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!

muting guitar strings

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

NEW!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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