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Creating Music with Chord Progressions

A chord progression is a group of chords that you use to create music. Some chord progressions just sound better than others, so it pays to experiment. The following table, which shows commonly used major-key [more…]

Examining Chord Progressions

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How to Read Note Values

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Guitar Neck Diagrams for Major and Minor Scales

When practicing guitar, use these miniature neck diagrams to remind yourself exactly where to position your left-hand fingers. The headings include the scale formulas; use them to help you understand the [more…]

Playing Notes on Your Guitar's Neck

Use this 12-fret neck diagram when practicing guitar to show you the notes in letter names for all the frets on all six guitar strings up to and including the 12th fret. It can help you move any scale, [more…]

Guitar Exercise For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When you’re practicing guitar, use these diagrams to show the finger positions to play major and minor scales, as well as the notes on the neck of your guitar. The latter will help you change starting [more…]

Notes on the Neck of a Guitar

The following neck diagram shows the notes for all the frets on the guitar up to and including the 12th fret. Use this diagram to find individual notes on the guitar or to transpose any movable chord or [more…]

Essential Guitar Tools and Accessories

Following is a list of 12 essential tools and accessories that will help you keep your fingers and your guitar in tip-top shape and in good working order and provide you with the hardware to create a variety [more…]

24 Common Guitar Chords for Different Music Styles

The following figure shows 24 common, easy-to-play guitar chords that you can use in many different songs in a variety of styles — including folk, country, rock, and blues. Left-hand fingerings appear [more…]

The Ten Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time

From casual players to Grammy-winning superstars, virtually all guitarists can cite a single recording as the defining touchstone in their early musical lives. A song featuring a great guitar part can [more…]

Guitar Theory: Modes of the Major Scale

As you study guitar theory, you'll hear terms like mode, tonic, and scale. The most common scale in music is the major scale. It includes seven degrees, or pitches, and involves seven steps or intervals [more…]

Getting to Know the Notes on a Guitar Fretboard

Guitar players must know the notes on the fretboard to keep track of the specific scale patterns and chords they play all over the neck. But rather than memorize every single note in every fret on every [more…]

Sample Major Scale Patterns in Guitar Theory

As you explore guitar theory, you'll learn that the major scale is a series of notes played in an ascending and descending fashion. Guitarists use the major scale to play melodies, riffs, solos, and bass [more…]

Guitar Theory: Roman Numerals and the Major Scale Chord Sequence

Guitar theory reveals that the major scale is stacked in thirds to make triads and chords. Each scale degree of the major scale produces a triad and major or minor chord. Starting with the first degree [more…]

Guitar Theory For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Guitar theory is an area of study that explains how you can play, improvise, and compose popular music on the guitar fretboard — and why certain elements of music go together the way they do. Dive into [more…]

Using an Open G Tuning and Playing Guitar Like Keith Richards

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has crafted some of the most famous guitar riffs of all time. What's unique about his style is that most of his signature hooks are chord changes, not scale riffs [more…]

Guitar Theory in Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone"

"Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan is considered one of the most influential compositions in popular music. Harmonically, it's a great example of using the major scale's sequence of major and minor chords [more…]

10 Steps to the "Hotel California" Guitar Solo

"Hotel California" by the Eagles features one of the best-known extended dual guitar solos of all time, and understanding the music theory behind it will help you master it. The chord sequence isn't a [more…]

Guitar Theory: Looking at Lead Patterns

Guitar players can use several types of scales and patterns to play melodies, riffs, and solos, but some are used far more than others. For example, the plain major scale and Mixolydian mode are very common [more…]

How to Navigate a Guitar Fretboard

Guitar players navigate the fretboard in a few ways. First, they know the location of some key notes. For example, they often know the notes along the 6th and 5th strings well and use them to track chord [more…]

Basics of Scales for the Guitar

A scale is a series of notes played one at a time in an ascending or descending fashion. Guitarists use scales to play melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos, and bass lines. Different types of scales make [more…]

How to Work with Chords on the Guitar

Guitar chords are built from groups of three notes called triads. Understanding how to use the major scale to build triads and recognizing the resultant sequence of major and minor chords are two extremely [more…]

How to Use Strings 6 and 5 on the Guitar

Guitar players use the notes along strings 6 and 5 to track other notes on other strings, so the first thing to do is memorize the natural notes on strings 6 and 5. The natural notes are the letters A [more…]

How to Group Notes on the Guitar

Grouping notes together on the guitar helps you remember string areas that don’t connect easily to a common open chord or open string. As you review the note groups, take a few moments to rehearse all [more…]

How to Measure Intervals on a Guitar

Just as builders use measurements to identify distances between points, guitarists use intervals to identify distances between pitches. Intervals are important to understand because you use them to build [more…]

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