How To Practice MODULATIONS And Have FUN Doing It

How To Practice MODULATIONS And Have FUN Doing It

Tommaso Zillio

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modulation practice guitar

For many guitar players, a massive challenge is playing literally anything other than the first position of the A minor pentatonic.

While that position may feel safe and warm like Linus’ blanket (*), you are hurting your progress by not venturing into any other keys or positions.

What I want to show you is a way of breaking out of the same key with everything you play.

(Also, if you happen to know any of the members of AC/DC, send them this article so maybe they can learn something new as well (**))

What you need is a way of taking what you play into other keys, without being predictable.

So what I have for you today is a cool, fun practice method that you can:

  1. do right away, that
  2. will take you out of the same key with everything you play, so you can
  3. start expanding your knowledge of the fretboard.

And as a side benefit, you will make some cool music with it, and even train your ear. Not bad!

And as a side-side benefit, you also see me in the video below being drilled on changing random keys on the spot. Why not?

(*) Is it still ok to quote the Peanuts? Or have they become offensive in the 5 minutes it took me to write this email?

(**) Or maybe I can learn how to write a multi-platinum album. That’d be good too.

Another challenge that many guitar players have is memorizing the notes on the fretboard. Without something like the black and white keys on a piano, many people find it almost impossible to remember all the notes on their fretboard.

If this sounds like you, check out my system for learning the notes on your fretboard. With just 5 minutes a day, you can memorize your entire fretboard in a couple of months - permanently.

Video Transcription

Hello internet, so nice to see you! When you are learning your instrument, and people tell you that you have to play everything in different keys and they tell you to take it around the fretboard and played in different keys. And but they never explained to you how exactly to do it what to do it. And when they explain it to you, they typically tell you well moving through the circle of fifths.

Now personally, as much as the circle of fifths is fundamental, I find it incredibly boring because you take something and then move it to the circle of fifths, and it’s predictable. And then also eternal, it tends to sound very jazzy, the more you go on. And if you want to sound jazzy, no problem, but I think a circle of fifths is just one of the many possible exercises, okay, so it’s more interesting if you do something different.

And I’m going to show you a way to take something through different keys and make it sound musical. Okay, so for the sake of argument, I’m going to take a very, very simple chord progression, I’m going to play something like that the I mean D minor, I’m going to play a D minor.

And I’m going to play the same D minor, but in first inversion, so with a base of a third. And I’m going to play a G playing a G six, five, so the notes are G, D, and E. Because I like the sound of the six five chord in fourth position, the key and I’m gonna play on a major.

It’s a 145. Essentially, guys, okay, so it’s one, one first version, four and five and back. Simple thing, okay, simple. And I can arrange these in several different ways. So if you want to follow me along, I’m gonna put these on a tablature. And so you can see what I’m playing Okay, six lines. Okay. Right now is these five, six, then 876 575.

And then 765. Simple as that. Okay, I can turn these around, keep the same bass button, invert the top two voices, I can play these that’s the same chord progression in which I invert the top two voices, you can follow me and it’s going to be easy. So in this one, I’m playing 10 and 10. Then I’m going to play Yep, eight. Fun.

And then I’m gonna play fan nine fan and finally. Nothing. Okay, so hi playing essentially one for five in the minor. So simple. If I had to move this to the circle of fifths, I will, I will do play these in the minor. Don’t play these. The next the fifth. down or up depending what server you find. Let’s go down. So played in G minor. And played in C minor.

Then play need F minor, okay. And songs. Okay, they have to move it around. But it’s predictable. It’s boring. And honestly, it’s not really that musical. So here’s what I’m gonna do instead. I’m gonna have my assistant Matt’s gonna have the first let me assure you that they’re not gonna match give me my assistant Matt here is gonna help us today.

So you see if this stuff is done in real time. Give me giving me coming down. Don’t Don’t be don’t be camera shy. Okay, I’m not gonna kick you out. Oh, yeah. No. I have this deck of flashcards. And every card contains a roman numeral. A three, this one has a one. Here you confirm right? If you can confirm on some cards, I have two numbers.

On this card they have a big M for major anything with a six and little m for minor. It indicates a three it means if my first original key was a major key, we’re gonna it’s gonna mean 6. And if the original key was a minor key is gonna mean a third. Okay, so And here’s how we proceed. I mean the minor. In D minor, my chords are D minor. E diminish.

I’m never going to use this. F major G minor, A minor B flat major and C major. D minor, of course is the first F major e is the third, G minor, E is the fourth, and so on and so forth. You guys know your Roman numerals now, and I’m using the, I’m not going with all nonsense of these being the flat six is the sixth. Okay?

It’s just to know where we are. So what I’m gonna do is, I’m gonna play my little chord progression in the minor. So the first chord. Now Matt is gonna shuffle the deck of cards. Okay, and turn it around so that you don’t even see what happens.

