~ Essentials ~


~ Modern Guitar ~

'a cyberbook extraveganza for understanding your own musics for guitar and bass ...'


"Not all those who wander are lost." wiki ~ Tolkien




Welcome and a sincere thank you for choosing this 'cyber' music book for help with your understanding your own music and our Americana musics in general. Its writing has personally been a fascinating puzzling together of the collective works of our own legendary artists while simply following Americana's own music history timeline. As time marched on so did our music; from three chord, pentatonic ditties to the full on beyond chromaticism 100 years later. Very cool.

Throughout the discussions, what's termed 'to have in theory evolved', is oftentimes also clearly traceable in our historical records, as succeeding generations of players move the musical arts and its theories forward as the decades rolled on by.

Here in Essentials, these evolutions are theory identified, labeled and sequenced numerically. Using our common letter A B C's and number symbols of 1, 2, 3 / ii V I / 1, 3, 5 etc., each of our main theory topics are developed simply by replacing pitch letter with a corresponding number, based on the idea of a diatonic key center. As we add in new pitches and increase our numbers, we hear our music aurally evolve from folk stylings to blues, into country, rock and pop and off to jazz. As fluid a spectrum of styles ever woven with 12 pitches.


That many theory discussions included here are written as a 'call and response' between mentor and student is simply to energize the now ancient learning format that reflects the natural improvisational nature of the Americana styles and traditions. And thanks to the hyperlink text, here's also a bit of the 'seek and you shall find' dynamic, as the links go to new discussions and new menus of choices. We simply use our own existing music vocabulary and curiosities to navigate ourselves along, trusting our instincts of what we need to learn.


What is meant by 'modern guitar?' Simply that we each want to get better or modernize our own playing by expanding our theory knowldege. Also, modern implies that as our theory story unfolds, that it presents a full overview of the wide wide array of Americana musics. A modernist looks to recombine their existing elements in new ways; based on their creative of the moment to create new combinations and possiblities for self expression. And while we all have our favorites, all artistic leaning thinkers know that an inspiration for a new piece can come from any style or source.


This enables us to create a theoretical span of our musical styles which in turn becomes our modern palette of colors to work with. We delineate this spanning of styles simply by number of pitches commonly used to create any given style of melody. Our theory chops then give us a sure way to capture ideas as they come along. Also, there's that rather vast universe of options and ideas to explore for those theory minded artists for developing their art provided by those that have come before us. Thus, that by discovering new ideas from whatever source we will modernize our own musics.


Here now as theorists, we look to numeralize the whole theory tamale, for we've just the twelve unique pitches. We create a spectrum of thought based on how many of the 12 are in a song's melody. As we add up from three, four or five or six to seven, eight and nine and then onto all twelve, we see our musical styles morph from kid's songs to folk on into country and into blues and rock into pop and off to jazz. Our theory studies here simply follow along this additive numbered pathway.

Learning through conversation. Using the call and response format in many of the discussions within, the words used is how we transfer the knowledge. So as in learning most any topic, there's a vocabulary of terms that describes its component parts. There's links to many school book terms and their slang, just learn them as you go along. Due to the construction of such a work as this, you'll often see vocabulary words over and over here as links as we knit the whole work together.

All links are black but once you've clicked one to explore, the link then turns purple on that page. Learners using this text refer to this as 'seeing the purple', a color visualization for their own development in understanding their music. The more purple we see then the more parts, vocabulary words and ideas we understand. Internalizing the meanings of musical words that represent musical sounds and using these words in sentences, together we knit and build our understanding of our musics :)

Your studies / discovery learning. For now with modern 'e' book wizardry, the theories of our music can be discussed and formatted to individualize instruction for each reader; accomplished by the selection of hyperlinked vocabulary choices each reader decides upon. Examples created to sound out the theory each combine standard notation, tabliture and mp3 audio play back to hear the theory in action. Additional examples include web site audio with voice and video.


And while this book is a completely functioning, totally stand alone 'e' document, to work as an 'e' book it must be 'run' by any of our popular web browsers. Meaning? That if the web browser running the book is on line, we dimenisionalize our Americana music theory story far beyond its original scope here, empowering each reader to pursue their own learning curiosities by their own directed needs, interests, curiosities and available exploration juices.

For any words within, or text especially worded as to include the letters to 'wiki', need only a right click mousing highlight to bring up the www. potential to search and explore beyond this book's limits. On line now? Try the left highlight / right search mouse clicks with this link provided to the right. Surely you've seen this from the magics of 'Google Chrome?' No? Then chalk one up as we often say in AK ... 'yet another first' for a new discovery made. Here's a pic of another common browser process for those curious.

wiki ~ discovery learning


Too cool huh? Two clicks later and we're delving into the theory of the theory :) So if you've decided to not attend formal music school but still desire a more formal music ed, BA level curriculum, or you just want to get a sense of the creative spirit and formalities of academia, all cored here in Essentials to the now ancient root philosophies of musical pitch and art, all under an 'e' umbrella created by today's modern tech connectivities or, you just really really love Americana music and looking to get a guitar and bass and start a band gig and make your friends dance around and have fun, all of this and more can combine right here into a book written just for you. For ...


