10 Point GPS • This is an expanded version from the overview in Ground. These are 10 practice areas. Our goal is to build a sustained guitar & music practice by creating a path, using these as areas of focus.
Zones • From a wide view, there is never a moment where these four zones are not actively involved in creating our experience. All of our specific practices can be ‘located’ in one of these 4 domains, while all four are always present.
Training & Jamming • Two core ideas/modes. We can build a solid guitar practice based on cycles of training & jamming. We repeat the train/jam practice cycle until they merge. And, when they do, we can and do still enter each, as a distinct mode of practice. This is also located in Ground.
Training Beyond & Exhaustion • Two more core ideas, also located in Ground.
Practice Session Framework • This is a framework for guitar practice. For beginners, this can be a great way to organize your studies.
Multi-Topic Session • This is an example of a multi-topic circuit. This type of routine uses different topic areas as the framework.
Single Topic Session • A single topic practice circuit is taking one topic and exploring its many facets. For this circuit, we will be looking at the E Harmonic minor tone group and working the materials in a number of ways.
Making Music • In any practice session, we play music. This may include inventing or improvising or just playing through a tune or part of our set list.
Capo • Charts for every key. A guitar capo [capo = cap = head] is a clamp that is used on the guitar to make the neck shorter. By placing a capo (head) on a particular fret, we create a ‘new nut’; a new zero fret.
Triads & 7ths in Every Key in Chord Symbols • Triads and 7ths in chord symbols, in all keys.
CAGED Linear & Fixed Cycles • This is the most advanced thing [the fixed position cycles] that I have discovered for standard tuning. This can come across kind of heavy, so you may want to circle back to this after exploring the basics of the CAGED system.
C Major Chord Scales in 5 Positions • A solid challenge.
Chord Formulas • Every chord and scale has a formula. A formula is created by comparing a scale or chord to a Major scale [R-2-3-4-5-6-7] or chord [R-3-5-7]. For this session, we are looking at chord formulas.
Dom 7s – C A E D Shapes – I IV V – 12 Bar • Dominant 7’s have a distinct sound. They are most always in position V for any Major key center.
7th Chords Based on E, A, and D Shapes • We use the E, A, and D chord forms to build the qualities of Major 7, minor 7, minor 7 flat 5, & fully diminished 7.
Guitar Chord Charts & Scale Grids • Guitar chord charts are one of many ways to visually show how to play (fret) guitar chords. It is a 'grid' of the fretboard with dots showing you where to place your fingers. Charts can also be called frames or grids or boxes.
Beyond Strumming Patterns • What we call 'strumming patterns' are the hitting/missing dimension to the strumming system. This is one component among many, for creating rhythms and rhythmic skills.
B and F Chord Forms? • A common question is ‘why is there not a B or F shape?’ The quick answer is that there are, if you want there to be. It all depends on how technical we are about it.
Arpeggios • Arpeggios are ‘broken chords’. We can take a chord & play the individual tones of them one at a time, whether the tones ring at the same time (harmonic) or not (melodic).
Chords by Key • These are for keys we haven’t covered on the path. We will pull from here, moving forward, and this page will evaporate.
Strum a Song All the Way Through • This officially makes you an intermediate player.
Improvisation • As you know, improvising is making up music on the spot. We aren’t working from a script, rather from experience and internal resources [inner hearing, singing, inspiration, visuals]. Improvising (single tone soloing and chord progression creation) is a primary practice piece for all guitarists, no matter what level or age.
Soloing • Learning to solo is a primary practice goal for all guitarists. It takes time, so we begin immediately. While learning to solo, we use parallel paths. One is to just do whatever comes to us…no maps. The other is to use frameworks and strategies, as described below, even though we can’t think our way into knowing how to do this; it must be experienced. Over time, like everything, it evolves.
Jam Audio - Improvise to tracks.
Circle of 5ths • The circle of 5ths is an organizational system for key signatures. Roughly modeled after a clock, the circle indicates the 12 (15 including enharmonic keys) different key signatures.
Lines of 7 (Faulkner creation) • This is a memory tool for Major keys, which can provide a faster way to memorize the number of sharps (♯) & flats (♭) in every key & what those sharps & flats are in those keys.
Numera (Faulkner term) • Calling the root zero, rather than one.
Tone Naming • Chart for Traditional, Numera, & Solfege.
Tone Series for Every Tone • Here are each tone's series for every tone, based on key centers. Not every enharmonic name has a corresponding Major or minor key. It's one or the other, except for the key of F sharp/G flat.
Derivative & Parallel • Every tone means something unique to every tone. The numbering system we use can first be derived using the tones of the Major scale. We can use a learning tool such as 221-2221 to derive the tones in the scale. They are then numbered 1-7. This is the derivative side of the street. When we compare these tones to what is 'normal' [inside], we are paralleling. Parallel names are created by comparing to the derived tones (1-7). We typically [most commonly] parallel to the Major, yet we can also parallel to minor or other previously paralleled entities.
7 Guitar Octaves • One way to look at octaves is that they are the skeleton for any tuning. We number the octaves based on the string address of the tones in the shape. 31 = the octave between the 3 & 1 strings. All 7 octaves in the order we study them in Octave Explorer (System): 31 • 63 • 64 • 41 • 42 • 52 • 53.
Fretboard Zones • We can divide the board into as many ‘zones’ as we see best for different types of learning scenarios. No division is the most common experience. The board as one thing is the goal. Yet, putting boundaries up, then erasing them is a powerful way to learn.
Intervals on the Guitar • An interval is the relationship between any two tones. Sometimes it is defined as the distance between tones, & that is one dimension to what they are. Yet, intervals are also the sounding relationships, or interactions, between any two tones. We can identify them with our ear by how they resonate.
Tone Names in Standard Tuning • It can be a challenge to learn notes on guitar (tone-names of the frets) in standard tuning, especially in the upper positions. Here are things to do to help us remember.
Guitar Harmonics • Harmonics are earthly gems. They are part of what create the sonic signature of any given sound. All naturally occurring sounds and tones have a mix of frequencies which commingle to create the overall quality of what we hear. Studying harmonics (overtones) is to study acoustics.
Reading music is an important skill to have as a guitarist & everyone can do it. It isn’t an absolutely mandatory skill to have to play popular songs, yet it is, to have access to an enormous amount of music from our rich musical history. I think that everyone should learn to read. If you are a beginner, let’s start. If you’ve played for a while, but have never learned, let’s get this skill happening.
Reading Resources (also listed in Reading)
Open Guitar Strings in Music Notation • As we learn guitar notes, we can consider the open strings as points of reference.
To organize our music reading studies, we use 3 fretboard zones.
Zone One Maps • Frets 0-3
Zone Two Maps • Frets 4-8.
Zone Three Maps • Frets 9-13.
Deep Reading • For reading deeper, we can use certain pieces of knowledge and use them alone, and/or in tandem. Here’s a list of ways to read better, faster, smarter. When you know all of these things & can put them to work, you can read music at a deeper level.