3 Steps to Learning How to Apply Modes...



Modes offer guitar players inspiration for improvising and composing by introducing unique sounds not included in the basic major and natural minor scales. 

When adding modal concepts, your melodic ideas can zero in on the chord tones of progressions creating better phrases and more interesting lines...

If you've played the guitar for a few years, then there's no doubt that you've heard of the "Modes." The "Major Scale Modes" make up one of the most important areas of playing guitar solos out there.

Starting with the basic major scale and moving onto the natural minor, the guitarist will undoubtedly realize that certain progressions cause note selction issues. This might be due to the appearance of a non-diatonic chord, or from an extension placed upon a diatonic chord.



Whatever it may be, modes will eventually come into play. And, you'll need a few basic ideas to help you make sense of them in your music. Below are a few of the foundation ideas you'll need to comprehend to be able to apply modes.

NOTE: Prior to any attempts at beginning to use modes, spend time studying the basic major and minor scales, the major and minor pentatonic scales, and the key signatures along with the process of diatonic harmony. If you do not understand these principles, Modes will generally cause you more confusion than they will help you.

For help in these areas, feel free to contact me regarding one on one Skype classes.



STEP 1). DECIDE WHICH MODE TO USE:
In deciding which mode to use, start with the scale or mode which best fits and includes all of, or at least the most, notes from the chords in the song or progression and which best suits the mood of the song or the mood you’re trying to create.

MAJOR MODAL SOUNDS:

For Basic Major key Situations: Ionian (the basic major scale)

For Jazzy /Altered Major Situations: Lydian

For Blues /Jazz / Classic Rock Major Situations: Mixolydian

MINOR MODAL SOUNDS:

For Natural Minor key Situations: Aeolian (the natural minor scale)

For Jazzy /Blues /Latin /Classic Rock Minor Situations: Dorian

For Jazz /Altered /Spanish Minor Situations: Phrygian

DIMINISHED /ALTERED MODAL SOUNDS

For Jazz /Altered /Diminished Situations: Locrian




STEP 2). LEARN MODE APPLICATION:
Process #1). Modes are required when you have to make scale tone adjustments to target chord tones which are “outside” the notes /tones of the diatonic scale. However, if you’re dealing with a fairly simple diatonic chord progression (one which exclusively uses only the chords built from the notes of the underlying key), then you are able to stick with the basic major or natural minor scales.

Example 1a). Diatonic progression (key of G Major /Ionian Mode)



Note: All chords used in example 1a, are within the key of "G major."

Example 1b). Non-diatonic progression (key of G Mixolydian Mode)



Note: The "D Minor" chord in progression 1b, is Non-diatonic due to its "F natural" chord tone, (F is sharp in G Major). The "Dm" chord ends up producing the sound of "G" Mixolydian.


Process #2). Modal ideas can be used to pick up any "outside" notes (non diatonic) over a particular outside chord (trigger chord) when it appears in your progression. The mode covers the unique chord tones in the triggering chord, and allows for a better fit to the outside chord when it appears. Progressions can be composed of chords that trigger the use of a mode in every measure or in only certain measures.

Example 2). Dorian mode progression, (A Dorian - trigger chords are both chords of the progression; the "Am6" and the "D Major" both trigger the Dorian effect).


NOTE: Remember that instead of using a mode you can always try hitting trigger notes by bending up to chord tones, use an arpeggio, or by the use of chromatic notes to walk up or down into any chord or scale tones required.





STEP 3). UNDERSTAND HOW TO COMBINE MODES:

Let’s take a typical Dorian progression with a minor i chord and a Major IV chord, like Gm to C. While using a G Dorian modal scale will work over both modes, sometimes it can be interesting to use the G Aeolian mode over the Gm half of the progression (emphasizing the b6 of the G natural minor scale), but switch to G Dorian mode (i.e. raising the 6th) over the C (IV) chord to emphasize the Major 3rd of the C chord.

Example 3).  The "Gm7(#5)" chord promotes "G Aeolian Mode." But, the "C Major" chord introduces the color of the "G Dorian" mode.



NOTE: If the progression moved to a "Dm" for the v chord, G Dorian will continue to work, but so would G Aeolian, since both of those modes also contain all of the notes of "Dm" (D F A) in their scale. 

