12 Key Chord Exercise

This chord exercise is based on the II-V-I chord progression and spans 12 keys, following the Circle of Fifths anti-clockwise (so after each line the key will change by a fourth). This is a good exercise in finding chords in different keys on the fretboard. Note that, on the last line, we have ended up in the same key we started with … Read More

Modal Interchange

We can create some more interesting and unusual chord progressions by using major chords which are derived from the major key’s parallel minor scale. This is simply the minor scale that shares the same root note as the major key you are playing in. So, if you were playing a song in the key of G major, the parallel minor … Read More

Chord Substitutions

Sometimes chords can be substituted for others, as long as they remain in the same mode (major, minor or dominant). Usually (but not always) these chords are just extensions of the triad. I SUBSTITUTIONS The I chord is major, and is commonly replaced by a major 7, major 6 or major 9 chord, especially when you have several bars of the same chord and want to make … Read More

Tritone Substitution

A substitution used a lot in jazz, the tritone substitution is where we follow a dominant chord with a similar dominant chord which has a root note three tones higher than the original root. This means that the chord will be a flat fifth higher than the original. This interval is referred to as a tritone, also known as ‘Diabolus … Read More

Passing Chords

Passing chords are used to link chords together in a progression. It is common to use diminished chords and minor 7 chords for this purpose. Diminished chords are perhaps the most useful of all the substitutions, since they can be inserted between any two chords, and one diminished chord will cover four different keys (see Diminished Chords). Furthermore, when we have a I-V progression, any diminished chord will fit in between. Here are … Read More

Chord Relatives

Some chords are very close relatives to others in terms of the notes they contain. Some chords can even share exactly the same notes and therefore have two or more different names. These chord relatives can be useful to know for substitutions and also for melody purposes. Consider the chords C major 7 and E minor 6. Lets look at the notes they contain: Notice both chords … Read More


An arpeggio is a technique where the notes of a chord are played in order one after the other as quickly as possible, starting on the beat from the bottom note. Rather than a strum, where all notes are played more or less simultaneously, the notes of an arpeggio are ‘spread’ out and played in quick succession. Chords can be arranged with … Read More


The guitar can produce many sounds other than simple fretted notes or chords. One such sound is the harmonic. Harmonics are basically the ‘overtones’ of a note. They occur naturally every time we pluck a guitar string. However we do not hear them as such since they are very quiet compared to the fundamental note being played. In some places … Read More

Combining Melody and Harmony

On the guitar we can play a chord progression and the melody line at the same time. The melody is usually played in the upper register ie. the top strings, and the rest of the chord is played to fill out (harmonize) the melody. We can also play the bass line on the bottom strings in the same way . … Read More

Right Hand Finger Exercises 1

These exercises should be added into your daily practice routine. They will make you a better guitarist in terms of finger control, as long as they are practiced daily. They can be practiced using fingering (denoted) or a pick – alternating up & down strokes. Right hand fingering: T=Thumb 1=Index 2=Middle 3=Ring. The little finger (pinky) is not normally used for picking … Read More