- Did you ever wonder how guitar scales and guitar chords were built?
- Did the “Theory” behind it all seem too difficult?
- Did you ever wonder how these guitar pros could find and play them all, anywhere on the guitar and all the way up the neck?
- Did you ever think that all those scales and chords would just be too difficult to master?
- Are you taking guitar lessons and just can’t understand the “why” behind the guitar instruction?
- When you are sitting at home practicing your guitar, did you ever wish you could “SEE” what your instructor or the lesson is saying?
- Have you been playing for a while and just can’t seem to get to the next step?
Don’t let it discourage you, it’s not as difficult as it seems!
It can be easy to stumble on something and just feel like it’s just too hard, but when it comes to playing the guitar you’ll find that being able understand the theory and how it all fits together is very simple (or very difficult), It all depends on how you look at it.
The Pickin’ Tool makes it all very easy to understand.
1. How are chords and scales built?
You have Major chords, Minor chords, Minor 7th chords, diminished chords, augmented chords and the list goes on…
You may think you have to learn a Major scale formula and a Minor scale formula and the formulas for each and every scale and chord.
You can learn them all with one simple formula, “The Major Scale Formula”. That’s right; all you have to know is one simple formula and how to use it!
The Pickin’ Tool is an instructional aid for guitar players that will explain all this in a way a sixth grader can understand and give you a tool you can use to “Visualize It”. Remember; it’s all how you look at it.
2. The theory seems too difficult?
How does a minor chord come from a Major scale? The minor chord is simply the 1st, the ♭3rd (flat 3rd) and the 5th of the Major scale. To ♭ (flat) a note you simply bring it down ½ step. All chords are built from the Major scale.
The Major scale is very easy.
There are twelve tones in music: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G and G#.
The Major scale has seven tones in it. There are eight degrees in the Major scale. i.e. the A Major scale is (A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A). There are only a few things to remember.
Number one: The first and eighth degrees are the same note one octave apart.
Number two: A whole step consists of two half steps.
Number three: There is a whole step between every note except between the notes B and C and between the notes E and F, these notes are only ½ step part. When raising a note or scale a half step, the note is represented by a sharp ( # ). When lowering a note or scale a half step, the note is represented by a flat (♭).
Example: The note A, raised ½ step is A#, and A# raised ½ half step is B. Then B, lowered ½ step is B♭ and B♭ lowered ½ step is A. Therefore, A# and B♭ are the same note, just represented differently.
Remember: a whole step consists of two half steps!.
Since there is only a ½ step from B to C, and a whole step consists of two half steps, a whole step up from B is C#. A whole step down from C is B♭.
Example: B up ½ step is C. And C up ½ step is C#.
The same applies to the notes E and F.
The formula below shows the eight degrees of the Major scale. There is a whole step between each degree except between the 3rd and the 4th degrees and between the 7th and the 8th degrees. These are only a half step apart.
WS = Whole Step
1/2 = Half Step
The Major Scale Formula
|1st –WS||2nd –WS||3rd –1/2||4th –WS||5th –WS||6th –WS||7th –1/2||8th|
In the scales above the 1st notes are the natural Major or Ionian mode scale. How can you build a minor scale from the Major scale? Simply build the Major scale and flat the 3rd, the 6th and the 7th.
Or you can build the scale starting from the 6th position of the Major scale formula, just remember the 1st and the 8th are the same note.
Build an A minor scale according to the instructions above. You will see that the notes in the A minor scale are A,B,C,D,E,F and G, the same notes in the C Major scale; look above.
In the C Major scale above you will see that the note A is the 6th of the C Major scale. This is the Aeolian Mode in the key of A. The natural A minor scale and the C Major scale have exactly the same notes. These are harmonic equivalents. We will get into modes more as this blog progresses.
To build a minor scale using the Major scale formula you can: 1. Build a Major scale in any key you wish and go back and flat the 3rd, the 6th and the 7th or you can simply start the minor scale you wish to build on the sixth step of the Major scale formula, remember that the 1st and the 8th steps of the Major scale are the same note and go up from there.
The sixth step of each scale above is the root note (or minor first) of the minor scale it represents. Therefore the G minor scale has the same notes as the B♭ Major scale. Look above.
The minor scale is the Aeolian mode scale, all modes can be figured this way. Do not get me wrong! This is not to say the that the C Major and the A minor scale are musically the same scale, they simply have the same notes and this is an easy way to figure out what they are.
3. Do you want to play any scale or chord anywhere on the guitar?
The guitar is a wonderful instrument in that you can play any scale or chord just about anywhere on the neck and can figure a different voicing for any chord or arpeggio in different octaves all over the neck. Scales and chords form patterns or shapes on the guitar neck. Let’s take a minor form and a couple of minor pentatonic forms in the key of A. These forms are laid out in tablature fashion. The string at the top of your guitar (the low E string) is shown as the string at the bottom of the box. Like you’re looking down at your guitar.
The numbers are the fingers I use to play these forms. The colors indicate the intervals of the scale. Red is the 1st or root of the scale, green is the minor 3rd and blue is the 5th.
If you learn these forms you can play them in any key. Here you see the A minor, the A minor pentatonic form starting at the 5th fret in one position and the A minor pentatonic starting on the 5th string at the 12th fret. Don’t get caught up in the interval colors at this point, just concentrate on the patterns or forms that scales and chords make. We’ll get into intervals more when we study arpeggios. There you will see where the colors come in handy.
If you move any entire form up two frets you are now playing in the key of B Minor. The root notes tell you what key you’re in. There are five basic patterns for each scale and many more that you can learn or create.
The same is true with chords, you just have to compensate for open strings. The Pickin’ Tool will show you all this and more. To see what professionals have to say about The Pickin’ Tool click on Guitar Teachers.
4. Master Guitar Scales and Guitar Chords
Learn and practice the forms you find or create in every key, soon you will be able to put your music to them anywhere on the neck. Learning a scale and playing music with it are two different things but once you master the form you will have no problem moving to any note in the form you want. Remember, play it from the heart.
5. Having trouble understanding the why behind what you are being taught?
The Pickin’ Tool has all the instructions for building scales and chords and will teach you how they all work together. These instructions are the easiest you will ever see written and though nothing happens without work and practice a sixth grader can figure it all out with The Pickin’ Tool.
6. Is it hard to remember what your guitar teacher has shown you?
It’s hard sometimes to be able to visualize and understand what you are trying to figure out on your own or what your guitar teacher is telling you. The Pickin’ Tool has all the instructions for building scales and chords and has two Full Size illustrations of the guitar neck with all the notes for a guitar in standard tuning. These necks are laminated so they can be marked with a dry erase marker in any way you want, put in front of you and studied with guitar in hand. These can be conveniently folded and thrown into your guitar case!
7. Do you know all the scales and chords and need to find a way to take it to the next level?
Get there with The Pickin’ Tool.