Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga (1985)

hammerofthegods

‘Hammer of the Gods’ is the cult classic Led Zeppelin biography, famous for its unflinching portrayal of the band’s legendary exploits with groupies, orgies, violence, hotel destruction, black magic, and drugs. With this book, Stephen Davis captures the true spirit of the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” philosophy of the 70s and vomits it up on the curb for all to see. If you have an aversion to seeing the word ‘fuck’ in print, or to reading descriptions of groupies getting fucked by dead sharks and whipped by live octopi, then definitely do not read Hammer of the Gods. Wild offstage behaviour aside, Stephen Davis expertly documents the bands musical career from their Yardbirds beginnings right through to their tragic breakup after John Bonham’s death in 1980 and Page’s descent into a daily heroin addiction that lasted seven years. Stephen Davis covers the musical side of the Led Zeppelin saga very well and dissects each of the albums they put out song by song, and also details the set lists of some of their key live performances out of the 600+ they performed during 1968-1971 and their tours in 1973, 1975, 1977, and 1979. The author has updated the book since its original publication to include extra chapters detailing the post-Zeppelin days, up to and including their 2007 reunion concert; however, most of this material is boring and unnecessary (it mainly focuses on Robert Plant’s solo career because Page was too strung out on heroin and John Paul Jones was too much of a recluse for either of them to have done anything interesting) and I found myself speed reading the rest of it till I hit the finish line. Besides the boring new material (Part 3: Hammer of Robert Plant) the rock biography lives up to all its hype and made for a very entertaining travel read (I read it in Japan). I’ll close by recommending a couple of Led Zeppelin live albums to buy or download should your ears be unfortunate enough to not have met with their music.

The Song Remains the Same
How the West Was Won

* * * * 4 stars 

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Guide to Building Your Own Pedalboard

gormOver the years I’ve acquired a decent collection of pedals, and while it was easily manageable when I only had a wah and overdrive pedal, once the rest of them rolled in I found myself tangled in cables and power adaptors. I knew I needed a pedalboard but I also knew if I could afford one, I’d use that money to buy a new pedal instead.

Fast forward a few weeks and I happened upon a post at the harmony central forums about a guy who constructed a pedal board using a $10 shelf unit from IKEA. The shelf in question is called a GORM (who the fuck names these things?) and this cheap DIY pedalboard has inspired literally hundreds of people to create their own.

gorm pedalboard

the original GORM pedalboard

I will now share with you my own DIY odyssey with the Gorm pedalboard, and I hope it inspires you to do the same.

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Song Lesson: The Girl From Ipanema

The Girl From Ipanema is a classic bossa nova (samba/jazz) recording from 1962, it was originally written by Antônio Carlos Jobim, while the lyrics were written by two other dudes. In 1964 the Brazillian guitarist João Gilberto – one of the pioneers of the bossa nova style – collaborated with his wife Astrid Gilberto, and jazz saxophonist Stan Getz on an album called Getz/Gilberto, which won a grammy in 1965, and is now considered to be one of the best selling jazz albums of all time. The Girl From Ipanema is enormously popular and has long been considered by many musicians to be a jazz standard – it should be in everyone’s repertoire, and now you can add it to your own bag of tricks. If you desire, you may download a print friendly word document version of this lesson.

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Jazz Guitar – Bebop Scales

jazz guitar scales

Bebop scales are certainly very valuable scales to add to your repertoire, especially if jazz is your bag. If you already know how to play the major scale and all of it’s modes, then you will find playing bebop scales a breeze. The reason being, these scales are essentially the same as the major scale’s modes, with the addition of an extra passing note in each of them. There are also bebop scales derived from the modes of the melodic minor, and the modes of the harmonic minor scale (guide on those coming soon!), but for the purpose of this guide I will only be dealing with the three most used bebop scales, and all three originate from the major scale.