Another way to look at it is that diatonic chords of G Dorian and G Aeolian modes contain a minor v chord (Dm). … If instead, the V chord is D Major, neither the diatonic G Dorian or G Aeolian modes fit since D contains an F# in it’s construction [D F# A].

In that case, we could use an D Ionian modal scale – D Major scale – over the D chord, but that takes our minor sounding progression and temporarily makes it sound Major and, in this case, not in a good way.

So instead we might try to find a minor sounding mode that also works. The "A Aeolian" (natural minor) contains an "F," ( not an "F#" ), so that won’t work particularly well. However, an A Dorian scale would raise that 6th from minor b6 to Major 6 and catch the F#, but it also contains a b7 (G), which is the root note of both our G Aeolian and G Dorian modal scales that we have found to be very pleasing and better fit the “mood” of our progression.




CONCLUSION:
Remember, the point here is that in choosing which modes to use when combining them, it’s usually best try to pick modes that either both contain all the notes from all the chords in the progression, (or where that’s not possible), choose a different mode to accommodate an “outside” chord tone/note, try to select a mode to play over the “outside” chord which at least creates the same “mood” over the progression being played,

The progressions you compose will tend to sound better if the modality of the song or progression remains the same. Purposefully incorporating a blues note or an “outside” note can work to add color or to create tension. This can sound really cool when you want to resolve back into a chord tone or if you wanted to create /follow the unique melody of the son.

Also, purposefully changing the overall minor v. Major modality entirely (to support a new key change or new progression intentionally written to create a completely different mood), can be excellent for a bridge or chorus, or underneath a solo to make it sound more interesting.

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Is it Good to Practice Guitar with a Metronome?



Practicing guitar with or without a metronome is a hot-button topic with guitar players. While the metronome is a very important part of what actually “develops” your ability to play guitar in time, it can also drive you crazy when trying to build basic technical skills...

When beginner and intermediate guitar players first start to come up with melodies and lead guitar parts, their patterns on the neck are generally played in “straight” divisions of the beat.

For example, this might be long runs of sixteenth notes, triplets or quarter notes. Even though the ideas players invent might sound good, and more or less be in time, the phrasing can begin to sound somewhat robotic and predictable, even if the player is using different scales.



PRACTICE WITHOUT A METRONOME (RUBATO):
An excellent solution to avoid getting stuck on the same rhythms in your music is to practice using a phrasing technique known as “rubato.” This timing technique refers to intentionally playing melodies without a clear rhythm by expanding and suddenly contracting the duration of pitches. In other words, you steal some time off of a few notes, then add that time to other notes.

Rubato is not about playing out of time. Instead, it is about developing a high level of rhythmic control. There is a noticeable difference between playing in the style of rubato and playing in a manner that reflects “not being in time.” It all comes down to developing phrasing technique and having great rhythmic control.

When you play using rubato, it becomes obvious that the notes of your phrases “intentionally” do not stick to any predetermined rhythm and the phrasing sounds more expressive as a result.

In contrast, if you play notes that are (or should be) played in a strict rhythmic pattern, but are not played in time, the music then sounds “out of time."



PRACTICE WITH A METRONOME:
If you are always practicing guitar with a metronome, or always practicing without a metronome, it will limit your ability to reach your full potential as a guitar player. In other words, there are specific times when you should be using the metronome, and then there are other times when you shouldn’t.

The metronome is a rhythmic practice tool and it should be used “when necessary” to overcome specific guitar playing problems. The way a metronome is to be used will depend on the musical goals that you are trying to reach, and it will depend upon the specific problems that you are trying to overcome in your playing.

Below are examples of when using a metronome can be very effective.

- As you develop accuracy with scales and arpeggios
- If you need to memorize scale or arpeggio layouts with pre-set fingerings
- When developing speed for a line, lick or statement
- For timing and feel development (i.e., rhythm guitar)
- When you need to understand the flow of time in a piece
- Mastering the sense of meter required to record against loops
- When creating loop tracks

The above list is a general one, however the points given are some of the most important areas of timing that can be developed to higher levels with a metronome.

If you lack experience in knowing which guitar practice strategies to use, work with a guitar teacher who can guide you toward making your practicing time more effective.


