This Week on the Guitar Blog...


MODES: "Tonal Note" Focus
This weeks GuitarBlog takes a look at placing our focus upon the "Tonal Note" when studying the Modes. Guitar players can apply scales /modes much more effectively if the modes pitches are focused on from off of their appropriate "Tonal Note." This way, we can create a strong tie-in to the shape of the scale /mode to any other associated patterns we could use along with the mode. Associated patterns can include arpeggios and Pentatonic Scales. For example; if I had a chord progression that promoted the use of the, "D Dorian Mode," Then, this also means that I could play, "D Minor arpeggios" as well as, "D Minor Pentatonic." Therefore, the "Tonal Focus" is always "D" allowing for greater melodic options. To demonstrate this, I've organized a few examples in this lesson for study and practice. The first example places a focus upon the Pentatonic. The second applies focus upon arpeggios. And, the third example focuses upon using the complete mode (off of its Tonic) along with an expanded pair of chords. Enjoy this weeks lesson!


RELATED VIDEOS for "MODES: "Tonal Note" Focus":
Modes in Four Easy Steps


Mastering Your Scales and Modes


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June 26, 2015:
Hard Rock Guitar Riffs


This lesson places a focus on three main areas. (1) Riffs using Open 5th and 6th String, (2) Riffs based on Single-String Ideas, and (3) Riffs using Stacked Power-Chords alongside of Triads. Watch the video lesson to find out more, and Download the FREE MP3 JamTrack and PDF lesson handout for the practice examples.

RHYTHM GUITAR: Hard Rock Guitar Riffs


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Guitar Blog Q and A



Your EmailQ: Hi Andrew...

I just wanted to say thanks for making your Understanding Music Intervals lesson. You taught me in 15 minutes what my private lesson trombone teacher in school couldn’t teach me in more than 5 years of weekly lessons... just wanted to ask a question about the dim7.  


It seems to be an interval only in name since when you play it, it would sound as a major 6?  At least taking your example as C to B as a 7th, B flat as a minor 7th and then B double flat as a diminished 7th... effectively that makes the played interval C to A or a Major 6th, if I’m trying to identify the interval by ear.


What context can you use to make the decision on something you’re just listening to, to try to identify? Lastly, I noticed that the symbol you use for double sharp has dots in it but I was never taught a symbol with dots.  Is that a Canadian vs. United States difference?  I can’t seem to find the symbol you drew on a quick Google search.

- Nathan




A: Hi Nathan...

Thanks, glad that video helped you. The Dim.7 and the Ma6 are what is known of as, Enharmonic. The difference between naming them will come to front and center if you wanted a distance of a 6th or a distance of a 7th.


Generally, this would come up most often when constructing chords, arpeggios, or various scales and you’re using several intervals together. For example, the Ma6 would be applied in the context of constructing a triad or arpeggio of major or minor quality. But, the Dim. 7 would be applied when constructing a Diminished chord, the Diminished arpeggio, or harmonizing the Harmonic Minor scale’s seventh degree, (which would be the Dim. 7 chord).


Keep in mind that although intervals are taught in theory as the distance of one note to another, they are generally used inside of situations where there are more than two notes. So, as you assumed in your question, their names are dependent upon the context in which they are used. As far as simple listening to note distances, (when perhaps analyzing a song by ear), I’d say 9 times out of 10 I’d name this particular distance as a Ma6.


Lastly, in regard to that double-sharp symbol... That type I had drawn was what would be called Manuscript Style. I found it in a Books.Google search for Theory and Technique for Music Notation. The book by Mark McGrain (page 37). Modern software such as Finale does not show the double sharp in that manner, just as an X.


Thanks for writing in. - Andrew Wasson


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