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      Welcome to the first lesson in my Survival Guitar Series. These lessons are designed to provide guitarists with the knowledge they need to survive in today's music world. I've dispensed with the long, scholarly music theory discussions and stuck to the essentials. You will find, however, that you will begin to understand music theory as you follow these lessons. I'll be honest, I try to sneak the music theory in without you noticing it!

      These lessons assume that you've learned the basic mechanics of playing. By this I mean you've learned to tune your guitar, hold the pick, pick the strings, strum, etc. If you are a total beginner, I recommend taking a month's worth of lessons from your local guitar teacher.

      Well, let's get down to it. The first Survival Scale you need is the Major Scale.

      Click on Major Scale to hear a midi file example.

      The Major Scale is shown here, arranged to span two octaves on the guitar.

      The Major Scale is the basis of most music played today. You may be thinking that your particular favorite form of music doesn't use a wimpy Major Scale, but I promise you, it does.

      ALL other scales are just modifications of the Major Scale.
Learn it, and you've taken the first step toward mastering the guitar.

      As you're playing this scale, you'll notice that it sounds like the "Do Re Mi" stuff you learned in school. Don't let that put you off because, as I'll illustrate later, the context in which you play the Major Scale can radically change the resulting feel. In other words, soloing with the Major Scale sounds different when played against different chords.


      Don't worry about the technical stuff right now; I'll explain more later. For now, commit this thing to memory.

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Lesson 1: The Major Scale