Today’s lesson is an outline of an approach that I developed over my years as a private guitar teacher. In this approach you look at the instrument by reducing concepts in theory to a single string.
This greatly simplifies the basis for understanding theory directly from the guitar, eliminating the challenges that come with having to navigate multiple strings at once, what I call the “vertical” dimension of the guitar.
I explain how I view the guitar as a two dimensional instrument, having both a horizontal and vertical plain. This is in contrast to an instrument like a piano which has only one dimension, the horizontal dimension.
The vertical dimension of the guitar can create some interesting challenges to how we perceive the patterns, or theory, of music.
I use the open first string, or the “high E” string in this video to demonstrate the concept, but once understood, it can be applied anywhere on the neck.
Some of the concepts covered:
• the “horizontal” vs. “vertical” dimensions of the guitar
• brief explanation of half/whole steps, the foundational building blocks of theory
• how to play a major scale on one string
• how chords, specifically triads, are derived from the major scale
• how to play the arpeggios for all the triads of the scale on one string
• one way to translate those arpeggios into usable chord voicings