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Guitar Corner

Here I am at work, playing on the Tippett Studio guitar.

At the the Guitar Corner you will find a resource for all things guitar related.

My Gear

This D10SCE is very similar to my D10CE from 1997.
Clicking on image will take you to

People always tell me that they want to learn to play the guitar. Then they say that they hate it because it is boring because they don't know how to play. They become frustrated and then disinterested.

This Carvin DC400 electric guitar is very similar to my own.

I myself, spent 2 years taking guitar lessons, stumbling over guitar tableture and learning notes to "Mary had a little lamb". The only joy I had during my period taking lessons was at the end of the lesson, I would have a cassette tape that I brought in and my teacher would translate a couple lines a week until I had the whole song transcribed into "easy tab". I learned Metallica, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, and a ton of other songs. I didn't learn anything about how music works or how to write songs.

In college I bought an acoustic guitar and one of those posters with all the guitar chords on them. I set out learning the major and minor scales for each note. I tried to play them in order and then I tried different combinations to get my fingers used to changes.

At the same time I was taking History of Jazz with John Earn. I highly recommend this class. John Earl has an outlook on music and life that changed my perspective of myself and music.

In order to understand Jazz music we needed to understand music theory. Our first lessons in music theory were about song structure. We learned about the melody, harmony chorus, bridge, and all the parts that make up a song's structure. We learned that all songs were based on chord progressions, which were a sequence of notes from a particular scale.

My revelation happened when we were studying Miles Davis and Modal Jazz. The principle in this form of jazz involves improvisations based on particular modes.(scales) Simultaneously, I was learning about the blues. With the blues, there are standard song structures based on a 3 chord progression and the improvisation (solo) is created by selecting notes from the (blues) scale as the chords progress.

This chart shows the blues scale in the key of E.


This chart can be used to learn the Blues scale. Look at the key. This should probably say legend as not to be confused with the musical term, "Key".

Use the key to find the root note. This is the green circle and diamond. The root note is the Key of the scale. This means that because we have the green notes on E, E is our Key. This is the Blues scale in the Key of E.

Basically, we are doing this backwards, because if you were jamming with a band, you would need to know what key the song you were playing was in. Once you know the Key of the scale you are playing in, you plug in your scale pattern, and slide the root note to its proper fret and rock on!

So in this example, we are in the Key of E of the Blues scale. The patterns of scales can be moved to any position. Simply slide this patters root note from one spot to another.

You will notice the more saturated group of notes compares to the duller ones. They are all the same scale. They are all repetitions of the same notes. I made some more saturated so you can see the basic pattern shape from the top string to the bottom string. The pattern that slides is two octaves long. You will notice that at the beginning of every octave is a green note or root note. It makes sense because the scale starts over every octave. Don't get confused because the pattern is two octaves. Just learn the pattern, and learn how to slide it. Don't worry about total understanding. Just play the pattern and see how the notes repeat.

Why don't scale books show you all these notes? It is very repetitive and you will soon find that some notes are easier to hit than others depending on where you start your scale from. Ultimately this chart is a way of speeding up the revelation and getting you comfortable with scales. I hope that you will look at this chart, and look for patterns within the scale. The cool thing about music is that the more you learn about it the greater the mystery becomes. Why beat yourself up over scales when you can easily learn them and use them to explore the real mysteries of music itself.

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