Guitar Theory Video Lessons

Here you will find many videos on music theory for guitar. As you will see by watching these videos, music theory is not necessarily difficult or complicated: rather it is the best way to support your originality and spark your creativity as a guitar player! To get the most from your music theory though, you need to know how to avoid the most common pitfalls and really leverage your theory knowledge so that you will be able to apply it on your guitar spontaneously and naturally.

By watching the videos in this page you will gradually become aware of how you can use music theory on your guitar, and how this gives you a head start over every player who does not know it. Why learn things the difficult way? Learn music theory applied to the guitar fretboard with the videos below!

enigmatic scale guitar

How To Make Music With The Enigmatic Scale [And Cheat To Sound Better]

NEW!By popular request, here is the video on the Enigmatic Scale that everybody wanted! This is a scale that is notoriously difficult to use and it was in fact written precisely as a challenge. It's not really a scale that 'sounds good' by any means. In this video, first we see how the Enigmatic scale works and how weird it sound... and then we use music theory to shamelessly 'cheat' and make it sound good :) Click here to see how to get usable blues and jazz sounds out of the Enigmatic scale on guitar

stevie wonder chord

How To Make Music With The Stevie Wonder Altered Dominant Chord On Your Guitar

Stevie Wonder seems to have a knack to take some of the most dissonant chords out there and make them sound good in the progression. In fact he's so good that most of his audience don't even notice what kind of complex harmony they have just listened to! Today we see a chord that Stevie uses so often that it seems to deserve the nickname of "Stevie Wonder's Chord". This chord is very dissonant if played alone - and many musicians write it off as unusable. And yet we'll see how this chord can sound absolutely great in the hands of a master like Stevie... and how you can make it sound great too - it's not hard! Click here to learn how to use the Stevie Wonder chord and write great music on your guitar with it.

music theory basics

The Super Basics Of Music Theory

In this video we cover the very basics of music theory, from absolute zero. We'll talk about notes, chords, and scales - and how they come together. If you are a complete beginner on music theory, or you want to revisit the basics, then this video is for you. This video is NOT for you if you are already advanced and you are solid on the fundamentals of theory. I'll be back for you next week with something more advanced :-) Click here to learn the super basics of music theory... with a super-short and super-easy video!

Japanese scales guitar

The Simple Theory Of Japanese Music Scales

We musicians are always on a quest on how to sound "different", "original", "new". And so we are often under pressure to learn new things and make them sound good too! Today we learn a set of Japanese scales, one better sounding than the other. We see how they are built, and how we can make many more. And if you are like me, you will love that Miyako-Bushi scale. Click here to learn your Japanese scales on guitar and play something easy and different!

tritone interval devil

Making Music With The Interval Of The Devil (The Tritone)

One of the most maligned intervals ever: the tritone! It's been variously called 'the interval of the devil', 'diabolus in musica', 'the most dissonant interval' - all labels subject to opinions of course. But in reality, the tritone is one of the most used and in fact indispensable intervals in music. And if you are a guitar player, you need to know how the tritone looks (on the fretboard) and sounds, and you need to know how to use it too! Click here to see how to use the tritone devil's interval on guitar.

augmented scale guitar

Making Music With The Augmented Scales (Both Of Them!)

There are two different scales that have been called 'augmented' by different musicians. And like for the orientation of toilet paper, Everybody is absolutely sure that the one they call "augmented" is the 'right' augmented scale, and that everybody thinking differently is just a heretic who does not know what they are talking about :) Either way, both these scales sound wonderful and make a valuable addition to your guitar sound palette. Click here to see how to use the Augmented scales on guitar to create interesting and cinematic sounds.

minor add9 arpeggio

Weird uses for the minor add9 arpeggio

If you know the minor add9 arpeggio, you know that it sounds wonderful and mysterious when you play it by itself. But did you know that you can take the same arpeggio and make it sound completely different simply by changing the chord you play it over? Today we'll see together a few nifty tricks that allow you to use this simple arpeggio over a few different chords... even over altered dominant chords! Click here to see some minor add9 arpeggio superimpositions and have fun!

enharmonic notes

Is Ab the same NOTE as G#? [Practical consequences of music theory]

Is Ab the same note as G#? This is one of the question in music theory that nobody seems to answer in a clear way, even if the answer must be just yes or no. I will tell you the answer immediately: Ab is not the same note as G#. And in fact, the difference between these two notes has very practical consequences when you use them in your music. In this video, we'll see why Ab and G# are different notes, and we will also understand why musicians are so particular in using sharps or flats when spelling out scales and chords (it turns out that there is a practical reason for that!)

spicing perfect cadence

How To Make The Most Common Chord Progression Sound Wonderful [Simple Music Theory]

The most common chord progressions in all music is probably the progression from the V chord of the key to the I chord of the key (sometimes referred to as the 'perfect cadence'). In C major this chord progression is G(7) to C, and in C minor it's G(7) to Cm. If you try to play it, this chord progression sounds really plain. In centuries of music theory, great musicians have found several ways to make this simple chord movement sound different and interesting - and we are going to learn them together today! Click here to see how to spice up the perfect cadence and make a plain chord progression sound sophisticated.

most emotional note

What Is The Most Emotional Note In C Major? [Controversial Music Theory]

