Roman numerals below the chords represent them in a progression. Roman numerals in uppercase mean major chords, Roman numerals in lowercase mean minor chords, lowercase with an asterisk means diminished. It is important to become familiar with these numerals before we tackle the next topic: application of modes. Songs are typically written in numerals. For example, a I-IV-V progression in the key of C would mean a chord progression of C-F-G. IV. Application of Modes A. Tonal Center Approach

In applying modes, the most important thing to remember is tonal center and key. The progression you are playing over gives you your options on which mode. The progression is what dictates the tonal center. So if we are in the key of C and using a ii-IV progression, it is a Dorian progression because the tone center is D, the progression resolves to D. At this point tonal center is still confusing, so lets take a look at the 2 chord progressions in the same key signature (which is C): F-G and G-F. 95% of the time, the first chord in a progression is its tonal center. F-G has its tonal center in F, because the progression resolves to F. Now let us apply the modes in this progression. How do we know which key it is in? Ask this question: which key signature has an F major and a G major? The answer is C, and C ONLY. So now we know the key signature is C, and we know that the tonal center is F. The question we have to answer now is, what mode (in the C major scale/key of C) starts and ends with F? In other words, what mode has the F for its root? The answer is F Lydian. Now lets take a look at the other progression, G-F. We know that it is still in the key of C. But this time, the tonal center is different. It is G, instead of F. So what mode in the key of C starts and ends with G? The G Mixolydian Scale. In this kind of modal approach, we dont change scale forms. For example, IF WE ARE IN THE KEY OF C, THEN WE WOULD ALWAYS BE PLAYING C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, no matter which mode we are using. The way to use the modes is to emphasize the root of whatever mode you are playing in. SO if you are in C Ionian you emphasize C, if you are in E Phrygian, you emphasize the E's... But you are still using the same scale forms throughout the fret board. The simplest way to emphasize the root is to start with the corresponding scale form and start your solo. Focus on the tone center, start the solo with it and end on it. Start on the root, and end on the root. Many times, chord progressions involve more than just 2 chords. As long as we know which key the song is in, we know the corresponding modes to use. Seeing as how playing in essence, only the major scale (only in different modes) in one song, this can get pretty boring. Which is why theres another approach.

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Chordal Approach

Another approach is to use modes from different keys. Lets take a I-IV-V blues progression in the key of C. C7-F7-G7 Over the C7, you could use C Mixolydian because the b7 of C is Bb, and C Mixolydian has the Bb as the b7. Over the F7 you could use F Mixolydian, because the b7 of F is Eb, and in F Mixolydian the Eb is the b7. Over the G7 you could use G dorian because F is the b7 in G Dorian and in G7. So as you can see rules in theory are meant to be broken. My suggestion for the C blues progression gives you a lot of tension to resolve and adds a bunch of cool sounds to your solos. This isn't easy to do, but after a while it will come naturally. Basically, in a chordal approach, you look at each chord from a numerical reference perspective (ex. Cm is 1-b3-5). Then, you look at the numerical reference of each mode (see the table on modes) and choose which one you might want to use. Just experiment with different ways to do things. V. The Pentatonic/Blues Scale Having 7 notes in one mode makes modal soloing very limited. As we have discussed before, a chord has important notes that define it, and cannot be dropped. This same characteristic gives modal soloing its uniqueness for every chord. This is also the very reason why it can sometimes be very cumbersome. The pentatonic is a 5-note scale. Since there are relatively few notes in a pentatonic scale, one pentatonic scale can often be used over several different chords with no real avoid notes. The major pentatonic scale is built on these intervals: 1-2-3-5-6. Lets take a look at the C major pentatonic scale in the seventh position: E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number ----------------------D-------A-------E------------7 ----C-------G----------------------------------C---8 ----------------------E------------------------------9 ----D-------A----------------C-------G-------D---10 ------------------------------------------------------11

The minor pentatonic scale is built on these intervals: 1-b3-4-5-b7. Here is the A minor pentatonic scale in the fifth position: E string B string G string D string A string E string Fret Number ----A-------E-------C-------G-------D-------A---5 ------------------------------------------------------6 ----------------------D-------A-------E------------7 ----C-------G----------------------------------C---8 ------------------------------------------------------9

Notice that notes on the 7th and 8th frets of the C major pentatonic and the A minor pentatonic are exactly the same. This is because A is the relative minor of C (relative minor is the sixth of a note, or three half steps back of the note). So if we are playing in the key of C, we can use the C major pentatonic scale or the A minor pentatonic scale (which is actually just the same scale).

