This Week on the Guitar Blog...


LEAD GUITAR: No Theory - No Thinking - Just Playing
This week's GuitarBlog covers playing lead guitar without applying music theory or any heavy thought concerning the precise scale types. In the early years of learning how to play lead, jamming on riffs can be the most fun that a guitarist has on their instrument. The best part is that there's no need to initially invest countless hours of study on learning things like; multiple position scale layouts, interval theory, harmonic analysis, or how the Mixolydian mode might offer a 'new direction' against a Dorian concept. In fact, all it takes to play a solo is a few notes and some time spent jamming with a loop-pedal, jam-track, or with another guitar player. In the early days, above all other skills, the guitarist is building the use of their ear to be able to listen closely to how phrases sound. This is one of the most important skills of every lead player and it transfers to the development of every musicians musical intuition. When a guitarist both feels ready to study theory, and has practiced other ideas over many years, elements of music theory will eventually come along for them - when they are ready. Enjoy the lesson.


RELATED VIDEOS: "No Theory - No Thinking - Just Playing"
The Psychology of Great Improvisation


Recipe for Improvised Guitar Solos


For more resources on the topic of Harmony and Theory, visit the course pages at Creative Guitar Studio / Harmony and Theory.


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I have hundreds of lessons here on my Blog site... Many have FREE MP3 Jam Tracks as well as PDF Lesson Handouts. Use the Search Box (up in the top right navigation menu) to find video lessons & blogs. My most recent guitar lesson videos are below... Enjoy and please consider a donation to help support this Guitar Blog & the Creative Guitar Studio online lesson projects.


Recent Video Lessons



January 29, 2016:
Bossa Nova Rhythm


Introduces the basic Bossa Nova rhythmic groove along with a slightly more complex pattern that can embellish the feel. Also works through a few tips for creating melody within the Bossa Nova style. Melody concepts will involve the tracking of chord changes and the use of targeted modes with arpeggios to cover the chords. Watch the video lesson to find out more, and Download the FREE MP3 JamTrack and PDF lesson handout for the practice examples.

GUITAR STYLES: Bossa Nova Rhythm


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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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