Category Archives: Music Theory

Jimmy Page

How To Use Hybrid picking In Your Guitar Playing

In this lesson, you are going to learn how to use hybrid picking in your guitar playing.  This will add dimension and color variation to your over-all creativity.  Not to mention that you will enhance your fretboard knowledge and picking technique.

What is hybrid picking?

Hybrid picking is when you use both the guitar pick and your fingers to play the guitar strings.  You hold the pick with two fingers (usually the thumb and index finger) and you use the other three fingers to pick the strings individually.

This is a technique that is very common with country guitar playing, banjo playing, bluegrass, and classical fingerstyle.  But it has also been used in playing rock rhythms and guitar solos by some of the best players out there.  So it is not a bad thing to look into learning.

Hybrid picking


Hybrid picking example, written in tab

Hybrid picking written in tab

The above example is a common way that you might read this technique.  You pick the lowest open note (the 5th string A) with the pick and you then pick the other open strings (G B & E) with your fingers.  Remember, that looking at sheet music (standard notation or tab) the lowest note will always be on the bottom.

Try this out on your guitar.  See if you can get your picking hand working to execute this technique.  If so, you’ll hear a very distinct sound and something quite different from just strumming with a pick.  This will allow you to approach the guitar in a little different way.

Harmony notes in sixths

You can create some nice hybrid picking ideas when you learn about harmony notes.  This is where you use two “specific” notes in your playing.  I suggest sixths because of how they line up along the fretboard, but you can use any two notes really.

Sixths would be using the 1 and 6th notes of the major or minor scale in whatever key you choose to pay in.  You can also use thirds, fourths, and octaves.  You just need to know where these notes are located on the fretboard.  Start out with the root note (the 1) and then find the other note to add to it.

Watch the video lesson below

More in-depth training

I strongly believe that hybrid picking and this type of concept can enhance your guitar playing.  And to make it easier to learn, I’ve written a book and published it on Amazon (available in other online places as well) to help you out.  The guitar book I’m talking about is called Lead Guitar Wizardry.

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

Lead Guitar Wizardry is a simple step-by-step method book designed to teach you the fundamental principles in a fun and easy way.  With lesson plans that build upon themselves.  This makes learning the concepts, principles, and techniques presented easy and provide quick results.

No more frustration

Learning and understanding musical concepts can be hard sometimes because music is a language and sometimes the way it’s taught can be hard to understand.  But with my method book, you won’t have that.  You will be able to learn easily and if you happen to get stuck, I am here to help.  This means, no more frustration trying to figure it out by yourself.

When I started learning from books, many times I wish I could have contacted the teacher to explain something better.  But I couldn’t because the internet did not exist back then.  But nowadays it does.  And in doing so, You have access to authors who publish books and training articles to help you out further.

Author-signed copy

If you happen to get my book Lead Guitar Wizardry you can usually purchase at a discount and available in both print and Kindle.  But it is also available through my eBay store Dwayne’s Guitar World where if purchased here, you will get an “author-signed” copy from me and I personally myself will send it to you.

This is how strongly I feel about this method book.  I know it can help you to improve your guitar playing.  Especially if you’re looking to get started playing guitar solos or have already started and looking to get a better understanding of what you are doing o your guitar.

Most guitarists don’t know

I don't know

Many guitar players can play guitar very well because they’ve spent many upon many hours listening and learning by ear.  But if you ask them what chord they are playing or what note or scale they’re playing they would have a hard time telling you.  Because most guitarists don’t know.  They never took the time to learn.

Although, you can be different.  You can be one of the few who actually do know what you are doing.  that does know what notes and scales you are playing?  One of the few you can actually explain the concept you are executing and have a full understanding of why it works the way it does.  Such as hybrid picking.

Develop a full understanding

By following a method, you will be able to not only learn faster and get quick results but develop a full understanding of what you are doing.  It is this understanding that is going to make you stand high above the crowd.  Especially the guitar player that doesn’t have that grasp.

You will build self-confidence in yourself and your playing through study and practical application.  You will see the light bulb go on above your head as you learn these sacred concepts that most never take the time to.  In doing so, your quest for music knowledge will grow because of the guitar lessons that you took.  Even if they are out of a book.

Lead Guitar Wizardry will teach you:

*Scale patterns for creating solos

*The 12 bar blues to solo over

*Major & minor-key progressions

*Hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, etc

*Where to solo in a particular key

*How to make your scales sound like music

*Why it is important to read sheet music

*What the most common attribute to soloing is

*Hybrid picking, harmony notes & finger tapping

Along with much, much, more.  If you dive into this method book you will unlock mysteries of the fretboard that you never knew existed.  All in a very simple manner.  And once again, if you run into any questions about it, I’m just an email away.

Lesson conclusion

So, in conclusion, try out the technique of hybrid picking.  Learn about harmony notes.  Learn your notes on your fretboard and find the notes necessary to put this cool concept into action.  I guarantee that your guitar playing skills and knowledge will grow and your self-confidence will soon follow.

But like anything else, you’ll need to study and practice on a daily basis.  This is the best way to see positive progress in your guitar playing.  Grab the book I mentioned above and see how following a proven method can help.

And if you haven’t already, grab my FREE action-guide “Guitar Solos Secrets”  that will show you insider secrets to help you get a head-start in the right direction.  Remember, if you need additional help with anything I teach, be sure to contact me and I will help you out.

Until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

How To Sweep Pick Arpeggios to Enhance Your Guitar Solos

Joe Satriani playing guitar

How To Use Harmony Notes In Thirds For Your Guitar Solos

Learn how to use harmony notes in thirds for your guitar solos.  These can also be used in playing rhythm guitar as well.  The more you know about the notes on your guitar fretboard, the better understanding you will have of music.

Harmony notes

Harmony notes are two notes that can be played together to add depth to your guitar playing.  They can be played when creating rhythms as well as in creating guitar solos.  Using them in guitar solos is what we will focus on in this lesson today.

Utilizing this kind of technique can add color and emotion to your guitar solos.  Not to mention your enhanced fretboard knowledge.  Because to use these notes, you need to know where they are located on different guitar strings.

