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Steve Stine Guitar | 4 Music Theory Secrets That Every Guitarist Should Know

November 4, 2019

today what we’re gonna be doing is we’re going to be talking about for music theory secrets that every guitar should know if you’ve gotten to that place in your guitar playing where you’re ready to start learning some fundamental elements about music theory and please always remember like for me music theory is something that you know I learned in college and I studied and all that sort of thing but you don’t have to do that I mean you don’t have to go to college to learn music theory and there’s certainly a lot of music theory that I learned in college that I do not use on a regular basis so my goal for you as always to learn what’s practical and I always call it real world what can you use in the real world that’s going to benefit you as opposed to just having a lot of useless information running around in your brain and of course we all use information differently so I’m not being offensive to music theory that I love music theory some people just go oh you know but here’s what I want you to understand that most of you are probably like me not that you’re short most of you are probably like me and that music theory comes later right when I first started learning how to play I learned songs and then I learned how to do some solos and I learned you know some little tidbits from friends and things like that this is of course long before there was an internet so I didn’t didn’t have that but I didn’t learn music theory until much later but I got to a place in my playing where I was just doing the same things over and over and over you know I’m just playing the same licks and I’m playing the same patterns and that’s when music theory really started helping me and the other big place that it helped me was when I started playing in bands doing a wide variety of different styles of music you know I played in a kind of a classic rock band and then I played in a metal band and I played in a prog band a prog metal band and and you know I’ve played in a whole host of different styles of bands before and the trick is is that if I can solo really well over ac/dc that doesn’t mean I could solo really well over you know highway star or over brown-eyed girl or whatever it might be or even in my songwriting you know unless I’m writing the same style of thing over and over and over so time’s my approach to my soloing or my songwriting itself I have to undress a little bit and that’s where music theory can become really really beneficial to you again in a practical sense so today what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna start off with some fundamental things that if you don’t know this is going to be a great opportunity for you to learn them okay so so the first thing that we need to do is we need to talk about what’s called the automatic chromatic okay now some of you are thinking oh I already know this stuff and if you do that’s awesome please stick with us until we get to the stuff that might help you but here’s what I find with most guitar players is that they dabble in a lot of things but they never they don’t always take those things to the next high level the chromatic scale is what we call the dictionary of music it has all the notes and music in it and knowing the chromatic scale is absolutely essential it’s critical to understanding music theory from here on out but the other really big purpose that it’s going to serve is it enables a enables us to learn the notes on our fret board and I would say most people honestly kind of know some of the notes on their fret board they kind of know where this is and they kind of know where this is but they don’t absolutely know where those notes are and I guarantee you there’s something incredibly freeing about being able to look down at your fretboard and know what note you’re gonna be playing so the automatic chromatic the first thing you should be looking at there is it shows a piano not doesn’t matter if you play piano or not I just want you to understand what notes there are in a piano because those notes are the notes that we all use on every instrument so here’s the the shortcut I want you to understand is in music we have a bunch of white keys on the piano and those notes are a pitch and pitch note tone those all mean the same thing if I say pitch or I say note or I say tone those all mean the same thing in our conversation right now okay so if we just start with the alphabet a right and then our musical alphabet is also going to start on a at this point we have the white notes ABCD F&G that’s it there’s no H there’s no Q there’s no K there’s nothing like that there’s just the notes a b c d e f and g and if we thought about those being in a circle okay if they were in a circle we’d go abcdefg abcdefg ABC so in the piano when we go abcdefg abcdefg abcdefg over and over and over across that piano we’re playing what we call octaves when we go from this a to this a week on an octave abcdefg abcdefg abcdefg so on our guitar we have multiple A’s as well we have different octaves of these notes or multiple B’s or whatever it might be so it doesn’t matter what instrument you’re playing your notes your prime notes your prime notes are gonna be ABCDE F and G which is where we get various keys and chords and all that kind of thing from so we’re gonna pluck the sixth string and we know that this note is e okay so what we want to do is we want to figure out how to put those ABCD efg notes on our guitar well here’s the problem it doesn’t go e F G a B C it doesn’t do that okay there’s a problem here and the problem is we have what’s called accidentals which are sharps or flats now when you look at that chart there in front of you of the chromatic scale it might look like craziness but it’s really not let me explain this in a super easy way for you and you can use this for for all your future reference okay here’s the deal your notes are a b c d e f and g okay those are your white notes and follow me now cuz i’m gonna lie and then i’m