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Blues Scale for Lead Guitar...


GuitarBlog:
Blues Scale for Lead Guitar...

The Blues Scale can be used in several different styles of music with broad application across the fingerboard. If you've never studied how to use the Blues Scale and how it can be applied across the entire neck in the styles of; Classic Rock, Jazz, Funk, Swing and traditional Blues, then this lesson will offer you a tremendous amount of helpful examples...

Part One and Two of this lesson plan explore the use of Blues Scale in several styles across the entire span of the fingerboard. Special focus is given to how the Blues Scale can be performed in a more "along the neck" fashion. Smooth connections are demonstrated for the performance of this scale in multiple fingerboard locations.

PART ONE: In the first example, a Jazz /Funk feel from off of a "D9" chord provides the back-drop for a phrase in "D Blues" that covers several fingerboard positions. The phrase in the example transitions across the neck using Blues scale patterns from the 10th position to the 3rd moving by way position jumps along with a finger slide.

In example two an, "E7(#9)" chord joins together Blues scale patterns from the lower register of the neck. The phrase in example two is reminiscent of licks used by Hendrix or Jimi Page. Wider intervals are applied to cover the span of the neck creating greater distance across the sound of this musical line.


PART TWO: Example three takes a Jazzy /Swing feel and combines the swing /shuffle rhythm with a more straight forward eighth-note triplet part to create a strong framework for the Blues scale. This example highlights the popular application of how the Blues scale can operate over this triple-meter feel.

In example four, the Dominant 7th chord takes center stage with a "chord and scale" phrasing idea that uses a "licks around chords" approach for playing lines associated to a chord. 

The chord of "Eb7" (based off of the 5th string), is the core harmony where the use of "Eb Blues Scale" is applied to follow each chord voicing with a melodic statement. The notes of the corresponding Blues scale tap into the chord and help to connect the chord with a strongly associated melodic phrase.



Blues Scale for Lead Guitar



Related Videos:

RELATED VIDEOS for:
Blues Scale for Lead Guitar... 

Fast Blues Scale Runs

Blues Guitar Phrasing

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6 Things Successful Musicians Do That You Can Too...



A huge part of being a successful, working musician is learning from and following the lead of others. This is not about copying sounds and styles, but rather about looking at what other musicians do to become their best selves...

There are a lot of little things that are helpful for becoming more productive, creative, focused, and in the end, more successful. While they aren’t all easy, these actions are at least worth trying.



1. Get up earlier
Musicians (and those working in the industry) don’t need to adhere to the stereotype of partying all night and sleeping all day. That’s certainly fun, but it’s not conducive to running a successful musicians life, and if you aren’t already, you should absolutely start thinking about your artistic career as a business.

You’ll need all the time you can get to work on every aspect of your career, and you have to work during the same hours as people like booking agents, managers, the media.

Try setting your alarm for just half an hour earlier than you're used to waking up for a few weeks and see how it goes. It may take some getting used to, but in the end, it could pay off.

2. Eat breakfast
It might sound silly, but beginning a morning with a meal can do a lot to set up the rest of the day. It gives your body fuel, it helps your mind think clearly and effectively for many hours to come, and it serves as an official start to what can wind up being an especially productive few hours.

Those who work remotely or from home know that in order to get the most out of their time, they need to trick themselves into working by setting aside space for that activity or reserving certain times for what others would do an in office. Eating breakfast can eventually kick-start a work day, just as it did when you were in school.



3. Exercise
Exercise is often the first thing rescheduled when the day begins to get away from you, but it shouldn’t be. If you can, try to fit in at least 15 or 20 minutes of working out in some way, whether that’s going for a run, doing push ups, sit ups, lifting weights, or whatever activity you feel comfortable with.

Exercising regularly comes with a myriad of benefits. It breaks up the work day, clears your mind, and gives you energy when you need it the most.

Try doing something physical at some point during the day, even if you’re on tour, and see if you don’t feel better and think more clearly once it’s become routine.

4. Make a to-do list
You probably already have a very long to-do list somewhere of everything you need to get to at some point, but you should also take a few moments every day to decide what needs to be accomplished by the time the sun sets and what can wait for another day.

