Marc Schonbrun

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Imporkllli~ sound byte" ofinformcrl1ion



SoI'lItions 10 common problems



Rock {'< Blues Guitar Book

Dear Reader:

A great deal of thought went into t.he best way to present, the material in this book. In guitar education. emphasis has been placed on licks and learning verbatim Jines. While this may be important, I feel that as a student', the best 'teachers are your favorite players. And while this book could be a collect,ion of licks and phrases; I couldn't poss.lbly do i.t any better than the guitar masters who have come before. With that in mind, th~s book is set up to show you what you need to know to play and be a successful student, norjust to play licks. This book is about showing you the typical thi.ngs that come up in guitar playing: chords, scales, and everything elsie under the sun. Contained withi.f! these pages. are many lifetimes of information. and if you study it carefuliy and apply it to rea'. muslcal situations, you will have great success asa player. The guitar is, a complex and personal lnstrumentand every player wHI do it differently~ t have left much of the information up to you the reader so that you can make: your own conclusions about music, Study; think" and enjoy.

,.,_, II _. I


(JlrfY," 2


Copyr.igh!; -©2003,. Ada~s, Media Corpora~~o!'l-

AU rjg~)ts reserved. This book, or parts. therso], may not be reproduced in <Illy' form wilholJlt permission [rOom the publisher; escepnons

are made ror brie! excerpts used in published reviews.

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Printed in the Ulliled Sl,al.e~ .of A.lIleIic~.


lIbn!)"y of 'Ceng:res:s: Data Schonbrufl, Marc.

The' e,veryth:ing rock &blue.~ gn1~lar book J Mar-c Schonbnm,

p, em. (An E.'el'Ylhing series book)

~SBN l·50062-8:83-4

L Gruj~~.'r-Methods-Selr·in$tl'1!l.t'tiorl. 2,. Gll~tM-Melh{)ds (Blues) 3. Guitar-Melhoc..1ls CRock) 1. Title" II. Title: Everything r,odr and blues guilar book III. Series: Everything series.

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Acknowledgments I 0:

RecOl'dillg I b:

Top Ten Things Tou'll Learn irom This Book. I x In.troduction I ~i

Bow to' Use This Book aRd C'O f xiii

S[&ndard NotEllion and Tab]am:re xiv·' Neck Diagrams .mv • Chord Boxes xv' • Audio· Examples xvi! • GuiuarTenninology xvi

Bock and Blues IOI. I .1

The Origins of the Bliues.2 • Blues StYles. Artists, and E!vol,utfon 3 • The: Guiti;!r's. Role 3 ~ The Birth orBod: 4 ~ Rock ElvO:lution 4 • Lead Guitar S

R.oek an_d Bluet; Styles I 7

Open-Position Chords 8 .~ Barre Chords 10 .. Reading CI1O'rd Cbans 12 • Standard Sheet MW1:c 14 • Power' Cho.rds 14 ~ the B]ues U)' Blues Theory.19

The Pentaton.ic Scale 1 25

The Most Common Scaie .26 • Learning to, Play me Scale 21 • Major and Minot" Pemato:nicSca]es 3[ ~ B~uesNonru 33 • RoCkNomls .34 .,. \b~cil'lg 35 ., Being Musica13S

IIIBeetiotl!s and Phraslng I 37

WhylfsImponam 38 ··Coming.AJiveWi:thSl1des 38 • The Mechani:cs ota Bend 41 • Standard. Hal:f·S'~ep Bends 42 ~ Whole-Step Bends 43 •. BendJGndly 44 • Tuning a. Bsnd 44 • Advanced Bends 46 • Non-Bending Inflections; 48

Beyond the' Pentatonic: Seale I S,I

More Than MeelS the E~S4 ~ W:;,ive Shapes of Pemawruc 55 • Adding 10 the Scale [fI.{), • The Blues Scale 6ii ~ Second He1lping [(J2 • ,Mother Hexatonic Sca]e 6.3 .. The Sept~~onk Scale 65

Malor and Minar Seales I 67

A. Major Shifl: 68 • Mov,eabh~ Sc-afue Shapes 71 • Making Mus.iJc TWi~h rh<e Major Scale 73 .. The Minor Scale 75 • Puttingthe Minor Scale to Use 76 ,·Performance-Ready Scales '78

Music Theery I 83

AJl Jnrroduction to Theory 84 '. lntervals Big and Sman 8S .. Construcdng the Major Scale 88 '.' Minor Theory 91 • UsIng Theory as You Play 93

C:hDrds ilnd Chord ProgressiOlls I 95

What Is a Chord? 96 • Basic Chord Theory '99 • Chord Progressions 100 .. Chord Families and TaU Chords 102 • Common Chord Vaidngs 104 •

The Blues Chords 109

Arpe.ggiosl :III

The Theory of Arpewos 1I.12 ~ Filnge:rings for Ma,jior Arpeggios ::1 14 • Pingslings fur Minor Arpeggios 1 j['6, - Fingerings for Diminished Arpeggios litIS • .Appt~ing Arpegglos ]20 ;, Jupeggj.os 111 the Blues l?rog,ress~onI23


.Modes Defined :t~lJ, • The Mode You Already Know;...,_Ionian l2b • Tl1e SeoondMode-Dorian m:26 ·TheTh.lir-dMooe--Phli}:gjan 128, ~ TheFoorth Mode--Lydlan 129' • The FifthMode-MixolYdiam. 1301 • TheSiXilhModeA.eo!~ali1 132 • The:Seve:J1J.dJi Mod.e-locm']'OTIlo 132 • Appl,yiilgModesto Y:m.llli .Playiing 134


Technique, I 131,'

Why Technique Ma,ners 138 '. TheBody'sRo1e 138 .. The Fingers' Eiiort 140 .. The Art of PLaying 1.41 ~ BuildingGoodlechnlque 143 • Exercises to Improve Techni,que 144

Extended Techniques: Tapping and Sweeping I 1.47 Stretching me Boundaties 148, ~ tap Mechainics 148 • Thpping Scales 151 .. TappingOm«ls 152" Arpeggio,Tapping l.S3 "TheMechanicsofSweepPi,cidng 1.54 • Sweep-Picldng in Pre,once lI.S'S: ~ ReClI, Sweeping 157

Guitar Tricks I 161

Pick a Spot 162 .. Controlling Sounds on an Etectiic Guitar 162 .' AddOm, 164 • Physics 101 and Hamral Harmomcs 167 ~ Slides 169

Putting It AU Together: Blues I ,1.73

Blues Solo Riffs in A 174 ~, Blues Solo Riilfsin E 176," BluesRhythm andChord Sets 179 • Blues Thma:rounds: and Ending Liines 181 • Conclusions, 184

PUtting It' All Together:: Rock and Beyond I 185

Endless Options 186 .. Pentatornc Riffs ,and Solo Ideas 186 '. Major and Minor Scale Ideas l89' .. The Modes 190 • Arpeggios 193 • Tapping 193 " CombinatIorliS licks 194 '. Conclusions 19']'

PlayiQG) "t'" Ear I 1.99

Perfect Pftchvs. Relati,ve Pitch 260 • Beginning Your Ear Training 200 • Hearing PI)wer Chords lCH • Hearing :Majo:r and Minor Chords 202 • Longer Mel,adies .202· Recogn1zing Scales 262 • Advanced Ear Training 203 • 1"rsrl!Scribing 209 ~ Computer He~.p 2:W


How t8 Practice .I :11:1

The Mear:lin:gof"Pl'actice~ 2:i!.2 • The Basics 2M • Prfllct~cing Scales 214 ~ Practlcmg /l.rpeggios 216 .. Practicing 216 • Pracdclng Technique 217 ~ ?racticingChords 219

Soaad and Gear I 221

Electric Gui.ta~s 222 • Acoustic Guitars 225 ~ .AmpiUiers 225 '. Distortion 229 • Dela_y; Chorus, R§verb, and Flange 230 ~ The Wah 23l1l

Techno,logy { :Q3

Early Synlhesiz.ers 234 • MIDI 234 .. Sequence,rs239 • Notation 240 • Home Recom]ng 241 .. Other Uses for the Home Computer 242

The Next Steps I Z4:5

Finish Line 246 ~ Building Bloc:ks ,247 .. Approach [he Guitar Another Way 248 • Get Good lnstructien .24/9 .. Keep Learning .2,50 • SO'l1g\vriting 2.52

Appen.dix A· Resources I ZS4

A,ppendb: B .. Recommended AlIbums J 255 .App-end:ix 'C ~ Music Reading Tutorial I 257

Index: I Ul

Thanks to' Mom, Dad, David, Bm .Dr, Rubio. Greg UlZig, Joe Mooney; Dr. Steinberg" Bret Zvacek. and Mike Riley for recordlng help ..

Extra thanks to my wife, Karla. for her tremendous love and support,

Tihe CD in this book was recorded st Herkimer Sound, in New York. usiing an Apple Macintosh G4 running DigiJiesign Pro Tools. A]I sound was direct to disk u.sing a Parker Fly De~uxe and ,a '72 Fender 'J'e~.ecatSrer Thinl]ne through aUne6 POD Pro .. All gJJita:rs srrungwith D' Addari,Q strings .. AlII. tracl;s played. live by Marc Schonorun,

Top Tell Tbiags Yall'll £Slim fr01ll This .. II

1. The, pentatonic seale=the five notes you need toknow ["0 p]ay rod< andblues.

:z. Inflectl;on and phFas:ing:--the little slides and bendstbardressup a note and give you that unique, SJlgna.ture sound.

).. Malor and minor scales-tile basic voca.bu]ary of guitar.

4. E!asicmus]c theory-a quick. and easY'introducti.on to the ~Ianguage~ of music,

S·o CfI.ords and chor-d progressiens-cunderstand which notes sound good together and why.

6. Impressive, flourishes like ta.pping and swee,p~pic.king no help you push the envelope of guitar playing.

'7. Malting the moot ofsl]des andcapos 1:0 give you the unlque round yoo.'re lookillgfor.

10 PiayingIt byear-trainingyourea.r to rec-ogn]Z€'i and play the notes in your head or on the radfo.

9. 1tH)Is of the trade~from gu[tars and amps, to eff:ects and pickups. know what you need and how to get it cheap ..

:10. Practice makes perfect-send a great guitar player. Learn how to makethe most ofyo:lI.l.t practice nme,

11b-----------~---------- . .a.------~--~~--------~


.. WELCOME to The Everyfhingf'J Rock & Blues Guitar Book! "'{crill are embarking on quite a [cumey II) learn about two exciUng genres, so p]ugin and hold on" Guitar play]:ng is a vast and open-ended tople. The goal. here is to equip students with lhe materiel requited 10 advance toward their full potential"

There is no Single "right" way to p]ay gulter. ]n, it's the diversity of performers that keeps such a wide audlence interested, This book wm .s how you allthe i rnportant techniques andconcepts that make rock and blues guitar what they are,

This book is designed tor players who have been playing for a l.itUe while. Toutiliz€ this book effecthr.ely;, you shouldknow your bask open-positlon chords and moveable barre chords at a minimum, Advanced players wiU fi nd plenty of material to Iileep their attention. The chapters in this book are organized in a logical order, but ,Y01lJ should feel free to skip around. Whether you've p]ayed for t.\venty years. or t'vv;enty minutes, there is sometninQ here for you,

This book covers aU aspects o! guitar trom the most bask blues ti.fl to ,extroYagant and campl,ex two-handed tapping. At Urst, new concepts andsounds may seem foreign, eV~r! unsettltng.ln time, these will become as familiaras your favorite power chord. You'll be able to s e,e your own progress by revisiting old material. Mel!od~es that are a challenge when you begin will seem easy alter ,n few monfhsof practice using this book as a guide,

A large portion Oof this book. focuses 'all lead playing, ln rock and blues" lead is. a vital and important concept In its.

relatively short life" lead guitar playing has Found a. permanent place in these styles of music. This book presents you with a lcglcal and organized way to learn lead guitta.r and apply the concepts and licks to youI' music.

Throughoutthls book, musical examples help to illustrate ideas thai are discussed in the chapters. All the examples use standard notation and tablature, lf you can't read music yet, don't worry., That's covered here 1000.

By pradcing." the musical e-Xamples, ideas, and concepts expressedin the text wlll become dear, The accoropanying audio CD will bring the examples fromthe written page into richIMngexarnp~es"

The focus of th is book is a,ppl ication, not theory. Each chapter consists of new material followed by sxtensive discussion on where to use the new ideas and concepts. You'll be able to .hone your skills and find your own sound with the skills youlearn from this book, let's get

startedl <t) -

How to Use This B,ookandCD

o get the :most out of this book, we should talk. about some of the notation and terms that will be used throughout this text. Some of it you have seen before; some of it may be new to you.


i· I. I

,Standard Notation and Tablature

For ew::ry example that uses music, there will he a double staff showing a standard rivt. ... -line music stalf with a six-line tab staff below it The tablature (or tab) staff won'tcontain rhythms. because the music staff conralns that intormation. The tab just indlcatss <on which fret (O~hrougJ~. :24) to p~ay the notes.

Here's an example of what you will see in this book. Every example that uses music will be written this way:

FIGU:Iiit:11 Notation and ta b example

..... ~ .' 'f"- •
, 1
1 ,
, n ,
, 'J :il:* I!I' -- ... .,. =iI:
... I n I
A e- I
b, " '1 I - ~ c
... - .. Neck Diagrams

Neck diagrams are handy "\'~~@111 taH-dng about scales. Instead of a written scale in music notation, the ned. diagrarn gives youa genera] roedmap of which notes can be played for a particular scale, Allor the neck diagrams used in this book an:~ lor scale shapes. An example or a lypk:al. neck diagram Js on the i'a,etng page.

This diagram is an overhead view of a guilar neck. U you ]ay the guiUlJ 011 your lap (stringsup) you're looking at the same picture, The lowest string is closest to your body and the highest string is farthest. awff.y,. Each finger is nembered one throughJour ("one~is ),OUJf index finger), so yO!J) can see what fi ngerto use. Frets are sometimes numbered above th s diagrams. or the correct fret to play may be indicated by fl. dot 011 th€l

I • I .' II
-'1_ • "ii' A' I '. • I I •
_1L ... ... • I •
I ,;.. A I I
1\ .-
j Frets

5/ 7




neck diagram, The root ·of each seal€! (that is, the key name of each scale, such as key or A, E, and S'D on] wB] aJways have a drch~ around the finger number. This type of notation is great lor scales because you want: to' use the whole scale and not get caught upin musical phrasillgs, also known as licks. By looking at the ned this way, you can learn which notesto play and yourcreattivity will give you the order.