Above is a terrific example of the dominant bebop scale (key of Bb) being played. Wes Montgomery is on fire as always, listen and take note! The bebop scales are frequently used in jazz, and deservedly got their name from their extensive use in the Bebop era (1940s-60s) by such jazz musicians as Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie, to name a few. Each scale presented is based on a mode of the major scale, with the addition of an extra passing note which gives it it’s characteristic chromatic run – you always hear the jazz giants flowing through their scales like this.

The bebop scale’s intention was to open up the major scale and give it more of a jazz flavour, and also to introduce a new ‘technique’ for playing over chord changes. Thanks to the added passing tone, if you begin the scale on the root chord tone (1) of the chord playing, and on the downbeat, all other chord tones (3, 5, 7) will also fall on downbeats, while the remaining tones in the scale will occur on the upbeat. This, of course, is assuming the scale is played either ascending or descending, without skipping an interval. These sort of scale runs, peppered occasionally with sequencing, are very common techniques in the world of jazz, as they colour the chords which are being played. Another advantage of the bebop scales is the additional note allows more soloing opportunities, which make it playable over more chords, thus eliminating the need to change scales as frequently as you would with the original major scale modes.

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Mother of All Music Theory – The Major Scale

john scofieldI’m not sure why I took so long to write a guide on the major scale, considering it’s easily the most important bit of music theory that you can learn, and knowing it is essential in order to learn other scales and chord theory. I even wrote my guide on modes of the major scale first! But don’t fret, it’s finally here – a guide to the major scale, the mother of all scales. It’s the scale which all other scales are compared to, and from where chords and their progressions derive from; it literally gives birth to music theory. The major scale is the first of the diatonic scales, which is just a fancy word for a seven-note octave repeating scale, which consists of five whole steps and two half steps between each octave. Don’t understand any of that? Don’t worry, you will very soon.
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Natural, Harmonic and Melodic Minor Scales

wes montgomeryThis post we’re going to be discussing three minor scales: the Natural Minor scale (Aeolian mode), the Harmonic Minor Scale, and the Melodic Minor Scale.

As you probably know already from my guide on the Modes of the Major Scale, the 6th mode of the major scale is always the natural minor scale, or the Aeolian mode. In the Key of C major, the Aeolian mode is A minor; therefore A minor is the relative minor of C major: every major chord has a relative minor. When you play an A Aeolian as part of the C major scale then they both share the same notes; for example, the pattern for the major scale is: (W = whole step – 2 frets), H = half step – 1 fret)

W – W – H – W – W – W – H
1    2    3    4     5    6    7

Which in C would = C D E F G A B (then back to C again, but at a higher octave.)

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William Burroughs Interviews Jimmy Page [1975]

pageburroughs

In 1975 a legendary encounter occurred; Jimmy Page, the lead guitarist of the blues rock band Led Zeppelin, was interviewed by William Burroughs – counter-cultural icon of the 60s beat generation, and deservedly famous author of Junky and Naked Lunch. William S. Burroughs was a fantastically able writer who has won the literary recognition of many; he was also a journalist, and a long time user of heroin – even coining the term junky. Heroin was something Page and Burroughs shared in common during the time of this interview in 1975, as Page’s experimentation with heroin had slipped into an addiction at this point in his life and career. Musically, critics believed his playing ability fell sharply as a result of his heroin use, while those obsessed with the occult insisted that his poor playing was a result of a black magic curse put on him by Kenneth Anger, an acolyte of the infamous Aleister Crowley.

zepburroughsBurroughs was not interested in critiquing or evaluating Page’s music, and instead relied on his highly charged imagination to create a unique and somewhat strange interview with the rock and roll legend; an interview that can never be replicated, and perhaps, never fully understood. “I felt that these considerations could form the basis of my talk with Jimmy Page, which I hoped would not take the form of an interview. There is something just basically WRONG about the whole interview format. Someone sticks a mike in your face and says, “Mr. Page, would you care to talk about your interest in occult practices? Would you describe yourself as a believer in this sort of thing?” Even an intelligent mike-in-the-face question tends to evoke a guarded mike-in-the-face answer. As soon as Jimmy Page walked into my loft downtown, I saw that it wasn’t going to be that way.”