"These books, and your capacity to understand them, are just the same in all places. Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing."

Honest Abe Lincoln's 'your own resolution to succeed' is the true energizer for getting after the mostly grinding, rote memorization of factual ideas we each initially undertake in any serious studies we pursue. By simply rote memorizing essential music theory elements we can 'muscle memorize' it all into our chops for performance.

That once in place for intellectual and performance recall, these memories base our understanding and ability to advance our conversations of the theory. We each create an inner 'silent architecture' to organize our way of understanding the music, its theories and its organic evolutions as the new ideas come along.

And as our Americana musics now span the globe, so does its pitches and theories. Thus empowered, our new learning can now go to anywhere our feets might ever take us. The commonality of the theory can help us to make music together with new friends wherever we go.

And right out of the gate ... :) My one wish as author to all who may ever read from this 'e' book; that however serious you are about your own music, that you bring that degree of interest, curiosity and diligence of study to my work too. Muchas gracias en advance:)

'I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.'

J. S. Bach


'Invest yourself in everything you do. There's fun in being serious.'

John Coltrane

Seven styles.This commonality of the theory works in our rote learning favor too. For even empowered with the basic principles included on the start page gives the active reader an understanding into near all of our Americana styles.

Start page theory discussions. This commonality of the theory works in our rote learning favor too. For even empowered with the basic principles included on the start page gives the active reader an understanding into near all of our Americana styles.

A diatonic basis. In initiating our studies here we can organize our pitches and theories around one rather ancient concept. For the diatonic 'through the tones' theory basis of our Americana music today we trace back to the Greeks of toga days. This ancient way of organizing the pitches creates near the whole catalogue of musics of today from our Euro ancestors.

In creating the melting pot of our Americana sounds, we merge in the musics of our Africana ancestors to this Euro diatonic, who's pitches and rhythms own the blues and swing, essential ingrediants for our Americana musical ways. Strongest together, our music and its theories of today is fully inclusive of all people's musics; we now call it our 'Americana music.' So refresh your memories if needed or get started right from scratch, align your own theory stars with the ancient diatonic constellations and become one with your music.

Your music. What music knowhow you bring to this book is the basis of how to click your own way through. As the academics might say, 'based on one's existing information', your own curiosities then guide your pathway to new ideas, which often will tie into and build up our rote learned knowledge base. Click, read and search is the mantra here, when you find something cool to learn, just figure out where the book's pitches are on whatever gitfidddle you be jamming on, sort through the theory of it and discover new ideas to make your own.

Oh, and if you've ever dreamed of making your own music sound like music you heard on the radio, welcome to the club. For in our own initial recognitions of epic human expression and greatness over the airwaves, we sparked to life our own imaginations of musics to join the club. Theory knowldege is a sure way to join up.

So it may begin. What musical topics are you curious about or what new theory knowledge will help advance your own creative thinking this very day? Learning the theory of any topic is often initiated by starting with its vocabulary, which in music also includes our number symbols. Also, three start buttons; one for newly minted theorists, a method for beginning guitar and bass players and one for schooled up classical cats looking for their Americana ~ Euro improv connection. Click a next step of your lifelong journey of discovery into the theory of the art we all have and can love together, makes us dance around and put a smile on our faces :)

"The one true teacher lives in the center of your heart."

wiki ~ Sanskrit proverb
~ the colors ~ biggest pages


Beginning artists. You know who you are :) Just follow your own curiosities, click and read on !


Intermediate artists. You know who you are :) Just follow your own curiosities, click and read on !

Advanced players. You know who you are :) Just follow your own curiosities, click and read on !

Basic academics and activities. What musical topics are you curious about or what new theory knowledge will help you find your art.

Essentials teaching method. If necessary, the following teaching topics are a beginning way for teachers to use this book as one of their method books with their learners. For not all students learn the same ways, and there's also times when we just want to try something new. And once in motion we tend to stay in motion. Following the links here in listed order should get some learning motion going.

Rule of thumb. Want to become an expert at something? Learn its theory.

'Chances are good if we figure something out for ourselves we'll know and understand it forever. We can rote memorize and learn it by heart, ready for a quick recall to freely share with all.

Paper edition. For those so inclined, there's a printable supplimental text for this Essentials work that runs to 35 pages or so. A mucho condensed form, yet a paper book to put a clip on or into a binder, to carry around, learn from and share.

paper edition

First nutshell. So our music theory of today really becomes an easy way to understand any music, from any style from any era. For historically, the pitches are basically the same. It's how we've tuned them up that has evolved. And with each new generation of tuning refinement, our resource has advanced to match the instruments of their day and the artists who worked the magic.

The early 1700's is a true pivot point in our history and is a solid historical marker used in this work. For in succeding generations thus ever after, artists have had the musical components to create the main body of the Americana art we inherit today.

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
wiki ~ Vincent Lombardi