Whole Tone & Augmented - Scales & Harmony

Q: I have been working on my Jazz guitar theory for over a year now and I have a handle on most of the basic ideas. But, Im heavy into jazz fusion guitar. Scott Henderson is my favorite guitarist! One thing I know he uses a lot are the Augmented scales and arpeggios. Could you please explain what exactly Augmented is all about and how I can practice using it. At this time I only understand that it is a major triad chord (or arpeggio) with a raised 5th interval. But, I dont understand the scale side of it. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated Especially how to sound like Scott Henderson! - Paul, Memphis TN.

Thanks for writing in! The augmented sound is certainly a part of Scott Henderson's style. It is based from the Whole-Tone scale (also referred to as the Augmented Scale). From the Whole-Tone scale we get the Augmented Arpeggio. The Whole-Tone scale is all Major Second intervals (2 frets on the guitar), the Augmented arpeggio is all Major 3rds. In the video I cover the scale and the arpeggio, as well as, some popular chord types and ways players can begin applying these sounds through theory explanations and licks.

The complete lesson article for this video is available on the Creative Guitar Studio website. Follow the link to read the full article, get the handout, and to grab a copy of the MP3 jam track used in the solo example at the start of the video lesson.

The Major Scale - Ionian Mode

Q: Can you do a quick video lesson about the Ionian Mode. I think it is associated to the Major Scale. But, my guitar teacher couldnt explain it very well. I always appreciate your clear explanations, could you please help me out!  - Thanks, Lamar Jacksonville, FL.

The mode known as IONIAN is simply an ancient Greek name for our most basic of scales the "Major Scale." The major scale is the most important scale in music. All other scales are either taken from it or compared to it. The video lesson explains the; structure of the Major scale, it's formula, intervals, basic harmonic design and also included are a few simple practice tips.

The complete lesson article for this video, is available on the Creative Guitar Studio website. Follow the link to read the full article and get the jam track used in the solo example at the start of the video lesson.

Guitar Lesson: Major & Minor Pentatonics in Blues

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question:

Q: Can you explain how to use different scales in Blues progressions. I was on a guitar discussion forum where they were posting about playing major and minor pentatonic and even modes on blues progressions. But, I dont quite understand is how this works. I was taught that on blues progressions you are supposed to use the blues scale. I dont really grasp the modes yet, but my pentatonics are pretty good. Im curious about what other blues sounds I might be missing! I love blues guitar.
- Charlotte, Wales UK.

A: The Major and Minor pentatonic scales can be interchanged to offer a fantastic blend of major and minor thirds as well as color from the major 6th and minor 7th. In the video lesson we will examine how to do this and learn a series of guitar licks that demonstrate the ideas.

The complete lesson article for this video, is available on the Creative Guitar Studio website.

Music Lesson: Harmonic Analysis & Minor Key Theory

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question:

Q: I have subscribed to your channel and watched a lot of your videos. My background is limited in theory, but Ive learnt enough theory to have questions. I will limit them to the following it would be great if you could answer them. They are

#1). Are there different rules for Harmonic Analysis? I have noticed that you always write all of the roman numerals as upper case. I see other teachers write minor chords as lowercase and major chords as upper-case. Can you please clarify this.

#2). I can hear major keys just fine in music, but I have difficulty understanding how to hear and know if a song is in a minor key. Are there any basic rules for understanding when songs are in minor keys?
- Thanks, Wayne Calgary, AB.

A: Thanks for writing in! The harmonic analysis may vary depending upon where you went to school. Berklee, Musicians Institute and University Programs, Departments and Professors/Instructors can and will teach differently. In the video lesson I cover the most popular types.

When it comes to Minor Key Theory, it is important to know what establishes a tonality of minor. A large part of this theory in Minor has to do with the Harmonic Minor Scale. In the video lesson I cover important principles of Minor Key resolve.

The complete lesson article for this video, is available on the Creative Guitar Studio website.

Guitar Lesson: Relative Tonality Shifting

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question:

Q: Can you make a video that goes over the concept of playing both major and relative minor scales over the same progression. For example; If there was a chord progression that went: Fmi Bbmi Db Eb could you demonstrate playing over it in two ways. Once resolving into the Major key of Ab Major and then doing it again but playing into the relative Minor, F Minor. Joe Satriani seems to have amazing control over this kind of thing and Id like to know more about it. I find it very difficult to do.
- Douglas - Seattle, WA.