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Due to this, a pentatonic scale is both a minor and a major. It is due to this ambiguity that the pentatonic can be played without regard to the chord progression (unlike modes). Unfortunately, it is also due to this reason why the pentatonic can sometimes sound repetitive. Artistic Aspect So far weve been dealing with the mechanical aspects of improvisation, such as chord scales, pentatonics, etc. Now were going to tackle the artistic side of things. Youve done all the hard work, memorized the scales, and now its time to have some fun. The artistic aspect of soloing is where your personality comes in. When you are listening to an unfamiliar tune, and you can make a fairly good guess at who the soloist could be (for example, you might say this guy sounds like), youre making a guess based on that musicians artistic aspect of soloing. Lets talk about soloing devices. I. Motifs Lets begin by talking about motifs. A motif is an idea. A good way to start improvisation is with a rhythmic idea. That is, a constant sequence of notes (for example, a 2-note rhythmic motif like a quarter note and an 8th note). Now in soloing, if you play a constant rhythmic motif, pretty soon it will become boring. So to avoid that, the trick is to develop it (the motif). There are many ways to develop a motif. One example is to rhythmically juxtapose it. Juxtaposition is moving the notes backwards or forwards slightly in time. Juxtaposing is a good way to change the rhythm of the motif slightly. Another way to develop a motif is to introduce a secondary rhythmic motif. That is, a different constant sequence of notes. A rhythmic motif becomes a melodic motif by applying notes from the chord scales. In this manner, leaving spaces between our solos becomes very important. In a serious sense, were not really composing on the fly. Which is why sometimes the need to start a solo on a motif, and then develop your solo from there. This is called thematic development (a journey towards a climax, if you will). By starting off on a rhythmic and/or melodic motif, you can build the excitement towards the climax, or towards the unfolding of real performance. Of course, by the end of your solo (climax), all the motifs will have gone out the window. But by then the motif will have already served its purpose, and that is to jumpstart your solo. II. Space You dont have to play notes all the time during a solo. Some of the greatest musicians like Miles Davis are known for their emphasis on spaces between notes. Approach soloing like you would when speaking to someone. You need that space to gather your thoughts before you speak. The same applies with soloing. III. Chromaticism and Appoggiaturas Another important thing is to lose the fear of being wrong. In order to get to the stage where you can be free and be creative, you have to learn how to do it the right way first (know the scales). If you have already done so, then being wrong becomes a conscious decision that you allow to happen. Unintentional notes are unavoidable in improvising, and so the important thing to learn is how to get out of it gracefully. One good way to do this is to play chromatically (by half-steps: for example, a C-C#-D note progression is a chromatic progression). Intentional chromatic notes are called appoggiaturas, a soloing device used primarily in jazz. Appoggiatura is a musical device where you approach a note chromatically from below or diatonically from above. IV. Repeated Notes We spend a lot of time practicing scales, that we forget one of the most natural things in music: repeated notes. Repeated notes can be a very effective soloing device especially in thematic and melodic motifs. V. Tension and Release (Outside-Inside) This is where chromatics and appoggiaturas come in handy. In music-speak, tension is used to build up excitement. From a sociological and psychological point of view, the human ear starts training as soon we can hear that is, training to listen to notes. By the time we are old enough to understand, we have grown accustomed to hearing different sounds. In effect, when we hear a specific note, our brain tells us what notes we will most likely hear afterwards. By using chromatics and appoggiaturas, we leave the

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listener wanting to hear the right note. This is what we call tension. Release is when we hit that right note after building up the tension. All in all, these soloing devices and ideas are just examples of what you can do. It is important to remember that in soloing, you are the master. You choose what you want to do and how you want to do it. This is how you can effectively incorporate your personality into your solos, and have fun in return.


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Scale Degrees of The 12 Keys


SIG 1 2min D G C F Bb Eb Ab A E B F# C#

TYPE OF CHORD (ex. 1=maj, 2min=minor, 7dim=diminished) 3min E A D G C F Bb B F# C# G# D# 4 F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb C G D A E 5 G C F Bb Eb Ab Db D A E B F# 6min A D G C F Bb Eb E B F# C# G# 7dim B E A D G C F F# C# G# D# A# 8 C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb G D A E B 9min D G C F Bb Eb Ab A E B F# C# 10min E A D G C F Bb B F# C# G# D# 11 F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb C G D A E 12 G C F Bb Eb Ab Db D A E B F# 13min A D G C F Bb Eb E B F# C# G#

C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb G D A E B 1b 2b 3b 4b 5b 6b 1# 2# 3# 4# 5#

C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb G D A E B