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The GUITAR SIMPLIFIED An Illustrated Guide to Music Theory and the Guitar

NEIL D. SANTOS


The GUITAR An Illustrated Guide to Music Theory and the Guitar

NEIL SANTOS


TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction

Page

Why I Wrote this Book .........................................................................................1

A Guitar Overview

2

The Parts of the Guitar .........................................................................................2 The Neck ...............................................................................................................4 The Wood ..............................................................................................................5 The Pickups ..........................................................................................................5 Tuning the Guitar...................................................................................................6 Different Body Shapes .........................................................................................6 Holding the Guitar ................................................................................................7 The Guitar Pick .....................................................................................................8 Fingerstyle Guitar .................................................................................................8 Slide Guitar ..........................................................................................................9 The Amplifier .......................................................................................................9 Effects .................................................................................................................10 Reading Chord Grids .........................................................................................12 Reading Scale Grids ..........................................................................................13 Finding the Notes on the Neck ..........................................................................14 Guitar Tablature ................................................................................................15 Symbols in TAB ..................................................................................................15 A Beginner’s Guide to Strumming......................................................................16 The Common Strum Cheat Sheet Guide ..........................................................16 Common Strum Cheat Sheet ............................................................................17 Finger Exercises .................................................................................................18 Common Finger Exercises .................................................................................18 Permutations ......................................................................................................19 Three Note Permutations ...................................................................................19 Chapter Summary...............................................................................................20

Rhythm

21

The Beat ..............................................................................................................22 Tempo .................................................................................................................22 The Rhythm Pyramid .........................................................................................23 The Measure .......................................................................................................24 Time Signatures .................................................................................................24 Odd Meters .........................................................................................................24 Rests ...................................................................................................................25 Strong & Weak Beats .........................................................................................25 Ties ......................................................................................................................26 Dotted Notes ......................................................................................................26 Tuplets .................................................................................................................27 Triplets .................................................................................................................27 Swing ..................................................................................................................28


TABLE OF CONTENTS Syncopation ............................................................................................................28 Rhythm Slashes .....................................................................................................29 The Metronome ......................................................................................................29 Beginning Practice with a Metronome ..................................................................29 Chapter Summery ..................................................................................................31

Scales

32

The Chromatic Scale .............................................................................................33 Root Notes .............................................................................................................33 Intervals ..................................................................................................................34 Interval Number System ........................................................................................34 Intervals in Depth....................................................................................................35 Making Better Scales .............................................................................................41 The Major Scale Formula .......................................................................................41 Other Scale Formulas ............................................................................................42 Modes .....................................................................................................................43 Key Signatures .......................................................................................................44 Enharmonic Equivalents ........................................................................................45 Handy Interval Grid ................................................................................................45 A Collection of Scale Formulas .............................................................................46 Chapter Summary ..................................................................................................48

Chords

49

Creating Chords .....................................................................................................50 Triads ......................................................................................................................51 Diatonic Chords .....................................................................................................53 Roman Numeral Analysis .......................................................................................57 Diatonic Chord Chart .............................................................................................57 Tensions ..................................................................................................................58 Open Chords ..........................................................................................................59 Power Chords .........................................................................................................60 Barre Chords ..........................................................................................................61 Suspended Chords ................................................................................................62 E-String Based Chords ..........................................................................................63 A-String Based Chords ..........................................................................................64 D-String Based Chords ..........................................................................................65 Inverted Chords ......................................................................................................66 Slash Chords ..........................................................................................................67 Seventh Chord Inversions ......................................................................................68 Drop 2 Chords ........................................................................................................69 The CAGED System ...............................................................................................70 Voice Leading .........................................................................................................71 Quartal Harmony ....................................................................................................72 Chapter Summary ..................................................................................................73


TABLE OF CONTENTS Harmony

74

Diatonic Chord Progressions .................................................................................75 Diatonic Functions .................................................................................................75 Primary Chords.......................................................................................................76 Primary Chord Chart ..............................................................................................76 Relative Minors .......................................................................................................77 Circle of Fifths ........................................................................................................78 Major Progression Map .........................................................................................79 Minor Progression Map ..........................................................................................79 Borrowed Chords ...................................................................................................80 Common Borrowed Chords ..................................................................................80 Common Chord Progressions ...............................................................................81 Deceptive Resolutions ...........................................................................................82 Secondary Dominants ...........................................................................................82 Extended Dominants .............................................................................................83 Substitute Dominants ............................................................................................83 Key Modulation ......................................................................................................84 Establishing the Key ...............................................................................................85 Types of Modulation ...............................................................................................85 Blues Progressions ................................................................................................86 Modal Writing .........................................................................................................87 Chord Scale Theory................................................................................................88 Common Scale Options .........................................................................................89 Chapter Summary ..................................................................................................90