That’s difficult to do, but making a daily list of tasks will not only help you work with purpose, but also help you review what else is going on and get a sense of just how much work is ahead of you in the coming days, weeks, and months.



5. Ignore your phone
These days, we’ve become conditioned to look at our smartphones first thing in the morning before anything else happens. Instead of making breakfast, exercising, showering, and getting ready for the day, how many times have you laid in bed for 30 minutes or more answering emails, tweeting, scrolling through your Facebook feed, or reading the news?

None of these activities are bad, and you should carve out a few minutes for each throughout every work day (at least), but does it need to be the absolute first thing that happens when your eyes open?

6. Get going
This isn’t the most scientific piece of advice, but it’s a simple mantra you should keep in mind. Whenever you begin to feel the laziness take over, just start working! Whatever you were in the middle of or about to start, force yourself to do it. Answer that email, write that Facebook post, continue penning a song. Whatever it is, there's no other way to get it done than to just keep chugging along.

This all might sound somewhat silly, but those who adopt this approach have found this to be an incredibly effective way to get more done throughout every day. Have you ever found yourself sitting at your desk scrolling through your phone or social media or finding any other menial chore to do to avoid beginning a certain task, even if it’s something you like doing?

All of those wasted minutes add up, so start forcing yourself to continue, as opposed to taking small breaks.

It doesn't always work, but when it does, you'll discover that you'll absolutely notice its effect. It is often beginning something that is the most daunting, and once it’s started, it’s not usually as arduous as you may have thought it was going to be.

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Harmonic Structure in the Style of Metallica



Metallica’s music serves as a foundation for understanding much of the thrash metal that has followed in the past two decades. 

Most of today's thrash bands cite Metallica as a major influence that has significantly shaped their sound. This post explores the harmonic mayhem that is Metallica...

WATCH THE VIDEO LESSON:



RIFFS:
To better understand the harmonies used by Metallica we need to begin by making sure that we understand the world of riffs. When single-note lines create “melodies” that are strong enough to stand on their own, and also serve as accompaniment patterns, a riff is born.

Metallica have a vast library of riffs with their tonality firmly rooted in Minor. The Natural Minor scale is the basis for constructing over 90% of Metallica's riffs, as well as, their guitar solos.

In order to be able to develop songs in the style of Metallica, a complete understanding of the Minor tonalities use in the creation of riffs is an absolute must.




THE TONALITY OF METALLICA:
Minor key tonality is the bed-rock of the Metallica sound. This means that the harmony for minor key sound is critical to understand. In example one, I've organized a standard "E Natural Minor" scale harmony.

Example 1). Harmonized "E Natural Minor" key center (Aeolian Mode)



One of the primary key signatures used by Metallica is the key of "E Minor." Metallica’s music is most notably characterized by its song structures that apply heavy "low-ended" registers, composed of long strings of riffs that surround the vocals.

In order to comprehend the way that Metallica applies these sounds, we need to better understand the form of how Metallica writes their music in the minor key center.




SONG STRUCTURE:
The Metallica song structure is much more elaborate than most pop songs, primarily because of their use of extended introductions, transitions, and instrumental solos (lead breaks).

This means that the listener needs to trace the large-scale progression inherent in the song structure in their mind as they listen. Metallica occasionally forgoes the return of the A-section and instead expands the B-section significantly (AAB’). This is found in the songs, “Fade to Black,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” and “One."

Example 2). Sanitarium Riff (E Minor /Dorian)

 click on the above image to enlarge full-screen


The typical Metallica A-sections will include a basic verse-chorus rotation with a brief two or four measure transition between verse and chorus. These transitions are not always formed around a complete riff but instead consist of a motive from the verse riff (riff a’).

The B-section of “Motorbreath” is a nice example of this. It is simply an instrumental passage with one lead break and no bridge. The lead break is supported by a new riff. The introduction of new riffs at the B-section of Metallica songs is not uncommon.

If an interlude is used, it will often follow the chorus and will be composed of an idea that is a completely unique riff.

To get a good idea of how Metallica lays out their song sections let's break down "Motorbreath."

Example 3). Motorbreath - Verse



Example 4). Motorbreath - Chorus



Example 5). Motorbreath - Interlude



It is clear that the style of riffs composed for use in a typical Metallica song are the primary building blocks of Metallica’s music, style and their overall sound.