What is the most emotional note in the key of C major? This is clearly a loaded question: different people hear different notes as 'the most emotional one', and the context in which the note is played matters too. And yet, everything else being the same, in my opinion, there is one note that can be called the most emotional one in C major. This note has been used by countless composers and songwriters to create heart-rending and tear-jerking melodies and chord progressions. Click here to see which one is the most emotional note in C major, and how to make it work in your music.

half diminished chord

The 'Forgotten Chord' And How To Use It In Your Songs [Music Theory, Chord Progressions]

If you are writing a song in the key of C major (or A minor), you are probably going to use the following chords: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am. Most musicians though forget that there is another chord in these keys: the B (half) diminished chord - because this chord sounds strange the first time you use it. Today we learn how to make the half diminished chord work for you. There are wonderful sounds that are unlocked by this chord, and you definitely want to be able to use them in your songs (and not be limited by the old major and minor triads)

simple voice leading

Understanding Chord Progressions: A Simple Intro To Voice Leading

Today we do something completely different than usual. This video is a simple introduction to voice leading and how it helps us understanding chord progressions and even writing a melody or soloing over the changes. If you ever were confused by anything in a chord progression, then this video will give you a new tool to understand and work with chord progressions. Click here to see how to use simple voice leading to really understand chords and progressions.

First to Fourth chord

Songwriting Tricks: Moving From The 1st To The 4th Chord In A Key

One of the most common chord movements is going from the 1st to the 4th chord of a key (in the key C, this would be like playing a C chord followed by an F chord). This happens in so many songs that I'd be hard-pressed to mention one that does not do it. In this video, I show you how you can take this super-easy super-basic chord movement and make it sound different just by working on the C chord. Click here to see how to spice up a 1 to 4 chord progression

neapolitan major scale

Making Music With The Neapolitan Major Scale, And PLANING

Some guitar scales are properly named. For instance, the Harmonic Minor is a minor scale (i.e. you can play it on a minor chord). And some other scales are not properly named at all. For instance, the Neapolitan Major scale is not a major scale at all. It does not work on a major chord, it does not sound major at all, and to be completely frank, nobody has any idea why it's named 'Neapolitan' either! And yet, despite being misnamed, the Neapolitan Major scale is a scale that is growing in popularity and also a scale that you absolutely want to learn. Have fun with it!

guitar finger roll

The "Missing Finger Movement" That Most Guitar Players Avoid (But Should Learn)

One of the things that separates beginner guitarists from the advanced is what I call the "Missing Movement": it's a very simple left hand technique that can be learned with just a little practice, and it's probably the most common 'blind spot' that lead guitar players have. The trouble is that the players do not notice, but the listeners can definitely tell that "something's off" Here you can learn about the "Missing Movement", also known as the rolling motion on guitar, why it exists, how to do it, how to train it. It seems like a small thing, but it will make the difference in your lead playing

first chord key

Songwriting Basics: The Chord That Should Be Simple But Isn't, And How To Learn To Use It

Trick question: what is the most common chord in every song you listen to? Easy: it's the first chord of that key. This is the C major chord in the key of C major, the Em chord in the key of E minor etc. But if it is so common, how is it that most songwriters do not know how to use it? It's easy to underestimate something because it's common and supposed to be simple. And yet, using the first chord in songwriting with taste and in the right places will make or break a song.

Byzantine scale guitar

The Surf Rock Exotic Scale: The Byzantine Scale

The scale we see today has been used in the song "Miserlou". The famous surf rock version by Dick Dale has been featured in the movie Pulp Fiction (if you don't know the song, I play it at the beginning of the video below) The scale used is called the Byzantine scale , it's very easy to use and fun to play! Whether you know your scales well or not, you will pick up this one in just a few minutes.

guitar pinch harmonics

How To Play Pinch Harmonics (Squeals) On Your Guitar In 7 Steps

Pinch Harmonics (also known as 'squeals') are one of the most volatile techniques on electric guitar: you think you have learned how to do them, but then you try to play them and they just don't work. To help you get your pinch harmonics right every single time, here are the 7 steps to guitar pinch harmonics you have to follow. Try them out, and you will see that there is nothing strange or mysterious in making your guitar squeal:

chords before dominant

Juicy Chord Progressions: 6 Gorgeous Chords To Put Before A Dominant Chord

One of the best kept secrets of music theory is what to put just before a dominant chord. In the last couple of centuries very ingenious and creative musicians have found many ways to 'prepare' the dominant chord, and some of these options sound simply gorgeous. In this video, I show you 6 juicy options for chords that you can put before a dominant chord. Listen to these ideas and get some inspiration!

negative harmony modal exchange

Endless Melodic Variations From Negative Harmony And Modal Borrowing

A while ago I published a video explaining Negative Harmony, an interesting theory used among others by Jacob Collier that allows you to create new and spicy chord progressions. That video got a big response, and many commenters asked to see more practical examples of how Negative Harmony can create variations in melody and harmony at the same time. So, in this new video, I do just that! Click here to see how to use Negative Harmony and Modal Exchange to create endless melodic variations. Don't worry about the complex names: these are simple ideas and I do explain them in the video.

scalloped guitar neck

Pro And Cons Of Scalloped Guitar Necks

Many of you have seen that my guitar has a scalloped neck and asked me to talk about its pros and cons. I am happy to oblige! If you are wondering whether you are going to like a guitar with a scalloped neck; if you don't know what scalloping does to your guitar technique, speed, and sound; if you asked yourself why players like Malmsteen use a scalloped neck... ... then this video on scalloped guitar neck is for you!

