Feed Your Ears: Elliott Sharp

A big part of my teaching approach is to introduce my students to music they might not know about. Sometimes that means pushing their boundaries with something they might hate, but listening closely and repeatedly can be a true revelation. This "lesson" simply consists of some videos of performances by Elliott Sharp, with a few notes and comments.

5 Myths about Modes

When I was writing the Scale and Arpeggio Resources I was aware that a lot of guitar students find the idea of modes very confusing. I spent a bit of time working out a sensible way for guitarists (and others) to think about them, and it wasn't that hard. It therefore continues to amaze me that lots of guitarists -- even experienced teachers -- often say things about modes that are either incorrect or very confusing.

Harmonic Minor Modes: The Lydian #2

We've started working on the Harmonic Minor modes, and today we'll take a look at the Lydian #2. The main application for this scale is over a major seventh type of chord. Assuming you know your Major scale modes then you already have two ways to play over this type of harmony: the Major itself and the Lydian. Neither of these, though, is all that exciting.

Fretboard Roadmaps

All guitarists need fretboard roadmaps -- ways to find their way quickly and easily around the fretboard. The word "roadmap" suggests that these should be visual; that's partly because the guitar lends itself to visual learning methods in ways that the sax, say, doesn't.

How Do I Start Learning Scales?

Most of the lessons in this blog are designed for fairly advanced guitarists, and rather a lot of them have something to do with scales. I wanted to write something for what I call the Beginning Intermediate player, who's ready to start learning scales but isn't sure what the roadmap looks like. I hope this will also give you an idea of how I ordinarily approach this subject with students, although since evrybody's different and I don't have a one-size-fits-all "programme" there's bound to be lots of room for variation.

How Music Doesn't REALLY Work

I ran across the How Music REALLY Works! site on the web today. I'm not one for knocking other people's work, and I mostly use this blog for practical lessons, but there's a myth repeated here that needs to be busted.

Harmonic Minor Modes: The Dorian #4

A lot of guitarists know the Harmonic Minor scale and one of its modes,the Phrygian Major. Yet this scale, like the major scale, has seven modes in its group and the others are less frequently talked-about. We'll run a post on each of them over the next few weeks, starting with the Dorian #4.

Some Whole Tone Scale Applications

In the past couple of posts we've looked at fingerings for the Whole Tone scale and a few examples of patterns we can use to play around with it, but perhaps you're not convinced yet. After all, plenty of guitarists know how to play this scale but not many use it because it has a pretty weird, unsettling sound.

Whole-Tone Scale Patterns

In a previous post we looked at whole-tone scale fingerings, but I didn't give you any suggestions about what order to play the notes in or how to use different techniques with the scale. This post will fill in that gap and hopefully prepare us well for thinking about how the scale can be applied. I'll miss out the most obvious ways to play the fingerings in the previous post -- straight up and down using normal picking technique, that is.

Four Notes Per String from Three-Notes-Per-String Patterns

Three-note-per-string patterns are extremely useful for playing heptatonic scales such as those in the major, harmonic minor and melodic minor modal groups. In the previous lesson we looked at some different patterns we can use to play these to break up the usual straight-up-and-down approach. In this we look at some more.