The major scale

In order to find out what notes we will be using for this technique to be valuable, we need to learn the notes of the scale.  That way we can pick put the proper notes to use.  In the key of C (we use C because it is the easiest to understand) we have the notes C D E F G A B C.

If we give each one of these notes a number value, we can clearly see that there are 8 notes.  The C is 1, the G is 5, the B is 7, etc.  By knowing this information we can see to play thirds we will be using the two notes C and E.  If we were to play in 6ths (the 1 and 6) what notes would we need to use?

Finding them on the fretboard

Now that we know what notes to use theoretically, we need to be able to find them on the fretboard for practical application purposes.  Without this, we only know it in theory.  That doesn’t do is any good as far as actually playing them on the guitar.  We need to know about finding them on the fretboard.

This is where learning your notes comes into play.  By learning the notes on all six strings, you’ll be able to find the notes you want to create with very quickly and easily.  No guesswork.  Through study and practice, you will know them without fail.


Thirds are when you use the 1 and 3 of the scale that you are playing in.  For instance, if you are playing in the key of C major you will use the C and E notes.  You can play these together like a two-note chord or you can play them individually.  But you must know where they are located along the fretboard in order for you to benefit from using them.

Example in the key of C major.

Harmony notes in thirds

Harmony notes in thirds. Written in tab

In this example, we have the root note (the C note) on the bottom string and the third note (the E note) is on the top string.  You can play these together to create interesting phrases in your playing.

Watch the video lesson below

Harmony notes in other ways

In addition to using harmony notes in thirds, you can also use them in sixths and octaves.  Sixths would use the 1 and 6th notes.  In the key of G major, for instance, the notes would be G A B C D E F# G.  This would tell us that the notes we want to use would be the G and the E notes.

If we were playing in octaves, we would use the 1 and 8th notes.  Which we can see are the same.  That is why they are called octaves.  Two notes that are the same.  In this case, the two notes would be G.

Harmony notes in sixths.

Harmony notes in sixths

Above we have harmony notes in sixths on two strings.  The G note is on the 4th string and the E (sixth note) is on the 2nd string.  For these notes to line up easily on the fretboard we need to skip a string.  Play these two notes together or individually.  Either way, you’ll be able to come up with great ideas.

Harmony notes in octaves

Harmony notes in octaves

In this example, we have two notes in C.  This is the natural octave that occurs between these two strings.  Two strings down and two notes over you will always find the octave.  Multiple things can be done with harmony notes in octaves.

Commit to the craft

To fully understand the material presented in this lesson will take some time.  Commit to the craft and you will get there.  In being committed myself, I have written and published a book that can surely help you.  Lead Guitar Wizardry.  This method book is designed to teach you how to create your own guitar solos as well as learn those from your favorite players.

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

Combine the study of this training manual with a regular daily practice routine and you will begin to develop skills you once thought were not possible.  Such kills as:

*Lead guitar basics

*Pentatonic scale patterns

*Major and minor key progressions

*Hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, etc

*Alternate picking, harmony notes, and tremolo picking

*Transposing keys, music theory, reading notation, and the 12 bar blues

Along with a whole bunch more concepts and principle techniques to make you a lead guitar wizard!  Although you will have to study and practice.  But if you do, I guarantee you will learn how to do some wonderfully fun things on your guitar.

Lesson conclusion

Be sure to add harmony notes in thirds to your bag of guitar tools to help you create awesome guitar magic.  Remember, you can do them in sixths and in octaves as well.  Just refer to the lesson if you get stuck.  These can add depth and diversity to your guitar playing.

Make sure to learn your notes.  It will make playing these so much easier and also give you more enhanced fretboard knowledge.  And that my friend is always a good thing.  And if you haven’t already, be sure to grab my FREE action-guide “Guitar Solo Secrets” to help you get a head-start in the right direction.

If more help is needed about anything that I teach, just remember I’m an email away.  Contact me and I’ll help you out.

Keep practicing and until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

How To Use Finger Dexterity Exercises To Benefit Your Guitar Solos


writing music

How Important Is It To Learn Music Theory?

music theory

Learning music theory can be beneficial in a lot of ways when it comes to playing music.  But more so when it comes to understanding how the notes in music work together in harmony.  It is this harmony that allows the music to connect with the listener.

The language of music

Music is a language like any other type of language.  English, Spanish, Chinese, etc.  And the concepts and principles that govern the musical language are very much like the concepts that rule the written language of words, phrases, and paragraphs.

Musicians who understand the language of music theory know how to use it just like writers know how to use the letters of the alphabet to create stories that move the reader.  A musician knows how to use the notes to move the listener.

Benefits of music theory

There are many benefits to learning music theory:

  1. write out your own ideas that others can execute

  2. transcribe music from the audio recording.

  3. understand what notes reside in any key.

  4. learn how to transpose these different keys.

  5. put notes together to create chords.

  6. String together chords to create chord progressions.

  7. figure out scales and notes that are in them.

And many, many more things.  Too many to list really.  But this is just a few that will give you a better understanding of what can be accomplished by learning music theory.  Is it important to learn music theory?  I’d say it couldn’t hurt.  It definitely gives you a better understanding of what you are doing.

Playing by ear

playing by ear

A lot of guitar players (especially rock guitar players)  play by ear.  Which means they don’t depend on knowledge of music theory to write their songs.  They just put enough hours into the instrument to figure it out by ear and know what to play through hours and hours of dedicated practice.

I’ve read in many interviews in guitar magazines and have also seen them in interviews on TV and on Youtube, with successful guitar players (you know the ones who inspire you to play) and they have mentioned time and time again that they don’t know any theory.

Some (most actually) don’t even know how to read sheet music.  In fact, there is an old joke that says:

How do you get a guitar player to turn down?

Put sheet music in front of him.

Reading sheet music can be very beneficial, but it doesn’t seem like it is necessary to be able to write great songs.  The Beatles didn’t know about the inner workings of music theory and how to read sheet music as a symphony musician does, but yet they wrote some of the best rock songs the world has ever known or ever will know.