gonna tell the truth okay every white note gets a little black note next to it and telling you live but just follow me for a second every white know it gets a little black note next to it okay so if we have the white note a we have a little black note called a sharp if we have a white note see we get a little black note C sharp if we have the white note G we get a little black note G sharp now on the we don’t have white and black keys and all that sort of thing they’re just uniform all the way up the guitar okay so if we find G g-sharp is right next to it on the next fret if we find C C sharp is right next to it on the next fret that’s how the guitar works where the piano works the same way but they look different because of these big white and little black keys okay now what I just told you is only a half-truth but it’s also a half lie because every note does not get a sharp now if you look at your chart you’re gonna see that B and C if you look at the chart right there you’re gonna see B and C does not get a black key in between there’s no sharp there okay this is music theory just like you know our English language isn’t perfect there’s a lot of strange things like why knife has a K in front of it all those sorts of things there are a couple of problems that you just need to accept to be able to understand the bigger picture of what’s going on here with music theory so B to C does not get a sharp it just doesn’t on the piano a big white key looks more important than a little black key but it’s not it’s not C and C sharp are two very important notes that we play at any point in time in on music that we play but the piano had to create a way of somebody being able to visually look and feel that these notes were different otherwise you’d grab a piano it would all feel exactly the same right so the little black keys made it feel differently to somebody while they were playing and also visually was different because they could see it right they could see the difference between those they could feel it see it so whoever came up with the concept of music theory and music theory is based on you know physics and all sorts of different things but B & C does not get a sharp it just doesn’t so we just have to accept the fact that B and C does not get a sharp the other one that doesn’t get a sharp is e to F and again on your chart you’re gonna see that there’s no such thing as an e sharp there just isn’t okay if you were saying e sharp what you’re really saying is F okay so nobody says he’s sharp because it’s kind of an awkward thing to say now does that mean it’s never used in the history of music theory ever ever ever ever no no no there’s there’s always issues right there’s always issues with things but in the big picture 98% of the time ever when you’re you’re doing things you would call EE and you would call F F okay you don’t need to confuse people by calling it E sharp because any music anybody that knows music theories gonna go you sharp what are you talking about okay so and they’ll understand you’re saying you want to raise e up and that’s what you have to understand about the term sharp sharp means you’re raising something up it’s going up flat means it’s coming down okay like a flat tire right it’s going down okay a 2b you’ll notice it has an a sharp which is also called B flat a sharp and B flat are the same note the same pitch you can call it either one it doesn’t make any difference if you say a sharp it’s the same as B flat okay flat means to go backwards sharp means to go forward so you have a and you have B in between them is a sharp or B flat okay you can name it either thing I always tell people the best thing to do is to learn your whole fretboard in terms of sharps just get one in your head without confusing yourself then you can always go back and you can learn flats or whatever it is that you want to do after that okay but try and get it straight in your head now if that makes sense here’s the shortcut I want you to think about and you can write this down if you’ve got a pencil and a piece of paper sitting there okay ABCDE F and G everybody gets sharps except for B and E which spells the word B so you can write B e capital and circle that sucker okay now let me know if this is kind of making sense to you so far okay we have seven notes ABCD efg and they get repeated over and over and over on the piano these are the white notes okay thank you thank you for your responses okay ABCD efg when we repeat those every time as we go up the piano we’re creating octaves but we also have the black notes in between and the black notes do not have to be complicating there’s a black note between everything except B to C and E to F which spells the word B beginning okay so a gets a sharp B does not see gets a sharp D gets a sharp he does not F gets a sharp G gets sharp and you’re done that’s it you’re done okay looks way more complicating in it than it is but that’s what it is okay now if you have a sharp that sharp can also be called a flat a sharp is the same as B flat if you don’t have a sharp you don’t have a flat if e sharp doesn’t exist F that’s right F flat doesn’t exist okay so that’s the first thing you have to understand is the concept okay the concept a through G everybody gets sharps except for B&E boom all music theory doesn’t matter if you’re figuring out chords and scales and blah blah blah that’s the fundamental premise of the chromatic scale chromatic just means all the notes of music it’s the dictionary of music that’s what the chromatic scale is okay the chromatic is again like our dictionary the dictionary isn’t creating sentences we only create sentences when we pull the words out of the dictionary right we only create scales major scales during a fossil out to do all that stuff when we pull notes out of this chromatic scale we’re not there yet we’re just learning the dictionary okay we’re gonna move on to the next thing okay we’re gonna apply this sucker to the fretboard we’re gonna get you to expose this fretboard and start learning all your notes awesome thank you guys [Music] [Laughter] [Music]