Oh, yeah. Okay. Fantastic. And then he’s gone. And then while I play the D minor thing, he is not telling me the next number three, so I’m seeing the minor trick. So the next one is F drive. So I’m gonna go into the F. Next, we’re going to do for for E, G minor. Okay. And then I’m going to go into the G minor

What about six, six, which is before? So left to go this way? Live fine. These two, three major, but the minor B seven would be a seven. Exactly because it wasn’t meant to go down and diminish. Okay. So before we continue, what exactly am I doing?

I’m taking my little chord progression. Okay, one, D minor, D minor, first inversion, G minor, G, G, six, five, sorry, a. So the first chord, the first thing first inversion, the fourth and the fifth, okay, and then playing these lending or D minor at the beginning of the bar, then I’m seeing what keys is the next and the next was again, seven. Good.

And I’m thinking so I’m gonna play the same thing now in C major. But I cannot start from C major neutral position, because I’m already at the beginning of the bar with my demand. So I’m gonna start with the with the C, but in first inversion, so the minor in the play C major chord, in first inversion, and then playing the fourth chord in C major, which is F with a five, six. And then I’m gonna play the fifth chord in C major, which is a G.

And then I’m going on at the beginning of the bar again, which C. Next, Next, we have a four, four. So I’m thinking what is the four in the original key of D minor, the fourth key of D minor is G minor. But I cannot play a G minor in fairly in root position, because I’m already at the beginning of the bar and that space in time it’s occupied. So I’m gonna play the G minor in first inversion. Okay, gonna be these. So I was here and I go here, I could have gone in, I could have done this in many different ways I could have played this way.

Sorry. Okay, but so that’s the G minor in first inversion. And I’m going to play the fourth chord in G minor, which is C, six, five, and I’m gonna play the fifth chord in G minor, which is D major, and we’re gonna land on a G minor, minor, then yeah, I’m gonna give you the next chord five, five, which is a minor, again, the original key of the minor. So I’m gonna think I’m gonna play the root position because I don’t have the space already occupied.

I’m gonna play the A minor in first inversion, okay? Which is this. And since it connects, it always connects, okay? And then I’m going to keep going the same way. Okay, now, when you’re gonna do these, or if you are very familiar with your keys, etc, you’re gonna notice that every time there is either a note in common or some notes close by, or there’s a pretty obvious connection between the previous chord and the next one in first version, okay?

But whatever your chord progression is going to happen anyway because all those keys are related, okay? D minor as one flat, just like f. G minor and B flat have two flats. A minor and C have no flats or sharps. So you see we are always either one sharp or one flat away from the main key. All those chords are related. All those keys are related.

It doesn’t matter in what order we pick them up. There’s always going to be a connection. Your job He’s still find that connection in real time and exploit it. Okay, that’s your job, your job. I’m doing this with a chord progression. Why? Because it’s fun. And I love chord progression. And honestly, I love the sound of this thing and going through all those different keys, okay? And it just, it just flows really well.

And there’s something that I borrowed musicians were doing all the time getting this semi random sequence of keys, and then try to go through them in the most fluid possible way. But you can do this with anything, you can take a little melody, okay, you can take your little melody in the minor.

Okay, or you can take the pentatonic and then get an another one, following this idea and and play the same melody, but in a different pentatonic, possibly in the same position. Or you can do this with anything in music. This is a musical way to move and study things through different keys.

And it’s musical because since those all those keys are connected, you are doing something that actually happens in real music, not something abstract, like, go through the whole circle of fifths throughout all the 12 keys, which practically never happens in any song unless you write a specific song for that specific effect, which generally sucks. Not good. It’s not good. It’s not going to match confirms.

Okay, so that’s the idea. And again, you just need to get some flashcards, decide on a little chord progression, and you can totally get this chord progression. I’m going to move around so you guys can see and copied, okay, fantastic. Okay, and just start having fun with your guitar. I’m sure you guys are gonna have some questions about this. So write it down in the comments. I’m gonna be around here for the next hour or so after republished this video to answer your questions.

Now, if you want to do these in real time, an absolute thing you need to do is to know all the notes on your guitar fretboard, it looks impossible at first, it looks like a lot of memorization looks like a lot of legwork, but in reality, it is quite easy. There is a way to learn all the notes on your fretboard in five minutes a day, nothing five minutes total in five minutes a day but in quite a short amount of time.

And it becomes permanent and super fast. I wrote an ebook and made videos about all that you can have all the package for free. If you get it on the link on the top right are you can find the link in the description of the video. Just go there. And I’m going to send these to you for free completely free the whole matter the whole system, definitely way of learning the notes on the guitar. It works and honestly it’s free. Whether you just go and get it. This is the Tommaso Zillio and Matt of, and until next time, enjoy.

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