What follows is an interesting take on the standard music interview format, and a surreal exploration into the subconscious elements of music, such as vibrations, transferring of energy, magic, the arts and the similarities between rock and roll riffs and Buddhist mantras.

Read on for the full article that Burroughs published in Crawdaddy magazine in their June 1975 issue, and also the transcript of the interview that took place.

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Ritchie Blackmore Interview

ritchie blackmoreRitchie Blackmore is probably the most underrated guitarist who has never made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is technically superior to his often compared to guitarists Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, and plays with just as much emotion as these giants. Being a classical listener and guitarist, he implements classical style runs into his playing and rarely plays within the pentatonic box that limits most blues players. Despite this, Blackmore still plays some of the most exceptional blues I have ever heard.

He was also an extremely talented song writer, writing a vast majority of Deep Purple’s songs, which is why when he left Deep Purple in 1975, the band quickly hired jazz fusion guitarist Tommy Bolin – who was another exceptional song writer – to pick up the pace.

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The 4 Chords In Music History

This song was performed by ‘Axis of Awesome’, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and is a mashup of a bunch of songs that have used the I-V-vi-IV chord progression (ONE-FIVE-SIX-FOUR), obviously a lot of these songs are in different keys, so they use a different 4 chords, but they all sound exactly the same because of the progression. If you have a dusty guitar in your room that houses spiders due to inactivity then maybe it’s time to pick it up and play four chords over and over again; you just might make it big in the music industry! Check out my guide on chord progressions if you want to write something slightly more original.

University Course: Introduction to Music Theory

Larry CoryellIf you are a musician without the time or money to study a music theory course, then here is the goods, delivered right to your computer. I’m missing units 1 and 8, but the rest is intact. Also included are homework assignments to further enhance the learning process. Music theory is a long, but fascinating and very worthwhile road to take. It is in a lot of ways like learning a new language, and is a necessary knowledge to be able to communicate effectively with other musicians.

Make sure that when you click the link, you click the DOWNLOAD bar in blue at the bottom of the page, and not the download at the top of the page – which is just an ad. Enjoy!

Bach Music Notation

Hand drawn music theory by Bach

Introduction to Music Theory Course

Unit 1
Unit 2 – The Elements of Time in Music
Unit 3 – The Elements of Pitch
Unit 4 – Notating Rhythm and Meter
Unit 5 – Introduction to Notating Pitch
Unit 6A –  Movable Tonic
Unit 6B – Key Signatures
Unit 7 – Intervals
Unit 8
Unit 9 – Compound Meter: Triplets
Unit 10 – Minor Keys
Unit 11 – Hyper Meter
Unit 12 – The Modes
Unit 13 – Chords
Unit 14 – Melody
Unit 15 – Texture
Unit 16 – Timbre
Unit 17 – Form

Homework Assignments:

Homework 1
Homework 2
Homework 3
Homework 4
Homework 5
Homework 6
Homework 7

Be sure to check out the other guitar guides scattered throughout the site!

Chord Theory

Scale Theory

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Cream – Live at the Sports Arena, San Diego [Oct, 1968]

This is one of my favourite Cream bootlegs, it shows Cream at their finest during their Farewell Tour. The above clip demonstrates that Clapton managed to actually pull off a version of Crossroads that can almost stand against the legendary Winterland recording, to do it Clapton ditched the Firebird for the Gibson Les Paul… good choice! Another absolute torrent of awesomeness can be heard in the version of Spoonful, which I am actually listening to right now… oh man! I didn’t even mention Sunshine of Your Love, I’m getting chills just thinking about that TONE. Just download the damn album already!