Scale Infographics

91

Major 7 Arpeggios ..................................................................................................92 Minor 7 Arpeggios ..................................................................................................93 Minor/Major 7 Arpeggios .......................................................................................94 Minor 7b5 Arpeggios..............................................................................................95 Dominant 7 Arpeggios ...........................................................................................96 Minor/Major Pentatonic .........................................................................................97 The Blues Scale ......................................................................................................98 Dominant Pentatonic..............................................................................................99 Melodic Minor Pentatonic ....................................................................................100 Natural Major/Minor Scale ...................................................................................101 Harmonic Minor Scale .........................................................................................102 Melodic Minor Scale ............................................................................................103 Whole Tone Scale .................................................................................................104 Diminished Scale ..................................................................................................105


A GUITAR OVERVIEW

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The Neck Finger board

Frets

Nut

Headstock

Neck Back

Binding Truss Rod

The Frets A

B

The Back Contour C

D

E

Fret wires come in nickle/silver, stainless steel

There is a neck shape to fill up any hand. Too small of a neck and your hand will quickly get tired. Too large and you can’t get your fingers around it. Below are just three of the many possible shapes.

Neck Inlays Neck inlays are there to help you identify your position on the neck but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them. Custom inlays are a way to add a little character to your axe.

and gold color versions. The size of the wire will affect the playability of the guitar. Larger and taller frets are great for single line playing while Fender® Stratocasters & Telecasters have necks that a majority of players find comfortable

smaller frets are more suited to playing chords. Width x Height

Description

A

.080” x .037”

Small fret wire. Used on Vintage Fender necks.

B

.106” x .036”

Medium Jumbo. Used on Gibson necks.

C

.103” x .046”

Jumbo. Used on Modern Fender necks.

D

.095” x .045”

Narrow and Tall. A popular choice for fret wire.

E

.118” x .058”

Huge! Used on Ibanez necks.

Standard Dot

Shark Fin

Standard Thin

Block Gibson® Les Pauls are known for having thick necks that are excellent for bending

Trapezoid

Standard Thin

Scalloped Fretboard

Custom

The Ibanez® Wizard neck is an example of a very thin neck which is great for playing fast. Scalloped necks offer many benefits including faster playing, smoother bending, clearer notes, semi-tone bends.

Custom

I would like to thank Warmoth.com for their help with the information on this page. I have a few of their custom necks and highly recommend checking them out if you’re in the market.

4


RHYTHM

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The Beat All music has a pulse. We usually call it the beat, and it is what keeps a piece of music moving along and allows the musicians to play together. When you tap your foot or dance while listening to a song, you are reacting to the beat. Sometimes it is easy to hear (dance music) but sometimes it isn’t as obvious (some classical music). Feeling the beat is easy however. Consider this popular children’s song. Just follow the bouncing ball.

Mary,

Had a,

Little,

Lamb,

Little,

Lamb,

Little,

Lamb

Mary,

Had a,

Little,

Lamb,

its,

Fleece was, White as, Snow

Tempo The tempo refers to the speed at which a piece of music is played. It is measured in Beats Per Minute (BPM). The higher the BPM, the more notes need to be fit into a minute, the faster the music. Typically, pop and rock music maintain a steady tempo throughout a song, while classical music tempos shift for dramatic effect. Rubato is a rhythmic technique of speeding up and slowing down the tempo of a song to add expressiveness used by solo instrumentalists. There are old Italian terms that can be used to indicate tempo. They are typically used in classical music. While each covers an approximate tempo range, they are mainly used to convey a general 'feel', and are less precise than a strict BPM tempo measurement. There are so many of them, that they can be hard to remember. Here are a few of the more common tempo names:

Adagio slowly (60-80 bpm)

Andante walking (80-100 bpm)

Moderato moderate (100-120 bpm)

Allegro lively (120-160 bpm)

Presto quickly (160-200 bpm)

A study conducted on top 40 pop songs from the last thirty years determined that the optimum tempo for a “hit” is around 120 bpm.

22


SCALES

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The Chromatic Scale Most Western music can be traced back to the Chromatic Scale as it is the foundation of all of the scales and chords that we use. It contains 12 notes that are an equal distance apart or in other words, all the black and white keys on a piano.