A: Shifting from one tonality to another requires a solid understanding of targeting specific notes and using arpeggios to bring out the two sides of the key's color. In the video lesson I cover how players can target into the tonal center pitches of "F" for Minor Key sound and "Ab" for Major Key sound.

The complete lesson article for this video, (along with a PowerTab chart of the chord changes plus an MP3 audio jam track of the progression heard during the video), is available on the Creative Guitar Studio website.

Guitar Lesson: Country & Bluegrass Chord Strumming

Q: I watched your country guitar seminar video on YouTube and was wondering if you could do more of a beginners level video all about playing basic country bluegrass strumming. I just seem to only strum guitar with one or two basic strum patterns and could really use something fresh in my playing.
- Thanks, Jake - New Albany, IN.

A: Basic beginner level strumming is a great way to develop the popular open position chords on guitar. And, the country/bluegrass style works fantastic to help players achieve this. I've composed a very straight-forward piece in a simple country rhythm style. Hopefully it will help you learn a few new techniques to use in your own playing!

The complete lesson article for this video, (along with a PowerTab chart of the chord changes plus a FREE MP3 audio play-along track of the progression heard at the start of the video), is available on the Creative Guitar Studio website.

Guitar Lesson: Pitch Axis Theory & Modal Harmony

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question:

Q: I have been searching for a good lesson about a concept called "Pitch Axis Theory", but I cannot find one that explains how to use it. Most of the stuff Ive found just goes on about Modes, but doesnt really cover how the shredder guys and the fusion guys actually use this concept musically. Can you please do a lesson about this topic, I really want to know more about it!
- Thanks, Joey - New York, NY.

A: Thanks for writing in! Pitch Axis Theory is essentially playing modal. There is a bass pitch which remains static and under that pitch we can perform scales of different types. There can even be another layer of harmony present under the bass pitch. This can influence scale types that can be used to create melody.

The complete lesson article for this video, (along with an MP3 audio jam track of the progression heard at the start of the video), is available on the Creative Guitar Studio lessons website.

Guitar Lesson: Mixolydian Scale in Classic Rock

Q: I was wondering if you can cover the sounds of Mixolydian as its used in Rock styles. I like the way bands like Guns N' Roses and Skid Row use this mode to make their music. But, I dont understand how to write chord progressions using this mode applied to a style like classic rock.

Thank you
Thomas, Germany

Thanks for writing in! There is a unique sound in classic rock played by artists like Neil Young, Guns N' Roses and many others that uses the Mixolydian mode. In the video lesson I will cover two popular chords that when used in major progressions will give you the sound you are after.

The complete lesson article for this video, (along with an MP3 audio jam track of the progression heard at the start of the video), is available on the Creative Guitar Studio website.

MUSIC THEORY: The Harmonic Minor Scale

Q: I am a new subscriber and your lessons are helping me a lot... I cannot thank you enough!

My question is, Can you please cover the Harmonic Minor Scale. I keep hearing about how it is so widely used but after playing it, I cannot seem to get it to sound good over anything. I mostly would like to know where and when I am supposed to be using it. My favorite style of music is the contemporary jazz style. I purchased your album off of your web site and I'm sure that I hear you use it in your music. By the way I love your album. Hope you make another one soon.

Zack Paris, France

This scale is a form of Minor which contains a raised seventh degree. The raised seventh offers a leading tone for strong resolution toward the scales tonic. This makes resolutions occur with far greater pull than is possible with the Natural Minor scale. It is often used in shred guitar music by players like Vai and Malmsteen.

The video explains the scales' basic structure and design. Viewers are shown two fingerboard patterns off of the sixth and fifth strings. Then, there is a thorough explanation of the harmony and how chords can be used in progressions to utilize the sound of Harmonic Minor scale.

The complete lesson article for this video, (along with an MP3 audio jam track of the progression heard at the start of the video), is available on the Creative Guitar Studio website.

Watch the "Chord Families Video Lesson" that was mentioned during the video.

Chord Families & Diatonic Substitution

Chords may be grouped into families based upon the principle chords found in harmony. These principle chords include the Root, Fourth and Fifth. (Notated as: I, IV, V).

In the key of C Major, we have the Root, (or the I chord), occurring as the C Major chord. The fourth step chord, (or the IV chord) occurs as the F Major. And, the fifth step chord, (or the V chord), presents as G Major.

These families are named as the; Tonic, (I), Sub-Dominant (IV), and the Dominant (V). The notes of each family combined spell out every tone of the major scale. The movement from one chord to another creates the basic harmonic effects of all tonal music.