Chord Boxes

Chord boxes are faddy standard, but let's look .at all. example. Erlich of the chord boxes 'will show you a four- Of five-fretarea .of Ill.€! neck. As you call see from the Fo.ll.owing;ram., the lowest string is on the I.e:ft and the highest string is on the right. Place your fingers as shown in the diagram on the eppropriate pitches. Un]e$s. you see a small. num ber beside the chord. d iagram, fhese chords are in the first open position ("open position" refers to. chords in the first three frets that invofve open strings). U you see a number beside the diagram, it means that the chord shape starts at that fret

,i' '.". :i jU i i "'§lM ;,nYiW. ~i "I ,., 111('" :I:I.IC

0< 0 o

I , I I
~ I
I An "X" above a str]ng means don't play th,at string. A "0" abovea str~.I1!g means to pJay that strirlg open. Paycarefu.i atte;!"'l!lion to the Xs and Os when playing the chord shapes"

E Major

As ohenas possible, theexamples are p]ayed on the Cl!c>companyi ngaudio CD thatis mcluded w~.lhth~s book The examples are' piayed at a. moderate speed SIO you can hear the

r.~.A:(i"I J ldea and also practieealcng with H. ln thls book, the CD

symbol wHh atrack number underneath it corresponds to tracks on the CD. The first track is an introduction andtunlng notes so you" can play along with the eD, the CD is a g,re:at tool Iha~ will help you unlock the more dmku~t examples and get them just rlght

Guitar' TermiDology

Let'scurb any confusion before it startsl The ~.OWe5t Siring on the guitar is the low E sb:th s~rln.iB. ]t isthe string closest to your body .. irs the lowest stdng because it sounds the lo'wes~, not because of thegeographical ~OCa:UOIl en the instrum.ent 'The lowest s~ringis ealledthe si.1dh stri.n~,

and the strings are namedfrom six to one, s:~opping atthe high E siring" which :~s the~~:dnnest sitring, closest to the floor. (£:I



Rock and Blues 101

How did we get here? What are the roots of rock and blues music and how did they playoff of each other? Here is a brief history of the two styles and how guitar has become a permanent fixture in modernmusic, especially lead guitar.

The Origins 01 the Blues


The blues hasits roots in .Attica. Many or the rhythms used in lh,€! blues, especially the swing I'hythms, are ancient tribal rhythms. The rhythmic influence was passed on through Afrlcan-Arnericans who-se ancestors had leIt their home ]va Africa, either by' their own will OT, more comrnonly as, slaves. WhU@ AJrictlin,Americcms worked as siaves, many sang work songs" These songs told of their pain and pUght as. oppressed slaves. The melodies or these 'iNO,rk songs were based on the pentetonic (five tones)! blues scale" rather than the seven-tone major scale that "'!estern classical music is based on" Wh~n slavery was ended, many Atrlcan-Amesicaos S'w.yed in the South whi Ie others headed nort h. As a result, the blues is usually divided into two main categories: southern and northern blues ... The evolution of the slave songs spilled into the church and gospel. music. Dur~ng church services ln the South, gospel musk played a. ma~or role. During the songs, one or more soloists v ... ·'Ollld improvise flourishes based on the pre·ex~sHng melody 0] spiritual and hymn songs. This is where improvisation was born, Many singers based their melodies solely on the pentatonic scale- Many of the spirjtual songs were based on repeating: chord progressions of simple chords ..

The church was not the only place that ga~r.e birth to blues musk. In the late t800s, street vendors would sometimest'call" their products out by singing about them. Often, the melody was based on the pentatonic scale. On some 01 the historic recordings of streetvendors, you can p.lay the twelve-bar blues progressions behind the "calls' and it fits together, During those year.s,~he combination of pentatonic melodies and basic chord progressions were starting to fuse into what would become known as the blues,

fora mOIF'1il detailed look at the history of the guitar and its plaryer.s, The Everything@Gultar,Book, by Jack Wilkins and Peter Rubie, is a wonderful refer,ene'l; for hist,ory and beginnilng to play in ge'l1Ieral. Check iit out .

Blues Styles, Artists, and Evolulion



There ls no precise moment when the blues started, and dHJerenl reg~cms developed t~.eir own blues styles over tlme, Alt hough blues styles dUf'e:reci from region to reguon., one th~.!lg: was the sameIn each val'J.aticm Or~~le bluescthe scales and chords were similar; As blues progressed, ~t was passed down .ina~ aural tradition from p~aye:r to player (there was no "music c.ol'lsl€!nratory" rortthe blues), Many players simply~eamed i~ from OU'l@f pl~yers" Each ~tyi e of bl ues rell ed heav't~y on singers, and some of Ihe ea.r.liest recorded blues perlorrnenceswere of singers acccmpenisd oy g),J~taT, ban]o, or piano.

Th~abiHty totrevel almost ln the country by raUway and the advsnt of the aotemoblte industry madeit easier than ever for people 10 mOVie between regions, hearing new sounds and bi'lngit1lg~heir own styh!ls with them. Thetechnolcgy that made recordings. Dossib~e gave blues the opportMnity to reach €VeJy corner of America

Ther~ are too m~ny important blues p.llay~r:s to mention them alii, but some worth outare Bllind Lemol1 J1efferson, HowHn' Wollf,. Ro,ber1t Johnson, Lonnie Johinson,and 8.8.,. Knng.,.

The 'Guitar's. Bole

The role of the guHar in early blues music was to accompany singers.

A guitar was a cheap and readily avaHab~e a~ternat[rve to a piano ... Some a,r the earnest iIDbert Johnsen recordings r~alured 501'0 volce w~th guItar accompaniment; For I i.V'e perlormances, the pi.ano was the prelerred accompanhnent jnstrumenf because ]t was able to project much louder

th an the acoustic guitar. The SO~D lnstrurnents ofthe blues w~re h,<, voice, saxophone, a.nd, occasio~'lJa.n.y~ tru.mpe~; and clarinet. Because 01 the volume problems. mhersmin the acoustic gu~tar, It [level" caught on as a s~mng soloinsnument, But the popl!.II!a!.ttty of gu~tar WZiiS immense and ClOOUSUC jams were frequent in Ule churche~ and halls of the Deep South.


The lnventlonot the electric guHar changed the role of guita.r~oreve:r" Finally, the gui~aT was capab~e (If canyi~~g a band as an accompanist and a suitabiy loud soloist, The blues now had a soloinstrumeut and rhythm player allln one,flr!id the po,pll~aIity 0] the electric gultarand electric blues exploded. The electrlc guitar also ga'll'e birth 10 rock and mil.

The 'Birth 01 Rock

Ro'cka~,d roll started $~.mply as an offshoot of blues, Eady rockand roll was nothing more than amp~m~d blues progressions with a harder edge. But the mfluence from blues was undeniable: many of the same dlOUI progressions and SO]1g fo:rms were used. FOf the soloist.jhe scale of choice was sHU the pentatonic scale, As rock and roll progress/eo .in the 19.508, the glliti~r' 5 p~,a.ce; asa. lead instrument was starling to sol.idify ..

Unti~ the introdluction, of the e~ectriic: gu~tar, tine saxophone had been the instrument of d~loice for :so~oing because of its loud and powerful tone, BUlt 1tthe elect.ric. guitar lbegililll to ;repl.ClclE! the sax. es th e ~eadliinsl;lwment iii the 1950s alrnd1960s ..

The birth of rod and roll spelled the end lor the saxophoD1l.€ in rock music. The sax would find favor in R&BOin d jazz, With each passi ng year, rock developed Its OW11 ldentity and started 1.0 sound less and less like the blues ..

Rock Evolution

Rock musk grew from ~h@ blues, but quickly evolved in every direetion, The 1950$ gaveijS the music cd Elvis Pl"es~ey and Buddy HoHy;l[l the 19(30s, the British lrwasion brought us The Beatlesan d the Ron~ng Stones who both helped to shape the sound of rock and legm,mize rock as

"rea]" music,. based Oil blues roots but also borrowing from the Europeanclassical tr.acliriol1 .. Tl18 19Ei<Os saw explosive c.hange and the entrance of

the most Important gu~taris~ ln thehisrory 'of rock and roll: Jimii-lend.rix.

H endrlx tn one r'eu swoop, changed the gllitar and rock musk forever. His style was largely based on blues, taut with a harder edge. H~ was 'experimental and most people consider him the Father 0:1 distortion and effects. Hendrix changed the tone of the instrument from son and Mangy to loud andexplosive. TI'l€! 197Qs were a rough era-guitar music book a backseat to disco, Disco was king, but that didn't stop innovative bands like t.I.1Je Eagles, the Who, and Pink Floyd from producing: breakthrough albums t.hat pushed the envelope.

The 1980s saw important changes in the technique used to play the instrument. Virtuosos such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and Joe Satrlan i pushed the instrumentte places it had never been before. The decade of the 1981):5 was also the age of the guitar solo. In no previous time had techniqueand guitar soloing been SOl important.

Tile 1990s saw the death of "hair-metal." and the birth oif grunge.

Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden pioneered the "Seenle' sound, which feat:m-ed sml~riH['Ig: over wir[uoslfiy. The ]91905 were a subdued time for gui.~Jir and guitar pJayj[lg-a reaction 10 all the excess of the 19805. And rock music continues to evolve today.

Teaching Lead Guitar

There needs to be a separation of what you can and can't teach in

a book like this, The blues is based on a standard repeatlng chord progression and because of ~tl]s,,,,,re can talk about the rhythms and chords of the blues. However, rock music has no standards. Eaciladia;l doss something unique, so trying to q lt8JnUf'y H is d iff.iculL Asa result, many pl~yer.s learn to p~ ay rod guitar by ~.€!,arn i ng a multitude of songs and being creative, Still, there's one aspect thai you can teach and discuss, and that's lead guitar.

Lead guitar is am important part of playing guitar, especially in rock and blues music, but irs a huge and mysterious topic to some. Many players have little or no problem pi chordsand rhythm, gllitar, but when it comes to playing lead or playing solos, many are puzzled about what to do. FbrtllJnately~ the elements of lead gu~~ar can be teught in an

orgenized wa'j~ Unlike chords. and songwri.ting, which can be put together in an i.I1Hn it€! iJ:aJdety" the elements that make up leads and lead p~ayi ng (scales, arpeggios, mcdes) are self contalned and important to discuss .. This book, wbils lt win spend time on chords and chord progressions, will spend a great dea:1 ot time talking about the elementsihat maks lead what it is, Ouiter, in rock and blues, functions largely as at lead instrument, and for many playing a, better lead gu:itarremains a perplexing mystery: We will set out here, chapter by chapter, to show you how music is putt together and how it can be app]iecl to lead. So tum to the nexl page andwe can start tall{hlgabout the; basics, (£)


Chapter a

Rock,and Blues Styles

G~it~r p~~ye,rshave lon.g had afa~cinanon with the blues. It s hard to find a

rock player who isn't influenced by it:. Blues music is based on repeating patterns of chords that have: remained unchanged smcethe birth of the blues. Rock music is built on that: foundation and has added traitsall its own.

Open·Position Chords

There are several ttl i ngs you need to k DiI.ClW and understand to su.c:cessfllily pi a)' rock <lin d b lues sly lGi. For many players, chord- and rhytlun-playing is a good place to begin, Most students begin with a few open-position chords and move toward lead~p]ayit1g as they get more comfortable. Since: rhythm-playing is a great place to begin, let's discuss the open-pcsition chords in detail.

Open-position chords are chords that use the first tour frets of tn e guitar in their formations. The term "open" 1S used because the chordis par[ly composed of op en S'tdng:s, meaning strings that your ting'ers don't press. FIIGUIRE 2-,iI shows you the most common epen-positinn chords played in rock and bl ues music.

FIGURE, ,2-1 Impori~nt cpen-position chords


o 0


I I c

x x 0

I I t
I Dm

x (I 0 0


I I I A7




0< 0

o o o

t I
I I G7

-: ~ I 1
I I ' I
I 1 Em

-- .
I I I -~ -I
I I I I ~
- D7

x x




x 0


,I I
~ I

o (I 0 0

I E7

I I I I I Am

'To re,ally say that you know these chords, you have to be able to move from chord tochord with ease. 'You must memerize them because theyare used ira v~.rhjan,y@wi!ry song you come across. Certain c.h:ord shifts can be very dlfficult to hit at first M any students find. the F chord a real problem-at's a tough chord-but the importance of chord-playing can't be cverleoked, UnHI. you C,8JrlI p~ay the' chords to your favorite song, you 'II probably wantto shy away from the so los for now. Rhyllun-playinQ makes up about 95 percent of a. guitar player's role: the other 5 percent

is spent on so los, Spend. as much lime' as you need enthe chords to give yoursell a good grounding.

'The open-position chords are very common in rod and blues rhythm playing" There's a simple reason lornhis: open-posltion chords are 'easier to pl,ay .. Open strings are like "free fingers" and allow us to pl.ay notes 'Without fingering them .. It: calf! be strenuous 10 hold down all your fingers








i' 17







z'- 7


" Ii'




;/' 17




I: z

I .7 I





-' 2'



II 17


111 f:::b-r


II §#/





at once, and open strlngs give your fingers a break. Open-position chords tend to have five or .sJN: notes in them and have ,QJ. larger moge th an other chords found on Ihe guitar, which are normally but not ,€Xc:lusiv~Iy.. limited to four notes-one per finger.

] n IFI.GURE 2-2 are some 'examples of very common open-position chord progressions )'OiU may fmd :i n your favorite songs. l'ry to shHt smoothly and evenly between the chords while YOIJ play.

The limiting factor of open-posltlon chords llesln the open strings themselves . Only chords that contain the open strings are possible, What .if you want to playa B nail chord? A "8 nat" chord doesn't have a.ny open position: because the open s~ri[lgs don't work 'with thstchord (more on this in Chapter 8), The same is true of many other chords, so you can see the open POS.itiOIl won't help you gain hill use of the guitar's chordal ability;. The gtlitaris capable of playing wonderful and beauti.hJll sounding chords; but YOll willneed to leern more thanrbe open-position chords to ,get thefull range of possibilities.

There aren't that marry different chords. Couple this with the popllIlarity of the guitar, an d you can IiJ nderstand why so many songs sound sll11i]ar: Many songs are based on 'ex8i.ct.~y the same chords, justin a diUerent order, The guitar's open positlonis I:imiled; ]1 takes a good player to get to the next step.

B .... eCbords

ln order to play all the possible chords on the guitar, you must learn the concept of moveable chords. A moveable chord hasa finger pattern than can be moved around the g.1J]tarwithou~ a~le'rin:g the shape oJ the chord, To aehievethis, the guitar uses bane chords. The concept of a barre is very simple; one finger lies fiat across the guitar neck. and plays multiple notes. Look at FiIGURili 2-3; to see what a G·Major barre chord looks like.

AU of the notes thatare p]ayed on the third fret are played. with the r"irst (index) f nger, The f:inger lays nOll across all the strings and clamps them down ..... tl1isis what barre chords all do .. Barre chords are dimcult and require a lot. of practice. It's normal to. have trouble with them at f.irsr~keep practicingand you will get them, Barre chords. enable you to

FIGURE 2-3 IGJ-lMaJor barre. ehord

FIGURE 2-4 Moveab~e barn! 5,li1apGS

playa five- or six-note chord with only four fingers, Without barre chords, guitar chords would be llmjted to O'nly 101..11" notes-one per linger.