So, how important is knowing music theory?…

When playing by ear, they listen to a song or a piece of music and replicate it on the guitar.  This is a very common practice among rock guitar players.  Actually, some of the best players like this and still do to this day.

Playing by ear is a whole other skill set that can be developed if you just take the time.  Some people are actually born with this skill.  I’ve heard people say they could play anything they hear without having to look at the sheet music.  In fact, they prefer not to.

A great many rock songs that you like were written like this.  Not by studying music theory and then writing from that point of view, but from listening to sounds in their head and getting them to come out through their guitar.

A little bit of both

It is a good idea from my point of view as a guitar teacher to learn a little bit of both. Learn some music theory for a better understanding of the instrument and learn to play by ear.  Both require two different skill sets an that is why most guitar players choose one or the other.  But if you could acquire skill sets in both areas, you could be above most guitar players that have a skill set in just one.

You learn music theory to get a full understanding of how music works and you learn to play by ear for motor skill development.  See, if you just study music theory you’ll get great at understanding the music but you won’t get great at playing it because your physical abilities won’t be developed.

That is why it is so important to add playing the guitar as well.  Now if you take the music theory you learn and apply it to writing your own songs, that will develop these skills.  But don’t overlook the fun of playing songs by your favorite artists.

Lesson conclusion

Is learning music theory important?  Yes!  It can really help you to understand how music works and how to communicate the language to others who know it.  It can also help you to do all that is stated above.  But make sure you don’t get so wrapped up in learning music theory that you miss out on the fun of playing songs by your favorite artists.

There is a lot of fun doing this.  Not to mention the skills that you learn along the way.  Ear training, timing development and the overall discipline of trying to get a song down the way it is written.  This skill requires much study and practice and will also help to improve your guitar playing as much as studying music theory.

Remember most rock guitar players that have hits on the radio play by ear without looking at sheet music.  So study their approach to the instrument and follow suit.  As you will learn all kinds of skills not found in studying just music theory alone.

And if you need any further help, check out my books I have authored on playing guitar:

Rock Guitar 101. 

Rock Guitar 101

A starter book that teaches the fundamental principles of how to play rock guitar.  From the correct tools to get started with chords, rhythm, picking hand development, establishing timing and classic rock riffs.

Learn Guitar For Beginners. 

Learn Guitar Simple Method for beginners

A classic study on learning to play the guitar no matter if it is acoustic or electric.  A step-by-step method that takes you from not knowing anything about the guitar to being able to play songs and understand what you are playing.

Rhythm Guitar Alchemy.

Rhythm Guitar Alchemy

The science of playing rhythm guitar.  This book is for the person who wants to take their rhythm playing to the next level.  For those who know a few chords but want to expand on them.  Those who know how to strum but want to learn more.  A person who has good timing but wants to develop it better.  All this and more can be found in this book in a simple step-by-step method.

Lead Guitar Wizardry vol 1. 

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

Beginners guide to playing lead guitar and guitar solos.  From learning about music notation, 12 bar blues, rock riffs, minor pentatonic scales, personality notes, harmonies, octaves and everything else needed to create your own guitar solos and learn guitar solos by your favorite artists in your favorite songs.

Lead Guitar Wizardry vol 2.

Lead Guitar Wizardry Volume 2

A more advanced guide book on how to take your guitar solos to the next level.  For the person who already knows how to play guitar solos, but wants to enhance their playing with new scales and guitar licks.  This volume goes through modes, additional minor scales like harmonic, melodic, diminished & more advanced concepts such as using double stops in your solos and melodic sequencing.  Plus many more things to improve your learning and understanding of music theory as it relates to playing guitar solos.

So check them out and if you have any questions about what I’m teaching, be sure to visit my website at DwaynesGuitarLessons where you will find all the answers to your questions.  And if you need private instruction, feel free to contact me.

Best of luck and take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

Chord Progressions That Work With The Minor Pentatonic Scale

John Petrucci

How The Chromatic Scale and Scale Note Intervals Will Help Your Playing

In this lesson, we are going to learn, how the chromatic scale and scale note intervals will help your playing. Because when it comes to creating jaw-dropping guitar solos, you must know your scales. The chromatic scale and major scale are the best to start out with. You’ll learn to understand the sacred formula that allows you to see very clearly what notes make up the scale.  This is very important because without it you’ll be lost on what to play and where to play it.

The Chromatic Scale.

It all starts with the chromatic scale.  Every note on the fretboard or every note in the musical alphabet. This consists of 12 notes.  A-G#.  All notes right next to each other spanning 12 frets.  This is important to know so that you can find the sharps and flats within the scale.


Out of the chromatic scale, we take 8 notes to create a major scale. This is the scale that is the most familiar because of the Do Ra Me that we learn as a kid in grade school.  The reason for this is because this is like the trunk of the musical tree.  All scales and chord progressions branch out from here.

The Major Scale.

So if the major scale in the trunk of the musical tree than the chromatic scale would be the roots.  Because everything comes out of the chromatic scale. Then moves onto the major scale and so forth from there. If there are 12 notes in the musical alphabet (the chromatic scale) then the major scale has 8 notes.  These 8 notes are taken directly out of the chromatic scale.

Just like words are created out of our regular 26 letter alphabet, so is such with our musical alphabet.  We start with the major scale.  And this goes for any key no matter if it is major or minor.  In each major scale, there are also roots to be aware of as well.  These are the notes that will stand out when your creating guitar solos.

For example.  Let’s say we use the key of A major.  The 8 notes in this key will be A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A.  These are the 8 notes previously mentioned.  We can see they are notes taken out of the musical alphabet to create the A major scale.  We also can see that some of the letters are sharp (#) this is because they need to fit within the Do-Ra-Me format to sound harmoniously correct.

Major scale intervals.

After learning the 8 notes that make up the major scale (and for this example, we are using the A major scale) we want to learn about the major scale intervals.  This is the distance between the notes.  This is very important information to know because it allows us to not only understand the scale better, but it also allows us to create any major scale we choose.