It is important to memorize the function of each chord as well as the other chords which relate to each chord family.

- Tonic Family
The function of the Tonic family is to temporarily, or permanently begin, or end a piece, or section of music.

- Sub Dominant Family
The function of the Sub-dominat family is to move-away from the tonic family and move toward the Dominant family.

- Dominant Family
The Dominant family wants to resolve back toward Tonic. The pull of the 3rd chord tone (the leading tone of the key - in the case of C Major it is a B note) combined with the root of this chord (in Cmajor it is a G note) being out by a fifth. And, the major second interval of the chords 5th chord tone, (in C major it is a D note) all work together by surrounding the arrival of the movement toward notes of the Tonic chord. In the end the result is a very strong resolution. In Classical theory it is referred to as an Authentic Cadence.

To Read the complete article and listen to audio examples of this theoretical concept in use, please visit CreativeGuitarStudio.com

Folk Fingerstyle - Part One

Viewers Question:

Q: My favorite type of guitar playing is folk fingerstyle. Last month, I watched your YouTube Fingerstyle Guitar Primer video lesson that you posted in March of 2009.
I have purchased your Accelerated Learning ebook and I am practicing using the learning how to learn techniques.

In the last few weeks, I have made a proper practice schedule and I must say I have developed a lot of the techniques in your first video on fingerstyle guitar. In short, I am ready for more fingerstyle! Can you please re-visit the world of fingerstyle guitar once again? If so, can you please focus on some pattern playing in the Folk Fingerpicking style?

Thank you, Dillan, Ireland

A: Thanks Dillan! The video lesson I have organized for you covers a piece from my 1996 Acoustic Guitar album, Acoustic Highway. It is a great example of how, by using only a few simple patterns, any beginner or intermediate fingerpicker can compose a complete piece of music! Part One, covers the verse of the piece in detail. And, Part Two goes over the bridge and chorus. Hope you enjoy working on this material. It was a lot of fun to put the lesson together. All the very best - Andrew Wasson

Progressive Metal: Riff Building

Back in the sixties and seventies progressive rock bands like King Crimson, Yes and Jethro Tull pushed rock into new artistic directions. In recent years progressive metal bands like; Iron Maiden, Dream Theater and Opeth have built on the platform of this style taking it even further.

The concept with this style of music is that of blending the heavy metal overdrive sound of electric rock guitar with the structure of classical, jazz and world music. The main difference between rock and progressive metal is the complexity of prog. metal's arrangements. In standard radio friendly rock, the song structures are more like typical pop songs with verse, bridge chorus arrangements. This works well for the average radio station keeping with it's popularity approach for more friendly palatable music on the airwaves. One listen to any progressive metal tune awakens the listener to multiple sections of a piece often moving through different keys and time signatures. And, having long playtimes of 5-7 min. or longer. Certainly more creative and complex, however obviously not very radio friendly.

Read the full article and download FREE charts and an MP3 Jam-a-long track at CreativeGuitarStudio.com

The Chords of "Smooth Jazz" - Part One

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question...

Q: Can you do a video that looks at the really cool sounding chords played by guys like Larry Carlton and Lee Ritienour? I always hear them in the smooth jazz tunes, and it sounds like you play them in your music too. By the way, how can I buy your album? I looked on your website and on iTunes, but there are no digital downloads for your stuff?
Reno, NYC

The chord types used in this style of music are mostly triad with a bass note style. I cover a number of the most popular types used in the video lesson. Visit the Creative Guitar Studio website to get a FREE chord handout PDF for this video lesson.

Follow the link below to get - Part Two - of; "The Chords of Smooth Jazz Guitar"

My Instrumental Smooth Jazz CD is available from off of my website as a digital download.

Setting Intonation on a "Gibson Style" Fixed Bridge

Video lesson covers a string change from .009 Gauge to .011 Gauge guitar strings. However, the main focus of the lesson is that of checking and setting intonation.

Intonation on a guitar has to do with how "in tune" a string on the instrument is in relationship to the ratio of all of the other notes found on the fingerboard for that particular string. For example, a 3rd string fifth fret "C" note should sound as a "C" note would sound on any other instrument. How "in tune" that "C" note resonates is a reflection of that guitar's intonation on that string. The saddles of most all electric guitar bridge systems are adjustable both forward and backwards. The movement of those saddles adjusts the guitars intonation. The relation of tones on the fingerboard to their key or harmony must be as pure as possible. The video details the process of achieving this.

