Building 7th Chords From Triads

This lesson is a follow up to the lesson on figuring out the seven chords in any key. In that lesson, we took the major scale and stacked 3rds on each degree of the scale, to produce seven chords that could be transposed in any key. You can read that lesson here. Here is a brief summary of the lesson. The Major scale has seven notes. If we build triads on each note of the major scale, by stacking them in 3rds, we get the following seven chords: Maj - min - min - Maj - Maj - min - dim Here is an example in the key of C … [Read more...]

How To Master Basic Guitar Chords

How many chords do you need to know? That's sort of a 'how long is a piece of string?' question, but in this case there is an answer, depending on what you're trying to achieve. There are 15 chords that when mastered, will allow you to play thousands upon thousands of songs. These 15 chords are 'open chords', which means they're played in the first position, and use at least some open strings. There are 15 open chords that just happen to get used more than the others. It's basically the 80/20 rule - most of the time, we use a small percentage of available chords. Because these 15 chords … [Read more...]

How To Figure Out The 7 Chords In Any Key

Why is a chord a chord? It’s a question philosophers have grappled with since the beginning of time. Ok, not really, but it is the subject of this lesson. Guitarists have a great dependance on chords. Many guitarists put themselves into the ‘rhythm-guitarist’ category and decide that that’s all they’ll ever learn. But for all the time we devote to learning chords and using them in music, we often overlook what they actually are, at a fundamental level. There are a few reasons why this happens. The main one is that we tend to learn shapes, which means that we can play a D minor chord without … [Read more...]

Triads Will Teach You How To Understand Chords

hiMost guitarists play chords by learning shapes. By learning commonly used shapes, you have the tools to play thousands of songs. This is a great way to enter the world of chords and start playing music. One of the downfalls of this is that it is very easy to learn how to play chords, without knowing exactly what chords are. In this lesson, we are going to break down exactly what chords are, by exploring triads. … [Read more...]

How To Improvise When You Never Have

What would you do if you had to improvise a guitar solo and had never done it before? Let’s say you were in a band situation and you only had a few minutes to figure out what you were going to do. Analysing a chord progression and figuring out which scales should be used at different points can be tricky. It can also be hard to execute scales on the fly, while being musical and sounding confident. The hardest thing for guitarists who are just starting out with improvising, is just that - getting started. I often teach students who simply want to know what to do, when jamming in a certain … [Read more...]

Do Arpeggios And CAGED Work Together?

If you've been reading up on the many lessons relating to scales on this site, you will most likely know the importance of learning scales in five positions (known as the CAGED system). By learning scales in five positions, we cover the entire fretboard, which allows us to play any given scale no matter what position we are in. But what about arpeggios? Do they work in the same way? … [Read more...]