The beauty of barre chords is that they're moveable, meaning you carl! use the same shape as in IFHiUIREl 2-3 and move ]1 to anotber fret staying on the same string and change the nam€! of the chord-wlthoutchangiog the This simplifies chords for guitax p.lay,ers. Instead oif J~aving to' learn a. dUJe:rent shape jor each 'chord. as

G Maj in the open position" you can maintain the basic shapes and j ust move them to different frets,

As a rock and blues gu.itar player, the most common chords you deal with are majorchords and minor chords, If you, can play any malor and minor chord on the gl..litar,tbere will be,e you can't pl,ay as a rhythm player. There' are lour different barre chord shapes to learn. on the g~l!I.itar to accomplish th is task, 'There are two maj or barre chord forms, one on. the sixth string, one 0]1. the fifth; and two minor barre chord forms, also on ths sixth and fifth slidl1g.s. The two forms result because the roots are placed on the sixth and fifth strings, Each string; yields lts own shape. FIIGilllEliE.3-4 is an example of the four dUleren~ barre chord shapes broken do-wn by string.


1,"-1 I ......
(D 1
1 .:,' ~, I I ..
( D' I
I t

c D I I
1 I
t , ' I
(D I I
, JA Major




To be able to move a chord" you have to know how chords get their names. All chords an: named from Ihe lowest note in the chord. Wi'll) the: moveable chord forms in FIGURE 2-4, the' lowest note falls on either the sixth string or the fiUh, string. To move the chords, all you have to know is the name of the notes on the ]ow strl ngs, Then you can move the barrechord shapes to the appropriate location and pl,ay ,any chord

TRAcr; /1
G Em C D
" , ..... , ~. ..,. ,J.I"ft-'
I V ~ ~ -e-- ''_'
T -~ :::
c ; ~
... you want, IFIGURE 2·5 isa chart to help you n~d the chord names for mo,veab~e barre shapes.

Nowthst you h~M~ the concept dowr!!,~e~'s apply this loa piece of music FIIGIU,RE Hi uses bane chords ina standard rock chord progression,

Th isexample uses the same barre chord shap es from FliGUiRE 2·4 and appl ies them to some diUerent chords, For a barre ch ord to wm,lir;, you haveto apply even pressureaeross the gu~lar neck, Otherwise, some stri!1igs w]H sound muted.

Reading: Chord Charts

Once you've mastered the open-pcsltlen chords and the moveable bane chords, you're readyto play almost ;1mythhlg that comes YOitU way,. UnHke

music fo.r t.he piano." ~uHar sheet muslc typically doesn't use stEllmda~d notailoa fOir :its: chord p~aying. The ability to. read Sil:am:!:ard no~allio:n is exitreme~.y important to bei ng a good, wei I rounded musician, As a g1J.] weadi:rog ebomehartstsa more oO:l1rnimo:n part of the job .. 'YlP3cal'ly a chord d.lafl! consists of I!.WO elements: chord name and duraUOn. Mast chord cherts wo,n:l si':low Y01iJexactly bow to play Ule choroJs;YO:J[J're ex~ted to be able In p!!ay basic. m'lajor and minor chords, .9ol].1e charts wUl show a small chord bON 0 ilte~he! onesm FtGURE .. 2.'-2) to aid you i.11:I p]ayi [lIg the eerrect chord VQ3cill1g ..

Vo~:ciing refiers to the way a chord ls p~a~~d. A si.mple 'C-:Malim chord can be p]aye,d many differemt l!I'Iffiyso:n the Q:!lJ i~a]"; Elacll ls a([ir:Fe~€:I'It ooffic:i:n;1l. For ,ex:amp~e an open C:Majo:r chordendan 8th rnl!~ barre chord are considered two aiH~reflt vokings of thesame chord .. U ®i. guitar lJ~ayer is supposed to use a~ UllUIJSUarn chord vel/idng in p.laa! o~ a open chord, fhe chord charts wm spedfy ,exa.ctly how to pl.a:y that chord,

Thill dUlr,).~i:o,n o~ the chQl"dwm be ~1P're&Sed ilill s]ash n,QtaJl]o~rwe s~ash ,~qlU;arus one shik~ of' a chord \!IlUh yo,ur pio'k o~: finge~iS. l':h~:s srumprne:








-- 'li' ll' -~- -];~];- ]:;; ~1' II - -]; -];_ .5:
1 w - :;;
~~l i' ", -:; ::, ~. :::: -:, ~- ~- .~. .; -:> : : -I
... ¥ - - - I ~ - - ~- I -------------------------------------------------- ...

way o,f no~ating: guHar chords is common and acceptable. Chord charts are also used in ]a:zz., country blues, and commercial music st.Y~es ,. Many p~ayers find it fastter~o read the chord symbol C Major thanto read the standardnotetion for t:~e chord ..

FIIGIU.RE :2'7~S a simple chord chert showing a O·Ma,jor chord rol1owed by an A-Major chord usl ng open-positlnn chords.

When you readth is chord chart yo~, can play any version ol a D· Ma~or chord you wish--.either the open poslflon D or a D·Majior bane chord are fine.

FiIGilUllE 2:.:11 shows how the bane dl ords would substitute for the opel] chords.

NOluoe the diUerer!ce in sound between the open-position chords and ths barre chords. Pl~y both example's aga~,[1 to compare the d~ffererlt chords. Thechnlce oiF which touse depends 0[1 yo~r personal pre:ferenoe:.

Standard ,Sheet Music

If ym.l!\r€: ever looked at the Sheet music to yO~J Eavorite song, you probably noticed that standard sheet rnusie usuany doesn't: include guitar tablature, The oniy thing you'll fUnd pertaining to the gMitar are the chord boxes ~boV€ the ffiijsic" The chord boxes serve asa generalsuggestion or what you can play along with the song .. MlJS~,C publlshers t.hat l[lciude guitar chord boxe-s awe not 5upply~ Ilig the su~ttar paris eXBlcUy as played by your ravori~€: arlists .. Ths chord boxes allow you 1:0 get thegist or how to p~ay the song: but usually not eN(JiC'ltiy as the guilar~st pl.ayed it, Chord buxes tYPIcally re ~y on simple open-positlon chords. POl' exad versions ol your SOl'lgs,. ma~e sure the rnustctncludes guitar tablature and musicstaves. Look lor versions thai! say "recorded guitar parts" printed on the sheet

Power chords are an int:e~:ral part of rock and bluesgunar p~.aykng., AJt€f l:e~m.~ng open-positlon and barre chords, mastering powerchords is the

FIGUF!!l 2,,9' Power c:hOlrd's,

next important step toward becoming a great rock and blues rhythm player. 1\10 one knows where' the name "power chord" comes from: but try pl~y:ing one with a loud amp and you'll get an :idea cd 'Why "power"

is so fim rig. Power chords are li,ke barre c herds because they are both rnovable chord shapes. Once you know the shape for a power chord,

all you have to do is slide it around the guitar to make riffs. FIIGURE2·9 shews a power chord shape on the low E strlng andlow A shing.

Notice how the shape is. the same on both strings, This makes power chords, very easy to move around, you end up locking your fingers into that shape: and sliding your hand around the neck,

G5 C5 Power chords are

commonly found on the low

E arid low A strings. Since: they only use three fingers, and don't have the 'comp~exuty of' barre chords, power chords can be moved eround the guitar with ease. Power chord names follow the same rule other chords follow--the lowest note names the chord. In a power chord the lowest note wiHa:!waysfa.1I on your first Unger. Power chords are also called fifth chords. The standard symbol for 8J C power Chord is CS. Tbis type of notation helps distinguish it {rom the s~aodard major and minor chord symbols. Power chords are neither major nor minor; they are in a cetegoryall their own.

Somewell-knowe songs that include power chords are:

I i
~[}_ I
$ ,~ I I I I
-' [) I
~~ ~ I • "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Nirvana)

• "Welcome to Paradise" (Green Day)

• "Stairway to Heaven" before the solo (Led Zeppelin) '. "Purple Haze" (Jimi Hendrix)

• ," lronrnan" (mack Sa~bbath)

Once you feel comfortable, it.'stirne to start applying power chordsto music, "fry to play as many of your favori~e songsas you can with power

i~ I

chords, By p~ayin;g guitar parts, you wm gain a Jot of insight into how guitar pails: ars created"

Pla.ying tb,eBlues

The blues is very important. to guitar p]ay;ers. The blues represents a g@l1J.f€l of musk, a sly~e of musk, and a set or repeating chords common. to it. Historically the blues has served as a common meeting point lor aU players, regardless of style andlevel, No other style of music use'S the same chords in every song Uke blues does. ]f you learn what those chords am, you can. play blues with an:yone,

Twelve Bars

The blues is based on a. repeated chord prog;res:s,bo tbat repeats e'ileil"y twelve bers. WhUe no two blues periormances wlll sound the same .. the chord progressions and form are always the same. An.yone who knov;sthe t\lV€lv€,bar blues progressions can silt and p,iay the blues wlrh anyone else,

Because blues Js based on a com men progresslon, it's easy to collaborate and p~ay with other blues musleians .. M's ~~lke an If!~e~roat!o!'JJal ~,anglJ.age ofg:uUa:r musk. You. could wa]k i IJto a blues club anywhere in ~h€ world and can "Blue in A.~ and the players would know exactly what to do. E~n U YOlJJr best. friend likes slow CI]k;;ago blues, and you like T@Xas, bll1Els,~he form and chords arethe same, and you can sit: down and Jam with your Jriend, You'U be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn'tknow [he b~ues progression in at ~east: one key. FIIGIU:R&Z.;1!O' shows the t.'Weive·bar blues pmgress~on In the key ol G.

On chord charts, if the same chord is repeated fora long time, the chord is wri,tJten on~y once. YOlJ. j us I. keep p]ayin~ ~hal chord l!mtm you're w.ld to c.hange.

This repeats O\ilef and over agai[l,~ooping end.~es51y; Ff,GUIE 2-111 showsa slmpletwslve-bar blues paUern,again ln the key of G; but instead of open chords, a common rhythm panemis used. This panern has b~~n used ]]] countless numbers of' blues songs.

This rhythm pattern, which Is reminiscent of a power chord with an extranote, is au e~~rem@ly common way W p.lay blues rhythm guitar" NoHcehow the original progression Is on the top staff and the bottom sta:H contalns another way to p]ay these chords. The basic chords fora G blues progression will never change. However, as your chord options grow you w:iII be able to pl,ay more colorful voiclngs, We see in fI,GURI: 2~110 tllre,e different ways to play G blues, but the progression hasn't changed, onIy the way we play the G; C, and 0 chords.

iRRtJ'i.3 G


,,_ -,,-



I ....

I. :;

I '~'



I .... ~
1 01 .: .s:
~. :; ::::.
I;" :- ::: ::::
.... -
1) c
" ~ ~ ~
.~ ~~
-" ;.
.x '::; 0
;;: ;;; ;"
G ~
" x
.~ !'
::; Blues Kc,ys

The twelve-bar blues. example in FIGURE 2·10 comalned the chords G, C,and D. Knowing the names of these chords is extremely important and can help yeu immense~y when you play in the key of G. But what happens ir you want to play in the key of A. or Ph? When you play U1e blues, the key is always called as pall of the lulh~. A fellow p~ayer m,ay say. "Let's play blues in A." SoQ what do you do? How do you know the correct chords for blues in fA?' Here' s whey,@ we get :~Il~O some basic. music theory

FiIGU!RiE 2-11 Sl'nufifl,e pattem

fRRCK t.f


.. ,~
'" f'J .. -


~, ;:;


;I' (),
I ....
"" ~ -



Blues, Theo:ry

The musical zdphabet uses only seven lener names. A,. B, C, D, E, F, and G are the only pitches Y0i,l'U find. After you get to G, the cifde repeats" starting aga.inat A. This is vital. to understanding music theory

The blues follows a strict reglmen o~ chords. If you play the billies in 0, you will playa G,. C, and D chord. ]t will never change; these are the fundamental chords In thet key. n you want to move ortransposethe chords into OJ different key. knowing the names, of the chords in the G .key doesn't reaJly help you very much .. Music theory can help you tum a chord

FIIr,lIURE 2-12 Twelve-bar blues wiith Romari numerals



I ._,





I~c-'C"" o--o-&--&~'. • • : I

',----:3 ~3 3'-"---'1-. -1 '------4i- O--€I--9---D--'-O---4l---B-O-

~f-' -~2--2-. ~-O--(i--2--e---O --(l--O. --(l--I-O -----EI--~O.... II

G--I:J;-~--O ~ .i---O -!---o--=t=:- -i)-----It---- , (I I

-8 ~ :;; ;;-----;3~-2.~ 'l.r~1-~~2--, II

.... - . .~' ~,-

into something that can be played in every key. How? Wit.h numbers, Why numbers? B,~callse numbers refer to e\llerykey, while pildlles and note names are specmc to one key. So how will these numbers help us? Let" S look at the examp~e of the twelve-bar blues In G again. This time, in addltlon tome chord symbols, you will see a corresponding number for each chord. Look at the examplein IFIGURE 2·112.

Musi.c tneory uses Roman numerals, ratherthan Arabic numbers.

You'll notice thilt the first chord gels the number L The chord that 5 hares the same note as, dli€: key ]5 ahwys I. For example.jn the key or G I' a G chord is always I. We give it the number I. because lt's tile first chord we deal with. The C chord has the number IV. Why ]V? \¥en if youcount the note G as I, how far up is the fiote C? (When you count letters it! music theory, you al'W"a}'Scount the first note, don't skip ltl) 50' G is, I.;

A ls ll, B is ill, and C Is IV. That's why we call the C chord a IV chord .. The root (name of the key) of that chord is four notes away from G. When you're in any key the' I chord is considered thecenter; all the other chords are measured away from .I. Using the same logic, the D chord is live away from G, so ~t:ls called OJ V chord.

,A.pplJ'ingTbeory'to Your Playing

- - -

Let's tum this trorn music theory to music reality and apply the concept of num:ben~d chords to play.iilg those chords. These numbers make changing the key easy. Let's apply this to the hveWe·bar blues. FIIGURE ,2:-13 shows ttl€: same old trusty twe'lve-ibar btues pettem. but instead of chord names, there are only numbers.

]f you would 'like to play this in the key of A, simply p~ay an A chord each time a I chord is indicated. The other two chords are IV and V To find those, lustcount ILIp the musical alphabet starl:irlg on A, and count

up to get the chords. 'rou should ha;r.e found Das the [V chord and E as the Vchord. Go ahead and plug them into the progression and play. VoHit! You ha¥e the blues III A. Yo~" can use either open chords or barre chords tor tile A, D, and .E chords.

