You don’t need to know a bazillion chords in order to make music. In fact, there are only three you need to know: the tonic, dominant and subdominant.
Music Theory for Guitar
Learning the absolute essentials of music theory for guitar is not as difficult as you think. We know guitarists need their music theory delivered in a painless manner so we’ve paired our talented writers with essential topics ranging from absolute beginner to refresher courses.
The “Big Picture” of making music helps you understand how music works. Without that, then scales, chords and maybe even songs will make no sense.
First-time Guitar Noise contributor Jimmy Crabtree details the workings of the Number System (also known to some as Nashville Numbers). This is a good reference to get you acquainted with the basics of the number system, which is used a lot in studio work.
At long last, Tom takes the mysteries out of chord substitution, giving you detailed and simple explanations that will make you wonder why you ever worried about it in the first place!
First time contributor Paul Andrews gives us a basic guide to key signatures, including how to recognize and (easily) memorize what you need to know about them.
Here’s Graham’s take on using a mathematical approach to learning the fretboard. And while he’ll be the first to say that this is not a replacement for theory and it won’t teach you the names of notes in scales or chords, but it does offer you a way of using theory without too much thought.
One of the more difficult tasks to learning the guitar is mastering the fretboard. Bruce presents us with one method, which employs simple memorization and your ability to quickly add small integers in your head. The first part of this article will present this method, and the second part will provide additional information to reinforce your learning of the fret board.
Tom has a gift of being able to explain complicated material in a very uncomplicated manner. After guiding us through the maze of extended chords in his last article, he returns to explain altered chords and does so in such a simple way that I wish I’d had him explain it to me many, many years ago!