Book Description

Idiot's Guides: Guitar Theory is music theory for guitar and other fretboard instruments. Beginning with very simple and clear explanations, the book defines notes, their names, relationships, and guitar tablature and then explains rhythm, keeping time, and strumming. The book then goes into depth on the major scale and the four basic chords, to make guitar theory very clear and keep it easy, before going into all the chords and scales. The last part of the book covers playing solo and with others. There is more than an hour of listen- and follow-along audio files online with all of the music in the book and more.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Introduction
  6. Part 1: Turning Tones into Notes
    1. 1 Defining Guitar Theory
      1. What Guitar Theory Is … and Is Not
        1. Guitar Theory Isn’t Separate from Music Theory
        2. Guitar Theory Isn’t the Antithesis of Creativity
        3. Guitar Theory Isn’t Magic
        4. Guitar Theory Isn’t Just for Lead Guitar Players
        5. Guitar Theory Isn’t Just for Guitars
        6. Guitar Theory Isn’t Hard
      2. Putting Theory to Practice
    2. 2 Naming Notes
      1. Starting with a Point of Reference
      2. Making a Map
        1. Marking the Map
        2. Adding Accidentals
      3. Finding Your Reference Points
        1. Finding Notes on the First Five Frets
        2. Choosing Other Reference Points
      4. Putting Theory to Practice
    3. 3 Reading Directions
      1. Chord Charts
        1. Xing Strings Out
        2. Setting a Barre
        3. Moving Up the Fretboard
      2. A Very Brief Guide to Music Notation
        1. Lines and Spaces
        2. The Notes of the Open Strings
      3. Checking Out Guitar Tablature
      4. Marking Time
      5. Tips on Reading Any Kind of Music
  7. Part 2: Turning Notes into Scales, Intervals, and Chords
    1. 4 The Major Scale
      1. What Is a Scale?
      2. Constructing the Major Scale
        1. Creating Specific Major Scales
        2. Understanding Key Signatures
        3. Key Signatures and the Guitar
      3. Playing the 12 Major Scales in Open Position
    2. 5 Sizing Up Intervals
      1. Giving Degrees to the Major Scale
      2. Turning Degrees into Intervals
      3. Finding Intervals on Your Fretboard
        1. Beware the B String
        2. Major and Minor Seconds
        3. Major and Minor Thirds
        4. Fourths
        5. Fifths: Perfect, Augmented, and Diminished
        6. Sixths and Minor Sixths
        7. Major Sevenths and Minor Sevenths
      4. Octaves
        1. Playing Octaves on the Guitar
        2. Octave Exercise
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    3. 6 Two Kinds of Thirds Equals Four Basic Chords
      1. From Notes to Intervals to Chords
      2. Constructing Chords from the Major Scale
        1. Basic Open-Position Major Chords
        2. Basic Open-Position Minor, Augmented, and Diminished Chords
      3. Constructing Chords from Thirds
      4. Playing Triads
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    4. 7 Filling In All the Other Chords
      1. Chords Without Thirds
        1. Power Chords
        2. Suspended Chords
      2. Sixths
      3. Seven Types of Sevenths
        1. Dominant
        2. Major Sevenths
        3. Minor Sevenths
        4. Minor Major Sevenths
        5. Augmented Sevenths
        6. Diminished Sevenths and Half-Diminished Sevenths
      4. Extending Chords Beyond the Octave
        1. Adding On
        2. Piling On
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    5. 8 The Keys to Diatonic Chords
      1. Turning the Major Scale into Seven Diatonic Triads
        1. Charting Out Diatonic Chords in Any Key
        2. The Pattern of Diatonic Chords
      2. Making the Guesswork Easier
      3. A Diatonic Chart for Every Key
      4. Transposing
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
  8. Part 3: Turning Chords into Chord Shapes
