This course is a culmination of several year's work developing and compiling the information and methods of scale and chord substitutions reflected herein. This course is written for both the Spanish Guitar (the common fretted guitar) and the Lap Steel Guitar (properly known as the Hawaiian Steel Guitar).
Because this course is brief, it assumes that the reader has some basic knowledge of scales and chords music theory. If you understand basic music theory and terminologies, then the concepts can be grasped with careful attention and repetition. If you are not up to speed or need a music theory refresher you can
CLICK HERE for my Basic Music Theory Review.
There is a very helpful psychological trick to studying that you might not be aware of, called the "5 times" technique: If the average person reads / studies something 5 times, the brain gets over a sort of "hump" and is MUCH better able to assimilate the information. If you are not inclined to read this course 5 times, then at least remember the trick for any sections that might be harder to assimilate.
This course is written with deliberate repetition, an effective teaching technique for subjects that can otherwise be difficult. In the repetition, the concepts are covered from several different angles and connections with concepts known to most guitarists that have a basic understanding of music theory.
This course is written for both Lap Steel Guitar and Spanish Guitar for good reasons. I discovered these methods of modal scale and chord substitution while analyzing the notes math of the Lap Steel Guitar; And quickly realized it would also work for Spanish Guitar. I had played and studied Guitar for 40 years when I made this discovery, and had never encountered any similar concepts; Nor have I found any Steel Guitar Master that has ever encountered this system, even though the more knowledgeable Steel Guitarists use a similar substitution system without realizing the modal relationships that make fully understanding the techniques much more complete and quite simple. The only major difference between the Spanish and Lap Steel Guitar is that Spanish Guitar scales and chords are made with finger patterns and positions while the Steel Guitar scales and chords are made with it's steel-bar placing it's open tuning up and down the neck. While the Spanish Guitarist can depart from the chord / scale substitutions of this course, this course's methods are the very way that a harmonic version of all common chords and scales can be played on the Lap Steel Guitar; And even the Spanish Guitar can only play certain versions of chords due to the Guitar's mechanical tuning voicing limitations. IMPORTANT to the concept of this course is to consider that a Lap Steel Guitar has no way to change it's open tuning notes, yet can make any kind of scale and chord simply by knowing where to move it's open tuning up and down the neck in chord / scale substitution. That means that if a Spanish Guitarist open tuned his Guitar to a 6th chord, he / she too could make any kind of scale or chord with simply a 1 finger barre (bar) chord. YES, he / she would be able to make any kind of scale / chord with a 1 finger barre chord! Realizing this, a Spanish Guitarist can play versions of all the common scales and chords with only one Major SCALE finger position and one 6th CHORD finger position. All this is possible because the vast majority of scales and chords are actually a verbatim form of their relative Major scale, and if you know that relative relationship, then you can play all the common forms of scales and chords simply by playing (substituting) the relative Major scale / chord of the scale / chord you desire; And it's quite simple if someone cares to spend a bit of time studying this course.
ALL of the common scales and chords are derived from the very same simple note step sequence of Major scale note steps, so can thus be interchanged when you know why and how. The tuning of a Spanish Guitar normally requires different finger positions for each different chord and scale form in the common ways most players have learned. It's much easier via this course to simply memorize 1 substitution chord finger position and 1 substitution scale finger position along with some graphic math memory gouges to keep track of where to place them along the guitar neck. The vast majority of scales and chords can be voiced by substituting 1 simple Major scale and 1 simple Major chord finger pattern to make all the other kinds of common chords and scales. When used in conjunction with more common guitar concepts, your knowledge, ear, enjoyment, accomplishment and arsenal can expand greatly.
A sample teaser (no need to memorize at this time): C Major scale has the identical notes of Dmin7, Emin7b9, FMaj9, G7, Amin7(b6) and Bdim. That being the case, the Major, minor 7 and diminished forms of any scale / chord are always contained in their relative Major scale since those 2 same Maj chord / scale patterns can be moved up and down the neck to play the other common chords and scales. For instance, if we wanted to vamp Cmin7, we could vamp BbMaj7, .because if CMaj7 is Dmin7 as said above, then shifting down 1 whole step (2 frets) will give us BbMaj7 = Cmin7. We just have to learn how to know where that relative Major root note is at; And that's rather easy as we will see. Moving on:
If you have not already discovered, the VAST MAJORITY of what we already play is a verbatim sample of a relative Major scale. It doesn't matter which of the common forms of Major or minor our brains label what we are doing at any given time, it is still a verbatim sample of some relative Major scale. If / when a musician understands and can picture that, all the other abstract and computations of music will fall into a quite simple template of understanding the relationships.
It is imperative that you realize that the relationship between any 2 scales / chords IS A 2-WAY STREET: In other words, we must realize that the relationship between CMajor and Aminor is BOTH CMajor being 1Major and Aminor the 6minor of CMajor, ....AND Aminor being 1minor while CMajor is the b3Major of Aminor. They both have the very same notes and if we want to use one for the other we must realize that 6minor is located at the 6th note of 1Major ....and vice versa, that 1Major is located at the b3minor note of 1minor.
Playing a substitution scale or chord at a position you are not used to will take some getting used to but it comes rather quickly. The reason for this is that our brains connect the identity of scales and chords with mental expectations of what the root note / musical key is at any given time; And allot of that brain expectation comes from the finger PATTERN AND POSITION we are playing and how it relates to past experience. This course will teach you to play a Major 7 scale in substitution for the different modes' scales, and that Major 7 will be in a different position on the guitar neck than the mode root your brain would expect it to be from your past experience. But just a little bit of woodshedding will train the brain to understand what's going on and accept tying it all together.
Although this course is brief it is not an overnight study. The technique of scale and chord modal substitution is quite simple and easy of itself, but it requires knowing the basic working math of music theory and a few of it's rules and terminology; Which will take more than a few days to assimilate good enough to put it into pracrtice, especially if you need to learn or brush up on the theory math. It will take a bit of motivation and desire to learn the material and put it into practice. I think the average musician could put this course into practical use in about 2 weeks of motivated study and woodshedding ...if he/she prints out the whole course and all it's charts to study in print. Of course the pages could also be <saved> to your computer and studied in your computer, but a better use of available time opportunity can be achieved by having the course in print, as well as being able to quickly reference and compare different sections and charts in the course.
I also strongly ask that you share with other musicians what you might learn from this course. That will be my compensation for the considerable amount of work it took to make this course.
Remember the "5 times" technique?
Click HERE to go to the next section, MODES and Substitution.