Music Theory Live Class #5

Theory Basics

New to music theory or looking to review key concepts? Join Justin for our Theory Basics - he’ll cover basics such as Notes, Scales, Chords, and Arpeggios. Gain practical insights on how to apply this knowledge to enhance your musical skills. Don’t miss out!

Live Class Recording now available here!

TUE, FEB 06 2024 - Secure Your Spot Here :slight_smile:

Unanswered Q&A from the Zoom Live Class. Please feel free to give your advice to your fellow guitar players. :slight_smile:

1. How can I effectively apply the over 1000 chords from my chord book to create my own chord progressions?
2. What are some helpful methods or shortcuts for memorizing key signatures and understanding scales?
3. How can beginner (grade 1) players incorporate this knowledge into their daily practice routines?
4. What strategies do you recommend for learning the notes on the guitar neck?
5. Could you clarify which notes are flattened to transition from a major chord to a diminished chord?


Hello :smiley:. I saw an interview of Steve Vai talking about becoming a professional in music, he talks about his composition, notations, film scores. He said to become a Guitar player that no need to learn to read notations.

  1. In class, Justin briefly mentioned an exercise that I’ve found to be very helpful, which is to find all the places to play each note. So you can start with A, and find A on the 5th fret of the 6th string, then open A on the 5th string, then A on the 7th fret of the 4th string etc. After you find it on each string, move on to B. *Tip: Don’t always go in the same order. Oh, and don’t forget the sharps and flats. :blush:

  2. Are you asking what a diminished chord is? It’s a major chord with a flattened 3rd and a diminished/flattened 5th.
    Cmaj = CEG
    Cmin= CEbG

1 Like

Is that Ted Greene’s Chord Chemistry book? If yes, or if a similar book full of chord shapes and little else, and without at all disrespecting him or his work, put that book away on a shelf or in a cupboard and leave it there.

If you want to create your own chord progressions you have choices.

Learn some chords, play some chords. If you like the sound then do it again, write it down, record it, remember it.
Learn the six main chords in a key and check Justin’s Dice Songwriting lesson.
Learn songs, learn songs, learn songs. Become mentally attuned to the chord progressions to learn and assimilate how the master songwriters do it.
Learn some theory about diatonic chords, for a stable base, and borrowed chords, for a surprising feature.

Having 1000+ chords will not help you become a better player or musician.

Some of my comments may seem trite but it is my intention to give genuine advice.


In the theory course you will come to the lesson on Mr Cato’s trick. Great for learning key signatures. I like the circle of fifths.
To understand sces your main source and start point is the major scale, its construction, formula and more. All springs from it.

1 Like

In grade 1 you are starting to learn the 8 essential beginner chords.
A, C, D, E, G
Am, Dm, Em

When you begin to learn about chords in a key, connect that with grade appropriate songs you have learned by analysing their chords and figuring out the key.

Learning theory is part of your ‘guitar time’ but if you are unable to connect your skill and technique learning directly woth your theory learning just yet then don’t worry about it too much. Knowing stuff is never bad for you and in time you will be able to join more and more dots.
Make sure theory does not squeeze hands on guitar time though.

1 Like

Similar to the method described by Donna.
Use only fretted notes. Not open strings.
Take as much time as you need to licate them.
Find and play the note C on all strings from 6th to 1st then reverse from 1st to 6th. You do not need to keep a regular time or aim for speed. Just get every note cirrect.
Learn one note only for a week.
Then introduce a second note.

This exercises is called Find-A-Note and is in the theory course module 4.3

Major = 1, 3, 5
Minor = 1, b3, 5
Diminished = 1, b3, b5
Augmented = 1, 3, #5

To operate at his level, to read and write the music he composes and writes, to communicate with the people he needs to discuss that music, notation will be an invaluable tool.

I estimate that over 90% of professional guitar players (outside the realm of classical music) do not read or write standard music notation easily or at all.
That figure will probably approach 99% for semi-professional and amateur guitarists.
Tab yes.
Standard notation not nearly as much.