    1. 9 Converting Open Chord Shapes into Barre Chords
      1. “Open” and “Closed” Chords
      2. The Guitar Theory Behind Barre Chords
      3. E-Shaped Barre Chords
        1. Sevenths, Minors, and Minor Sevenths in the E-Shape
        2. More E-Shaped Barre Chords
      4. A-Shaped Barre Chords
        1. Sevenths, Minors, and Minor Sevenths in the A Shape
        2. More A-Shaped Barre Chords
      5. C-Shaped Barre Chords
        1. More C-Shaped Barre Chords
        2. “Cheating” on the C-Shaped Barre
      6. Putting Theory to Practice
    2. 10 Unlocking the CAGED System
      1. Visualizing Chords as Shapes
        1. The Missing Pieces
        2. Turning Chord Shapes into “CAGED”
      2. The Five CAGED Patterns
        1. C
        2. A
        3. G
        4. E
        5. D
      3. Shifting Through All Five CAGED Patterns
      4. Pairing “CAGED” Patterns
        1. C and D
        2. A and G
        3. G and E
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    3. 11 The Logic of Chord Progressions
      1. Finding the Key of a Song
        1. A Sense of “Home”
        2. Keys vs. Key Signatures
      2. Getting Home
        1. From Specific to Generic
        2. Five to One
        3. Four to One
      3. Common Diatonic Chord Progressions
      4. “Borrowing” Chords from Other Keys
        1. The Circle of Fifths
        2. Common Progressions Involving Nondiatonic Chords
      5. Modulation
      6. Putting Theory to Practice
    4. 12 The Challenge of Minor Chord Progressions
      1. The Sound of Minor Keys
        1. A Minor for Every Major
        2. A Relative Minor for Every Major
      2. The Three Possible Minor Scales
        1. The Natural Minor Scale
        2. The Harmonic Minor Scale
        3. The Melodic Minor Scale
      3. Creating Diatonic Chords with Minor Scales
        1. Diatonic Chords for the Natural Minor Scale
        2. Diatonic Chords for the Harmonic Minor Scale
        3. Diatonic Chords for the Melodic Minor Scale
      4. Common Chord Progressions in Minor Keys
      5. Modulating Between Major and Minor Keys
        1. Pivot Chords
        2. Thinking in More Than One Key
      6. Putting Theory to Practice
    5. 13 Making Fretboard Theory Practical
      1. Returning to Basics
      2. Rethinking Chords from the Top Down
        1. The E Shape
        2. The D Shape
        3. The A Shape
        4. Connecting All Three Shapes
      3. Visualizing “I – IV – V” on the Fretboard
        1. Using the E Shape as the Root
        2. Using the D Shape as the Root
        3. Using the A Shape as the Root
      4. Adding the Diatonic Chords to Your Map
        1. Diatonic Chords with E Shapes
        2. Diatonic Chords with D Shapes
        3. Diatonic Chords with A Shapes
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
  9. Part 4: Turning the Major Scale into Many Different Scales
    1. 14 The Guitarist’s Favorite Scale
      1. Closing the Major Scale
      2. Introducing the Pentatonic Scale
        1. One Advantage of the Pentatonic Scale
        2. Major and Relative Minor
      3. Playing in Positions
        1. Second Position
        2. Laying Out the Five Pentatonic Positions
        3. Placement of Positions
      4. Connecting the Pentatonic Positions
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    2. 15 Demystifying Modes
      1. Remembering Home
        1. Building Modes Step by Step
        2. Modes by Name
      2. Finding Each Mode on the Fretboard
        1. The Ionian Mode
        2. The Dorian Mode
        3. The Phrygian Mode
        4. The Lydian Mode
        5. The Mixolydian Mode
        6. The Aeolian Mode
        7. The Locrian Mode
      3. Separating Modes into Major from Minor
      4. Remembering Modes
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    3. 16 Getting the Blues with Minor Scales
      1. Bringing the Three Minor Scales to Your Fretboard