Neapolitan minor scale

The Neapolitan Minor Scale And The Neapolitan Chord

You've heard this sound. You've hear it many, many times in pop songs, in classical music, in guitar instrumentals, even in Jazz. But you don't know how to make that sound (yet). That sound is produced by a scale called "Neapolitan Minor". In this video, we learn how to use the Neapolitan Minor scale to make music, either as a stand-alone scale (for haunting musical landscapes) or over a common chord progression for a delightful "it's dissonant but it sounds so good" effect.

breaking scale box

Get Unstuck From The Same Old Guitar Scale Position

Direct question: when you play a guitar solo are you able to move all around the fretboard, or do you get stuck in the same position on the neck? Here you will learn a simple way to break out of the same old scale pattern so that you can move freely on all the fretboard, from the lowest frets to the highest ones. And as a bonus, you are going to learn how to write a few cool licks as well!

guitar bend integration

Guitar Technical Study: Playing A Bend After A Scale/Arpeggio

Does it ever happen to you that you are playing a guitar solo and want to play a bend... but for some reason your hand becomes all tense and you can't play that bend right? This is a very common problem that happens to most guitar players, and it's fixed easily if you know the right exercises for it. Click here to see how to integrate guitar bends with all the other techniques that you know how to play on the guitar.

Hungarian major scale

The BLUES-Exotic Scale: Hungarian Major

Many guitar players never learn 'exotic' scales because they think they are not interested in their sound, or that they should learn the 'normal' scales first. And yet 'exotic' scales are used commonly in music we all listen to. And they are not as hard as you think they are! Today we see a scale that can be used (or misused?) to sound like Blues... but can also sound exotic and middle-eastern. Welcome to the Hungarian Major scale, a scale that you will not regret learning whatever style you play.

fast precise guitar rhythm

Get A Picking Hand Fast And Precise Like James Hetfield (Metallica)

A problem I see very often in guitar players is that their picking hand is slow and imprecise. This happens especially when playing rhythm guitar in rock and metal, where consistent and precise down picking is a must to get an aggressive sound Today we see an exercise targeted to reinforcing your picking hand, and we will apply it to a guitar riff by James Hatfield (Metallica). Click here to see how to practice for a fast and precise picking hand

guitar hand pain

How To Keep Your Hands Healthy As A Guitarist

In my experience as a musician and teacher, I have seen that many guitar players do not treat their hands really well. Some stress their hands too much, stretch them the wrong way, subject them to needless abuse. Some others simply neglect their hands completely - they just don't know what needs to be done to use their hands in a safe way, so they simply do not do anything and hope they'll be alright. Click here to see a simple video on hand health and care for guitarists so that you can prevent painful conditions that can stop you from playing guitar.

Hungarian minor chords

How To Make Music With The Hungarian Minor Scale (aka Double Harmonic Minor)

You may have noticed how most lessons on exotic scales for guitar just show you a couple of scale patterns and call it a day. While it's cool to know scale patterns, those are not enough for you to actually make music with the new scale you have learned. Today we will take one of the most interesting exotic scales - the Hungarian Minor, also known as the Double Harmonic minor - and together we will see how to actually make music with it. We will look at its chords and how to put them together and even how to use some of the most dissonant options to good effect. Click here to learn how to make music with the Hungarian minor chords on guitar!

guitar technique relaxation

How To Eliminate Tension When You Play Guitar

Every time you try to play faster on your guitar your hands get 'tense' and the more you push the worse it gets? How can you relax your hands when your hands automatically get tense whenever you play faster? Better yet, how can you completely prevent this tension? If you want to learn how to train your hands so that they will stay relaxed even when you play fast, then click here, learn a guitar relaxation technique that will completely change your playing in just a few practice sessions.

guitar first inversion triads

First Inversion Triads: How To Play Them On Guitar And 3 Ways To Use Them In Your Music

If you try to write a song in C major you have only 6 usable triads: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am. That's quite restrictive! The simplest and probably most useful idea to extend the number of available sounds is to use first inversion triads (aka "the songwriter's secret weapon") This idea will give you 7 new sounds you can use in your C major song - and it builds on the chords you already know. Click here to see how to play first inversion triads on guitar, and 3 different ways to use them in your songs (with examples from famous songs):

guitar chromatic mediant

Cinematic Chord Progressions: Chromatic Mediants Made Easy

Movies like Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, do not feature many Blues progressions, power chords, or guitar solos. But can we guitarists learn something from them? Today we will see together one of the secrets of movie composers. This secret has a pretty complex and 'scary' name ("chromatic mediant progressions") and yet it's very simple to understand and use. Click here to see how to play Chromatic Mediant progressions on guitar and get that cinematic sound!

old for guitar

Are You Too Old To Play Guitar Or Learn Music Theory?

Is it true that young people learn faster than older people? Is it true that if you start playing after your 20's you've missed the train for guitar? Is it true that after 20 years of playing by ear it's useless to learn music theory? Click here to see if you are too old to learn guitar and if you should give up playing.

guitar finger independence

3 Simple Exercises To Boost Your Fretting Hand Finger Independence

When playing an instrument like the guitar, being able to control each finger independently is one of the most basic and necessary skills - and also one of the most neglected ones. The litmus test here is: can you move one your fingers independently while keeping all the other fingers relaxed? Most guitar players score very low on this test - but don't worry, we can solve this! Today we see 3 simple guitar finger independence exercises that are easy to learn (but hard to master!) that will make the difference and will teach your hand how to stay relaxed even while your fingers move in different directions. Have fun!

guitarist read music

It Is Necessary To Learn To Read Music As A Guitar Player?