  • Reply Paul Stanley February 28, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Right on, dude! You the man!!!! I'm short too, man 🤣🤣

  • Reply Michael Schroeder February 28, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Nobody knows you're short. I do cuz I know U. I used to live in FARGO. Now I'm in TX. Luv how U teach. Michael

  • Reply muckaxe February 28, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    Steve your videos have made an immeasurable impact on my playing and understanding of music. I live way out in the country and taking lessons in person is not feasible right now. Your vids are really filling in the gaps! Eternal thank!

  • Reply Shawn Reed February 28, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Love the short joke.

  • Reply George Rhude March 1, 2019 at 1:05 am

    So let me get this! I will never see a sharp when I sting like a bee! Gracias !

  • Reply Al Blouin March 1, 2019 at 5:01 am

    I get you. I could never understand but you make it clear for me. thanks

  • Reply Juan Gastélum March 1, 2019 at 6:31 am

    Very well explained !! easy for everyone…. I knew all these already BUT I can see clearly that you did a great job laying it out. I really enjoy your videos.

  • Reply Thr0tt March 1, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Well explained thank you ! Helps memorise the notes and how it also relates to a keyboard which is useful to know.

  • Reply Ricardo Lima Pereira March 1, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Good stuff.
    Thanks for sharing, man.

  • Reply Nunya Bizness March 1, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Well explained and easily understood, Steve. 👍

  • Reply alan sturgess March 1, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    "practical… real world" … that perfectly sums up Steve's friendly and to-the-point approach to tutorials.

  • Reply Dave Mabbley March 1, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Steve i would like to say a massive that you for all the content you have put out,
    I have played guitar since i was 13 (now 35) on and off, mainly off for the last 13 years but thanks to your content i feel i am only now beginning to start to learn to play properly,
    I was self taught and got to a what i now see as a basic level, yes i played in a band and enjoyed it but that was mainly bashing power chords etc,
    I always knew the pentatonic scale but had no idea how to use it,
    Now i making serious efforts to learn basic music theory on how keys/chords are constructed/the caged theory using the Major pentatonic sclae as a sort of webbing,
    Just throwing in some chord notes in the right places and the difference in how i can solo is unbelievable,
    Speed and technique is not where it could be but i can play some nice slow solos over backing tracks and have a idea on how im going to create it thanks to you,
    Once again Thanks

  • Reply Roham March 1, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Very nice and helpful . you are awsome . I learned a lot from you . if you can give me some feedback on my channel and video that i covered I really appreciate it .

  • Reply ABIN D P March 1, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Can we play song on chromatic scale

  • Reply Jeff Harrison March 1, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Steve,u r the coolest!!U break it down so even dummies like me lol can hash it out!!!Thanks Brother!!!

  • Reply iiXeno March 4, 2019 at 11:55 am

    I feel like Im being taught guitar sesame street style.

  • Reply thedrinkslink March 7, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Really good teaching method Steve

  • Reply Steve Stine Guitar Lessons March 7, 2019 at 9:25 pm



  • Reply Jonh Monroney March 12, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    gr8. looks good

  • Reply Steve Bishop March 13, 2019 at 4:28 am

    Like the way you explain things in plain, easy to ‘get’, but never boring, style. Great stuff.

  • Reply Gerald West March 23, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Excellent video and content…thank you very much.

  • Reply Maanda Golden March 25, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Steve i knowed all major scale and major keys my problem not knowing how to conects them.but since then woow am doing good i even enjoy playing my Pretoria S.A.

  • Reply Andrew Denis May 9, 2019 at 2:26 am

    Very easy to follow. I plan t get my first course of ours soon. BTW, you do not look short. Maybe the longer hair makes you kook taller…

  • Reply Todd Gibbs May 15, 2019 at 1:08 am

    Thank you for a ton of helpful information. I am a 42 year old engineer that has never played any instrument. The theory is far more important for me because I don’t memorize, I understand and apply things. I just bought my first guitar and am learning with my daughter who wants to play.

  • Reply Tinker Tink May 15, 2019 at 6:31 am

    i have played for a long time mainly by ear or tabs i finally get the concept of theory. ty steve

  • Reply John James Capel May 24, 2019 at 1:43 am

    Thanks again dude

  • Reply jay kumar May 26, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Fantastic.. Thanks for that explanation

  • Reply Michael Gable Colvin June 21, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Wait !!!
    There's no Q ???

  • Reply joshua waters June 21, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    Maybe being short is an advantage as everything you teach doesn’t go over people’s heads ;). Jk, I’m short myself. Thanks for all the great content.

  • Reply sunyatascope June 22, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Excellent video.

  • Reply Sci Kat July 23, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    Dude I love your teaching style! Thank you!

  • Reply opethforlife August 3, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    You have a natural talent regarding teaching, and your personality is so loveable

  • Reply Russell Rideout September 2, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Music theory will help with creativity.

  • Reply Ted C October 11, 2019 at 3:07 am

    It's hard to picture Randy Rhodes or Steve Stine as short, for me anyway. I'd have guessed 6' 3" for Steve. Maybe it's the hair? 😉

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