A distance of one fret is considered a “half step” and a distance of two frets is considered a “whole step” and by knowing this sacred incantation, we can discover “why” the notes in the major scale areas such.  It is because of this little nugget of knowledge, that allows us to find out what the sacred formula is for the major scale.  Any major scale!

Secret scale formula.

Since we now know about half steps and whole steps and what they represent, we can find the secret formula.  The A Major key once again is A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A.  The reason why it is these notes because it must be diatonically correct to sound right to the ear.  This sound is Do Ra Me Fa So LaTe Do.  Notice how there are 8 notes and 8 syllables.  Each note relates to a syllable.  Notice how there are two A’s and two Do’s in the syllables and letter equation?

Now let’s give these a number value.

       A     B     C#    D     E     F#     G#     A

      Do   Ra  Me   Fa    So   La      Te     Do

       1      2      3      4      5     6        7        8

If we look at our musical alphabet we can see that there is a distance of two notes (a whole step) between A & B.  That is because we have an A# in between.  So that tells us that between the 1st and 2nd note in the scale is a whole step.  We can also see that between the B & C# is also a whole step because there is a C note in between.  But between the C# and D, there is no other note so we can conclude that this is a half step.  So, up to this point, we have a W-W-H in the secret formula.  Do you understand this concept?

Between the D and E is another whole step, between the E & F# there is a whole step and between the F# & G# is another whole step.  We can come to this conclusion by looking at the notes in the musical alphabet and how they line up.  And between the F# & G note is another half step.  So now we have the whole major scale “secret formula”  which works for any major scale.

      A     B     C#     D     E     F#     G#     A

      1      2      3        4     5       6        7        8

        w       w     h       w      w      w       h

We now have the whole secret formula and can create the A major scale at will!  If you get this down well enough you’ll be able to create any major scale.  Because it works for all of them.  In fact, if you get the concept down well enough, you’ll be able to create major scales, minor scales, harmonic scales, diminished scales, etc, etc, etc.

That is the beauty of this sacred knowledge.  It allows you to create guitar magic at will!!  Now that my friend is the power of Lead Guitar Wizardry!

Lead Guitar Wizardry.

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

Lead Guitar Wizardry is a comprehensive course on lead guitar mastery.  From finger exercises to picking techniques, scale patterns and fretboard knowledge.  A simple step-by-step method with diagrams that make it easy to understand and make it a quick study.  In doing so you get quick results.

This book of spells and incantations will provide an essential guide on your journey to becoming a great lead guitarist.  It will show you the secret formulas, scale patterns, and techniques used by lead guitar wizards to create jaw-dropping solos that capture the listener with magic.

Combine the study of this training manual with a regular daily practice routine and you will begin to develop skills you once thought were beyond your ability.  Before you know it, you will be casting your own brand of guitar magic that will leave those listening in amazement.

Lesson Conclusion.

In this lesson, we have learned some very important skills.  What the musical alphabet is, how many letters it is made up of and how to use certain notes to create a major scale.  Any major scale.  In addition to that, we have learned how to determine what notes are in a major scale (any major scale) by knowing the secret scale formula.

Knowing this information will give us insight into how music works and how we can bend it to our will.  How we can make it work for us to create our own brand of musical magic.  If you feel you need help in lead guitar playing, be sure to grab my book on the topic.  Volume 1 will introduce you to the fundamental principles need to build a solid foundation for future learning.

And as always, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you grab my FREE action-guide “Guitar Solo Secrets” that will help you to accelerate your learning and produce results fast!

If you have any questions about anything that you are learning here or anywhere else no matter if it is lead or rhythm guitar do reach out and let me know.  I am here to help.  Contact me and follow me on social media.

Best of luck and until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

Steve Vai playing guitar

How To Understand Music Notation, The 12 Bar Blues & Lead Guitar Riffs

In today’s lesson, we are going to learn how to understand music notation, the 12 bar blues, and lead guitar riffs so that we can use this to create guitar solos.  Because these three elements are widely used in playing guitar and creating jaw-dropping guitar solos.

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1.

To be a lead guitar wizard one must have the most serious commitment to the craft of lead guitar playing. They must have the most focus on attention to detail. Acquire hours of study and practice and fully understand the spells and incantations associated with lead guitar magic.

Rhythm is the foundation of the song and does require discipline as well and a different set of skills to get down proficiently but the lead guitar is a little bit more.  That is why it gets the spotlight.  Very much like a quarterback of a football team.  The other positions are just as important (right guard, receiver, running back, etc) but it is the quarterback’s position that requires more study.

In this lesson of the book Lead Guitar Wizardry, we are going to be looking at the fundamental principles of how to play lead guitar. How to understand music notation, the 12 bar blues, and lead guitar riffs. These are the elements that you want to study to get familiar with playing guitar solos.

Why learn other people’s solos?

It is a great idea to learn guitar solos from your favorite players because it teaches you many things.  Guitar solos are harder than rhythm because rhythm repeats itself many times throughout the song so it sticks in your mind easier, as where guitar solos usually come through just once.  And because of this, they are much harder to master and remember.  That’s why it is important to keep your fingers in shape.

This is because they are a song within a song and that is why they get the spotlight.  When starting out playing lead guitar it is recommended by me that you start out playing solos from your favorite players so that you learn how they are constructed.  How the elements of guitar solos are put together.

This also gives you insight on how you can use these secret elements to create your own solo of wizardry.  But in order to do so, you need to learn the fundamental principles of how they are put together.  Very much like baking a cake.  You wouldn’t just throw ingredients together.  You would mix and match them in a certain way at certain intervals.  The same goes for guitar solos.

Notation & tablature basics.

In the tablature example below we have 6 lines that represent the 6 guitar strings.  The only thing is that the bottom line will represent your biggest string which is on top of your guitar (see video lesson) and the reason for this is that in the written word, the lowest note is always on the bottom.  So you’ll have to remember this when reading the sheet music.

Tab basics

Tablature is great because it is designed specifically for guitar players so it is a lot easier to read than standard notation (which is for any instrument) once you get the hang of it.  Hence this lesson on how to read it.  With tablature, we will be working with numbers instead of symbols.

