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47

There are a ton of easy and great-sounding substitutions, and you can use them in the turnaround or anywhere else you want. Here are a few of the most common: ii-V sub: Substitute ii for IV, so that you have a ii-V turnaround. For example, if you're playing in the key of C, the V chord is G7 and the ii chord is Dm7. So instead of C-F-G7, play C-Dm7-G7. ...


45

Do you transcribe other players' solos? I find this helps me a lot, especially when I transcribe non-guitarists' solos. The clichés and idioms on other instruments are simply different than they are on guitar, so that can help to see melody from a different perspective. Trumpets and saxophones, in particular, sit in a similar range to the guitar but have ...


41

I've seen it argued that the instrument that became the guitar started with the major G chord set, the second, third and fourth string, probably in pairs, as the entire string set for the instrument. The first string was then added, and the lower strings were added in fourths to provide more bass harmony, much the same way we see the 7th string being brought ...


40

This requires an excursion into musical history. Originally, instruments were made to simply play notes that sounded "right" together. Why some notes sounded right and others wrong wasn't of great concern for most of humanity's history, until Pythagoras, (yes, the guy with the theorem) noticed that it had to do with intervals, and made a music theory based ...


38

See the section on tuning systems on Wikipedia for some background. In short, most intervals do not sound best on equally-tempered scales (where the distance between any two consecutive half steps is the same) but on ones where the notes vary in distance. For instance, fifths usually sound the most in tune when the frequencies are in a 2:3 ratio. Because ...


36

You ask an enormously deep question that could (and does) comprise whole books of material. I'll try to boil down the bare essentials for right now, and I'll expand on them later. "There are only two types of chords: I's and V's" My teacher told me that Joe Pass said this, although I'm sure it's probably a misquote. The sentiment, though, is right on. ...


34

The keys are only identical on equal-tempered instruments, but that's most modern western instruments like pianos. Wind instruments other than the trombone are built to be (mostly) equal tempered [EDIT: I might be simplifying too much here, see David's comment below], but the players can bend pitches somewhat. The trombone, all non-fretted string ...


33

These are also known as augmented and diminished notes, respectively. Often it has to do with altering notes in a key that are already sharpened or flattened, such as a harmonic minor in a key where the 7th is a sharp. You could write F## (or Fx) as a G, but then your scale would have no F note in it but two different G's. Every time you put down an G ...


32

First, a key is only really a basis. You can have an F# in a piece written in C Major without having the piece "switch" keys. Second, keys are defined arbitrarily. Sure there is theory about what sounds good and that sort of thing, but at the end of the day it's just a group of notes that's just as valid as any other group of notes. This is made clear by ...


30

This is a D melodic minor scale (The root of the scale would be D since this Bach), which alters depending on if it is descending or ascending. When ascending the 6 and 7th degrees are raised, and then decending they are lowered. So when descending it is the same as a natural minor scale. These are pretty common in classic music and are often standard of ...


30

Do-re-mi-etc. is "sol-fa" or "solfege". Sol-fa represents a major scale, with Doh being the first note, Re being the second, and so on. I'm sure you can sing that scale. The A-G note names are absolute names for a certain note. An 'A' is an 'A' no matter what key you are performing in. There are two variants of sol-fa. Fixed doh and Movable doh. Fixed ...


29

Music, as an art, is in the ear of the listener. As a musician, I can say there are definitely times when a song sounds "better" in one key than another. The primary reason this is so is when the key fits the "natural" range of a singer or instrument. A song may sound perfect when sung by a female alto, but as those notes sung verbatim would be at the top ...


29

To understand the answer to this question you need and understanding of these concepts: Key center Tonality Chord progressions in functional harmony Cadence A song is regarded as being in the key of C major if the pitch C is its key center, if the notes in the song chiefly fall in the C-major scale (as opposed to the C-minor scale, or one of the other ...


28

'Dorian mode on C' does not mean "the Dorian scale that you can find among the notes that are available in the major key of C"! 'Dorian mode on C' refers to the Dorian scale, or set of note intervals, that start on the note C, i.e. C is its root or tonic. This set of notes happens to be the same as the ones found in the Bb major key, thus two flats. This is ...


25

This question on math.se is quite similar to what you're asking and the answers give a lot of detail: Mathematical difference between white and black notes in a piano? What's going on here is a massively convenient mathematical coincidence: several of the powers of 2^(1/12) happen to be good approximations to ratios of small integers, and there are ...


