Fingering The Modes

A) IONIAN MODE Fingering and root note is the same as for the major scale. Listen (Ionian Mode starting on A): B) DORIAN MODE Root note is 2nd note of major scale. Listen (Dorian Mode starting on A): C) PHRYGIAN MODE Root note is 3rd note of major scale. Listen (Phrygian Mode starting on A): D) LYDIAN MODE Root note is 4th note … Read More

Applications of Modes and Scales

When talking about a set of chords in a key, we label each chord with a roman numeral (I to VII). There are seven chords in all, one built on each note of the scale: The chord C Major will appear as: Notes: I chord in the key of C Major (IONIAN) C – D – E – F – … Read More

Hammer-ons, Pull-offs, Slides and Bends

The guitar is a very expressive instrument. Unlike the piano, it has an added advantage in that we can control the sound of a note in many ways after we play it. Some simple expressive techniques are commonplace in most guitarists’ playing style. The most common ones are known as hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides and bends. HAMMER-ONS As the name suggests, a hammer-on … Read More

Key Signatures

When we say we are playing in a certain key, we are talking of the root note to which all other notes will relate. It is also the note that the piece of music will resolve to at the end (cadence), or any other place where a resolution is required. To help remember which notes are diatonic to a key, we … Read More


When we play more than one note simultaneously, we are creating a harmony.  On the guitar, we can play anything from two to a maximum of six notes simultaneously (a different note on each string).  If we play two notes of the same pitch but an octave apart, we create a stronger sound than just by playing a single note … Read More


Two notes being played simultaneously is referred to as an Interval. An interval can be considered consonant (strong sounding) or dissonant (strange sounding!). Broadly speaking, there are two types of intervals: simple intervals and compound intervals. A simple interval is an interval of less than an octave, while a compound interval is an interval greater than one octave. Lets look again at our major scale, in the key of … Read More

Intervals (continued)

So far, I have only outlined diatonic intervals. These are not the only intervals that exist, there are also intervals between sharp and flat notes to consider. Here is the full list of both simple and compound intervals: Intervals from 0 up to 12 semitones are simple intervals. Intervals above 13 semiitones are compound intervals. After 12 semitones (the perfect 8th, or … Read More

Fifth Chords

5th chords are the simplest chords to play on a guitar, but sound very ‘strong’. They are commonly known as Power Chords. The 5th chord consists of only two notes, the root note and the 5th note of the scale. This interval, as discussed earlier, is a very consonant interval. So if we were in the key of A we would use the root note (A) and … Read More

Major Triads

Three notes being played simultaneously are referred to as a Triad. Triads are the building blocks of Chords. The most common triads in popular music are the major triad and the minor triad. THE MAJOR TRIAD Major triads are derived from the major scale, and are the basis of the major chord. As an example, let’s look at the A major scale: The A major (or … Read More

Major Chords

We can finger common major chord shapes based on our three-note triads by repeating some notes in the triad. Usually notes are repeated in chords to fill them out more. Here are some common major chord shapes: Listen: THE BARRE (OR BAR) CHORD You will notice that two of the chords above are made using a ‘barre’ (or bar) – … Read More