Some guitarists say that if you can't read music then you are not a 'real' musician. Other guitarists say that reading music is completely useless for a modern guitarists. They are both right: different musician play in different contexts and for some of them standard notation is an indispensable tool, while for others it's simply not needed. And are you sure that you know if reading music will be useful to you? Click here to see how to know if you need to learn to read music as a guitar player, or if learning to read is a waste of time for you.

negative harmony guitar

How To Use Negative Harmony - Explained In Simple Words And With Examples

Negative Harmony is a very simple concept that has been made unnecessarily complex. It was all the rage on YouTube a while ago, but for all the talk about it, there are still very few resources that actually explain it! In reality, everybody can use Negative Harmony in their music - it's not difficult to do as long as you can play a few chords on your guitar. Click here to learn how to use Negative Harmony on guitar to create chord progressions that sound great and different.

guitar small hands

Are Your Hands Too Small To Play Guitar? What Can You Do About It?

Are your hands too small to play guitar? Do you have any trouble playing those 'stretchy' scales and chords that other guitarist can play with ease? Sadly there is NO way to make your fingers longer... ... but there IS a technique that you can use that will give you much more reach than what you thought possible, so you too will be able to play those 'stretchy' positions. Click here to see if your hands are too small to play guitar and what to do about it!

music theory overwhelming

What To Do When Guitar Music Theory Is Overwhelming

Are you feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to learn about music and music theory? Do you find yourself thinking that theory restricts what you can do and it's a bunch of information that you won't use? Or maybe you think that you are not good enough/smart enough to understand everything there is to understand? Click here to see how to eliminate the 'there is too much to know' mindset and make music theory work for you and your music rather than standing in your way.

guitar 4 notes solo

Guitar Soloing With 4 Notes: Less Is More Or More Is More?

Less is more, or More is more? On what side we have guitarists who want to play only a few well-chosen notes, and on the other side we have the people who have the need for speed. And, to me, both are cool. But we can have our cake and eat it too! In today's video we will see a simple exercise on choosing only a handful of notes and making them sound well... and we will also see how to shred with them if you want to do so. Take the 4 notes challenge and expand your lead playing horizons!

guitar tone tips

3 Simple No-Cost Ways To Get A Better Guitar Tone

If you are like most guitar players (me included) you are in a endless and relentless search for the perfect guitar tone that takes you to get more and more expensive amps and pedals. On the other hand, you can make your tone very different by simple no-cost means, without any new gear. Click here to see 3 tricks to change your guitar tone at no cost and with no new gear!

andy summers simplicity

A Lesson In Guitar Simplicity From Andy Summers

Have you ever found that you were playing a guitar piece the wrong way and it was much harder than playing it the right way? I recently realized that I was playing a song wrong and making my life much harder because of that. And this is a song that I played for years and in at least two different bands. And those stretches I was playing were killing my hand every time... and making me sound worse too! Click here to see how I learned that simple is better from Andy Summers (In case you have been living under a rock, Andy Summers is the guitar player for The Police).

odd rhythm guitar

Internalizing The Rhythm Of Odd Divisions: Triplets And Quintuplets On Guitar

Timing is probably THE skill that makes the largest difference between a beginner and an advanced player. But it's not enough to learn timing and rhythm intellectually: you have to internalize it, you have to 'feel' it. There's nothing worse than thinking about rhythm while you play! In this video I show you a few helpful exercise that will make you 'feel' the rhythm of odd divisions like triplets and quintuplets. They are fun and easy and you will see the improvement in minutes. Click here to learn how to play and internalize the rhythm of triplets and quintuples on guitar

star wars chords

Soloing On The Imperial March Chord Progression From Star Wars

Tired of playing over the same old chord progressions? There's only so many times you can play over the Blues progression or the Turn progression before you get bored by them. So today we will solo on something completely different. It's quite likely you never soloed on this one before! To do that, we take the chord progression from a classic track, the Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) from Star Wars. Then we explore 4 different scale/arpeggio options and we hear how they sound. Click here to learn how to play a guitar solo over the Imperial March chord progression.

muting guitar strings

Answering your Questions On Muting Guitar Strings with Hair Band or Tape (Or Socks!)

A few weeks ago I posted a video with 8 tips for guitar. I received a lot of interesting questions regarding one of those tips: the one about muting your guitar strings with a hair band or with tape... or with a sock! I didn't imagine that such a simple thing like using a hair band could get so deep. Your questions made me think in a different way and I learned something too, so thank you! Click here to see my answers to your questions on muting guitar strings with a hair band

guitar phrasing

How To Play 3-Dimensional Guitar Phrasing And Make Anything You Play Sound Good

I received a number of questions on how to practice phrasing on guitar. Apparently many guitar players find that phrasing is one of the most challenging aspect of the instrument, and I agree! We guitarists can make any melody or lick sound better by using bends, slides, hammer ons, vibratos, etc. And yet, even if we have this advantage, many guitar players have no idea how to get better at phrasing. Today we see how to play 3 dimensional guitar phrasing (as opposed to flat, 2-dimensional phrasing), how to train it, and how to choose the right techniques to play when you improvise.

