A Simple Way To Make WRONG Notes Sound Right

Tommaso Zillio

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approach notes guitar

Yes, you’ve heard this quote already:

“There are no wrong notes”

Attributed to: Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davies, Art Tatum, every other jazz cat, a few classical cats, and my grandma.

Often with the addition:

  • “… only wrong resolutions”,
  • “… only notes in the wrong place”,
  • “… some are just more right than others”,
  • “… but if you don’t turn down that guitar I’ll make you eat it headstock-first”

(No, the last one was not my grandma. She was deaf.)

That is indeed a great quote…

… until you try to actually put it in practice …

… and you soon realize that the situation is not as simple as advertised! This quote is not as hard and fast as they made it sound.

Typical thoughts you may have when you fail to make every note sound ‘not wrong’:

  • “I have no talent”
  • “Maybe it works only for Jazz”
  • “My ears are clearly screwed on the wrong way. I should get a refund on my hearing ability…”

Personally, I have no problem to say that all these Jazz cats (and my grandma) were exaggerating for effect.

I mean it’s not hard to believe that my grandma was wrong on this point. She could not hear a note to begin with…

But maybe it’s a hard sell to go directly against a Miles Davies quote.

Ok, so how about we take this quote literally and we try to make it work instead? Let me show you a few examples on how to make ‘wrong’ notes sound ‘right’… regardless of your talent:

Of course, if you want to become great at hitting the ‘wrong’ notes, you also need to know how to hit the ‘right’ notes.

There are a few different ways to do that. One is to stop thinking about scales and think about triads instead:

And another one is to think about hitting chord tones.

Here’s how to do this:

But to really understand all the possible ways to make ‘wrong’ notes sound ‘right’… and even wrong CHORDS sound right… you need to understand harmony at a deeper level.

It’s much easier than you think if you learn harmony in the right order and focusing on the principles rather than the endless variety of examples (that mostly just confuse you)

To learn harmony in the right way - and directly on the fretboard of your guitar - you want to have a look at the Complete Chord Mastery guitar course because it will make your life much easier and your music more fun!


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