Does this work wlh every key? Yes, that's the: beauty of musk theory: it doesn't talk about specific caorda.only 'the relationshios between the chords. In the blues, the form and chordprogresslons are always the

iFl<iI!llRE 2·1i.1 Twe:lve·bal' blues patt.em wirth Roman nurnerals

p Z -'7 r ,-' ]I z " 137 2" Zl L / ""7 zZ t'
2 I t z _;; i
[]Y] lIT]
4iH ;;7 ;;r 21 / _z ,z 1'-=1 2it z / ZZ Ix 2 i / z--::i
L z 7



? 2' 1:7 7 / 7 II
7 J 7 same. Using some theory, some bralnpower, and five fingers on your hand to count with, you can now figure OUI how to' play blues in any key. TI"y playing bluesin the key of ClI.Ising this. same technique as practice .. I is C. IV is F, and V is G. Try some other keys on your own,

The guitar is so wea designed that it makes changing keys even easier than using theory That's right, no counting or th~nking involved! The guitar Is unique this way-no. other Instrument works qllite like it Look at IFHliU~E ,2·,14" arnre:tve·bar blues progression wlth moveable barre chords

on the low E and A strings.

Notice how the root of the G chord is tile third fret, and the root of ths C chord is the third lret of the string abo,v.e? Lets nat call the chords G and C, lets callthem ] and IV as theory t,ells us' to, So lf you have a [ chord on the .Iow E string, H d!o,esn't matter what fret. the IV chordwill be OIl the same fret just one stri.llg up. For example, ln the key or A, if your [ chord \!VaS all the flfth fre~ of the law E string. thanthe ]V chord will be on the same fret, the fifth, iust up one on the A string. Loo:k at fIGilllRE.2·115.

This works in any key! No more countl:I'l:g" just move your chord up one stringand you hav€l an instant way to flnd the ]V chord from the I. chord,

V>le can do the same thing for V: The V chord IS always two frets above the IV chord. So if the [V chord is on the fifth fret A string. then the V chord. is on the seventh tret A string, This makes HIe so easy. You can simply apply this rule to the blues progression, Pick a key-a.ny keyand start that chord on the low E string. To get a ]V chord just move the

rna ;I' tJ



;I' If




;I' ,(}

~(~~ _L

. I ,: i!I 3 §§4 '------$ -!". §13- I

-=r'-----,-;--7-·, -'1-' -7 1-5,' S;, !i 51. ',---3.--,3i-~1J;,'--3----,_,'. ---,a.-----iiS a '

I 17-' -1--"'--~I~-S 5 5 S - ,4~- -4 -~.

~~-i--'J~--7----5-' -5--5-5 2) S-----!i 5-- -_ .:--S----!i._-I

-18 !is S ,~ 4--l--3i~ 2) 5 5 6-- .' _e_ 5--_

.... - ~3____:3---{' ' .. ~-3

chord up one string. The V chord is two frets above that.. You can easily app~y this tothe previous blues shuffle pattern, IFHi!IJRE 2"'II'~. This example uses a moveable chord shape, You can move it the- sam€! way you move the chords. Let's pkk a random key to do this in. How about U? D!? is found on the ninth fret of the low E string. P]ace your moveable shape on the ninth fret, instant [ chord. To get a [V chord, move the shape up one s~r,ing.~nd stay on the same tret, 'Jo g@ta V chord" go uptwo trets from the ,IV chord to. the eleventh fret and place your V chord there, F,IGUITiE 2·16 shows the blues shunle pattern in [)j,,,

FIGUIIiE 2·' S BIUles in A

=;? " 7 7'


'.... '7' ]' " _ .. _ '. _ .. ' Ii-~

;; ~
6 ii-
I ]
,~ rnA

~ is
.. , 9 9 ~ 9 I _ .. - .. ~' i I .. ~ I ,E ~-
1 :. I :: ;;; I .;;
llo :: - -
I 11:1 g' 9 2 ~' :! 'I ~ _t-
j\l l' 'I l' ! ~'
1..- ,~ ;;, i; ;,
I ... --~~------~~------~~------~~------~~--------~~11Bml1



- ,~

.~ " ..

•• i'~ , ... , . -..-

I ....


-'" -" ':"



II H:9,,~-'H_ -1H"" ;~







, ).

You can now tigure out the locations Jor any I, I\': and V chordl As long as you follow the order set: f(wth. in the twelve-bar blues progression, you can now pl.ay blues in any key.

The ~~IV ~ V progression is used in many songs, not] ust bll,JC3'S" 'iou' U be amazed at how many songs you already know that use this progression, <tl

Chapler 3

The Pentato'nic ScaJ.e

The name pentatoniccom:€s,from.two Greek words: "penta" meaning "five." and "tonicv meantng "notes." Literally, pentatonicmeans a five-note scale. The pentatonic scale is a staple of rock and blues music; it's used for melodies and as a general vocabulary for improvising. Chances are, if you hear another guitar player soloing; he or she is using the pentatonic scale.

~----~----------~~ ... ------------------~

The ,Most Common Scale

The pentatonic scale, which ls commonly called the pentatonic. "box,' is the most frequently used of all lead scales, and is an ebsohrtely universal tool lor pl,ay-iog lead in any style, Asa lead player, you need to explore this avenue F:irst. flGUIRE ]~1 is an example of a pentatonic scale In the ke,yof A.

'Iou can see from the music there are only five notes. and they repeat in the same sequence, As. you play it try to vlsuallze the shape your fingers make on the fret board. It' s essie ntial to memoriz;€l th e pattern lip and down, because! this scale will be your main lead scale.

The example ~!i FIGURE 3-2: is the same scale shape with the note names (pitches) written beneath. Now you can track, which Five notes make up the scale, an d how they repeat

TI?R[K s

(~ .. .,. ..
, I I
, I - , I
~ I , I I I
I ~--- II!I" II - .. ... :;st.
- .,
e I I
~ I
I Q.. ,~, I ~ II
-'D ~- I .
I_""_ ,~ '" I
- ..... fliGIJRE 3-2 A·mil1or pentatonic scales with pltrhes i:o,el1tifillld

'1 , ..... , ...


.- '

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A C D E G A C 0 E G A 00 E D C A G E o C A ,Lea'minlto PIa'," the Scale

First try to p]ay the scale from bottom to top with no variation. Maybe your first etrempt sounded Uke the example in I::IIGIIJIFlIE3~3, which is a simple pentatonic scale w.ith no varlenon in the order of the notes.

It 's important to U]]nk. otthe individual notes ln title scale as colors. on a palnter'a pa:~eUe; you carl pick and choose any color you wish_ in the same way; all the notes in the pentatonic scale ate yours for the taking. Vou can start. anyplace YOQ.!, want to, arid you can jump to any note in the SC8i~e.

The peotatonlc scale is so widely pla)~ed that evel)' guitar player in the wortd knows It, and everyone will play it al]Ule bit difJen;'r!Uy. Tile art of p]aying this scale lies In yourcreatMty and Y01Lrr approach to making music. Here area few examples of ways to break up the scale into different comblnanons. FIGUIilE ~·4, is an example of an A~ml.nm pentatonic scale, but the order of the nates has been juggled around .

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,FUiU,RiE 3-4 A-minOll" pentaJto'niic sicCllle with variation 01'1 nets order


I ,



F~GURE s-s includes s~ril]g skipp~ng. Instead of p~ayil1g it up and dawn, you can slldp from string to string. Remember that you carl start and stop anyp~ace you ]ee~ m~.e,

Another example (see IFIGURE 3-6) ol the pentatonic scale.jhis time you descend the scale from the top and varythe note order,

These examples can serve as a sprl.l1gboard tor you to construct your own licks and lines, When you play the scale, try to construct your own orig:inaJ ideas.


Now that you havethe bask scale shape under your fingers., you may be wondering how to apply tbis scale tothe music you already know, An of the prevlousexamples have been in the key of A., ln the pentatonic seale, you der~ve the key name from the nrst note you p]ay. The tirs~ note of FWGURE 3-1i5 the nm.1 fret 0:[ the ~ow E s~[~ng. The note on the fm.h fret

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is A.Ws called an A pentatonic scale, because its key name. also called the root" is A.

So what happens ]f you're at a jam with some players and they want to play in the key of E? The beauty of the pentatonic scale is that irs moveable, The shape stays the same but if you alter the placement or n, you can easily change the key, IFIGURiE 3·' shows-the names 01 the notes across the low E sIring to aid you in playi!lg the pentatonic scale in any k,ey;

Using Ii'~GURI!li3'·7 you can find out where a~,i the notes are on the low E string. The chart shows you that E ,is 011 the twelfth fret. To play the pentatonic scale in E, just shift your box shape up to the twellth fret and start the scale there, Look at the example in,RE a-s-the E penraronic scale.

One of the special features of the guitar is its ability to let you play !!11 dUferem keys. 'easily; Most other instruments don't give players access to moveablepenernsas the guitar does. If you played along as I showed you

I I .'
• • • I • I I •
I I •
I F F~/Gb G A#fBh B I c C~JDb D D~/E~ E E

FiIGURE 3·8 Pentatonic seale' moved to E: on the twelfth fret

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frn~ pentatonic scale, you can al.ready pl.ayit in an twelve keys. This fe,at can take many mortrlls 01.1 other instruments,


C~naiun. s~y les or music utmze some keys more than others, Blues is l~rg@!y play-ed ~~.U!i. ~hekeys of A and E, and fA ls Iargely considered the "king" of blues keys., Many rock songs are played In the keys of E and G. As you begin to pi,ElY more lead, you' U become vei'Y aoware 'Of w hat key the sm'Dgs are written ln. A~ter awhile" you'll notice thara 101 of your ravor~le bands and guitar p~ayers use certain~s more than others,

Do you really play in the key ofC# often? Not rea~~y,. The guHar, due ~Q its tuning, tends to pro duce a great number of SOlligs In the keys of E:, A, C, G, and D,. Theretore.these are the best keysto practice wHh.

How do you know what key you're playing in? Thename of the key uslla~~.~l cernes from a. chord or note th at isthe basis fQr a song. Many rimestbekey is the fi rst or last chord ina song, (This works most of III e time, but not all the time.)

fiIGI.!!FlIE. 3~!lICOi~talns two chords: C and 01 PI,ay threugh this eXample and listen very cardu~~y to these two simple chords.

These two chords are iII the key of G.How can you teH'? After you play the example onthe C .. Ma:jor chore! from the beglnning; try stal't~ng

on the 07 chord ami stopping there, Just pl.ay the Gl'chOl'd. Ask yourself this: H that was the ]03,51



IFllJGiURE 3-9, C and G7 chords

chord in my song, coul d

.~ j list slop? Can you end the song there? No. When you ~is~en~o that chord by itseH it has a quality that Ina~..ES H sl~ghtly u nstable--i; wants to go somewhere. Now piay

the last chord of C, Notice how the ex~mple sounds complete? You've just received your best lntroductlon to k.ey. Sunce C was ths chord ~h.8iJt you ended 01."1 and seemed more ~setttled, ~ then you are in the l{@y of C. Figming out ·what key you're


in any song, the chord Ihalt seems to be most stable is most IfkeIy the name of the key. For example, if you believe that the A·min.or chord ]0 "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin i.s the correct root chord, then that would bea good .glH~SS for the overall key, A minor. You can now test your theory" Tl:y playing the A pentatonic scale during the solo section, Sounds good? Jimmy Page thought so, too: the solo utlllzes an A pentatonic scale. Many fans of rock and roll consider "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin not only a quintessential rock anthem, but also ~Ul important stepplngstone i~ learningto play U1.8 guitar .. j~mm.y Page's solo is also considered a work of art in its sirnpllcity and effectiveness.

Major and Minor 'Pentatonic Scales

Just as chords come ln two versions-major and minor-so do scales. The pentatonic scale you've been using is actually a minor pentatonic scale, and it's the most common for rock and biuss music. But many rock bands" such as Ths Beatles, the All man Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead, and Phish make 'Use ofthe major pentatonic scale in their music.

The major pentatonic. scale differs from [he minor pentatonic scale in only one important: way.: You start on a different note. The major pentatonic scale starts on the second note and calls that note its root. Fm(i,URIE3·10 shows a e-:Major pentatonic scale.


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Notice how all the minor pentatonic examples startwith the first

Ii nger on the low E string, but all the major pentatonic scales beginwith the tourth finger on the low E string. Visuallzlng the scalesas shapes can help you learn them quicker,

You might be a bit confused now. How can the minor pentatonic scale use the same basic shape as the major pentatonic? Dld you p]ayit yet? If not. try it now. Sounds totally diUer,ent, rlglat? lt's an amazing ]lttle thlng you've just discovered. All you did was change the starting noteand the whole sound 'Of the scale changed. This is a. crucial concept in music and one you will return to IhroughOilft this book.

Musk is very economical; it uses only twellre different pitches. Reusing those pitches if! a new order yields more variation" Scales otten have immensely diUer,ent sounds i.f they're played rrom diUerent starting notes, What's important now is how the scales are ditferent and where we can use jhem,

Utilizing the basic shape, you know the only dilferenee between major and minor pentatonic, other than its sound; is wl]o:~ fi.rls,er you think of as the root The minor pentatonicuses the firshFinger onthe .~ow E, string for its root. The maier pentatonic uses the fourth finger as Us root, The basic shape sffi:ys the same but the name of the scale changes depending on what Unger you start on.

So we can now rejer to till e A~mlnor penteronic scale as poss]biy being: a C-Ma:jlor pentatonic scale. This duallty is referred 10 as a scale relation. Scale relations are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 1. Fb'T now, just understand that there ]S an irnportant connection between A minor 1'IJI.d C Major."

V,se :It 'or Lose It

Now lhat. youheve two scales under Y01l.ilr belt, it's important to discuss when. and where to use them effectively. U you know the key ol the song you're playing, you're ln very good shape, A song in the key of Ami nor uses the A-minor pentatonic scale. A .song in the key of G Maj'Or uses the G-Major pentatonic scale ..

fliliiU[l1E 3.;' 11 C-Major.

C-m~no,r. and C-powew chords

Sometimes you'U run into sltuatlons where, you don't know which scale to use. ManYl'odr; songs utillze power chords for their ehordal rhylhm p~.ayi]1g. Power chords are neither major nor minO[iand~hey aotJUa~lll contain on~.y two notes, Ma~or and miner chords aJw~ys contain at least three,

When you p~,ay power chord-based songs, it can be hard 10 decide whether to use major or minor peetatonic scales. IFI~I!JRE 3-1111 s:howstthree dUferent versions of a C chord: C Ma]of" C minor, and C power (also called C5), NoUce how the C power chord sounds neutral compared to the other ma]or and minor chords. Powerehords, because they canta]n ~'e'lNer notes than major and minor chords , will never soundas rich as major and minor chordsthat contain three or more notes.