What is of particular interest is how each Metallica riff is generally quite unique and tends not to function as constant variations of other song parts, (like we'd tend to find in a pop song). Instead, each riff used in one of their songs, is a more self contained style of riff.

Rather than using riffs that are simply derivatives of another riff, each transition in a Metallica song (from verse to chorus to interlude), will tend to offer the listener a unique riff idea that leads the listener away from the form of the song into another sound that is unrelated to the song’s other riffs.





CHORD TYPES:
The primary chord type used in songs by Metallica is the power-chord. This chord concept is a simple structure that only consists of the root and fifth. In some cases an extended reach up to the octave is included with this shape. It is evident in the song structure example shown above from the song, "Motorbreath."

Example 6). The Power-Chord (The perfect 5th interval)


The power chord (on the above left) is a standard Root to fifth power chord. The power chord on the above right, is the extended style that includes the added upper octave.

Other chord types are also applied in various Metallica songs, which can include everything from basic major and minor open position chords and dominant 7th chords, (as found in the song "Nothing Else matters"), and some arpeggiated ideas found in their riffs that tend to include other chord types as well, (as used in songs like "Fade to Black').

Example 7). Nothing Else Matters



Example 8). Fade to Black






CONCLUSION:
Aside from a clearly present tonic function (generally as Minor tonality), across most of Metallica songs, the overall harmonic ideas presented in their music does not follow in the traditional form of pop and rock music. In fact, many of the standard rock, pop and country song harmonic structures are not even applicable in Metallica’s music.

While utilizing classical tonic, pre-dominant, and dominant harmonic procedures in certain circumstances, Metallica’s music tends to more often than not appropriate blues harmony functions.

This is demonstrated most often by a IV-I closing gesture, (often referred to as a plagal cadence). This Plagal function is quite evident in the verse riff of songs like “Master of Puppets.”

Another familiar approach found in Metallica’s music is a concept used commonly in Western classical music, which is the, I-VII-VI-V harmonic progression.

This progression is common partly because Metallica almost always prepares the dominant by descending step-motion, even if only by a single upper neighbor. This results in a significant lack of pre-dominant function outside the VI chord. The II chord never functions as a pre-dominant and a move to the dominant from the IV chord, a frequent event in classical music, is used sparingly.

On a final note, the flatted-second scale degree occasionally functions harmonically, even though it usually functions melodically (generally in a lead by Kirk Hammett), as a chromatic upper-neighbor or passing tone to the tonic.

When it functions harmonically, the b2 most often is juxtaposed against the tonic in a manner that suggests either the Phrygian or Locrian mode. A variation of the chorus riff found after the lead break of “Harvester of Sorrow,” highlights this function.

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The Guitar Players Guide: 6 Tips to Rapid Improvement



Are you a "self-taught" guitarist? If you are, then there's one thing that you lack and that is feedback from either a teacher or from any player who is better than you are...

Guitar players who are self-taught have to rely on trial and error when it comes to basic things such as strumming or even holding a guitar. Truth be told, teaching yourself guitar runs the risk of developing some playing habits that can actually hinder your playing and make improving as a guitarist very difficult. 

If you’re a person who wants to “do it yourself,” you certainly have a lot of options. And, in order to help those of you who are “going at it alone,” I’ve listed a series of common traps that new players fall into.

Be careful for these traps, because if these traps are watched closely, they will enable you to either avoid or get past them rapidly.



Rapid Improvement Tip #1). 
 
How are you sitting?

Good guitar playing starts with paying attention to the basics. And nothing is more basic than how you hold the guitar, whether you’re sitting or standing.

Whenever you’re having trouble playing a chord, or making a switch from one chord to another, you can often correct this by simply correcting your hand-posture or your sitting or standing position while holding your guitar.

For additional information on developing correct guitar playing posture and sitting position check out my lesson on correcting bad guitar posture habits. It is titled, "Correct Guitar Posture."



Rapid Improvement Tip #2). 

How are you strumming?
Keeping the beat and playing a steady, confident groove is essential for every guitar player, even those who only want to play lead guitar, (in fact it's even more important for lead players).

Most beginners, (especially those who’ve never had a teacher), think that strumming involves an incredible amount of force and power from the strum-hand. This is not accurate.