As you can see from the diagram above we have two numbers.  A 3 and a zero.  The three is written on the first string and the zero is written on the sixth string.  These will represent where our finger placement is on the fretboard.  The 3 will represent the third fret on the first string and the zero will represent open.

Open means that we do not put a finger down on the fretboard.  we just play the string by itself.  This is called open and is represented as such in the diagram.  So as we can see, we play on the strings and frets and the notation will indicate these two things.  Which string we ate on and what fret we are playing.

As time goes on this notation will get more complex as we learn songs but that’s ok because I will be here to help you figure it out.  So with all that being said, just take some time to wrap this concept around your brain and it will all make sense as we progress with this sacred study.

The musical alphabet.

All western music is made up of 12 notes.  These 12 notes make up the musical alphabet and it is what all musical concepts come out of.  Major, minor chords and all different types of scales.  When it comes to chords and scales there are thousands of them we could create.  Crazy huh?  I know.  But we don’t need to learn that many, just the most common ones to start.  So let’s look at these 12 notes that we will create all our musical recipes from.

                  A  A#  B  C  C#  D  D#  E  F  F#  G  G#

All musical concepts will be derived from these 12 notes so make sure to get these memorized because they are the magical properties that you will be using to create your lead guitar wizardry magic.  These are what you will need to know to create your major scale, and your minor pentatonic scale to start off with.

The more you know these notes of the musical alphabet, the more you will be able to use them to your benefit.  You will be able to construct them in ways that will move yourself as well as the listener.

12 bar blues.

The 12 bar blues is very important to learn because it provides a starting point progression to solo over.  It is a three-chord musical rhythm progression that is widely used to sing and solo over.  The reason why it is so popular is that when you listen to it you can tell where it is going before it even gets there.

This chord progression is made up of the 1-4-5 of the key that it is being played in.  For instance, if it is being played in the key of A minor the chords would be A, D & E.  A is the 1 of the scale, D is the 4 of the scale and E is the 5 of the scale.  A  B  C#  D  E  F#  G#  A.  If you give these letters a number value, you can clearly see what I’m talking about.  The 1 is the A, the 4 is the D and the 5 is the E.

These are three chords that go together well in any key and that is why it is important to learn them.  As you head down the journey of lead guitar wizardry, you will see what I’m talking about and it will begin to make more sense.  For now, just learn this concept and you’ll be ok.

Lead guitar riffs.

These are another thing that you want to get started on as these will provide the foundation for your guitar soloing as well.  Lead guitar riffs.  These are a perfect thing to play over the 12 bar blues progression that we talked about in the last paragraph.

If we stick with the key of A minor, this is the first part of the lead guitar riff that you would play over the first chord.

                                 A                            (4 times)

Lead guitar riff 1

                                D                              (2 times)

Lead guitar riff 2

                                 A                             (2 times)

Lead guitar riff 1

                              E                                  (1 time)

Lead guitar riff 3

                               D                               (1 time)

Lead guitar riff 2

                                A                                 (1 time)

Lead guitar riff 1

              Turn around                     ( 1 time)

Lead guitar turn around

As you can see, this is played over 12 bars of music. and that is why it is called a 12 bar blues lead guitar riff. I recommend you practice this, play each section for the number of times I have described and you will hear how it sounds and recognize how it works.

If you do this, it will give you the building blocks for setting up a solid foundation for becoming a lead guitar wizard.  And that is what this training is all about.

Lesson conclusion.

Now that you have all that down practice, practice, practice!  Study.  build up your practice routine, study the notation.  Learn your notes and get familiar with the 12 bar blues lead guitar riff.  You should already be familiar with the 12 bar progression.  If not, no worries go back and learn it and the lead guitar riff that is presented to play over it will all make sense.

Thanks so much for your time being here reading, learning and allowing me the opportunity to teach you.  And if you haven’t already, be sure to grab my FREE action-guide “Guitar Solo Secrets” to help take your understanding of guitar solos to the next level.  If you have any questions about anything in this lesson or anything else your learning, feel free to contact me.

Best of luck and till the next lesson, take care.

Dwayne Jenkins

scale note intervals

How to Find the Sharp or Flat In Any Musical Key

One of the key elements in playing guitar or any instrument for that matter is knowing the principles your working with and how to use them to get the most out of the instrument. For instance, knowing how to find the sharp or flat in any musical key.

The key of C major.

This is done by knowing the secret formula for the major key. And this can be learned by looking at the key of C major. The reason why we start with the key of C major as our foundation key is because it has no sharps or flats in it.

Now I know what your thinking. How are we going to find the sharps or flats from a key that doesn’t have any? Good question, read on.

What the key of C major is going to teach us is the secret formula that all major and minor keys use to determine the note intervals that make up the scale.

Let’s look at this in a little more detail:

Key of C major: C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Eight notes and eight numbers. These numbers will help us to determine the intervals (distance between two notes) that reside within each of the notes in the scale.


An interval is a distance between two notes and it is this interval that is very important to know to determine the sharps and flats (which are the same by the way, depending on which way you move through the scale) within the key that we discussed earlier.

Now when we have a single fret distance between two notes that is called a semitone or half step. To keep things easy to understand we will use the term half step. When we have a distance of two frets between two notes, this is called a whole tone or whole step. Once again we will use the term whole step for easier understanding memory retention.

If we look at the key of C major again and look at the distance between the notes and determine if they are whole steps or half steps, we can figure out what the secret formula is for the major scale. And once again, it is this formula that is going to tell us what sharps or flats reside in any given major scale. Our relative minor scale will help us with the minor scale formula. But more on that later.

The C major scale intervals.

What are the intervals of the C major scale? Well, let’s take a look. We first need to know our musical alphabet. Which is:

A  A# B C C# D D# E F F# G. As we can clearly see, there is a sharp after every note except B & E. This is very important to know because it is going to tell us why there are no sharps or flats in the key of C major.

look once again at the C major scale. C D E F G A B C. The intervals of this scale determine this because every major scale must have the Do Ra Me that we learned in grade school.  When we play the notes of the C major scale we notice right away that this is so.  If we added any sharps or flats it would give us the Do Ra Me and that would mean that it is not a major scale.