guitar practice motivation

Stop Doing This Stupid Thing And Find Your Guitar Motivation Again

Many guitar players experience periods when they feel demotivated and can't even touch their guitars. I know I have been there many times too. In my experience as a guitar teacher I found that there is one and only one thing that is responsible for the majority of players getting stuck in a rut. Click here to see 3 ways to fight the number one guitar motivation killer and get back on track more motivated than before!

guitar practice schedule

How To Practice Your Guitar When You Have Little Time

I've been receiving from many of you the questions "how much should I practice guitar every day?" and "what should I practice?" And since you asked, I'm answering! Here you will learn a super-simple and ultra-flexible guitar practice schedule that you can use to get the most out of the time you have to spend with your guitar. And this is not just an endless list of exercises, but it's FUN!

Carlos Santana note

Simple Theory: The Santana Note And How To Play It

Sometimes you do need complex theory to make the music you want. But sometimes you really don't, and the sound you are searching is really simple. For instance, if you want to know why Carlos Santana's solo have that warm, exotic feeling, it all boils down to ONE note used over a specific chord. This is something you can learn in just a few minutes and will make your playing better forever. Click here to see how to use the Carlos Santana note to spice up your pentatonic solos in a different way than usual.

guitar tips and tricks

8 Guitar Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier - In Only 2 Minutes!

Sometimes it's the small things that save you a lot of time. I remember when a luthier showed me how to change the strings on a floating bridge guitar in half the time... or when a friend of mine showed me how to prevent new strings from going out of tune. Today, in less than 2 minutes I'll show you 8 guitar hacks that will save you a lot of time and frustration. If you have 120 seconds of free time today, watch this!

guitar pitch axis

The Emotions Behind Joe Satriani's Pitch Axis

Recently a student asked me how to use guitar modes to express emotions. This is a great question: there are a lot of lessons out there on how to shred with the modes, but very few on what emotions those modes convey to the listener. And since learning how to express emotions in music is on of the main goals of music theory, I think it's quite important that we talk about this! Players like Joe Satriani are masters at using modes to express emotions, thanks to a technique called Pitch Axis. You can learn how to do this too by watching this video on Emotions and Pitch Axis. Have fun playing the examples and coming up with your own!

Metallica's spooky arpeggios

How To Sound Spooky and Mysterious: Metallica, X-Files, Bartok

The music of Metallica features many gorgeous clean arpeggios, and many of them use a little musical trick to sound more mysterious and threatening. The X-files theme uses that very same trick to create a spooky effect and a dangerous ambience. In our Halloween video of Music Theory For Guitar we are going to see exactly what the trick is, who used it, and how you can use it yourself. Click here to learn how to play spooky arpeggios on guitar and have fun playing those to your friends at your Halloween party!

David Gilmour modes

Another Brick In The Wall Solo In Major: What Changes?

David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) is one of those players that is very hard to dislike, in fact many of us consider him a major influence in our playing. But why Gilmour sounds so good? Is it his tone? His phrasing? His timing? Could it be that there is a very important (and overlooked) element of Gilmour's playing? What about his choice of harmony and mode? Here we do a little experiment and play one of Gilmour's most famous solos in major rather than in minor. Can you spot the difference? Click here: Changing mode to David Gilmour

ear training for guitar

The Best Way To Start Ear Training For Guitar Players

We all know that one of the most important skills for a musician is to have a good ear. And yet most of us guitar players are scared to death by ear training. We are afraid it's going to be too difficult and unpleasant and it would require too much work and time... and we would much rather play our guitar, no? Well, what if we can have our cake and eat it too? Here I show you an incredibly simple ear training exercise that you can do with your guitar, that is simple enough even for beginners, and that will give results in few minutes. Unbelievable, you say? Try me: watch this video on the best ear training exercise for guitar players

ascending melodic minor scale

Melodic Minor Scale: Why There Are An Ascending And A Descending Versions?

The "traditional" story on the Melodic Minor scale is that in Classical music there are two versions of it ('ascending' and 'descending') and that when you go up in pitch you must use the ascending version, and you must use the descending when you go down in pitch. They will also tell you that in modern music (or "in Jazz") you can use the scale in both directions. Ah, those enlightened Jazz musicians that free us from the Classical rules... Well, pardon my French, but this story is bullshit. Find here what is the real story about the ascending Melodic Minor scale and what difference it makes to your guitar playing.

arpeggios on guitar fretboard

A Simple Exercise To Learn All The Arpeggios On Your Guitar

Play the following arpeggios on your guitar around fret 8th: G, D, Eb, C. Were you able to play them one after the other with no stopping? In my experience as a guitar teacher, I noticed how very few guitar players can find an arpeggio on the fretboard fast, let alone play it fluidly. This is because most guitarists think that learning this skill is simply too hard... but that's not true! Here I will show you an incredibly simple (and fun!) exercise to find arpeggios on the guitar fretboard, and if you practice you will know your guitar fretboard inside out.

learn complex music

How To Learn A Complex Piece Of Music On Guitar

Learning a new piece of music could be absolute pleasure for some guitar player, and complete hell for others. In fact, most guitarists do not really know what to do when they have to learn a long, complex piece by heart. In this video I will show you how to learn guitar music by heart so that you will not forget "what comes next" and your performance will be fluid.