23

This is more clear when you think of it in terms of the length of the string. Ignoring for a second that strings need to be a minimum length in order to vibrate, we can produce a full octave on the first half of any length of string. Open for the "base" note, midpoint for the octave, one third of the way up for the fifth, etc. So on a guitar you have the ...


22

It depends on the tuning system being used. If you're tuning by perfect intervals, i.e. intervals in which the ratios of the frequencies are in whole-number pairs, then Gb isn't exactly the same as F#. For example, say you're tuning to A440 and using perfect intervals. Then the E above the A is tuned to 440 * 3/2 = 660 Hz. The B above the E is tuned to ...


22

Begin by learning the open strings. Then picture the relation of each string to the next string (ie "-5" frets and "-4" between G and B). Picture an octave on two adjacent strings ("+7" frets or "+8" between G and B), and then on two strings a string apart (ie "+2" frets "+1" string except, you guessed it, where G and B are involved). Then learn fret 9 or ...


22

Listen to as much music as possible in as many styles as possible and force yourself to listen to music that you aren't familiar with or even don't like. You can't progress from a point of no reference. Like when you learn to speak, you learn vocabulary from practice and by emulating others. Then, after you've built up a broad vocabulary, you can start to ...


21

Two reasons. You don't have enough fingers to play it. The fifth is the most expendable note in a 7th chord (1-3-5-7). Without the 7, it wouldn't be a 7th. Without the 3rd, it wouldn't be major or minor. Without the root, it wouldn't be the chord that it is. But the fifth doesn't contribute any vital property of the chord. There is this other fretting ...


20

An "open tuning" is one where the open strings, when strummed, are tuned to form a chord. So an "open D tuning" is going to something along the lines of (low to high) D A D F# A D -- that's a D major chord. There are certainly more common open tunings than others but the range of open tunings available, even with a standard set of guitar strings on a ...


20

It all depends on which chord you want it to be. With GBD, you have a strong G tendency, and with the Es, that leans E minor. With the A, That's an added 4. So EminAdd4 (not suspended, because you still have the G). But if you want to think of it as an A, With the A and E, you have the root and the fifth. The G is a dominant 7. The B is a 9th away from that ...


20

An arpeggio is simply a chord played one note at a time. So if you're playing in an arpeggiated style, then instead of strumming the chords, you'll play each note of the chord one at a time. You mention Peter Buck, whose playing on "Everybody Hurts" is a perfect example of arpeggiated playing. Strumming a D-chord: $D.0.$G.2.$B.3.$e.2 $D.0.$G.2.$B.3.$e.2 ...


20

I have always viewed the rock/pop type guitar solo as being all about tension and release. You want to build to a climax, with any combination of speed and phrasing and note choices that fall slightly outside the chord structure, and then release that tension by resolving to something that is central to the song's melody or at least the chord changes that ...


20

Essentially all instruments produce overtones, which are frequencies other than the dominant frequency of the note. When one or more overtones is a multiple of the base (or fundamental) frequency, it's called a harmonic. Some instruments like drums do not generally have harmonic overtones. Others like guitars, violins, and flutes do have have them; more ...


20

The root note is always the note that is the basis for the chord, regardless of its inversion. In root position the lowest note is the root (hence the name), but other notes are the lowest in other inversions of the chord. For example, take a C Major chord. In every position, the root note is C. Whether it is voiced as C-E-G (root position), E-G-C (first ...


19

I think this is a common problem with guitarists, we all at some point or other run across this. Some of the things I have have learned to push past this are as follows. String skipping String skipping is a good way to mix up your scale runs, its a good idea to find a pattern you like the sound of and try moving it around, applying this to arpeggios is ...


19

Yes, you're right. As for why the harmonic series doesn't produce notes that work in all keys, the simple answer is that the math just doesn't add up. Let's work out the math for just intonation: Suppose you choose X Hz for the fundamental frequency and go from there. Then the octave above the fundamental should have frequency 2 X Hz. Meanwhile, the ...


19

The key change you are describing is known as a Chromatic Mediant Relationship. This type of modulation rose to prominence in the Romantic Period and has been used by composers and musicians ever since. Chromatic Mediant Relationships are ones in which the roots or tonal centers of the keys are a non-diatonic 3rd apart. If diatonic (within the key), it ...



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