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Uncle Bob's Guitar Lessons
Lesson 3 - Elementary Chords And Theory
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Piano and Music Theory

There are many people in this world that think that studying music theory is either:

  • A complete waste of time
  • An utterly terrifying thought

If you fall into either of these categories, skip this part of the lesson.

For those of you that choose to remain, let's begin with a few conventions. Before anyone wonders why I'm brining up the piano in group of guitar lessons, it's because most modern approaches to music theory are derived from study of the piano. Trust me on this - I'm married to a piano player, and she never lets me forget it. ("My piano can squash your guitar like a bug...")

The C Major Scale

Examine the following illustration for a moment. The names of the notes along the bottom of the keyboard shown below make up the C Major scale. We will begin with this as sort of a building block to move on to other scales and such. For a guitarist, it isn't really necessary to remember the piano layout exactly, but it is very helpful to understand it as we continue later.

Okay - Why Is Theory Important?

There are a great number of guitar players in the world that play entirely by ear, and some of them are phenomenal. They're actually using music as "applied theory", in that musical concepts are being used even if they're not aware. For example, you don't think about the laws of physics when you're driving somewhere in a car, but physics are still there. But learning a little theory will help you to understand why some things work the way they do on the guitar, or any instrument.


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