An Intro to Modes
Written by Roger   
When I was younger and first heard about 'modes,’ the concept seemed very confusing to me.  As I learned more about them though, I realized that the modes were not as complicated as they first seemed to be.   I thought I would write an article to help explain what these scales are and how they can be used.

So, what exactly are ‘modes’? Modes are a set of scales that are related because they are all made up of the exact same group of notes.  The only difference between modes is that each one begins on a different note of the notes from the group.  Because any scale can be started on any of its notes, every scale can be thought of as having modes.  But, when someone says ‘the modes,’ they are usually talking about the modes of the major scale.  The modes of the major scale then are a set of scales that all contain the exact same notes as the major scale, but each start on a different note of the scale.  Since every major scale has seven notes, every major scale has seven modes.  Think of the seven notes of the major scale as being numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.  The first mode, which is called the Ionian mode, is the major scale itself and starts on 1.  The second mode, which is called the Dorian mode, would start on 2 and would go:  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 2. In the key of C, for example, the first mode starts on the note C and is C Ionian.  The second mode starts on the note D, which is the second note, and is D Dorian.
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Guitar Practice Tip: Learn Another Instrument?
Written by Gary Fletcher   
The guitar is usually considered a portable instrument. Compared to a piano this is true, but let's face it, that bulky dreadnought doesn't fit easily into the average pocket. This is why it can be a good idea to consider a smaller instrument when you want to practice any place you go.

There are plenty of small instruments you could try. But I'm going to tell you about one that is very useful to any guitar player.

I bought a ukulele for my son a little over a year ago. I figured rightly that its small neck and four strings would be easier for his seven year old hands to play. But I hadn't realized just how much I would come to like it myself. It's a great portable guitar practice tool.

The ukulele's neck is like a guitar neck cut at the fifth fret and with only the top four strings. The similar layout means you can easily get your bearings.

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Guitarists, Develop Your Ears
Written by Gary Fletcher   

Without ear training playing guitar is a bit like painting by numbers. You put colours in the spaces indicated to recreate a painting. But you're not really making music and you don't really learn why one colour works better than another.

Only when you can hear its language can you really claim to make music and this is a good reason to make ear training a part of your study.

But as we all know, guitar practice time is limited, and adding ear training to our daily list of things to work on is not an easy commitment to make. Fortunately, there are many ways to develop your musical ear without your guitar. Here are a few ideas you could try.

Ear Training CDs

A good place to start on ear training is with a set of ear training CDs. These will offer you exercises to train your ear to recognize intervals, notes, chords, rhythms and so on.

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Learn Guitar Songs Faster
Written by Gary Fletcher   
There are lots of ways to learn guitar without having your guitar to hand. In this article we'll look at one very easy way to learn guitar songs faster that will also improve your performance skills because you will know the songs you play better.

Why Do You Make Mistakes?

Many of the playing mistakes you make arise not from a lack of skill, but from the simple fact that you're unsure what comes next. With doubt like this in your mind you often end up making an error.

Develop detailed knowledge of the songs you play, really memorize them, and you will be able to play with more confidence, make less mistakes, and be more relaxed so you can enjoy playing more.
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Improve Your Chord Knowledge
Written by Gary Fletcher   
Here's a simple exercise you can use to build your chord knowledge when you're not playing guitar. Exercises you can do when you don't have your guitar help you to get extra mileage from your limited guitar practice time. You can work on them any time and any place, all you need is a few spare minutes.

One of the best ways you can make good use of your time away from the guitar is to build your knowledge of chords. No matter how long you've been playing there is always something new to learn about them. There are endless sources of new ideas and information. Find yourself some chord theory books, lessons from Internet, or study the chords used in your favourite songs and those of the great song writers.
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Practice Without Guitar: Learn The Fretboard
Written by Gary Fletcher   

There are two kinds of guitarist, those who know their fretboard and those who don't. Although simply memorizing all the notes won't make you into Jimi Hendrix overnight, you can be sure that the best guitarists are all in the camp of "those who do". Fortunately, you can learn a lot about the fretboard without eating up your precious practice time.

Although there are lots of different techniques for learning your fretboard the real key is repetition. Repetition helps you learn and refreshes the knowledge so you don't lost it. Here are ten different ways you can get your dose of repetition while not playing your guitar.

Fretboard Learning Exercises

  1. Pick a note, name all the places it occurs on the guitar.
  2. Pick a fret, name the notes on all strings.
  3. Pick a chord position, name all the notes in it and their place in the chord position. Name their scale degree too.
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