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Jim Morrison Interview 1969

This short clip from a larger 10 minute interview has Jim Morrison of The Doors puffing away at a fat cigar like the bad ass that he is. In the interview he discusses his role as the driving force of his band, and he also discusses the role of the Shaman in tribes and in their music. Finally Jim Morrison makes an impressive prediction on the direction music is heading in, he believed that American music has two roots: Blues and Country, and the two fused to create Rock and Roll as we know it. Jim says that the future of Rock music would be a fusion of both Blues, Country and something else entirely, that is electronically made music. He quite accurately visioned a future of music which involved a relationship between man and machine, quite right Jim!

The whole interview can be seen below, it contains the same 3 minutes from the clip above but also fleshes out Jim Morrison’s use of poetry, with Ray Manzarek (keyboard) giving a very interesting take on Jim Morrison’s role in the band, and their role as musicians to improvise musically as a whole.

Vox AC4TV Mod Guide

Tone You Can Take Anywhere: The Vox AC4TV

Tone You Can Take Anywhere: The Vox AC4TV

I have had my Vox AC15 for about 5 years now, and sometime last year I decided to get it a little brother: the Vox AC4TV. This tiny little 4w tube amp is incredible value for money. It only cost around $300 and is completely tube driven with 1 12AX7 preamp tube and 1 EL84 poweramp tube. It really is a tiny version of the AC15. From experience with the volume of the AC15 I also knew that 4w of tube power would be more than adequate for home practice as well, considering I would barely push the AC15 above 4w anyway when I’m practicing at home. This amp is very loud and is capable of great tone. It also has a very cool built in accentuator, this allows you to (at the simple turn of a knob) to change the amps output to either 1/2 a watt, 1w or the full 4w. It sounds legendary with my Fulltone OCD overdrive pedal, and the only thing the amp is missing is some reverb. Needless to say, the stock speaker is quite dull, but I still played on it for some time to allow it to break in. I was hoping that the speaker would open up and suprise me just as the stock AC15’s Wharefdale did (which I eventually swapped out for a Celestion Blue anyway). The speaker never sounded significantly different when it broke in compared to how it sounded stock. It sounded boxy (to be expected as it is a boxy amp I guess) and as though the tone was sinking in mud. I replaced the speaker with a Celestion G10 Greenback Speaker (10″) and it floored me with how much more articulate and open sounding it was. This was even before it broke in! Now the speaker has broken in nicely and it really does cut the cheese in the tone department. So much so that I’m even considering getting a cabinet for it, as I think once I do that it will be almost on par with my AC15!
IMG_2517

This ends my Vox AC4TV modding adventure for now, the speaker change was absolutely necessary in my opinion as it really gave the amp character. Considering Vox now stock install Celestion G12M Greenback speakers in their new Vox AC15C1 amps, I don’t see why they don’t do the same thing for the AC4TVs. The only thing I would change with the amp now are the tubes, I would like to replace them with NOS, but I have some concerns:

  1. The tubes are installed on the circuit board which looks a bit dangerous to me, I don’t want to get electrocuted and die for the sake of changing tubes, and I also don’t want to fork out a wad of cash to my amp tech to do it.
  2. The tubes have no metal casing whatsoever, this could be a problem as the tubes might cook quickly and burn out, not really worth the NOS investment if this is the case.

If anyone has any suggestions for the above tube concerns please let me know, and also if anyone would like some further clarification please don’t hesitate to ask. I might upload some audio samples of before and after when I get around to it. Also be sure to check out my page on the Vox AC15 modding process!

This amp is an absolute steal at $249, if you want an all tube sound at a tiny size and price for your bedroom, don’t hesitate to pick one up today! I get a 4% commision from Amazon if you buy it from this link, so help a brother out and buy it from them if you decide you want one!