        1. The Harmonic Minor
        2. The Melodic Minor
      2. The Role of Dissonance
        1. Finding the Blues in Blue Notes
        2. Blue Notes for Three Chords from One Scale
      3. All Three Blue Notes in One Scale
      4. Pentatonic Plus
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    4. 17 Putting Scales and Chords Together
      1. Filling in Space
        1. Visualizing Scales and Chords Together
        2. Creating Fills
        3. From Fills to Solos
      2. Finding Scales in Chord Progressions
        1. Looking for Clues
        2. Remember Your Modes
        3. Flipping Switches
      3. Choices of Moods
      4. Backing Tracks for Soloing Practice
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
  10. Part 5: Turning Guitar Theory into Guitar Magic
    1. 18 The Philosophies of Guitar Accompaniment
      1. Listen to the Music
      2. Mixing and Matching in Group Play
      3. Turning Your Single Guitar into a Trio
        1. Assigning Parts
        2. Assigning Placement
      4. Putting Theory to Practice
    2. 19 Making Passes and Substitutions
      1. Passing Notes Between Chords
        1. Passing via Suspended Chords
        2. Finding Passing Notes
      2. Understanding Slash Chords
        1. Using Slash Chords to Create Passing Bass Lines
        2. How Slash Chords and Bass Lines Create Chord Progressions
        3. Using Slash Chords to Stay in Place
      3. Chromatic Passing Chords
        1. Overshooting a Half-Step
        2. Augmented and Diminished Chords in Passing
        3. Very Jazzy Passing Chords
      4. Making Substitutions
        1. Adding On Sevenths and Ninths
        2. When in Doubt
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    3. 20 Putting Open Strings into Play
      1. Ringing Strings
      2. Refiguring Chords with Open Strings
        1. Instant Substitutions
        2. Banjo Rolls
      3. Moving Scales in a Hurry
        1. Drones
        2. Unison Slide
      4. Creating Cascades
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    4. 21 Exploring Harmony in Pairs
      1. Double Stops
        1. Harmony Pairs on the B and G Strings
        2. Harmony Pairs on the High E and B Strings
      2. Harmony Pairs on Nonadjacent Strings
        1. Inverted Thirds
        2. Harmony Pairs on the High E and G Strings
        3. Harmony Pairs on the B and D Strings
        4. Harmony Pairs on the B and A Strings
        5. Harmony Pairs on the G and Low E Strings
      3. Practicing Harmony Pairs in Specific Keys
      4. Putting Theory to Practice
    5. 22 Beyond Basic E and A Shapes
      1. Guitarcentric Chords
      2. Moving E Around
        1. Playing All the E Major Diatonic Chords
        2. Adding the Root
        3. Concentrating Around the Fifth Fret
      3. Exploring A Shapes
      4. Additional Chord Ideas for E and A
      5. Putting Theory to Practice
    6. 23 Beyond Basic C, G, and D Chord Shapes
      1. Combining C Shapes with Open Strings
      2. Combining G Shapes with Open Strings
      3. Combining D Shapes with Open Strings
      4. Putting Theory to Practice
    7. 24 Creating More with Less
      1. Starting Small
        1. Setting Up a Backing Track
        2. Two-Note Soloing
        3. Four-Note Soloing
      2. Soloing Based on Harmony Pairs
        1. Distinguishing Dissonance and Embellishment
        2. Sample Soloing with Harmony Pairs
      3. Putting Theory to Practice
    8. 25 Exploring Further Beyond
      1. Further Exploring the “Guitar” Aspect of Guitar Theory
        1. Capos
        2. Alternate Tuning
      2. Further Exploring the “Theory” Aspect of Guitar Theory
        1. Bass Guitar
        2. Ukulele
        3. Mandolin
        4. Banjo
        5. Other Fretted Instruments
      3. Putting Theory to Practice
  11. Appendixes
    1. A Chord Charts
    2. B Scale Charts
    3. C For Further Study
    4. D Glossary
  12. Index
  13. About the Author