notes in guitar chords

How To Learn All The Notes In All The Chords

Can you tell at the top of your mind what are the notes in the G# minor triad? If the answer does not appear INSTANTLY in your mind, then you need to read this, right now. Knowing all the notes in all the chords is an important skill that will help you making music in any situation (Improvisation, composition, jamming, etc) The good news are: learning the notes in the chords is much easier than you think! Click here to see a simple exercise that you can do to learn the notes in all chords and that you can do anytime - even without your guitar.

guitar dynamics control

How To Control The Dynamics In Your Guitar Playing

The mark of a great guitarist is the nuances in his/her playing like phrasing and dynamics. In fact, I found that all the guitarists that I appreciate AND all the guitarists who have a good tone are masters of dynamics. In this video I show you what dynamics is on the guitar, how to train it, and what dynamics can do for your playing and your guitar tone. See here how to control the dynamics on your guitar.

chord tone soloing

What Is Chord Tone Soloing?

Typical situation: you are improvising with the right scale for your backing track, but somehow what you play still does not sound good. What is happening? The most likely reason is that you are not targeting the notes of the chords in the backing track (a procedure called Chord Tone Soloing). In theory, Chord Tone Soloing is easy, but in practice many guitarists get stuck in trying to remember the notes in the chords and finding them on the fretboard. Fear not, and watch this video that explains what Chord Tone Soloing is and how to learn it the right way so it will feel easy and musical.

chromatic guitar sequences

How To Play Chromatic Sequences On The Pentatonic Guitar Scale

A while ago I published a video on how to invent endless guitar phrases using just the pentatonic scale. In that video I introduced the concept of "sequences". I must have done something right there since that video earned 190.000 views (and counting).

Anyway, some of my regular viewers told me that they loved the sound of the concept video, but were concerned that by following a scale they would eventually become "prisoners" of the scale. So in this video I will show you how to create endless licks from a scale and break out of the scale too! Click here to lean how to play chromatic sequences on guitar starting from a simple pentatonic scale.

guitar improvisation rhythm

Why Your Guitar Improvisations Sound All The Same

There comes a moment in every guitarist's life when your improvisations seem to all sound the same. Even new licks of scale you learn seem to sound the same. You may think that this is because you are not 'talented' or 'creative' enough... but that's not the case. In my experience as a guitar teacher, this happens when you get stuck in some usual "playing pattern" (nothing to do with scale patterns...) and you can't get out. Well, you are in luck because I just have the right thing for you: click here to see how to break out of guitar improvisation patterns and make your improvisation sound new and fresh again.

guitar phrasing

Improve Your Guitar Leads With Systematic Phrasing

All good guitarists know that it's not only what you play but also how you play it (i.e. what guitar players calls "phrasing"). And yet you may have noticed that there is preciously little advice available on how to work on your phrasing. Today we will see a very simple exercise that will do wonders for your phrasing. It's so easy that even a complete beginner can do it, but it's so powerful that I've seen professionals still working on it. Click here to see how guitar systematic phrasing will help you make your solos sound better even if you are playing only 3 notes.

guitar arpeggio superimposition

Using Arpeggio Superimposition In A Guitar Solo

If you are a lead guitar player you know that it's hard to always have new ideas for every solo you write - and you also know that without new ideas your solos may end up sounding all the same.

Today I'm sharing with you a simple idea called "Arpeggio Superimposition" that you can customize at will for your next lead. Click here to see how to play a guitar arpeggio superimposition and have fun putting your own spin on it!

exotic Japanese guitar

The "Japanese Effect" On Guitar: How To Imitate A Koto

This is a bite-size pill of music theory that will have you play exotic sounds in just a few minutes! Today we learn how to imitate exotic instruments like the Japanese Koto or the Chinese Guzheng with your guitar. It's very simple to do and it's guaranteed to turn heads at your next jam session. Click here to see how to play the Japanese Effect on guitar and have fun playing something different than the old Blues.

guitar vibrato

Your Guitar Vibrato Sucks? Here's How To Fix It

If you are an electric lead guitar player, then there definitely is one (only one!) technique that if mastered will have the greatest impact on your playing. And the most frustrating thing is that the vast majority of beginner and intermediate players simply do not spend even one minute studying this technique... and that's why they don't sound great yet. Click here to learn what is the most important guitar technique and how to hone it to perfection.

guitar noises

Whammy Bars, Pinch Harmonic, And Guitar Noises: What Makes Electric Guitar Different

The guitar is an instrument different than any other. And indeed, the history of guitar is full of people who were not "playing by the rules". While all the other instruments were preoccupied in getting the "cleanest" sound possible, electric guitar player embraced the noise and made it a way of playing. Let's get a break form scales and chords. Click here to see how to make fun noises with your guitar.