UPDATE 12/12/12:
I have done some more upgrades to the amp, for starters I replaced the stock Sovtek 12AX7 tube with a NOS Mullard 12AX7 and I replaced the stock Sovtek EL84 with a NOS Tesla EL84. This made an enormous difference to the tone of the amp. Second I purchased a matching extension cabinet (Vox V112TV) and fitted it with a Celestion G12M Greenback. The cabinet really opened up the sound of the AC4TV and now the 4W setting actually sounds almost as good as my AC15 with the Celestion Alnico Blue speaker. I’m still waiting for both of the Greenback speakers to break in, so it will only sound better in time! Considering both the AC4TV combo and matching cabinet are closed back the Greenback is undoubtedly the best speaker to put in these – Greenbacks are one of the few speakers that actually sound better in a closed back cabinet. In my opinion there is no good reason you should buy the cabinet + head when the combo is only a little bit cheaper than the head and yet can still be plugged into an external cabinet. Now I have a very impressive sounding amp for playing at home by myself or with others and if I ever need to I can unplug the combo from the cab and have an ultra portable amp to take with me anywhere I want. It really is an ultimate combination. Vox made a winner with this one. Once the Greenback breaks in I will record some audio samples allowing you to hear both the combo AC4TV by itself, and coupled with the 1×12 cabinet.

the 12" greenback

the 12″ Greenback

the stock speaker in the cabinet

the stock speaker in the cabinet

the Greenback screwed in the cabinet

the Greenback screwed in the cabinet

the 10" greenback in the ac4TV

the guts of the ac4TV

the guts of the ac4TV

close up of the NOS tubes

close up of the NOS tubes

close up of the controls

12AX7 on the left, EL84 on the right.

vox ac15

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Vox AC15 Mod Guide

Legendary Tone: The Vox AC15

Legendary Tone: The Vox AC15

What follows is a retrospective journey of me and my Vox AC15 amp. Most of the mods I performed were inspired by the guide found here, so you should definitely check it out if you’re considering doing some mods of your own.

So I’ve had my trusty Vox AC15 amp for 5 years now… where does the time go!? Since buying it I have not once thought of replacing it, nor have I had GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) over other amps, like I’ve had with guitars and pedals. A lot of people think that the Vox AC30 is the superior amp to the AC15, and this might be true if you are gigging a lot and don’t have a good PA system, but in all other departments the AC15 is better, in my opinion. For starters, 15 watts of tube power goes a very long way; it is just as loud as my 100w solid state amp. With the AC15 I can barely get the master volume past the halfway mark if I have top boost on full. The AC15 has a lot less clean headroom than the AC30 and for me this is a very good thing as I can get to that sweet creamy overdrive much sooner, without having to blow the lid off my house. With the AC30 you really need to crank it to get to the good stuff or you have to resort to using an overdrive pedal, which denies you access to your straight up tube tone.

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Frank Gambale: Modes No More Mystery

The above clip is taken from Frank Gambale’s excellent instructional DVD on guitar modes. You can download it here. The download includes all the booklets and mode diagrams. The video taught me pretty much everything I know about modes and it is absolute essential viewing for any guitarist aspriring to further their knowledge of music theory. Frank Gambale is an Australian Jazz Fusion guitarist and the inventor of the ‘sweep picking’ technique. His understanding of the entire fretboard is second to none and he is undoubtedly one of the most talented guitarists on the map. The video covers modal chord progressions, what they are and how to construct them, and also of course the guitar modes them self. Frank Gambale also gives great examples of how each of the modes sound in the key of C so you can hear the differences between them all.

Be sure to check out the other guitar guides scattered throughout the site!