Workshop products Include the Following:

Jazz Guitar Soloing - Part One

This Two Part video guitar lesson series covers the art of targeting chord tones in the jazz guitar style. For a article about this topic as well as a tab chart and single pass MP3 jam track, follow the link below to the Creative Guitar Studio website to read all of the lesson notes and grab your FREE downloads: Jazz Guitar Soloing - Part One FREE Handouts.

To grab Part Two of this Lesson Plan follow the link below:
Jazz Guitar Soloing - Part Two

Accelerated Learning: How to Practice

Accelerated Learning concepts offer a dramatic effect on the ability to take in and retain information. But, they also provide the user with enhanced creative skills as well.

The principles are simple, yet rarely applied. Aspects such as; staying relaxed while learning, taking breaks, working in short time frames, visualizing, and bringing about the whole brain, (learning through creativity and imagination).

In this short video Andrew will discuss elements of Accelerated learning that he has taught since 1995.

The PRACTICE SCHEDULE mentioned in this video is available from the Creative Guitar Studio Website.
Follow the link to View and Download the Free Practice Schedule.

Purchase Andrew's eBook, "Accelerating Your Learning Curve."

Check out these great books for even more information about Accelerated Learning methods & Techniques...

Rock Lead Guitar Soloing - Part One

This video walks viewers through a typical rock solo that incorporates a number of phrasing devices. Both the Natural Minor and the Minor Pentatonic scales are used.

Get the FREE Associated Lesson Material on our website, just follow the link below:
Rock Lead Soloing Part One Handout

Part 2 of this series is available from the Creative Guitar Studio website. Follow the link below:
Rock Lead Soloing Part Two Video Package

MUSIC READING: Understanding Stage/Slash/Lead Charts

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answer's a viewers question:

Q: I like your videos where it shows you going to gigs and playing at them. One thing I want to know about, is how you can learn so many songs so quickly when you have to play as a sub in a band.

You once made mention that you sometimes only get a few days notice to learn an entire evenings worth of material. This sounds incredible. I am 17 years old and I want to do what you do as a career but the idea of learning so many songs with such short notice is really intimidating.

Can you please do a video talking about this whole concept? I am very curious how musicians do this.

Bradley - Murrells Inlet, SC.

A: To do this kind of gig a musician would either receive or have to write out a quick stage chart, (also referred to as; "lead sheet or slash chart"). This isn't all that hard to do since what we are after here is simply a "rough sketch," of the harmony and overall arrangement of all of the songs that are unknown in a set-list.

In the video I cover many areas of doing a gig like this. Including showing real charts that I have used to do gigs where I had to jump in as a sub.

Material associated to this video is available for download off of the Creative Guitar website.
Follow the link below:
Creative Guitar Studio Stage/Slash/Lead Charts

To watch the videos Bradley had mentioned, follow the link below to the YouTube playlist:
"Events & Live Playing Playlist"

80's Hard Rock Rhythm Guitar Series - Part One

Andrew Wasson from Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewer's question:
Q: I was wondering if you could do a lesson about playing the 80s hard-rock rhythm styles of; Van Halen, the Scorpions, or Whitesnake (that stuff). They all seem to use a low drone E or A string, but I get a little bit lost on the chords. Especially the Van Halen songs. They seem to use chords that are not inside of the key of the bass-note that is the lowest pedal tone, (the E or A strings). Can you PLEASE talk about this! I posted this question on a Guitar Forum but there weren't very good answers to the question in all of the replies.
Thank you,
Dustin, Victoria BC

A: Dustin, I've created a three-part series to answer your question. The concept of doing this is rather complex since it involves borrowing chords from parallel running modes of the same tonality. Groups like Van Halen, Def Lepard, etc., apply this concept on a regular basis. They also primarily focus on triads built off of the fourth guitar string to perform the parts. And, you are certainly correct when you mentioned that there is ample use of the droning bass notes of both "E & A" (6th & 5th) strings.
Thanks for your question.

Follow the links below to get:
"80's Rock Rhythms Video 2"
"80's Rock Rhythms Video 3"

Music Theory: Key Modulation

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio explains the use of Modulation in a piece of Music. He explains the two most popular types of modulating from one key to another in a song. Direct Modulation, which occurs when a key appears suddenly. And, Pivot Chord Modulation, which will use a chord shared by both keys to allow for a seamless transition between the old to the new.

Follow the link below to buy a copy of Andrew's eBook,
"Using the Major Scale Modes"