Since power chords don.'t

provide you with a positive answer to whether minor or maJor pentatonic scales are appropri<li~e, Ute best. way is to experiment with both scales, Try this: Record yoursell playinll the chords that you'll be soloing over; then try playing both pentatonic scales aver the rape to see what sounds best Yom ear wm be theultimate giU]G€ as to what sounds goad and what doesn't

Forl3.xample. if your song ends with an E power chord and you're SUf€ that E ]$ ~he root, YOH carl try p~aying an g..Ma~or or an E.minor chord in its place to determine which pentatonic scale 'bouse. Once you harvEl d~~@rm]ned which chord soundscorrect; you can then play the oorrec~ seale, See, this isn't so hard~


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-A ;: ;: ;: I
II i3 I
... Blues Nonns

The blues, as a genre, relies almost 99, percent on the minor pentaJonh; scale lor so]o]n~vel1 :i~ the rhythm guitar or keyboard player is p~ayi!]£! major chordslBlues 1dmostaiways uses the minor pellitaton]c scale, Why? Hrs~ oJ an, the only rule warth remembering :~n musk is this; If ~tt s:ounds good to you then It works. When you apply the mmor pentatonic SCEl~@ to

a major chord progression, you get a clash on some of the notes.end nell every n Ole will sound sweet ami perfect. This clash is wbat gives the blues lts unique slyle. The earliest recordings show that blues solos al.w.ays used the minor pentatonic scale for improvised 801.05 and vocal melodies. A major pentatonic scale in. a blues 501.0 would sound out of place.even though theoretkaJly you would expect a majorchord progression to have a major scale.

Rock Norms

The genre of rock musicis e:tl'eme~y hard to define, especially because it has undergone radical changes every ten years or SoQ. Think of the big change Irorn the '50s sound of EMs, Presley to the'60s sound of Jimi Hendrix The only thing that yOU! 'can qeantlfy in rock musk is, its connecnon to the blues, because that's where it came from.

Early rack and mil borrowed standard blues chord progressions as the basis for a new style .. As the style evolved and grew, there wasless reliance on the blues roots of early rock music. Like blues players, many rock guitarists make extensive use of the pentatonic scale lor lruprovisatlcn, As rockhas evolved and grown into more progressive and sophisticated sounds" it has also adopted. other sounds fo:r :impmvlsation ..

Some famous pentatonic-based 501013 i nclode:

• ~Stan:rway 10 Heaven.," by Led! Zeppelin (A.·!n]l1or peiUBitonic)

• ~ Purple Haze," by Jimi Hendnx (E-minor pentatonic)

• "Sweet Child of Mine,," by Guns N'Roses (Bmlnor pentatonic) .' "Freebird," by LyJfiyrd Skynyrd (G·mi nor pentatonic)

• "Crossroads, ~ by E:dc Clapton (A·rninor peetetonic)

• "Rivera Paradise," by Stevie Ray Vaughan (Ernlnor pentatonic)

Marli)! guitar players use ,the pentetonk scale as .;II starting point. ad d iiii'll 9 other notes to the sea lie to d rsss it up. WhH,e this may be exactlly how Y01LJ! wa nt to SoOlIJ nd in the end, ylO'lll I~ ave to, leern to crawl before you run .. tsernthe bask pentatonic scale and internalize it berore you move onto more advanced topics,


WhHeifs convenienttothtnk oJ the pentatontc scales as "boxes,' boxes don't malte any music-notes do, So how can YOLI tl11nk "outside the box"? Start singing everything you p~QJy. That:'sright, warm up those vocal chords; it's time 10 si~g<

By s.~n.ging 'every note you play, you create a conneetlcn between your fingers and your ears. Th is may be the si ngle most i mportant jopic [.1.1 lh is book, The th~nk~ng is simple: ENe:ry time you: hear a great guitar solo, your ear learnstne sound. After listening a Jew ~imes, you can singthe solo in your head-this .is called pitch memory.How do YOli g:81 the sound from. your 'ears to the ~I!J itar? it you heven't been p~ay~]1g gu.~la.r very ~on,g., playing what you hear can be d.mtcult YOlJ. may know the scale, but yournngers may not be able to keep up with your lmegination. YOQ]. ~m.i¥y have the technique, but the scales aren't yet .inb.Iit~ve.

The human. bGdy~ives you just such aninstrument 1'01' r~creaJtlr]g sounds; your voice, YOllfVlOl.c.e can recreate almost any rang€! of sounds you can remem bel!'. Singing the scales from the beginn~]1;g, you wm improve your abHUy to pIay what you hear, not just what yourfingelS can play. In acidUicm, youwill s:treng~hen~he cormecnon belV.i€.€ n your hamlets, ears, and brain, Once your ears and hands arecomrmmlcating ~U, you will control the sounds coming aut o~ your instn . .rmem:.......r~th€!r thSio leWn,g the scale shapes comrol youl Being able to play with lha~ mixture air control and freedom is the goal o~ allimprovisers ..

Bei.llg Musical.

No matter [lOW I.many flashy licks andJinss yeu know; being musical .. is more fundamentalfhan being technical. Theterm "phrasing" is U5H~d to describe a player's musicaHty. Great. phrasing is the most Important element of a solo-even more important Hn.1"I.U!i. thenotss,

Th eevolution of pentatonic plaji~ng comes from ~arly blues, and th€: sound or the blues started w~th singers, Singers sang pentatonic melcdies, embemsh~ng them in different w;WS every time they performed. B~.HeS8J~;SO grew out of the gospe~ musk tradition where


were part 01 the genre-yeu were expected to sing something diHerent every ti me, The goal for many rock and b lues p~a:yel'S bas been to emulate the humanvoice and its improvisatory style" The great rock and blues guitar players all have one thing in common: They have a vocal~like approachto their 801.05,

Just listen to some gr'Mt vocal musk. The first thing to understand is that singers have to pause to breathe. Guitar players ate notorious for playing with no break ill the sound, and begl nnlng p~,8Jyers are' especially guiky (If this" Vocalists can't do this" because they must stop to breaibe. Naturally, vocal. solos are broken up into small phrases olthree or four seconds of music.

Lea rn every solo yo'u ca n-'itlh is is how you lea rn to pllay musk" Ilf you're 'unsure of where to start, the blues is a great place to ibeg~n. B.B. Klng"s solos are a glreat tool for learning the blues styJlt~. McllnY of: his solos aren'toverly tschnicel and are easyto leern, iln rock

mu sic, Ca rlos Sa ntana never fails ito pl ay a ,great solo, While he doesn't rely completely on the pentatonk scale, he uses it a gre.;Jit' deal. Theseare just two examples jl'OU cain use to get started"

Listen to the guitar solos ,of B.B. K~ng., Alben Conins, Buddy Guy, and Clarence "Gatsmouth" Brown, they all. play short phrases and take musical breaths just like singers do" When you i.mpr,ovise, try to leave

a llttle space every raw secon cis. Breaking up your so 10 i rita little parts makes the music easier for the llstenerto digest.

The vast majority oflisteners can't appreciate the technical merits of your solos. They can't comment on haw hip it was to use the Brninor pentatonic scale. AU they can hear are th~ phrases you create, As a great teacher of mine once said, "Bests are thewindows or music.' Let the light shins ir]! <t)

Cflapfer 4

Inil,ections Ba,d Phrasing


Slides, bends, pull-offs, hammer-ens, and vibrato are all considered inflections. When you apply inflections to notes, the result is music. Jfyou're practicing scales and they seem cold and unmusical to you, chances are the inflections aremissing,

Why It's Important

~nnecticm Is the single most Important element Q~ p~.ayiDg a musleal ]l1!Stmmenl lt's of len overLooked and. undel.'taJLJgilit. Every musicien, when given a simple me~ody, wtllspproacf play~ I1ig it diHerently; Guitar Is a very expressiveinsttument, and has many options lnthe lntlectlon department, inducting some not found on any other hlstrJ!jmenL All oJ these OpUOIW define a p~ayer'.s slgnaane-end touch. lnflections are a permanent part of the musical examples that appearlaterin this book. rTQID now 00, whe!'l ~. lntroduee a scale, you']] get a more reallstlcidea of how the scale 8.otl1J1lIIly sounds, A musical example played without lnflections ]s aktn to hearlngtbe sound of a computer speaking" A~J the r.ight i nfonnation~s there, bu~ it lust doesn't: sound righl;ifs mlsslngtheinllecflcns,

Com.illg Alive with Slides

FliG.URE 4-1 fwo-fi!'~t sHde

Inf~ectlolls are oFten considered ways~o"dre'Ss up" a basic note. SUd!e's are the nl:"S~ and simplest way toinflect a. n ote on the guitar. They make basic melodies come aiUve ..

1'b achieve a proper slide, begin by playing any fretted note on the guitar wUh yotlr tirst I~nger. (You call use any lingerte slide, but the flrst ringer is easier to slide at HrstJ Let's start with the seventh [ret on the G sM.n~:h€l note D. Strike the seventh fret and qukk~y slide your first finger upto the nirllnh fret E enthe same string .. That's a two-tret sHde"~F you keepthe pressure of your fhl.ger down on the st[:~]1gwhUe you slide ,~he note wiU contmueto sound. However, .i:F you let your .fi.nger release the pressure while you slide, _you. may losethe volume or the note. Keeping downward pressure is essemlalte EI. good slide. M'simportant

to knowthat you pick only the Hrst note, end you don" need 10 :f@strlke the note at. the end of the slide. Irs like riding a b~k~you pedal once and then coast ora. the energy you create. Pkk. once, and transfer the sound up one .Ire~ by sliding.

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I ...


lt' S a great effect. As you practice slid! ng.jou '[I become laster and more adept at ke~ping the correct pressure on the string. FI:GUQE 4-11 shows you the slide [ just described.

What can you do with a slide? Anythi.l1g you want You can slide from above or below any note you want YOlLl caneven slide from. great distances abo¥G a, note, as long as you slide on the same stdng~ Sildes, .aJ€ 'very 1IJsehJI for softenlng the allack on the second Role you p~Cliy, When you pick every note you play, the effect can be broken and

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choppy. By uslnga lot of 91 i des, you picl!c less, Slides help achieve a smooth, polished, and ptoiFesskmal sound.

Sndes. also give a slippery efl€:ct from note to note, because you

ere sliding throug;h. chromatic notes, Chromatic notes are the notes, 01' semlrones, between normal scale tones, By sliding, you connect the scale tones with the other, less, freQl.Ient.liy played notes,

One important aspect of sliding that you must understand is that you need to slide into the destination note; you can't just slide aimlessly; For a good example of this, look at f1IGIURiE ,(-2:, ~Ma.ry Had a Little Lamb:'

The first line of music shows the bare example with no slides. The second line of ffl.1.J,SUC Sh!O'\iI,'S, how YO:~j can dress up a simple melody with slides, N otice t]Ult In e slides in this example all start below the melody notes. If the fifth fret IS the mel.ody note, start ona lower fret and slide into the fifth fret. This is, what the term "destination" means; YOt! have to know where, you're sliding to. You can a.1'ways slide from either one or two frets be]ow any key l1u~lody note .. let your ear be the uUimate jludge of when and how to slide.

A greaJ!: place to usethe sliding technique 18.. the pentatonie scale, IFIGURE 4-3 takes the bas ic minor pentatonic scale and adds a few slides into some of the notes; played with the tirst finger.




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t) S 8
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" This simple inllectlon transforms the scale into something much more than just a scale-now it's music, IFIG!!JRE 4·4 use's slides trom above notes o~ the maljor pentatonlc scale", NoUce how this slide gives usa ",esy'" feel. Slides are pivotal to understanding blues playing.

There is no llrnitto what you can slide, Use YO'lI..I.r lmaglnation and, most :importanl, your ears to create examples of your ow' n, As a lan, you should study your favorite players and listen to the subtle slides that are a part of their p.iaying.

The' Mechanics 01 a Renid

For many players, bends are the unique part of guitar pl.aying. While ifs true that. other i nstruments are capable of bending pitch,. rew have the variety of bends to rival the !;!ldtar.

A. bend is performed by horizontally pushing a strmg, Whil@ ~:ny linger can bend a note, your third and fourth flngers are best suited for the Job" Bending is a streiflgth~irli·ruJmbel's exercise; one nnger~~as a much harder time bending a note than three fingers do. On gultar, the fillger thal plays Ul.e highest fret is the finger that sounds. You can place your other Fil1gers behtod any note you play to prove this; no matter what you do behind a note, the highestfret will sound. When you bend; the other lingers help you bend the note up. Using multiple Ilngers 10 bend is crucial 1.0 proper bending.

~~----------~~~----------------------~~--~ ...

lt looks pretty dramatic-you push the string far ,(iw,ay from its usual posltion. This is normal, yOIJi may be <'I!f:r<i~d of hreeklng th~ string, but don't worry'; guitar strings are made to be bent.



To 9,et the most usee out of y,aur gui,ta.r, a, proper setup is important. lrrjproper s:ti'ing hei.gM. fret problems and ilntonation problems can make playing the guitar harder to plla,y and less enjoyabl,e. la!ke YO'lH guitar to'aqilJlalnf~edservk!e technldan l(ilvery six monl::hs to ensure that your guitar is in top fo,rm.

The location of the note on the gultar lsalso important in a bend, The closer you areto thenut or the guitar, the harder lt lsto bend the string. The higher up the neck you go, the easier it is.

The guitar has the U~ iq 1,iI@ capability to pi ~y the exact same pitch

(or not.e) on several different strings. ]f you hav;e bending a partku~;ar note, finding th:<:lt note somewhere elss on the neck may make iteasier to bend. The type of guitar you play will also a:rJect how ~II you car! bend. Ele{~tdc guitars with l.ig~."It gauge strings wm be much easier to bene! on than an acoustic guitar with heavier gauge strings,

Standar,d Hall-,Step Bends

The Interval ofa half step is the distance between adjacent frets. For example, the distance bet\¥~@n the secor! d and the fh ird fret on any string is. a half step. Half steps are the smallest distance between any two notes i.n the Wester,n music system.When you bend a string a half step, you push the string one note sharp" A bend is just another W{)JY to change true pitch of a note, If you bend a note; the bent note may not Ut what you're p]ay;ing. Just as you must slide 10 the destination nete, you have to bend tothe correct note. If you playa scale andwant '~O include a ha:~f..step bend, you can bend only certain notes in the scale. What matters is how faraw.ay the next note is. FIIG'UFlIE 4·5 shows a simple major scale with half-step bends i ncluded,

The only litotes that you can bend a halI step are the notes that are

, I' I I,

follo'vl1ed by a half step, or the interval of one fr-et. [f your next note is any farther away than one fret, a, ha]f~step bend won't work, HaJf~ttep bends are less cemmon than other bends because most scales, whether pentatonic Dr major or minor, contain more whole steps than half steps. 'The most common ben d Is the whole-step bend

Whole-slep bends are the most common bends in rock and blues guitar playing. The interval ola whole step, which lstwice as large as a hall step, is the distance between two frets, When you bend ,iii whole step, you push. the string twice as lar as you do in a half-step bend. Pentatonic

:FiIGURE, 4-5, Major scale with halt-step bends

Tf(!,f/tK 12 I'" 1'1






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,~ ,- I
I 'D
" scale-s ,t,tre rife with bending possibilities .. 'lake a~y pentetonic scale (major or mmor) and all the notes that you play wtth, the third or ~ourth fingers 'can be bent a whole step. FIGURIE 4·6 is an example oJ an A-minor pentarnnlc sC3.1,e with whole step bends on the third and fourth fingers.