Chord Theory

Scale Theory

General Music Theory

Introduction to Music Theory University Course

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Guide to Barre Chords

Barre ChordsBarre chords are the most valuable weapon to have in any guitarists arsenal. This is because they are moveable, which means you only have to learn a few positions and you can move them around the entire fretboard. Of course, it is absolutely essential that you know the notes on all the strings, and at the very least, the notes on the E, A and D strings. This is an excellent guide on learning your notes. Be sure to read it first before you tackle barre chords. First of all know the notes of the open strings: from the 6th string (thickest string to the 1st string (thinnest string) they are: E A D G B E, also know that the notes repeat themselves at the 12th fret, so the notes on the 12 fret are also E A D G B E. Next know that the order of string notes from the open E (on both the 1st and 6 string) is E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E etc. There are sharps between every note except E and F and B and C. Also know the notes on the A string: A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A etc. Also note the fret markings on the guitar fretboard, these are here to help you visualise the note positions. There’s usually a marking on the 3rd fret, 5th fret, 7th fret, 9th fret and two markings on the 12th fret. Remember that for the E strings, the 3rd fret is always G, the 5th fret is always A, the 7th fret is always B, the 9th fret is always C# and the 12th fret is always E. Sometimes there is a fret marking on the first fret, this would be F on the E strings.

There are three main barre chord positions, the E position, the A position and the D position, these are all related to their respective open chords:

Chord Chart

The O’s represent open notes while the X’s are notes you don’t play. Think of the nut as being a permanent barre. This is why if you were to move these ‘open’ chords up a fret you would need to make an artificial nut by barring strings with your finger. If you play the E open chord up one fret, then you would need to barre all the strings on the 1st fret, seeing as how this is an E barre chord position, the root rests on the E string, making the chord an F barre chord.

Here are all the barre chords for the most common and useful chords, each is shown in their E form, A form and D form. Learn them all, and use them well. Along with each chord type I will also display the formula used in creating them. Every major and minor chord are created out of taking three notes (called a triad) from the major scale, and isolating those notes to create a chord. The two main triads are the major triad (1-3-5) and the minor triad (1-b3-5). 7th chords simply add a 7th note to these triads, so a major 7 becomes 1-3-5-7, while a minor 7 becomes 1-b3-5-7.

If you like, you can download a print friendly word document version of this post.

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Wu-Tang Clan: Melburn’ City

Concert

Wu-Tang Clan, the legendary hip-hop group that managed to make hip-hop ‘cool’ amongst a whole lot of white kids. While this is a super feat in itself, the real genius behind the clan is thankfully found in their music and not their popularity. Their first album ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ released towards the end of 1993, is still regarded as one of the monoliths of hip-hop recordings. The album solidified the clan’s reputation for extensive use of sampling – particularly from old samurai flicks such as Shogun Assasin (1980) – and their use of dark and grimy beats, crafted and produced by the head of the clan, RZA. The clan contains 9 members: RZA (Rizza), GZA (Gizza), Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Masta Killa and U-God, and their first single ‘Protect Ya Neck’ was one of the first hip-hop recordings to feature 8 rappers dropping verses (Masta Killa was in prison at the time). Big L later released a song titled ‘8 Iz Enuf’ which also featured 8 rappers, in response to ‘Protect Ya Neck’. Each member had a distinct style and brought something individual to the table, it never sounded like you were just listening to 9 black dudes yo’ing all over the place. Of course, a few of the members weren’t all that great (U-God, Masta Killa…) but despite this each member all went off to deliver very successful solo albums, with the cream of the crop being GZA’s ‘Liquid Swords’, Raekwon’s ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ and Ghostface’s ‘Ironman’ in that order of greatness.

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Guide to Open Chords

george harrisonMany musicians consider open chords to be nothing more than an initial learning hurdle for beginning guitarists. Often when a new guitarist has learnt how to finger and strum the basic open chords, they will quickly dump them for the more mobile barre chords. While barre chords sure are cool, they also lack the certain chimey quality that open chords produce, open chords also feel a lot more free compared to barre chords, which are quite dense sounding. Perhaps the main reason why open chords are quickly discarded, is that most guitarists only know at most 10 of them. Usually these are E, Em, maybe F, G, A, Am, C, D and Dm. That doesn’t really open a lot of musical doors, where is the Fm, Gm, Cm, and all of the Bs!? What about the dominant 7ths, minor 7ths and major 7ths? Well, don’t fret! Here is the definitive open chord guide, which accepts and welcomes all of the neglected open chords! If you like, you can download a print friendly word document version of this post.