CAGED and Pentatonics

CAGED Sucks Part 7: Pentatonic Is Not CAGED

A CAGED player wrote me that: "if you are playing a pentatonic scale, then you must be using the CAGED system". As I was playing a Blues solo, with notes taken mostly from a pentatonic scale, it follows that I must be a CAGED user. Oh my! Or course I am being sarcastic :-) In fact knowing why CAGED and pentatonics are not the same thing will make you a much better player and make these Blues solos easier. Click on the link to find out how.

improvisation ideas

How To Make Your Guitar Improvisation Sound Like Music

Your improvisation sounds like a bunch of ideas thrown together at random with little rhyme or reason? But when you listen to the master improvisers out there, it seems like divine music is springing forth their fingers in real time... even if they are playing very simple licks? How they do that? I answer this question (and show you how to implement the answer in practice) in the new video on how to make your guitar improvisation sound like music

smooth key modulation

Changing Key: How To Modulate Smoothly Using Your Guitar

It's common knowledge that lots of songs in modern music sound the same. Why is it so? It's because most of these songs are composed in a single musical key - because their writers do not know how to change key (to "modulate") in a smooth and musical way.

This is easily fixed: I will share with you few simple tricks so that in 10 minutes from now you will be able to write a chord progression that changes key smoothly.

CAGED sucks harmonies

CAGED Sucks Part 6: How A Good Scale System Allows You To Do Automatic Guitar Solo Harmonies

When you use a guitar system that works you can do things that seem like magic. So today we are taking a rest from talking about the problems of CAGED, and I'm going to show you something that a good scale system can do easily (and CAGED can't without a lot of thinking)

Click here to see learn how to use the 3-notes-per-string system to write automatic harmonies for lead guitar.

guitar bend in tune

Instantly Improve The Quality Of Your Guitar Lead Playing With This Simple Trick

When it comes to play guitar, it's the small things that make the difference. In fact just a few simple things can take your playing from amateur to professional. And today we are going to focus on a little thing that indeed has such a great impact on your playing.

Watch this video to see why it is important to bend in tune and how you can learn to do it easily.

spice up your chord progressions

A Simple Trick To Spice Up Your Guitar Chord Progression

When I was learning to play I was puzzled how even simple chord progressions written by professionals sounded so good. I kept wondering if there was some secrets or hidden trick that made them sound so good. Turns out, there IS a secret!

Click here to learn the simple secret to make your chord progressions sound better... and then apply immediately to your compositions!

learn the CAGED system

CAGED Sucks Part 5: You Should Not Learn All Systems

Some people say that you have to learn "all guitar systems", "be well-rounded", etc. Curiously they seem to say that to deflect the objection that THEIR system is not working as advertised. I hear this "learn everything" answer most of the time I talk with someone who uses the CAGED system.

Well, "learn everything" sure SOUNDS good... but is it actually? Click here to see why learning to many system is harmful to your progress and why what you need is a single unified guitar scale system

CAGED stretch shapes

CAGED Sucks Part 4: Are "Stretchy" Patterns Really A Problem?

I often receive this question in emails: "If the CAGED scale shapes are so inconsistent as you say, why some people still use them? What reason do they have to be stuck with an inferior system?"

The answer is surprisingly simple: because they want to avoid at all costs a stretch position on the fretboard that takes 5 minutes to learn. Yes seriously.

In our latest video on the problems of the CAGED system we see how avoiding that stretch is the root of all evil on guitar patterns, and we also see how to perform that stretch easily (and yes, my hands are quite small!) Click here to see how CAGED avoids stretching and why this is NOT a good idea at all.

Pedal Point Guitar

Pedal Point Licks And Chord Progressions On Guitar

Pedal points are one of the oldest tricks in music theory, and they apply immediately to guitar music. They have been used in countless pop hits, and all modern musicians need to be familiar with them. Their sound is so peculiar that I can bet you are going to recognize a few songs that use them immediately

Click here to see how to apply pedal points to guitar music and write the next hit.

CAGED natural tuning

CAGED Sucks Part 3: Why 5 Shapes, And What Has The Tuning To Do With It?

We proceed relentlessly with our video series on the problems of the CAGED system: today we examine if the CAGED system is a "natural" system "inherent in the tuning of the guitar" as many of its proponent claim (with these exact words).

Bit of a spoiler alert: we are going to find that there is nothing natural in the CAGED system, and it's going to be really instructive. Click here to answer the question: is CAGED a "natural" scale system? (and if not, what is?)

Learning Guitar Scales

Why And How You Should Learn Guitar Scales

Everybody tells you that you have to learn scales on guitar. But why exactly? Is there any benefit in learning musical scales on your guitar fretboard? And if you decided to learn scales, how would you go about that?

Find out why and how you need to learn guitar scales here!

CAGED chords and arpeggios

CAGED Sucks Part 2: Scale/Arpeggio Integration

In our series highlighting the problem of the (in)famous CAGED system, today we will have a look at what is considered one of the advantages of the CAGED system, but turns out to be actually a weak point: the integration of scales and arpeggio patterns

Click here to learn the difference between visual and mechanical integration, why the CAGED system does not integrates arpeggio with scales, and what you can do about it.

Guitar sixth interval

Melodic Guitar Intervals: Breaking Out Of Scales

Do your soloing sound like you are just playing a scale up and down? Well, you just need to "break it up" a little. In this video we see how to leverage the simple interval of sixth (don't worry, it's explained in the video) and we see a few applications to lead playing. In a few minutes you will sound completely different

Click here to see how use the interval of sixth on guitar and stop sounding like a scale!

CAGED scale system

CAGED Sucks Part 1: Right Hand Inconsistency

In response to some questions from our readers, I am going to analyze in detail the problems of the CAGED system for guitar scales and chords and why I discourage its use. While it is important to know what to study/practice, it's even more important to know what NOT to study/practice lest we waste years going in the wrong direction.