It's important to mention that by bending, you aren'tadding any new notes to the scale, The pentatonic seals hasn't been altered; the bends. go from one note in the scale to the next These bends can take a bland example and give it life, Gu.itarists Oft@Il associate bending with emotional pla:ying; bending can sound like a waning c.ry;

Bend K.indl,-

Bending is a great technique when done well. When done poorly, it can yield some lessthan positive results. Bending involves tuning, the bent note" Yo~.]'l'e essei' pushing the string out. of tun€ and stoppmg on a di:m~rent. note that you will also have to tune, As you've noticed from tuning your guitar, a. small turn of the peg calli mElike a b~g difference. W.llen you're bending, 'irs important to bend in tune.

Bendlnge string can be: strenuous on the muscles in your wrist, so don't overdo yO!,JI'I' bending practice because you can strain your muscles .. At the First sign of any pain or tingling in your hands" stop immediate~y and. take a thirty-minute break. If the pain persists, see a. physician. immediately. Hand pain can cripple your ability to play; but with proper treatment cam be heal,€!d"

Tuning a Bend

Tuning a bend takes practice. At first you may not be perfect at it, but the old adag:e holds up; Practice makes, perfect How can you practice p'lay:ing a. bend hi tune? 0 ne e·asy way is to. use a tuner. Try bending half steps. and whole steps into your tuner and letting UlE~ tuner show you how

close you are. A chromatic tuner is the .only tuner capable of helping you tune a bend. Astandai'd guitar tuner is taught to recognize on[y the

sound of the open strings and win not be able to tune every bent note .

... ~----~~------~~------~~----~~------~~-----

Chrometic tuners can tune and hear every note on the guitar. This makes them ideal for tuning your bends"

As you use the tuner to' practice your bends, your 'ears wUllea.rn the sound ola perfectly bent strl ng, Bend i ng out o~ nms is Uke pl,aying an oul-of-tulle guitar; no one wants to hear a guitarist play oet of tun~it h:M.rls~

Another way to practice bending is to determine wh,at note you are' bending to, Forexample, bending the twelith fret of the third up a whole step girves you the note A. How do you know this? The note on the twelfth fret is G. The minute you bend anynote, you change the name o~ that note, When you bend the G up a whole step you cha!lge the note 100 A (your tuner wlll verrlfy this). If you don't have a u.mer handy, youcan lise the fourteenth fret as a relersnce pitch, Remember, whole steps are two frets away, SO the, benttwellth fret wHl sound. like the pltch of the Iourteemh.

The example in FI6liJRE 4-'} is a unique snuatlon where you halVe a. bent note on one, and on the next string you have an unbent note or the same pitch ..

Both. notes are the idenUca:1 E. The only d.ifference is that each one falls on a different s~l'ing. By playIng them this way you're able to play both Es together" ]f the bent E isn't in tune, you'll hear the notes, clash wUh 011'12 another .. When both notes are in tune perfectly, they win blend together into one sound, Tilts is caned a unison bend. Jimi Hendrix was a big fan of this, bend; it's all over his playing ..

FI'G:U!ilE 4·7 PI'aying two Es;., one bent. one fretted norma.lly



'1.2: •.




Advanced Bends

The remaining bends are aJ~ relatedto half·, and whole-step bends, EC1!ch has a slight varletion in the attack and release. These bends are very expl'G"'Ssive and, once agaIn, mlrnicthe human voice. these bends are common among great lead p]a:yers and you should recognize them qUlckly.


The pre-bend is a simple variation thst invoMv€:s bendmg jhe note ~[r before str~.klng the note. Pre-bends can be applied to any type of hall-step or whole-step bend. Check out the following example of a pre-bend in FWG'U RE 408.,

" 1"1,
Jli". 'IJ"'~ ,,~
11 ruu T!
t j
I, .... I
lit I
:"" I
, -

, ".

b .... l'

. ,







I _A

The pre-bend can be difficult to master. On other bends, your ear can rell you when to stop (when it's in tune). But on ~ pre-bend, you have h) stretch the note up before you hear it. This means that your hands hi!l.iV;e toknow @:xactlywhere to place the bend because you can't hear i.t until the string is played. If you've practiced bending for a while, your hands will start to feel the "sweet spot'; where the notes are .in tune. IFI'GURE 4-9 uses pre-bends and stall dard bends. Notice th e dillerence in the notation for each bend. As you gel more used to reading guitar tablature and flotation, you'll be able to accurately read the symbols.

Bend and Release

A bend and release is a simple variation on acommon bend, You bend up, and then you release the string back to hs normal pnsltlon, In the fo.II.owing bend and release example shown ln IFI'GURE 4-10, notice that the released note 1.5 in brackets; this means you don't restrike that note .

. It j'ust: keeps sounding,

Another simple varietion of the bend and release is created by varying the speed. YOu may wish ito bend up quick~.y. and release very slowly. You can do the opposite. Youcao do whattevel- you wantl

TRRU; n ~~

L f!:. ...

~ f} ~ :t: t= J~_



1 __ ___"'_l~~1il1, __ -=;;;>"",,~,-r.·!_ t-- -r __ -",L ~nt_,1 --'\---------~____n

=r='---.,,------------4lI-F· --~-e~'O--I'----::.~:::;;;T/L---1·+i2~) --1-.n, --------fl

~. .~

ilt]l I .....

Tremolo :BeR'ds

Atremolo is a device that enables you to change the tension or the strings .. Tremolos are built in~o the bridges OE most guitars and hav'€! a piece ,of meral that screws into the bridge so you can rock the bridge back and forth to change the pitch as you please. Because tremolos allow jO'u ro change tne tension of the strings, they bend. nates in a. very different waythan your flng,ers. do ..

When you bend a string with your finger, you can only raise the pitch. Up 'to this point, allthe bends you've played have gone From a low note 1.0 a. higher note. But wUt h a convectional tremolo.w hlch is, found on Stratocaste:f-type guUars, you can easily bend the pitch down by using the bar to bend the string down, AU the bend types you've just learned can be done this way, even pre-bends. If you have a guitar equipped with a Floyd-Rose>® tremolo, you carl bend pitch up and down _ One of th e masters of the tremolo is modem rocker Steve Va!. His album fttssi10n Gild \4tQ'rfare is, an encyclopedia of guitar techniques, Val has talmo tile abnity 10 bend notes with his tremolo and fingers to an art from. Other interesting tremolo players are Eddie Van Halen, Allan Holdsworth, and Ray Vallgl1an.

Practice uslng your tremolo to bend notes from Cliny of the previous examples" Simply substitute tile tremolo bar instead of your finger bends.

H'O'D,·Bending laBectioDs

There are other inflections yOIU can use to create interesting sounds and to help pull your musical. Slyh~ toge;ther,


Hammer-ens are sim Ilar to sudes. Slldes let you pl.ay a second note without striking again, giving you a smoother connection between the notes, Hammer-ens also let you p~ay a second note without stri:king i~ with the pick; but instead of sliding intn fhe note, you hammer your finger into file string forcing it to sound. Hammer-ens go from a ~ower note you pick to a higher note you hammer-on, For example, playa filth

: I

tJ ~
~ ..-.,
I~ ,.., .
.... . ~ '2-114' -7""".........--~---~g

fret G st:ring with your flrst flngerand pick that note.rhen witn yom third linger hit the seventh fret

The term "hammer-on" isn't just a funny phrase-you l'eaHy need to hammer your finger down. To make the note sound properly, yell! have to strike the string quite hard. F~GURE 4-11 shows how to apply a hammer-on to a pentatonic scale In the key of E minor. Hammer-om. are great for

bill i~diilg techn lq Ill€: and! coordination in your fret hand,

Harnrneri rig-on and stead of rely]ng on picking ie called legato technique. The undisputed master of leg)Clito technique is British rock and jazz p.layer Allan Holdsworth, His unique rock/JIazz album Mewl Fatigue showcases his masteryof legato style.

PaU .. oHs

The pMH-oU, unl.ike the hammer-oil, begins on a higher note arid pulls off to a lcwernote. In FU;lUFlE 4-12, let's .app~y pllJH-oUs to, art E-rninor pentatonic scale,

To pul.l-oH correctly, let your third finger actually pull the string down.

You can't ilUSt release your finger because the note would not sound. Imagine that the Up of your Unger is like a pick. and you have to pull the fi[lgef~i.p through the .string to make: a sound, h should create a slight snap .. The snap acts like a pick and sets the string in motion, FIGWRE 4,·13 combines PII.I.Il-o{fs and hammer-oris using an A-minor pemetonic scale. The hamrner-onsare used as the scale ascends, and the pull-ofts. While tile scale descends.

'1'ilGUiflE 4-11:2 1i'1U111-offs in, the E~miinoi IPllintatonk :sca~e


, ,





A Ei_








HII~~' ----4--~~~5--~----------~_+----------------------~~-------------~~~~~~· ~~

1 ,.... -,-

Acoustic guitars are harder 10 hammer-on and pull-off due to their Im'g,e:r string gauges.. Electric guitars use smaller strings and are easier to hemmer-on and puil-olf.


Vibrato ~s a slight nllct~aUonun pitch th at helps long notes sound fuller and less stagnant., This 'effect can be performed on almost every instrument imaglneble, with the notable exception of piano and clarinet, On guitar. vibrato is an extremelycornrnon way to dress up long notes, and is achieved by rapidly pushing the string up and down. Most people

f!:GiURE 4-14 A long note held w.ith and without vibrato

~ ':I , ....
I .... ~'if! . ! ..... ,,~·- ... ~Ii1i-·'"' ... ? ... ,~ _ ;;¥.iP'!_irh'V!i;'ll,~·-;' ....... ;·'¥'·itl!i",+.r"-iI-·"¥"i'ii~


wlll agree'tlmt notes with vibrato sound and sustain better. FllGiURIE 4-14 shows a long note at first wiihout vibrato, and then with vibrato.

Each player has his or her OW11 unique vibrato sty.l'e. V~br.a[o can be very slow, or .itt can be very fast Jec]micaJly~ vibrato is done Irom a shake of the wrist The fingers help control. the speed of the vibrato, but. the wds[ provides the energy. Listen to your favorite pl . .ayers and see what klnd o.f vibrato t.hey lise. .B..B. King is famous Ior his short an d quic,k "be0-'sting" vibrato. David Gilmour of Pink F~o¥d uses a slower andwider v.ibrato. Check out the $01.0 on "Shine 011 YOIll Crazy Diamond" for a

great example of his slow vibrato. (t) -

BeYODdthe Pentaton,ic Scale'

The pentatonic scale=though learning it is a crucial first step=can be limiting musically Many players feel confined by the "box" shape and wish to "break auf' of the box, There are some simple things you can do [.0 go beyond the basic scale. This chapter expands your knowledge and gets you playing great music without getting too complicated,

.~ .. ,
I ''Y'II] ~ II, I
! I
.II. 'l "'t, • I I
• I ~. Id I • I I • I
I 11 .. ~ I •
III ,;...,.. II -J I II
~' ., More Than Meets the E'ye

So far, the peUl~lo nlc scales you've p~.ayed have started on the low .E string and have a iamiltar box pattern to them .. Both the major and the minor pentatonic scales are based out of the same box pauern. 'Iou may st(lIlt to. Feel confinedm this, scale-there must be something more" you say to yourself. You"re in luck! With a little bit of brai npower, you can take 111 eo pentatonic concept and expand. upon it.

Let's take a look at FliGURES·'1 and at. til e notes that make up an A·minor pentatonic scale: A, C, D, E, and G. (Remember "penta' means fiee notes.)

You'll notice that there are two circled notes in this scale. That's because scales. contain repealed notes"

no you think that the Ufth fret pentatonic sha.p@; in flGllIRJE 15,,1 is the only way to play this scale?' Think again. It's not! .If you think. ol the scales as notesand not as a shape, you can€! out other ways to p.lay this scale across the neck .. Let's look at the entire neck and every note that's Ioundon it IFI'GUIllE 5·2 shows every pitch on every fret

FIGUH£ ~'3 A.-miinor pentatonic scale throughout the entire fhlgerboardi

Can you find A, C, D; E, F,and G i.n other places? FIIGURE 5:'3 shows the notes from the A-minor pentatonic scale (A C, D, E. G) in spots all over the neck,

See how the notes repeat all across the fingerboard?' These are all the possible ways to play the A-minor pentatonic scale, From these notes you can extract five moveable posifions of the pentatonic scale, If you know the scales all over the neck, you'Jl be able to play your pentatonic ideas no matter where you are.

Five Sbapes of Pentatonic

There are five shapes of the pentatonic scale 01."1 the guitar neck, No martner where you start them, they a.lways repeal in the same lashion, with the same shapes and fingerings. TMs is yet another way that the guitar makes ]Ue convenient Iorlearnlngrrepeatlng patterns, for our purposes, let's look at the F~minor pentatonic scale. The first position of the scale that begins mil the first Jret F' of the sixth string will a.lways be considered 'form 1." Most guitar pl. ayers, who play pentatonic solos start there and venture up Or downthe neck to the other positions.

"ariD I

Form 1 is the simplest form to remember: lt's the ori!lina! pentatonic scale you. learned. '10 recap, all you have to do to playa torm-l

pentatonic scale is to determine two things-whet the root of the scale is and whether it's major 'Or minor. Once youknow that, you can place it ae'cordingly with the rules you learned in Chapter 3., Remember that form I or F mlnor ls the same as lorm 1 of A flat M~ior since those pentatonlc scales share the same notes. F~GIJIRE :5-4 shows lorrn I. of the F-minor pentatonic scale,

Form ,II

form llcontinues where form I left offandcontinues up the fingerboard, You need to know how to rind this 5ca:le as Eli. separate entity, not something that .18 tied into form L FIGUlRE5-5 shows the form·1I pentatonlc scale in the key of F mmor,

When multiple notes are circled, jhe root has been repeated elsewhere in the scale. To place this scale' you need to locate where the

IA:G.uRE 5../11 IF· minor pentatonic scale form II

li"\ A
II ';.-' ...- 'I, I I I
'" I I
II I ' .... I I I I •
_':l , I
... I .ii:<I • • • I •
'" .~' I I I • I
II~ ... I I
, I
~ "'It ~ AI
I I .~ .~I I I I
~ .
II I .. .. ., I '\::I I •
I ~. ..... ' • • I •
-, ,
I .";' I " I • I
'I! .- I I --. I I I
~ "T root is. Form U Is tricky because th€': lowest note is 110t the root; you

have to' look inside the middle of the scale to. find the root. Once you've Jound the ro ot, you can move this shape to any other key just as yo u did with the earlier Iorrns, The two circled notes Indicate that the scale contains a repeated note. The note F, which is the rom, comes back in other parts ol the scale. All five forms or the' pentatonic scale are completely mov@able~nto e\I'ery .key-just move the mot For the F·minor seale, the root is found on the third string, thirdfret fl. FbUO\\' the fingeriboard chart in FIGURE: 5·2 to help you find the roots at rirst As YOl! play more and apply these new scales, you'll start to remember the notes on the fingerboard. II you plaly i~1I the same keys" you will learn those notes easily: Practice makes perlsctl

Fonn ,III

IMIGilllR:'E: 5-6'S ned. diagram shows the ovarall shape o~ :Form HI. The' root of this scale is on til,€! filth string, on th.eeighth fret F.