Strumming comes from the wrist and forearm and should involve very little whole arm movement. To strum your guitar, use the same amount of wrist /forearm action that you’d use to shake somebody's hand.



Rapid Improvement Tip #3). 
 
Where are your fret-board hand's thumb and fingers sitting?

One of the main key's to fretting notes quickly and cleanly is to keep your fingertips on the strings with your hand relaxed and your thumb in the back of the neck.

Good fret-hand posture and hand position will help you tremendously when it comes to placing your fingers in the best playing position. But you have to make sure that your thumb isn’t making your fingers’ job harder to do.

Wrapping your thumb up around the top of the neck of the guitar, (as you would a base-ball bat), pulls the fingertips down and keeps them from making clean-sounding notes. Instead, let the pad of the thumb simply rest on the back of the neck and have your fingertips dictate where the thumb is positioned, not the other way around.

I've helped a lot of self-taught guitar players with both proper holding of the guitar, balancing their hand position, and with knowing how to place their fingertips on the neck through my online Skype lessons.



Rapid Improvement Tip #4). 
 
Are you using your ears?

Music is all about sound and listening, it is not visual. Professional musicians will invariably tell you that listening is the most important talent for any guitar player to develop.

Rhythm is something you need to learn to feel and hear. Relying on your eyes to tell you when a chord change occurs will almost always put you behind or even off the beat.

Work on using, and then trusting the development your ears and try leaving your eyes behind for a while. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you start to make more progress.

next time you start learning a new song, work at committing it to memory. Once it becomes second nature you'll find that your playing and feel begins accelerating to much higher levels of perfection.




Rapid Improvement Tip #5). 
 
Where is the count, what is the beat?

Many beginners think that the idea of strum patterns has to do with "how many hits" they need to make onto the strings. But, this is the rookie system of working on rhythm.

Someone who really knows how to strum a rhythm pattern would never obsess about the “down and up” strumming. To a pro, its all about learning to play in a steady rhythm.

You’ll be amazed at how up-strokes and down-strokes simply fall into place once you’ve learned how to count out the rhythmic groove of a song. For a basic eighth note strum, the down-strokes occur on the beat. If you’re strumming sixteenth notes, then the down-strokes happen on each half beat.

If you can get yourself to count out a four-beat pattern there will be very few strumming patterns that you won’t be able to figure out in the future.

A part of your daily practice should be converting any rhythm you come across into the correct feel of “down and up” rhythm strumming.

For more help with your strumming in general, you may find my lesson, "Rhythm Guitar Excellence," as well as my lesson, "Better Strumming and Picking" quite helpful for gaining the best level of technique involved with strumming on guitar.



Rapid Improvement Tip #6). 
 
What developmental stage are your fingers at?

One of the most over-looked areas for new players is the regular routine of doing guitar technique drills. technique allows us to switch chords faster, and play scales faster. It also opens the door for more inventive lead playing.

Ultimately, you'll want your fingers to move from one musical idea on the neck into another as a competent flowing movement, with the most simple direction of the hand as possible.

If it's a chord change you’re working on, take stock of how the fingers rest in their place, and as you move them, keep each finger relaxed, but don’t lose contact with how they need to interact along the guitar strings.

If you press your fingers hard onto the strings - soften up on the grip. You don't need a ton of force to play notes on the neck. In fact, the more relaxed that you are, the better you'll play.

Pay a lot of attention to how you have your fingers on the strings. What is it like when you're playing a chord, or a scale? Do the hands and fingers feel good? Are they relaxed? If they are not, then make a conscious effort to relax.

Try a simple exercise where you raise your fingers, as a unit, just off the strings. Keep them close enough that you can put them back on the strings at the same time.This effort focused on control will make a big difference to how you play everything on the instrument.

The object of doing any exercise is to get your fingers acclimated to working together on the strings. Eventually, they will learn to leave one musical idea and arrive at another as a team. That doesn’t necessarily mean all at the same time, (nor should it), but when you have more control, you will play much better music.

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Natural Minor Rock Licks in "E Minor"


NEW: QwikLicks Series - Video (030)

The latest QwikLicks video, Natural Minor Rock Licks in "E Minor" is available in the FREE members area. Includes PDF handout!