As we learned earlier, a whole step is two frets and a half step is one fret.  So what is the secret formula for the major scale?  Well, let’s dissect the scale and see what it is. This is why a good practice routine will help you tremendously.

Between the first and second tone degree (the C & D note) we have two frets.  So this tells us that this is a whole step.  Between the D & E is also a whole step.  But between the E & F is a half step because there is no sharp between the two.  So far, we have two whole steps and a one-half step.

Nw we continue through the scale and find that between the F & G is a whole step, between the G & A, is a whole step.  Between the A & B is a whole step and between the B & C is another half step.  So this sacred information tells us that the secret magical formula for the major scale (which lets us know what sharps or flats are in a key) is, w-w-h-w-w-w-h.

If we look at this in more detail it is:

C    D    E    F    G    A      B    C

w     w     h   w    w      w    h

Can you see how this works?  By knowing this information we can determine what sharps or flats are in any key.  So,…… lets test this theory out shall we?

The G major intervals.

Key of G major:   G   A   B   C   D   E   F   G

Does this key have any sharps in it?  Well to find out, we need to look at the secret major scale formula.  In the key of G it would look like  G w A w B h C w D w E w F h G.  Since there is a half step between the 7th & 8th tone degree this tells us that this would not be an F note but an F# note to fit diatonically correct within the Do Ra Me scale.  The major scale.  Remember, it must sound like Do Ra Me to be correct.  If it doesn’t, something is wrong. You must know your notes.

Lesson Conclusion.

By learning this secret W W H W W W H major scale formula, you will be able to determine what notes are sharp or flat (depending on which way you’re moving within the scale up or down) are in the scale.  Any major scale.  Other scale formulas will be different but this is the scale formula for the major scale and this is where it all starts in music aside from the chromatic scale which is the 12 note musical alphabet.

By doing all this you increase your knowledge of the guitar fretboard and your ability to understand how the mechanics of notes work together to create music.  The more you study this, the more it will come to you and you will begin to see how you can use this information in your own playing and magical music creation.

If you need additional help, feel free to shoot me an email through my website or you can connect with me on social media (I’m on just about every one of them) and I will help you. Thanks again for reading and be sure to keep studying the fun of playing guitar.

Best of luck and until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

C major guitar chord

Why Certain Notes Are Used When Forming Guitar Chords

In this lesson, we are going to learn why certain notes are used when forming guitar chords. The reason for these notes being in the chords themselves is that they have to resonate in harmony when being played together.  If not, they will sound “off” and will not be pleasant to the ear.  This is called chord-embellishment theory.

What is chord-embellishment?

This is the understanding of what notes are used in creating guitar chords. When learning guitar chords, there are certain notes that are chosen for this purpose and they are not chosen randomly. They are chosen for the purpose of sounding harmonically correct. Or in basic terms, notes that sound good when played together.

When you put certain notes together on any instrument whether it be guitar, piano, violin etc, they must be in harmony with each other or else they won’t sound good when played. This usually happens when a person is just starting out learning a song or certain piece of music and doesn’t quite have all the notes mastered.

Although once all the notes are mastered, the music sounds good to the ear and is pleasant to listen to. That is because all the notes are in harmony with each other. This is usually because these notes all come from the same musical key.

What is the musical key?

A musical key is a certain set of notes that reside at a certain pitch in the musical spectrum. They may be a set of notes that are up high or they may be a set of notes that are set low. Maybe even in the middle somewhere. Regardless of where they sit, they are all relative in one way or the other and that is why they sound good together.

This is considered playing “in key” and it is when all the notes in the piece of music sound good together. And for this to happen we must have a basic understanding of how this works. This is where the embellishment theory comes in.

So when it comes to playing guitar chords, you want to make sure you choose the correct notes.  Because if you don’t the chords won’t sound good when you form them.  They also won’t sound good when you play them with other chords either.  Make sure you fully understand the basics of why these notes are chosen to form the basic foundation.  Then you can proceed to extend the chords from there.

How chords are formed.

First, we start with the key that we’re are playing in.  Let’s say the key of C.

C D E F G A B C.  Now let’s say we give each note a number value.  1-8.  C being one D being two and so forth and so forth.

The most basic natural chord in music is the triad.  A chord that is made up of 3 notes.  Tri meaning three, ad meaning notes.  A three-note chord.  Out of the key of C, or any key for that matter, the numbers chosen for this triad are going to be the 1, 3 & 5 of the key. This is what’s known as the guitar chord theory.

notes of the C chord

That means that the notes we would choose to make the C Major triad would be the C E & G.  Look at the notes in the above paragraph.  You can clearly see that the 1 3 & 5 are these notes.  And if you look at the C major chord forming it on your guitar and you know your notes (if you don’t I highly recommend you learn them) you can clearly see these notes in this chord.

Why do I need to learn chord theory?

Learning chord theory can help improve your guitar playing in many ways.  It can help you to understand how music works and why it works in harmony when certain notes of the key (any key) are put together to form guitar chords.  Actually chords in general no matter if you’re playing them on the guitar or piano.

Improving your guitar playing is what it’s all about.  By knowing your notes, you’ll be able to create additional chords as well.  Like minor chords (where you flatten the 3rd note by one fret) and 7 chords (where you add the 7th note of the chord, sometimes flattened seventh) and augmented or diminished triads.

By knowing this information, you’ll be able to switch between chords faster, add to your chord vocabulary and be able to express yourself much better in general.  By knowing what notes to add, move or take away you’ll be able to enhance your musical palette of emotion.  You’ll be able to see chords as colors.  And like colors, you’ll be able to create different shades.

Lesson conclusion.

Being able to fully understand what is needed when forming guitar chords is essential to forming, and alternating guitar chords.  This valuable skill will allow you to make leaps and bounds above the competition.  Most guitar players do not know this information.

So if you can take some time to study & wrap your brain around the concept that is being taught in this lesson, you will see very clearly how knowing this information can benefit you.  It can really help you to compose better songs and also to understand the inner workings of music theory.