Just as you can do with the scales you learned in previous chapters, you can move 'these scales to any key as long as you place the root

on the correct note" You don't always have to start on the root, but: it ma,y helpat first to start there. As you get more cnrnforlable with the shapes, you'll use the root as a guide <lind start anywhere ill the shape you reel like starting, Remember, notes are just options; explore the

on es you want!

FIGURE 5.6 F·mli nor pentatonic form III

"Ii ..
I I .~ I '" . .4 I I
I I _:1_ ~I ..4. I •
'. ,I .... • ... • I I •
.~ I ;;"1 I • I
, ..
I I .... ' '¥'I I I
... . . FO.r1uIV

Form ! V is an easier shape to deal with bec.:a,us,e it gf,eatly resemb~es form L T'h eroot of th~$ scale is on the fiflt h s!rung. eight.hFreL This is the same root as form UI, butunlike form II!, this scale SWHS with ytlilrr first fi!1gera~.d yl.e;lds a tota!~.y different shape" F~IGURIE !i~7 is a neck dia:g:ram. of this scale,

Form rv is simpler becaussits mot is mil. the fin h string. Anyone who has played a lot of mowalbl€ chord shapes onth€: la-w slxth and fUftl'll s~Yil~gS ImrrloNS the names of those notes, maktng this scale easy to place since you can recognize F q]u~.ddy and stan til€: F scale there, lo~r example, Visually, form IV shares a shape similar to farm .1, just altering 0l:'H5 fret on the second stri ~lg. Form IVu$ anice hl"b€&w€!l€:fil point for your scale playa ng, .

. ~ r your form I sealsis low on the neck as F Is, form N is halfway up the neck and will aUow youto hear the same notes h.~8her on. the neck ..

Form ~V of the pentatonlc ls U"II.e most useful scale to masterbeceuse h. puts you i rt Eli very dHf~rem part of the nsck than farm 1 does.

"II A'
I 1 ~ I I .a I ~~I I
I I I I I .... ,m, '"", I •
.. I
I I I • I • I . ' I ~ • I~ I I ' . I
I I I I I~ I oJ • f:::::i I
I I I T-~ I ~


____ 1 __


: .

Form V is jhe tina! pentatonic scale position, and J15 root is found 0[1 the sixth string. Wait-doesll't form I have its root on the sixth string? Yes it: does! What makes form V different is ~hal your fourth finger p~,tIiys the root in this shape, not you!: first finger as In form L IFIGURE, 5·,8 is a neck diagram of the Una] shape. form. V.

As a general rule, if you start from different fingers on the same note, the shape will changecompletely ln the end, you don't have 10 master evel'Y note on the neck to play these shapes, 'This chart will help you

I· am where these shapes are placed:

li'orm Startingl Fin,ger Stning
IFilr'stfi ng'er Siixth stirling
III first fin'ger fourth SUing
I u Feu rth Ting'er FIfth striWlg
IIV Hrst finger Fiifl:h striing
V Fourth finger Sixth string As you c,a:11I see from the chan, to beable to. place these scales effectively. you need to. know the roots on only the sixth, fmh, and fourth strings,

As YOllI might have guessed, you haven't gone beyond the pentatonic scale. Whal you've really done is explored the emile neck with it. To really go beyond the shapes, you have to view the entire' fleck as a. whol e and use bits from each shape freely. As YOou progress, your ability too move from one shape to another will grow.

Meally, you should know aU the notes that are avai~alJle Ie YOllD. ]n the end, you can pick and choose the notes you want. F!GURE 5-9 shows tin [-,-minor pentatonlc scale that uses every position in one ,~ong example, Notice how the scales are connected ",'ith slides that help join the positions", WhalyCiu get in the end is a very long scale. This example

~~--------~----------~------~~------~~~ ...


-r L." ~.'. Vl')',- •• __ ",,41-..-

4: 17-- -

~-----~~------------------------~~~~~~~~~~~~~--~--.-~- .. ---~-~---




:.t:I :t- ~E ~.,_ ~



I" 1



lsn't p~ayab~.e ~rl just one shape; you must use all III e shapesto get through this. Penta:~ol'lk boxes can be easy to spot when you 'ii'l.iC)1c:h another player solo: the p~ayer doesn't have to move his or her hand at all, When YOIJ play tills kind oJ example, people who don't playguilar won't know what you're doing! YnlJ'l! use the entire neck hl one llck, You paidfor th€ whole neck, m~ght as weU explore it.

,Adding to the Scale

Some o~ musk's greerest moments ha\!l€ beentotal mistakes, Mistakes in€ring,(j of chords canlead to Jnterestlng and unusual chord. shapes. Wtdleyou were practicing lh~ pentetonlc scale, maybe you 11h a wrong note=a note Iha~ wasoutsideo! the scale shape you were supposed to P~dy What if that nol,€: didn't sound bad at all? What i:l' you really liked that note? Sam€: disciplined students would just correct the mistaL~e ami move on to the "real" seale. Others would morph the original seale arid add the "haJ)PY accident" tiO the sca~e anocn5:ElJt€ an entirely new scale.

The' Blues ,Scale

The blues scale is a minor pentatonic scale w.ilh an added note. It's not really considered a six-note scale because the added note is considered a tone; you use it to get from one note in the scale tothe next note smeomly The added note has gained acceptance over t he years, and the riv.e notes with the passing tone have grown into their own scale-the blues scale,

FUiIURiE.5·110 is an example of an A~rninor blues scale.

Notiee how the shape Is the same asthe minor pentatonic scale; you lust add the note :a to the scale. The a. helps smooth out the [urop between the Dand the E, norma]ly Iouod in the minor pentatonic scale. The passing tone of Ej, has long been used by Singers and is another way that vocalists have ]n nuenced instrumental soloists, "(em can lise the blues scale in place 0:1" a normal minor pentatonic scale-they substitute for each other. The added f!, is a very bluesy note and will add spice to your ongm al scale. YOll don't have to play the blues to use th e scale: m,aFiy rock players rind it effectiveiu rock sobs.


"Hexa" meanst'six," so itt stands to reason that a hexatonic scale is, a gixc:nme scale, Marty pl,ayers lind I hat by addi ng 0 ne note to the pentetonic scale, they can yield some inc:f'edibly fresh sounds. Let's go back to tile odginal A-minor pentatonic scale that contalns the notes A, C, D, E,

IF:IGUI\RE ,5·10 A~miiIilQ:r blues scale

". ~, I " ...' ... .- I
, I _ .. -
, I I
, I I
II) ~.* .. L,i - >'- .. ___
- ..e.
II .... I
I .1 p_l
I~ -" I
1111"1 - .. I I ~ .• ~
. I II = ['W.

, I,


I I ~'-
I .A ,
I .' JL -:.
I ml
~ "",

... I

I •

: I

I •

;. I

an d G, To make this pentatonic scale into a hexetonic scale, you addtbe note B. FIG,URE '5·1111 is the new hexatonlc scale in A.

Adding one note changes a lot doesn't U?

Now lor a Little Tbeory

We added the note B .. While that's the "name" 'Of the tone, knowing the name of the note onlyhelps us in one key; for instance. w]-uat !10l~ do you add to an P·;minor pentatonic scale to makett hexatoruc? You could move the A~tnlnor example to Fa:nd it out, but that's ta.king the long way home. Music theory ILISes numbers to des]g,nale the distance between notes, The term for this distance is an interval, The Interval from A to B is simply a second, (There's more on this in Chepter 7.)

We call it a second because the distance from A to B is two; B is the second note of an A scale. Seconds are also ahvays MO frets above any note. Just as Ais the H:rth fret, B lS nile seventh lret, No metter where you are on the ,guitar, seconds are always two frets above the root, So what l'rn really sayi['lg, i sthat l he hexatonic scale is a minor pentatonic scale: with an added second. If we' 'cal] it a second, ilt can apply to allY key and any scale

,Second Helping

The hexatonic scale sounds s]~ght1y more melodic than the pentatonic scale, The addition of the second interval helps smooth the distances

bet~e.n tile notes. Most melodies that are sung contain small intervals between the notes. Melodies that are termed "lyrical" are based on dose .~nterv.als. The pentatonic seals has some large jumps between the notes that can make it hard to be Iy.ricat. When you play th hexatonic scale, the added note helps smooth out the scale and makes it more melodic. To hear a master of the pentatonic and hexalonk scales, listen to Eric Johnson's "CIiUs of Dover .. "

If you don't have total command of the fingerhoard, adding the second interval to the F~lninor pentaton ic is easier said than done. You may want to go back to your charts and add the note. Since the five Iorrns of pentatcnlc are in the key of F, you should try to make those Jorms into hexatcnlc scales. The interval 01 a second when applied to F is the note G. Just add! two lrets to the root to find the second .. Go. back through every form and add that note to each shape .. Use the fingerboard chartin IFI'GI!JIRE 5··2 to help you find all the Gs.

Y.oI1·'~i. discover that certain forms work bstterJcr hexatonic than others. H you'd like to adapt your own scales, you'll find that neck paper is the single most helpfultccl tor' working scales out. Being a:b~e to. see the entire neck is crucial to playin.g tile scale lully. If you stumble upon a "happy accident" note', try to WOlJ"k lt out all over the neck. Nec.k. paper is available ·at most musk stores. In a pinch, get fl. ruler

and draw your own.

Another Hezate,nic Seale

Ths term "hexatonic' defines the scale as comltElining six. notes .. 11. doesn't specifically tell you what the extra note is. Another variation on the hexatonlc scale involv-es adding the sixth (instead of the second), Sixths, while they might sound far away, are actually not hard to find .. The lnterval of a sixth Is always three frets below' tile root. For example, .. if your root is A (fifth fret, sixth string) drop down three frets to second Fret F# and you have tile sixth .. This technique is great for finding the name of the sixth tone. Now that you know the name of the note, you have 10 placeit inside the pentatonic scales. ln a Jorrn-l A-mino]: pentatonic scale. youwon't add the second fi'e~ Fl--il1a~ would be a real stretch. Instead,

1 ~

consult your fingerboard chart to lind the 'F1 that fell more comfortably under your fingers. i1[IGiURE 5-1:2 shows a form-l A-minor pentatonic s-cale with an added sixth.

The sixth is a wonderlul-sounding note: .it blends right into the

scale and provides nice color [.0 the scale, Applying this hexatonlc scale to 'the blues gives you a very tasty result, Check out F[IGURE 9-1[3, aIL A·rninor hexaton ic scale with a s lxth added. Th e' example contains bends and slides discussed in the last chapter. Notice how aJI the

small elements fit together to makea great result. 'I he more you study the small parts of playing guitar, the greater impact it will have on your overall playi ng,

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.~ _, FIGUiR!E ,5·13 A-mino!' Ihexa,tonic blues lick

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The' Septa.lonic Scale

Vou looked a~ two dHJer€lntexamples of the hexatonic scale: one with a second. and on€: with a sixth .. What about the second and the sixth notes into the pentatonic, forming a seven-ncte pentatonic scale? We could can it a seplalon~c scale. let's try ]t (See If~G:U1RE! 5-14.)

'fh€ scale sounds good as ~ whole because the two notes interact well with the scale. '~r you li~e t~.e sound of this scale, feel free touse it where you feel it's most effective. However, the truthls, there is []Q such as a s.apla~cmic scale. What you actMaJ~y created by accident is a traditional scale or mode, With the exceptlon ()f pentatonic and hexa~of!ik, all scales if! the Vkstern music system are seven notes. The septatonlc scale is re~ny the Dorian scale, which ls a derivative of the major scale, c.ommonly referred toas a mode. If you enioythe sound and possibillties o! s.eve~-note scales, you'll reaUy en~oyleamin!il(JJbout major and minor sc,~les and modes in the upcomlng chapters.

Build! ng from acommon ground is an effective way to learn new things. From the basic minor pentatonic you were abl e W ad d notesto make a new scal.e" Since all traditional scales are seven nates, and an pentatonic scales ar,e five not,es,. yOIUl will hsve to add only two notes to any pe!T~atonk scale to p'~ay naditlonal malorand mi nor scales, ,tI)


Major and Minor S,e'ales

Major and minor scales form the basic

building blocks of Western music.

From cartoons to film scores, the sounds of major and minor scales serve as a melodic vocabulary that has been ingrained into your musical 'experiences from an early age. In future chapters we'll see exactly what this scale is capable of, but for now let's use the major scale as a tool to construct melodies and meads.


TMnk ol the ma]or scale as being ]jke DNA, the buJlding block that mases lUe; i n Ih~s case music, ln future chapters we will se:e~<l.c:dy wh.Elt. this scale is capable ol; lor now let's-use It as a lOO] toconstruct melodies and leads,

Major scales are lamiUar to everyone, even though you maynot know the name ror it FU3,UlRiE 6·1 shows you how to playa simple C"Malot scale lntbe open posltinn ..

Sounds very Jamiliar, right.? What differentia~es the ma}or scale from the pentatanic is ~he number ol notes present in the seale, lnsteed of five notes, the rnajim scalehas seven ... FUr example a C·Major scale consists ~:)f thenotes C, D, E, F, G, A,. B, and G; thetirst note (C) .~s the root of the scale .. Every major sca.~ealway5 uses seven notes and a~ways repeats the f]rsl note. Majior scalesuse every note of the mnsical aJphabet, end always follow ~he same order. Major scales .have a smoother sound than pentatonic scales because they don't ski.p any notes,

One or rhe great things you've probaib.~y noticed about the su~tar is ~ts abHily ~o let you move shapes arcund jhe guitar ned with ease. In the sarlier chapters, YOlj learned to move pentatonic scales, barre chords, and pomr chords, M,a~Qr and minor scales aren't left out otrhefun: they can be moved ]ust as easIly. However, wbat you see in IPI:GU,RIllG-:1 is not moveab.~e, How can you t€!U? Any shape that oo~~a~lls open stringsis not

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perfectiy moveable. For a shape to move you must be p~.aying all rretted notes, or "closed positions." f!GURE 6-2 shows a simple C-Maior scale that is moveable.

This shapecan be played in any key-jll!S[ move the first note and keep the n~lger psttern the same, Just like chords, scale'S can be Ihought of as little pictures, While they aren't as easy to visualizeas tile pentatonic scale Is, the shape isn't too complex. Make sure to memorize the shape, because it's going to come ill really handy.

Be:,;oad Simple Major

In Chapter 5;. you were able to generate Jive shapes forthe pentatonic scale by mapping out the- notes all across the neck. The sametechnique can be applied to. maier scales .. Let's stay in C M<'IIjor for now and use the notes of the C~Major scale: C, D, E; F, G, A B" C. This is an easy scale to memorize because it doesn't use any sharps or Uats.

IFIGIJIRE ,6.:3 maps out all th e notes of C Maj or all aver [he neck ..