QwikLicks are a FREE lesson series for all membership levels at Creative Guitar Studio.com. Lessons in the QwikLicks Series run through a short collection of guitar licks covering all types of playing styles, famous artist's playing styles and guitar techniques...

Episode #030 covers three "E" Minor licks.

Lick one runs through a line you'd likely hear from Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. It applies several scale patterns that move from the 12th position (2nd string), to 5th position and target the tonic of "E."

Lick two targets the keys minor third (G), rock players like Kirk Hammet and Jimmy page will use phrases like this one to progress down the neck and cover many fret positions.

Lick three is the style of phrase that you might find typical of a lick played by Dave Mustaine or Michael Schenker. The idea not only applies the "E" Natural Minor, but also uses a phrase taken from the "E" Minor 7 arpeggio.

Sign into the website (or create your free members account) to watch this lesson, and download the PDF lesson handout. 

If you're not currently a FREE member of the website, sign up today!

NOTE: The "QwikLicks" series will end on May 17th.
On May 31 it will be replaced by "QwikRiffs."

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2 Steps to Composing Killer Chord Progressions



Every guitarist wants to be able to create killer chord progressions. However, a lot of guitarists struggle when trying to come up with them. 

This commonly occurs because the guitar player has not invested enough time into two primary areas. In this post we'll examine what these ares are, and how to build your skills for them...



#1). UNDERSTAND KEYS and HARMONY
The first weakness that a player will tend to have is an inability to comprehend harmony. This means that the guitar player has to spend the time to learn the process for how chords fit together.

If you have no concept of what other types of "Minor Chords" fit well with say perhaps the "G Minor Chord," then all of your composing is based upon trial and error against that "G Minor." And, that style of "test this - test that" composing can be very difficult, or even impossible to create decent chord jams within a short time period.

If you know and understand musical keys and harmony you would comprehend that the "G Minor" chord fits well with other minor chords in its key center, like the, "C Minor" and "D Minor." You would also know that "G Minor" fits nicely with a few Major chords as well, like the "Eb Major" and the "F Major."

Try this daily test, for one month... Take a scale (major or minor) and off of every note of that scale create a chord for each degree. Let's try this with "F Minor."

Example: Key of "F Minor"



Pick a new key every day for a month. Study the notes of the key and build a harmony for the key. After one month of doing this simple exercise, you'll have a fantastic ability for being able to know all of the chords that relate to every musical key.

If you are unsure for how chords are constructed from key signatures, then watch my video lesson on "Harmonizing the Major Scale."

Once a musician understands keys and harmony they can build chord changes quickly from any chord at any time.



#2). LEARN TO CREATE SOLID RHYTHM GROOVES
The “rhythm /groove" side of guitar playing is the other piece of the "Killer Chord Progression" formula. In order to gain the ability to create better rhythm guitar riffs, you will need to become aware of various new ways to combine different rhythms.

In making a study of that work, you can enhance your rhythm guitar playing well beyond what you may have considered as possible.

Rhythms are the foundation that lay the groove of the piece. Without a good groove, you will quite likely never have a solid connection to your listeners feel. Try using the "Rhythm Development Exercise" shown below for 30 days. Test all kinds of grooves and come up with a new groove every day for 30 days.



RHYTHM DEVELOPMENT EXERCISE:
30 Days of Groove

Here's how the daily routine will work...

- Find an interesting yet simple rhythmic pattern (it must not be based upon actual pitches). The rhythm part can be something you invent, or something that you have taken from an already existing song. You could perhaps use a song in a style that you never compose in. For example, if you always play Rock, try taking the groove from a Katy Perry song, or an Ed Sheeran song.

-  Apply the groove that you have selected for that day using at least two (2) different sets of chords, in two different keys. Try and have a group of chords that use at least 3 chord types from your key center.

Example: Groove using three chords (key of "D Major")



By doing this very simple exercise for 30 days, you will quickly improve your rhythm guitar creativity. Also, you can do this the other way around: Take one chord and play that chord on the guitar using a variety of different rhythmic patterns.

 Example: Rhythm development study played on one chord.



These exercises will give you many new ideas for guitar riffs to use in your music. Spend the time on developing them, the benefits far out-weigh the study time involved for the relatively short 30 day period.

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