In this first instalment of the series we will see how the inconsistencies of the CAGED system impact your picking hand and force you to learn the same thing needlessly many times over. Click here to see how the CAGED system increases your practice load rather than reducing it (and what can be done about it).

Atonal Metal Licks

Learn How To Use The Octave Pattern

The "Octave Pattern" is often used as a shortcut to learn the notes on the guitar fretboard, but it actually makes things harder, not easier. In this video I explain why the octave pattern is NOT a good idea for learning the fretboard, and how it can still be used for other things like creating interesting licks. Click here to see how to properly use the octave pattern on the guitar fretboard.

Atonal Metal Licks

Learn How To Write "Atonal" Metal Guitar Riffs

Are you a modern Metal guitarist and you want to learn how to write great "atonal" licks? Your guitar heroes seem to be able to play any kind of "wrong" notes and yet sound good? Do you feel you are always playing the "same old" scale? Here I will show you how to use the "wrong" notes and make them sound "right". Click here to see how to create "atonal" Metal guitar licks.

Easy Jazz Guitar Licks

Learn How To Use The "Wrong" Notes And Make Them Sound "Right"

Are you a Blues or Jazz player wondering how your guitar heroes can use all these "wrong" notes in their solos and yet make them sound "right"? Well, wonder no more. Here I will show you how to get started on playing outside the scale and managing to make it sound good... while keeping it easy. Click here to see how to create "outside" Blues and Jazz guitar licks.

Sliding Intervals Guitar Soloing

Create Awesome Guitar Phrases Using Intervals

Intervals: possibly the topic that is considered most boring in music theory. Can we make them immediately useful and FUN? Sure we can! I will show you how to take some simple ideas and make them awesomely interesting using intervals. Watch this video on Sliding Intervals Guitar Soloing so that you too can have fun with intervals.

Guitar Rhythm Transformation

Transform The Rhythm Of Your Guitar Phrases

Do you always seem to play the same 2-3 licks? Do you struggle in applying all the exercises you know to real-life playing situation? The problem that you have and you may not be aware of is that you have not mastered yet the ability to control and manipulate the timing of your guitar phrases. This is actually not difficult to do (IF you know his to do it...) thanks to one of my "secret" exercises that is easy and effective. I made a video for you that explains the exercise and its application. Watch this video on Guitar Rhythm Transformations so that you can learn to manipulate any phrase to your will.

Blues Rhythm Guitar

Applying The Tritone Substitution To Blues Progressions

Sure, you may like Blues, but how many songs based on the 12-bar progression can you listen to one after another without getting bored? Not many. In this video I will show you how to CHANGE the Blues chord progression in an intelligent and flexible way so that you can make it sound fresh every time you play it. And it's so simple to do that you can actually IMPROVISE the changes. Click here to see how to apply the tritone substitution on a Blues progression.

Blues Rhythm Guitar

How To Play A Creative Blues Rhythm (Without Learning 1000 Chord Patterns)

You may know how to solo on a Blues, but do you know how to play an interesting rhythm part that goes beyond power chords and the usual "shuffle" pattern? In this video I show a simple yet really effective system to create your own chords on the fly so that you can play great sounding rhythm parts on a Blues. People will ask you how much time you have spent to learn all these chords patterns... yes it sounds that good! Click here to see how to play a creative guitar rhythm on a Blues.

Notes on guitar Fretboard

How To Learn All The Notes On The Fretboard (Without Getting Crazy)

Should you learn all the notes you your guitar? Of course you should! Every music theory concept will look much easier if you can translate it immediately to your fretboard, and you can do it only if you are really familiar with your notes. But isn't it difficult? No, it is actually quite easy if you know the right exercise to do! Click here to see how to Learn the Notes on the Guitar Fretboard.

Original Guitar Chords

How To Create Useful And Original Guitar Chords

Are you getting tired of the old "cowboy chords"? Sure, they are useful and fun... but after a while everything you write sounds the same, because is made by the same old chords! Here I will show you how to create completely new and original chords that sound great and that you can easily use in your own compositions. No formal theory required, all is done on the fretboard! Click here to see the Non-Standard Chords Video.

Advanced Pentatonic Scales for guitar

How To Create Original Licks With Just 5 Notes

The pentatonic scale has only 5 notes. This makes it simple to use, but creates another problem: how can we play something original and fresh with it? With just 5 notes surely every possible combination has already been played, right? Actually no: in this video I will show you how to create something new EVERY DAY on the pentatonic scale. Click here to see the Creative Pentatonic Video.

5 Blues Guitar Mistakes

5 Errors Most Blues Players Make

Blues guitar: a style where what you DON'T play is as important as what you actually play! Yes, I know you have heard this a thousand times from the old cats that play at your local pub... but they never told you what NOT to play. Don't worry, in this video I am going to lay down in detail what specific things will make your solo sound bad, so you will know exactly what NOT to play. Click here to see the 5 Blues Guitar Mistakes that you want to avoid at all cost!

Advanced Pentatonic Scales for guitar

Advanced Uses For The Simple Pentatonic Scale

Ah, the old faithful pentatonic scale. Good for Blues and a bit of Classic Rock but not much else... or is it? In this video I am going to show you how to multiply the usefulness of the standard pentatonic scale and use it in ways that will make it sound modern and interesting... and all this without having to learn a single pattern! Click here to see the Advanced Pentatonic Video

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