And if you’d like a book on the topic, I recommend The Guitarist’s Music Theory Book.  This book will show you a lot more in-depth about what is being taught in this lesson and taken further down the path.

The Guitarist's Music Theory Book

The Guitarist’s Music Theory Book by Peter Vogl is the first music theory book designed for guitar by a guitarist. The book explains music theory as it applies to the guitar and covers intervals, scales, chords, chord progressions, and the Nashville Number System. You will also get online access to audio examples of all the music in the book and also an ear training section. The Music Theory Book was written to help all guitar players achieve a better understanding of the guitar and of the music they play.

Need any additional help in this lesson, feel free to reach out.   And if you haven’t already, grab my FREE action-guide Rhythm Guitar Secrets with insider tips to help improve your guitar playing.

Thanks again for reading and until next time, take care.

sincerely, Dwayne.

The Beatles in concert

How To Use 7th Chords To Enhance Your Guitar Playing Creativity

7th Chords can be used to enhance your guitar playing creativity.  If you know how to form them and move them around the fretboard.  With a simple easy trick and the right mindset, you can do this quite easily.

Enhance Your Creativity By Using 7th Chords

Being able to form this one chord shape will allow you to open up your creativity in new ways.  It will allow you to think about what your playing and develop your musical knowledge of the fretboard.

If you need to learn how to read chord charts, I suggest you check out my lesson on this topic.  It will really help you out in this lesson.

How to read chord charts in 7 easy lessons

By being able to form this one chord shape, the C7 and move it up and down the fretboard, you can create all kinds of cool sounds quite easily.  You just add your pinky to the C major chord (which is your flattened 7th note of the major scale) and move the chord up and down the fretboard.

Here is what I mean.  C Major scale:  C D E F G A B C each one of these letters has a number value.  If you look at the scale the numbers are 1-8.  Which means, the 7th of the scale would be the B.  If we flatten it (bring it back by one fret, this note now becomes an A# or Bb (same note) which is the note that the pinky is now laying.

Adding the pinky to form the 7th chord.

Adding the pinky can be a bit tricky at first.  But it is necessary for this exercise and chord shape.  Her are some tips to help you include your pinky in your guitar paying.

1.)  Work on finger exercises.  This will help limber up your fingers before you play.

2.)  Always include your pinky when ever you can.  This will allow you to form chord extensions along with the 7th.  like sixth’s 9th’s and so forth.

3.)  Be aware of the enhancement qualities you can develop by using your pinky in your playing.  You will be able to play things most people can’t.

Find additional chords quickly by knowing your notes

By knowing your notes and being able to see them on your fretboard, you will be able to find chords quickly. You will be able to create chord progressions and figure out ways to alter chord shapes and add substitutes.  But this takes time.  You must study the fretboard.  If you need help in this area be sure to check out this lesson.

How to recognize notes on the fretboard

Practice this technique of forming the 7th chord and moving it up and down the fretboard. Look at ways to play the chord easier for your own enjoyment.  Look for different ways you can find chords on the fretboard as well.  Like for instance, where can you find the A7 chord with this shape?  How about if you go from the C7 to the G7.  How many frets apart are these two chords?  What if you try a progression like C7 to F7 to G7?  Where along the fretboard would these chords be located?

These are the things you want to master.

1.)  What your notes are on each string,

2.)  what your major scale formula is

3.)  where these chords reside non the fretboard

4.)  In any key

By being able to form the C7 chord shape and repeatedly move it up and down the fretboard you are going to able to enhance your guitar playing by creating new exciting tones.  And when you add different types of picking as well as rhythm patterns, your going to be able to expand your playing ability.  Your going to be able to recognize chord shapes within songs that you otherwise would have not.

Lesson Conclusion

When it comes to improving your guitar playing over all you must keep learning.  Learning new note locations, new chord shapes, new scale patterns and new music theory.  You want to keep experimenting with new tools to move your guitar playing forward.

Make sure you develop a practice routine for accelerated learning.  Make sure to set your goals so you know where your going.  Be sure to practice and study on a daily basis.  Even if it’s just a little bit.  It will help improve your development of motor skills and memory retention.

And if additional help is needed, check out The Guitarists Chord Book.  This  has helped me out in my learning over the years quite well.  If it helped me, I know it will help you too.

Here’s some additional lessons to look into as well.

How to find any major scale when playing guitar

Dunlop crybaby wah review 

How to switch between chords quickly and easily

Until our next lesson, take care.


Ritchie Blackmore playing guitar

How To Find Any Major Scale When Playing Guitar

How to find any major scale when playing guitar is a skill all guitarists should know and the reason this is so important to learn is that they are the foundational building blocks of music.  So learning a lesson in this area of the guitar will really benefit your playing.  For this lesson, we are going to use the scale of C Major.

What makes the major scale fun, is that the notes become the “Do Ra Me” we all know from either school or movies.  If you’ve heard this Do Ra Me before it is because it represents the major scale.  We use the C major scale for this example because it has no sharps or flats in the notes.  Any major scale is made up of 8 notes.  By knowing how to find these 8 notes, you are able to find any scale for creating an unlimited arrangement of possibilities.

If we look at the C Major scale, we start on C and go through the alphabet we get the notes C D E F G A B C.  As you can see, no sharps or flats.  Easy to understand.  If we give each note a number value we get 1-8.  The C is the 1 the B is the 2, C is the 3 and so forth.  Up to 8 notes (the 8th note representing the 1 of the next octave) and these 8 notes in all keys are what you want to master!

8 Notes Of The C Major Scale:

C     D    E    F  G  A   B   C = Notes

1      2    3    4   5   6   7    8 = Numbers

Do Ra Me Fa So La Te Do = Syllables

This works with all Scales.  Major or minor.  They just have different notes because of the difference in keys, but the formula stays the same.  Master this.  Remember it.  It will serve you well throughout your guitar study.

How To Find The Major Scale

Any major scale can be found on the guitar on any fret on any string if you just know the formula!  That’s right, the musical formula!  The way it works is simple.  One fret represents a “1/2” step.  So for example, if we moved from a B note to a C note which is right next to it, that would be considered a 1/2 step.  If we move two frets, that would be considered a “Whole” Step.

