Monday, April 22, 2013

Dominant 11 vs. 9sus4 Chords

Dear Chris: downloaded your book today and I'm really enjoying it. The way you explain where the altered chords come from scale wise, I feel is really going to open a lot of doors for me. So thanks.

Q: I've found your explanation of sus4 chords and 11 chords quite new. I got stuck with the idea in Mark Levine's books. I've been having to read a lot of Top 40, pop and rock in a cruise band and I'm finding many 11 chords which (I'm pretty certain) are looking for a F/G voicing. I'm gleamed from this that its all context based. The wikipedia article says similar things to your book...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Q: I just went over your minor pentatonic lesson, and never have I seen anyone explain chord/scale theory in such a straight forward no BS manner. I am an advanced intermediate level guitarist, with big expectations. I have a day gig and a family and want to know how to get the most out of the little time I have to practice everyday. Can you give me some pointers?

A: Expectations should be big my friend. Good for you. I talk a bunch about practice routines in this lesson on my site and in THE INFINITE GUITAR. It's hard to give specific advice without listening to you play and getting a handle on who you want to become, in other words, your vision. I can tell you though, this vision is almost everything. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Finding The Right Chord

Q: One of my biggest songwriting problems is when I have a song in my head, and I'm figuring it out on guitar, and I tend to get a few chords into it and inevitably, it seems, there is an "elusive" chord that I can hear in my head but just can't seem to work out on the fretboard. Do you ever have this problem, and what do you do/how do you find it?

A: Theory will help you immensely in these situations. As I describe in chapter 18 of THE INFINITE GUITAR, composition is a matter of finding a chord for your melody note. There are basically two ways to do this (at least for me). The first is working with diatonic harmony. When we work with diatonic harmony, we basically are working within the chords in one key (sometimes using secondary dominant or borrowed chords). If you aren't getting this, start over here >>. If you understand intervals and chords this is actually pretty easy. Let's say you are writing in the key of C. The chords in the key of C are: C - Dmin - Emin - F - G - Amin - Bdim.