Practicing these chords will not only give you a massive edge over the average guitarist who only knows 5-10 open chords, it will also give you a much larger tonal range to tap into, and it will increase your finger dexterity and strumming ability! If you use these open chords to tackle my guide on chord progressions, then you will have the advantage of remembering the progressions faster than if you played barre chords. This is because all the open chords are closely clustered together, the changes are faster and easier, therefore your muscle memory for the progressions develops at a faster rate.

Before I show you the chords, I will show you a chart which details the skeleton of each of the chords. With this simple little chart, you will have the power to construct your own chords, a lot of these open chords I actually constructed myself by using QwikChord as I couldn’t find some of these open chords anywhere on the net, at least not accurate ones. It’s a good exercise to try and construct your own chords from scratch, give it a shot!

OPEN CHORDS

Chort Type Chord Formula
Major Triad 1-3-5
Minor Triad 1-b3-5
Major 7 1-3-5-7
Minor 7 1-b3-5-b7
Dominant 7 1-3-5-b7

Chord Chart

Chord Chart

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The Chord Guide: Pt III – Chord Progressions

bobdylan1-e1451272201254.jpgChord progressions are the canvas on which musicians paint their masterpieces, and it’s a canvas which is a piece of art in itself. A chord progression can be simple and catchy, or it can be technical and complex, it can stay in one key or it can change like the seasons. Either way, a chord progression is what drives the song, as it literally shapes the music that accompanies it. All of the songwriting giants, such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan, to name a few, have/had a tremendous knowledge of the art of the chord progression. We’re not going to promise you tremendous knowledge, but will offer you a good head start in the way of making your own music – in an easily digestible chunk to boot.

This guide is meant to inject an interest in songwriting in new and old guitarists alike, it is our hope that at some point after reading this you will pick up your old guitar, blow off the dust, and join us in playing music. Music is the universal language of the human soul, after all; it speaks more volumes about us than a library full of books ever could, so learning to communicate in this language is a wonderful ability to have. Read on, assimilate everything and start making your own music! Play for yourself, and others will listen, not the other way around – music is a journey, a personal voyage.

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Guitar Modes: Melodic Minor Scale

Music Theory

This is a continuation from my previous guide: Modes of the Major Scale Explained!

The main difference between the major scale and the melodic minor is its flat 3rd as opposed to the major scales regular third. Therefore the seven modes of the melodic minor scale share only one note difference to the modes of the major scale. This scale is used extensively in jazz!

The seven modes of the melodic minor scale are as follows:

  1. The Melodic Minor (similar to ionian mode, but with a flattened 3rd)
    1 2 b3 4 5 6 7
  2. Dorian b2 (similar to dorian mode, but with a flattened 2nd)
    1 b2 b3 4 5 6 b7
  3. Lydian Augmented (similar to lydian mode, but with a raised 5th)
    1 2 3 #4 #5 6 7
  4. Lydian Dominant: (Lydian b7) (similar to lydian mode, but with a flattened 7th)
    1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7
  5. Mixolydian b6 (similar to mixolydian mode, but with a flattened 6th)
    1 2 3 4 5 b6 b7
  6. Locrian #2 (Aeolian b5) (similar to the locrian mode, but with a raised 2nd)
    1 2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7
  7. Altered (Super Locrian) (similar to the locrian mode, but with a flattened 4th)
    1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 b7

You construct these modes in the exact same way as you construct the modes of the major scale, you simply change the root note and you have different sounding mode. i made a diagram to illustrate this (again, in C – click image to make it bigger!):

Music Theory

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Chord Theory

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General Music Theory

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