The major scale can be broken down into a formula that uses this information.  The Major scale formula using 1/2 & whole steps are.  W-W-H-W-W-W-H.  This magical formula will allow you to find any scale on any fret on any string.  Let’s look at it in more detail.

Key= C  Notes = C D E F G A B C  Formula = W-W-H-W-W-W-H

C W D W E H F W G W A W B H C  As you can see in the formula, the notes line up.  In the scale, we have an E & F which are next to each other & line up perfectly with the formula as note 3 & 4.  That has a half step between them.  This works every time, on any string on any fret.  Master this formula and you’ll be able to enhance your music theory & fretboard knowledge.

The more you understand how your notes work in relation to each other, the better you are going to be able to create music. The better you are going to understand how it all fits together & works in harmony.  That is why it is so important to learn how to find the notes on any major scale.  Then expand on it by flattening the third & 7th & finding the minor scale note formula.  It’s a science & this secret information allows you to have musical insights that many guitarists do not.

Why Start With The C Major Scale?

We start with the C Major scale because it is easy to understand & allows us a simple place to start building our musical foundation.  Once you learn the C major scale you can then (with the formula that you learned in this lesson) move on to other scales. G A D E etc.

By mastering this formula, your going to open doors to how music works & how the notes fit together to not only form scales but chords as well.  In fact, you master this formula & many others that the guitar holds, & you’ll be able to skyrocket above the crowd.

But it does take time.  You must put in the work.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  But if you work on it a little each day, you’ll see it benefit you in other areas of your learning.  Be patient & have a steady stride.  This will allow you to learn in a fun & enjoyable manner.

Lesson Conclusion

If you’ve gone through this lesson & really understood the importance of knowing your notes, you’ll see how easy you can find your notes in the major (& minor as well) scale all over the fretboard which will allow you to build chords, play unique interesting rhythms, scales & melody lines that are unique to you & your own sound.  As well as give you insight into how the “Masters” used them.  But that’s for another lesson.

But that is what we are going for.  Learning the techniques needed to create our own originality as well as pay tribute to those who inspired us to play in the first place.  For me personally, it was the Masters!!

Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Angus, Eddie, Randy, Priest, Maiden, Sabbath Kiss, Metallica, Etc, Etc, Etc.  We all play the same notes on a fretboard that has six strings, it’s just how we utilize those notes on those six strings that makes the difference.

By knowing some basic music theory like knowing how to find your major or minor scale anywhere on the fretboard at any time is really going to propel you forward in your music.  So take some time & figure out those notes.  Have fun.  Write it down on paper.  Make a game of it.

Additional training:

5 tips to improve your guitar playing today!

How to use 7th chords to enhance creativity

Until next time, take care & let me know if you have questions.


How To Read Guitar Tabs In 5 Easy Steps

What are guitar tabs?

In this lesson, we are going to learn how to read guitar tabs in 5 easy steps.  Guitar tabs are the universal way that guitar players read sheet music.  It is a simplified version of standard notation (regular sheet music you’re normally used to looking at in music books) and resembles a framework that is specific to the guitar.

Is learning to read guitar tabs important?

Yes!  The reason why it is important to read guitar tabs is that it allows you to discover musical passages that you otherwise might not of learned.  Watching someone play guitar on video is fine, but when you’re looking at the written page, your brain processes this information quite different.  If you can learn how to read tabs, they are not only going to open your eyes to something more, but also allow you to be able to remember what you are playing.

How to understand guitar tabs.



As you can see from the pictures above, guitar tabs are the same thing as regular notes.  They’re just written differently.  Look at the chart above and see clearly at the top you have regular notes, and on the bottom you have numbers. In the guitar picture, you can clearly see that the numbers represent the frets & strings.

These numbers, represent the notes, just presented in a different way to make it easier to read.  The only thing that’s confusing about tabs, is that your biggest string is on the bottom, but on the top of your guitar fretboard.  So when reading tabs you must remember this.  The reason for this is because, in sheet music, the lowest note is always on the bottom.

The lines above are on what’s called a musical staff that is made up of five lines.  The tab below represents the 6 strings of the guitar, and the numbers represent where to put your fingers on the fretboard.  So basically, we’ve converted hard to understand notes, into easy to understand numbers.

This is great for kids (because they understand numbers) and great for adults because they do too.  Also If you notice. the numbers are in the same location as the notes above, meaning they are the same.  Just written differently.

What do the numbers mean?

The numbers mean that’s, where you’re going to place your fingers on the guitar fretboard to play the written music.  In this example above, the 2 represents the 2nd fret, the 3 represents the 3rd fret and the 0 represents no fret (open)  This means you pick the string without putting a finger down on the fretboard.

In this example, there is no staff line above, just the guitar strings and the numbers.  This makes it even easier to read, and how it’s now commonly written.  As you can see, this is a musical passage that uses all 6 strings and 1-4 frets.  The vertical lines in between, represent the measures or break up of the beats of music.

You know, 1 2 3 4.  In some books you’ll see the count underneath, but not always.  In this example, you have 8 beats per measure (1-8) 0r 4 (1&2&3&4&) depending on how you count it.

So in remembering how to read guitar tabs, I recommend these 5 easy steps.

Step #1.  Guitar tabs are written like standard notation (just simplified)

Step #2.  They don’t give every bit of information (but enough to get you started)

Step#3.  The numbers represent what frets to play on the guitar fretboard.

Step#4.  0 = Open (pick the string without putting a finger on the guitar fretboard)

Step#5.  Horizontal lines represent the 6 strings of the guitar (biggest on the bottom, thinnest on the top)

So there you have it.  5 easy steps to learning how to read guitar tabs.  Follow these steps and you can’t go wrong.   If you want to learn standard notation, great it’ll just make you better.  But start off with tabs first.  You’ll get to playing faster with much less frustration.  And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

And if you haven’t already.  I recommend you grab my FREE action-guide “Beginner Guitar Secrets”  to help you excel in your learning.

Best of luck,