FIGURE 6-2: Moveable C-Major scale





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The scale diagram looks huge andvery ,inHmiciatl,l1Il'l. but don't worry.

We can s~.mplHy 11 ,gr,eat~yand! estract positions and shapes to make it simple, A. fuU neck. diagram shows allth e I1ICI~es you can use, but you don't ha\i\~to use aU of them light from the get-go. A good ana~oID' is the dictionary. The, dictionary co.nt(l~]1S just about every word. Y01.1 could ever use in the Bnglish I~ngua;ge! but, you don't have to use I hem .an. Youijse whatte\,er vocebulary ,~s comfortable and efflclent, As you. grow older youleam more and more effecl!,ve words--as you mature as a guulflJ player, YOM wm use more of the notes mthis neck diagram. At fil'SI it may seem daunting, but you can break H clown into slmpie moveable shapes,

RoOI: Thi.nking

The aaslest way W learn to piay a scaleis [rom the mol. The mol

of a .• scaleisthe same as any other I'OO~ you've encountered so far; lt's the lowest note andknames the chord or scale: you'rem]Ilg. Inthe fo.iiow.!ng examples: C is used asthe root O'f the major scales, For every root on the g:l!Jltal:", thereis a scale shape ~hat you carl play from that note. Bvery strlngccntains one root; that's the beauty ola guitar s~ring,. EliISl)' note in the musical alphabet is found at least once on every s~r.~l1g" FliGURE! 6·4 shows th e locations of evel'Y C on the guitar:....there are six, one fc,r each sttr.~ng.

From these Cs youcan place ma~or scale shapes, ln U'n.eory, there should be six positions of the major scale to p~,ay" But For aseale to be

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eff€ctiveand moveable, you need efficient nng,er~ng. Scales fh,at shmaU over the neck have their 'Use, but learning simpler shapes first is bener. The six Cs <l!ren't good candidates for starting a scale, For our purposes, the scale wiU take three strings to complete, so starting on the second Dr first st.ring, WO!1'~ work, because you'll run out of room. You can, start these scales trcrnthe s,ixth, fifth I' f'ourth,an d th lrd strings, 5,Q there are four shapes to learn, Each of these shapes is completely moveable.

Moveabl,e Scal,e' Shape,s

Break down the following simple scale shapes std:ng by string. Forany of theses scales, don't just phI!! them in C; move them around and praence changing .keys. Knowing a scale only in C helps you only if your Siang is ln C.! Tty apply~ng different, scales to songs you can pl,ay dghl away;

Maior SeaI,e R,OO'I O'D the Sixth String

FIIGl!IF[E 6·5 shows a simple one-octave maier scale with the root 0 n 'the second finger on the low E string. It's called one octace because: the scale goes up only 1!J.nI.~.1 it huts the root of C and t hen. turns around and goes down again.

Try playing all of' yOUJ scale examples in E, A, D;, and G Majior. These are very typical guitar keys to play in. The better you know these keys, the more prepared you will be for ,any~bing you want to create.

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Majlor Se.ale' Root on fhe Fi.ftII Striag

Talkabout convenient: The shape you just learned torthe sixth string is the same shape when you start on the lifth slrll1g~ IFB;UIRI1: 6-6 shows the CMajor scalewiththe mot on the firth St1111g.

Whi~e the Unger pattern is U]€ same between the sixth strlng and the rml1 string, you film have 10 know where C is on both stdngs to place it 00m~ctly. Again,. memorizing the note names on the low strlngs wm make th is much easier,

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I Major ,Scale Root on the Foartb. ,S,triag

When you start onthe fourth string, the shape changes, IFIGUIRIE 13'-7 shows the new scale shape on the fOl..lllh string,

Major Scale Root on. the Thil". String

This :~s the last string that you place scales on. While it's possible to place a scale on a bigher string~lo.r example, the second Of first-the amount of silifUrag requiredwould make the scale awk:\¥ard and clumsy, FIGUR~ 6·8 shows the C--'lajof scale on the third string.

This scale starts with the tirs:~ fillger, unlike the previous scales that all began with the second finger. This scale shape is very comfortahle to playthe shape Ja]],s into your han d w@!l

Maldne .M'usic with the' Majer Scat,e

Now thai you've loaded your hands up with lots of shapes; let's tryto apply these scale shapes to music. Wi1hout actually what you know, this is fust useless lnio, So where do you use the major scales? Simply put, it you can use the major pentatonic scale In a song" you can use the major scale in its place, because the two scales substitute for each other. They substitute sowell because they eontal n the same notes; the pentatonic scale just leaves out a rew notes from the maior. took at the notes of a C-Major scale anda C·M.ajor pentatonic scale, and compare:

C-MajIOl' scale: C, D, E, ~, G, A, B, C C-Majo:r pentatonic scale: C, D, E, G, A, C

As yOM can see from t he two scales, the ma.]or scale eontai Its two extra notes: F and B. These notes round out the major scale and give it a more complete sound. The major pentstonlc scale is ac:tually a modified :forrn of tile major scale that purposely .I@aves those notes out In short, since bolh scales come from the same place, you can use either scale.

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Lei your ears be the ultimate guide as to what you shoulduse, IF,IGlJIR!E 6·9' si.1QWS a nice major scale exampleover an E .. Ma]or chord.

When you st:udya nexample, pay altention to several things. First. notice that the 'e;\CIJmple doesn't just play up and down the scale: that isn't musical. You h~ to "juggle" the notes or the scale around to be musical.Look at the nextexample in F,IGUlR:E 6-UI o~ an interesti ng way ro j uggl'e notes arcund,

If you remember from the Full-scale diagram of FU3URE '0":3; there are a lot of ways to play this scale. The Jour scale shapes [ discussed just scratch the surface, but they do provide the best place to start If you can funy memorize those lour shapes an over the neck, and improvise with them, you're on your way. These scales serve as options. The more options you have when you go 10 play the guitar, the more creative you can be.

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The Minor S,c:ale

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The minor scale is the next scale you should really have control. of. Minor scales contain seven notes, just ]ike major scales. The moveable positions are the most useful ways to pl.ay the minor scale, The Io]lQll,\ring. examples are in E minor, whichts a key yQU'U p,~ay a lot of rock and blues in, so it's a logical scale to start with ..

Remenlber, your abiJ~ty to move these scales into dUJe;rE!nl keys is jhe most important goal. Learning scales ill just on e key will restrict YOllI to pl.aying in only that one ~.ey. Many musicians explain the difference between majorand minor as a dlfferenCle in teeling .. , Major has a happy feeling" and minor has a sad [e,eUng. While this may sound silly, many

fi I m and TV music composers use minot sounds during sad scenes, and major sounds duringjoyous ones,

Minor Scale Sixth String Boot

Just Hke the major scale, the minor scale is a completely moveable scale position .a Since this scale form starts with the first Unger, just shift the scale to whatever my you want FIGIlJRE 6·111 shows an E-millOf scale with a sixth string root ..

Miaor ,Seide fti-tb Striag'RoOoOt

The major scale positionis the same whether you start it on the sixth string or the rifth str]ng, making: it easy to remember, Same goes ror~he minor scale; the pattern is tile same on the filth string. as, it is on the sixth strl ng. Look at FIGURE 6·12.

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, fIG!JllRiE i"U Locations of both Es en sixth and iliihh stringls

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-- Remember that while the shape stays the same, the locations of Ih€ notes on the sixth and fifth stringsare ClmerenL When you play en Eminor scale on the lilth string U has the same shape as the sixth string form, but you heveto move it to a d.i.fferent fret to stay in the same key. Youca.n't just move in up one string and ]gn.ore the placement of the root Look at FWGURE '6~13 find note how the root moves Irorn the twelfth fret of the sixth sb'ing." to the seventh fret 01 the fifth string.

Minor Scale :Foartb- and Tbird~String Roots

Since yOQ~ know the drill by now, here are the last two scale forms

or minor, starting on the fourth and third strings. Look at FUri,URiE.S· 6·14 and fHI5 to learn fhese shapes.too, so you can play the minor scales comlortably all over the neck,

Putting the Mi'nor S,cale to Us'e

Where do you use the minor scales? Just as the major scale is a subsdtute for the major pentetcnic, the minor scale is a subslituteffor the

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minor pentatonic. The minor scale arid the mmor pentatonic scale share notes" too. ]0 rock musk, a large number of rock songs are in minor ,keys" The heavier the music gets, the more minor it seems to be, making the minor scale a must-know. Experiment with the 1TI]]lOr scales in place of pentatonlcs in your favorite songs" IFliGUREi 6-16 shows an E-min,or lick you can try.

So lar, all of the major and rnmor scales you'velearn~d h~ been small seven-note scales. As YOM remern ber from the lull fing~rboard chart 0 f

C Major 10 fUlURE6-J. there are a. ~O~ mOre note options than the four smell posit ions you know The reason for I,eaming the sma.~~ shapes ~us

to ~ive you an idea 01 how you can transler the shape1:l!cross the g:uUar. Sometimes these small one<tctave shapes can be Ihnulu.riIg U you want to p.~ay longer examples, but have no fear:..:there are much longer siCal€! shapes that ~en yOI:! pl,ay without shHtin,garouod too much.

These other shapes aH~gre<lJt f~)r playing iOr'lger and more complicated '~lds. Some otthe shapes are i,onge!f ,exJtensiomJ:S of the small shapes, and some axe newf[]1gerirlgs. Bijt remem bel' one thing: Guitarists can getvery ca1ugluup in the v]s.ij,a:~componeiflt of piaying guitar, Unhe shepe dtange.'3 suddenl~, mal1lY p!,aye~s believe that the: seals has also changed, Whfle; the visual component is i.mpo'ftant, it's equallyimpcrtent to koow whatnotes you're playung. not j!!J!$thow they look in a shape pattern. If you're curious about a scale shape that you have stumbled upon, Ilgt~re out what the notes are .. You may find that nheUilew seals shape pJays exactly the same notes ,~n s hort, there are a gre~t many ways to p~,ay scales and chords on g~ iti;lr.; what holds them together are the notes CO]1ta~ ned within the scales,

Just by extending. the scale into the second octave you can m.ake~h~ scales much moreetiecrae, By e;o;:;tendl.n!g these scales upward into the second octave, you aren't adding any new notes tothe scale: all you're doing is repeetlng the note order higher up 0]1 the neck, Botth the major and minor scale shapes start: winh a I<limU~ar pnsltlonand then aCid ona hlg!:ier part, Again, you are build lng 0[1 what you already know.

FIGURE (H11 shows atwe-octave C-Ma-jor scale startl IlQ on the sixth strIng andeztezrding all the way up to the first string.

Its .amazing what a difference adding the: second octave makes, You can take tn.€ same idea andextend the m I nor scale into two octaves, Look at FilG'U'RE '6.:18, a two-octave minor scale fromthe SI xth str]rlg.


FU,iUIiiE '6·17 C-Majm scale 1ii1l two-octave.5. root en the siixtifl string

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""". oJ! ' .... Learning longer shapes with roots on th€i s,i xth and fmh stri ngs is an important step to being able to utili~e 11.1€ neck. Let's look at longer major and minor scales with roots on the' URh string. When you place a scale on the fifth string. it's harder to get the full second 'Octave; you have' only five strings Ito work with. 1b complete the second octave you have to make a shift or a slide at. the top ot the scale to. complete the octave.

The maier scale starts out with the same familiar shape and shifts up to complete the second octave This scale aClll1,J!al~ combines. two smaller major scales.and you add the shift to combine them. The scales YOIll combine are a major 011 the fifth string:. and major on the third stllng:. !F~GiURE 6-19 shows you those scales combined into one long: example,

The minor scale has a. less complicated sh epean d stays in one spot The on~y modification 'yDU make is reaching up for the, lastnote with your pinky .. This is-a great minor scale shap.€ and is very comforteble to play. Look at ,FI:GIU.RE ,&,.20 to see th is scale in action,

Playing scales w~th three notes on every string can. be very effider!!t By placing three notes on e'i..'E'J"Y string" you. end up with long mils that don't shift too far. F~G!UlRE6-2,1 is an example of a three-noteper-stnng G·Major scale.

As you can see from the music, HIls scale covers a lot of ground.

Technically; you have to stretch your fingers on 'the low strings, but this can be done easily Tbis is a great scale shape for long runs. Try playing the musk in F~GlIl~E 6·22, where you use hamrners-ons in the scale shape.

The hammer-ens ma~E the picking less frequent, and you can play this one' real~.yfast~ it's a. grset showstopper ]ick!

Generate Ma1eria1s

By now you have a good handle on the most common shapes and forms of rnejor and minot .. While this isn't all of them, these are the ones

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that you need to master first lf you master these quiCkly, 01" already know a lot of these, pay great attention to the full neck diagram shown in FUiUHiE 6.3. Neck. dlsgrarns let yOlJ view the entire array of choices, and from that you can make your ow 11. scale positions H you wish .. Ma.king the diagrams is very easy-there are even computer programs to do it fOf YOIl! (see Chapter 19 for more Oil thls), Ybu now possess enough lntorrnanon to keep yourself busy for several lifetimes, Learning scales is a big topic, so take your time, ,~

a."pter '7

Music Theory

M~:~ th;~~c~ i~an::~:::n~XP!~:

structed .. Music theory hemps in composing and understanding scales, and further explains how music is put together. It helps you understand why certain scales or chords sound better than others to your ears.

An Introduction to Theory

First came music: then came musictheory Music tbeoryis mere~ a way to explain in an understandable way what came before it Music theory has many practiceleppllcatlons because it deals with explaining SOI1 ic events in literary terms, When you bear a. piece of musk" trying to explain what you've heard in words can be trite and ineffective. Calling a Hendrix solo "powerful;' or "moving" doesn't explain the music at all; all it does is convey an emotion that you fell wIlJI.€ listening. While it may be more ccnven lent to describe a pieceof music as a magical moment of inspiration, the reality ls t hat th ere is always something to €}:traot from the: music in terms ol theory and somethhlg Y01l,i. can learn from it.

When you 11 ave a co ncrete name for someth ing you've heard, you have the key to repeanng it whenever you want, lt'sakin to stumbling upon a great restaurant by accident, and not asking for directions back, If you'd like to eat there again, you should. ask. for directions. If you hear a great chord change, or a melody that sounds unusual, 'to let it fly by you seems silly H youwould like to mtegrste ~t into yOUJ own music" n you could figure 'Out what YOM were hearing." then you would be able to recreate i~ irn your own musk.

Th,e S)'stem

Music is based on 1'1 system that has. been repeating and slowly evolving since music began. The system that holds music together is based on the interval, An interval. is a measure of distance between notes-a measuring stick for musical distance. When melodies are played, the distances b etween the notes are intervals, When you pi,ay intervals in specific orders, you can build scales, When intervals combine and are played si multaneously you get chords.

Thefocus of this chepter Is on intervals. Once you understand 'ill1tervalls, yotl'''' be ready for the other musk theory that. is integr,atecil thn:l1ugnout the rest of this book .

... ~------------~~~--------------~~--------

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