C# D#

C

D

F# G#

E

F

G

A#

A

B

C

The Chromatic Scale on Piano (from C to C)

1

2

3

C

4

5

C# D

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

D# E

F

F#

G

G#

A

A#

B

C

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

The Chromatic Scale on Guitar (from C to C)

Root Notes Both examples above are referred to as the “C Chromatic Scale” because they start and end on the note “C”. C is considered their Root Note which is the starting note from which any scale is created. If we were to start the scale on the note E they would then become the “E Chromatic Scale”. Root Note E F

C C# D Root Note

F#

G

G#

A

A# B

C

D# E

F

F#

G

G#

A#

A

C# D

B

D# E

C

The C & E Chromatic Scales with highlighted root notes

33


CHORDS

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Diatonic Chords

G Major

0 0 0

V major

1

Note Names

2

3

G B D Chord Tones

3

5 B

R 3 5

D

R 3 R

3 33

1

G

R 5 R 3 5

R

D

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

G

1

B

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

A Minor

9 10 11 12 13

0

0 1

vi minor

23

Note Names

A

C E

Chord Tones

b3 5 C

R

E

5 R b3 5

2

1

A

3 4

E C 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

55

12

1

A 13

14

15

16

11 12 13 14 15

R 5 R b3 5

R


HARMONY

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Common Chord Progressions The number of chord progressions you can create is virtually endless. However, there are certain ones that keep popping up over and over. That’s because they sound great and lend themselves to catchy melody writing. Let’s take a look at a few that have stood the test of time.

Chord Progression II

V V

I vi

IV IV

C

G

A min

F

iI

bV VI

I III

bIV VII

A min

F

C

G

II

V IV

I V

IV I

C

F

G

C

Song Example “With or Without You”

“Lay Down Sally”

C

A min

F

G

II

V IV

iiI

IV V

C

F

D min

G

II

V IV

II

IV V

C

F

C

G

II

V iii

I IV

IV V

C

E min

F

G

II

V ii

I iii

IV IV

IV V

F

G (X4)

V V

A min

E

iI

bV VI

I iv

bIV VII

A min

F

D min

G

II

V V

I vi

IV iii

C

G

I IV

V I

iiI

IV V

F

C

D min

G

Tonic

iI

IV iv

A min D min

A min E min

Subdominant

2 3

D minor 0

- Eric Clapton

IV V

1 2

“Stand By Me”

3

- Ben E. King “Run Around” - Blues Traveler

0 1

- Joan Osborn

I IV

iI

0

“What if God Were One of Us”

V vi

D min E min

C major

- U2

II

C

Chords

E minor 0

0 0 0 2 3

“Brown Eyed Girl” - Van Morrison

F major

“The Weight” - The Band

11 2

“Like A Rolling Stone”

3

- Bob Dylan

G major

“Black Magic Woman”

0 0 0

- Santana 1

“Mr. Jones”

2

3

- Counting Crows “Pachelbel’s Canon”

A minor 0

0

- Johann Pachelbel

1 23

Dominant

81


THE BLUES SCALE DETAILS

b3

W

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W

b3

W

Scale Tones R, b3, 4, #4, 5, b7 The Blues scale is basically the minor major pentatonic scale with an added note. The “blue note” that we add is the #4 and it gives the scale a bit of attitude.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

Minor Pentatonic Blues* R, b3, 4, #4, 5, b7 Use on: min7 chords

The patterns are a little strange, but if you can approach this scale as the minor and major pentatonic and just memorize where the blues note shows up you’ll get it in no time.

Major Pentatonic Blues* R, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6 Use on: Major chords

Egyptian Blues* R, b2, 2, 4, 5, b7 Use on: Sus chords

Each mode has its own characteristics and usefulness. Refer to the blue text to the left.

Man Gong Blues* R, b3, 4, b6, 7, b7 Use on: min7 chords

Tonality Minor

Ritusen Bluesen* R, 2, 4, 5, b6, 6 Use on: Sus chords

Major Dominant Augmented Diminished Suspended

W b3

Whole Step Minor Third

* Completely fictitious name

98


Everything you ever wanted to know about music theory and guitar but were afraid to ask. You don’t need to know how to read music, understand theory or even how to hold a guitar. Everything is covered here in simple and easy to understand lessons. Whether you’re new to guitar and want to build a good foundation of the basics or you’re a more advanced player who would like to write better songs and improvise more freely by delving into music theory, this book will help you. The mysteries of music and the guitar used to make my head spin but now that I’ve come to understand them I can see that they don’t need to be complicated at all. Traditional methods of teaching music can put a barrier between you and the knowledge you crave. Using simple graphics and bite size descriptions I will teach you step by step to make sense of this instrument you love. Neil Santos is a musician, artist, teacher and blogger, a graduate of Berklee College of Music and a music teacher with over a decade of experience. He currently uses his musical knowledge and graphic design skills to teach thru his blog scaletrainer.com. He lives with his wife and son near Boston, Massachusetts.

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