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Jazz Guitar Lessons: Basic Theory of Intervals & The Number System

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We're gonna get now into a little
bit of a discussion of theory.
And so that we can develop as I mentioned
before a language that we can speak
together as we develop our improvisational
skills on the jazz guitar.
So, some of this you may already know,
you, you, I,
I may be covering ground that you all
ready know certainly some of the,
certainly some of the concepts are gonna
be something you already know.
For example,
we're gonna be talking about intervals.
Because I'm gonna,
I'm gonna build up to the number system
naming notes by their
numbers in the scale.
And altering them with sharps and
flats, raised and lowered.
And you know, it just basic,
basically gives us, as I said, a way for
us to explain what we're doing.
And I can say okay let's do one,
two, three, flat seven.
six, nine.
And whatever.
And you'll know what I mean when I say it.
The, the basic major scale
Well let me step back for a minute.
The basic building block of
a major scale are intervals,
and the basic interval is a step.
And there's two kinds of steps,
a whole step and a half step.
The outline of a major, the, the,
the inter-valid structure of
a major scale is whole step,
half step,
Whole step.
Whole step.
Whole step.
And the last one is a half step.
Whole, whole,
half, whole, whole.
And it sounds like this.
Now what I call the number system is very
It's just one, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight.
But eight is, again, one.
Because it's an octave up.
So, I think that's pretty much a concept
that you're all familiar with.
What I'm gonna ask you to do is start to
think about altering some of these so
that when we get into going up to,
9ths and 13ths and 11ths and
altering those, it'll kinda have
a basis of, of understanding.
To work off of.
Each interval in the major scale can
be altered, either raised or lowered.
So, for example.
Believe it or
not, you can ca,
you can go up one half step.
And rather than calling it, that,
that is basically raising
the first note of the scale.
You can actually call it a raised unison.
A sharp unison, no,
nobody would really say that, but
that's really what it could be called.
But the same note can be called
a flat second.
So what I'm doing is I'm
taking the second degree
of the scale
and lowering it
one half step
and it becomes a flat second.
And the next one after that is the third,
When I lower that one,
it comes to something that we all know,
the minor third.
Major and minor, we all know that.
So the, the, when you lower the third,
it becomes a,
a flat three or a minor third, right?
The fourth is only a half step between
the major and the fourth, so
there's no note to alter there.
When you go up to the next note
from the fourth to the fifth,
there is a note in between.
That note can either be
called an augmented,
augmented means raised, or sharp four, or
flatting the fifth.
A diminished or flatted fifth.
That's a lot of semantics, basically.
But, as long as you know the sound of it.
And you know what I call it when I'm
teaching you a phrase, it'll make sense.
this is what I call the number system.
You can continue going like that.
If you raise the 5th,
it becomes an augmented fifth.
Or, if you lower the sixth,
it's the same note as the raised fifth.
But now you're thinking of it
as coming down from the sixth.
It's a flatted sixth.
Then the seventh.
Lower that.
It's the flat seventh.
It's only got one name.
And then the octave.
So now we've ended up
with the chromatic scale.
The root, one.
Flat two.
Flat three or the minor third.
No half step in there.
The augmented fourth or diminished fifth.
The fifth.
The raised fifth, or the flatted sixth.
The sixth.
The flatted seventh.
The seventh.
And the octave.
So that's my numbering system.
That's what most people use.
So I'm telling you this so that,
in this next exercise that we do
I'm just gonna give you numbers.
The, the other reason for
doing that is, okay,
I could say the actual names of the notes.
Okay, we're gonna do C,
C-sharp, D-flat, E, F, F-sharp.
You know, I could tell you
the names of the notes, but
that's pertinent to only one key.
What I want you to do is to be able to
take these exercises that we're doing and
play them in any key.
And if you use the number system,
you can apply those numbers to any key.
So it's more general.
More universal.
I hope that makes sense.
Now, I'm gonna go back right now
to an exercise we did earlier.
And if you remember the, the exercise with
Mary Had a Little Lamb where we played one
phrase in every place that you
can play a middle C on the neck.
And we're gonna do it now with,
with a phrase that's a little more
fun than Mary Had a Little Lamb.
This time we're gonna do it with just
a little almost Thelonious monk kind of
a Jazz phrase.
When you first do this,
now I'm gonna tell you the numbers, okay.
One, two, flat three.
Back to flat three.
And do it with a little rhythm.
What I'd like you to do as an exercise.
First not in rhythm,
is learn those notes in each position.
All across the neck and all those
keys that I explained to you before.
See I used an open string on that one.
The E was open,
it was kinda cool,
almost bluegrass sound to it.
All on the B string.
The G and the B string crossing over,
I'm gonna stop right there.
You may notice that going
back to the other lesson
many jazz guitarists have their, their
markers, for the fret markers, up here so
the player can see them but
you can't see them from the audience.
My guitar is like that.
The Sedowski, but
my friends here at Artist Works,
helped me put dot markers on that guitar,
so that you could see them on camera.
And I hope that helps.
[LAUGH] Cuz we realized after we did that
one, that that was gonna be helpful.
So now we're on the fifth fret, G string,
starting on the G string going to the B.
Now the same thing starting
with the second finger
So the first two notes are on the G
string and all the notes on the G string.
And then on the D crossing over to the,
to the G
With the pinky, third finger.
Second finger, all on the D.
Jumping over to the fifth string.
then way up here.
So that's something that
you can use to get started.
And what I'd like to do,
I'd like you to take that out of time and
try to build it up slowly but surely,
until you can play it in rhythm.
Two, three, four.
Two, three, four.
Put a little.
Bar in-between each one.
And once you can do that, what you
can do then is take other phrases,
make up your own, and challenge yourself
and see what you can come up with.
With that same concept of playing
it in as many places as you can.
Let's give it a try, we'll be back.