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From Scales to Chords - Part 1

Chris Feener 256 lessons

Hi guys,

For this lesson, I'd like to back-track and offer a different way of visualizing how we learn chords. So often, I see players who cannot identify chords within a diatonic progression, yet know scales and modes like no tomorrow.

The main goal with this lesson is to be able to visualize all seven chords within a key, harmonized to any degree. For instance, we'll play all seven chords within A minor, built of each root note, third, seventh and ninth. There are respectable names for all of these chords, but this lesson is more about understanding the harmony in a practical sense and what the chords are fundamentally made of, scale-wise. We'll stack harmony one at a time, so you can see how the chords come to life.


So let's examine the key of A minor.


A) Start by playing an A minor scale from it's first position on the 5th fret of the E string, to it's octave on the same string, 17th fret.

B) Play an A minor scale, starting from an E note, on the A string, through to it's high E octave on the same string.

C) Play both notes in sequence and harmonize. The result will be perfect power chords.

This is the basic format - Harmonizing notes within a key while ascending each note by one step within the scale. It's a great way to visualize harmony, learn your fretboard, and understand chord structure.

Follow the demonstration video as we layer harmony, one step at a time. You'll quickly see how simple this stuff really is!

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