Street Theory for Guitarists by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire.com
Author: Jeff Scheetz
Level: Beginner | Late Beginner | Intermediate | Late Intermediate | Advanced
Features: 38 Tabs (.gp5) + 40 Charts (.pdf) + 5 Jam Tracks (.mp3)
Lessons: 45 Video Lessons (4 hours and 44 minutes)
Today’s review is about a new theory course by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jeff Scheetz; he is the director of education at Truefire.com. He has already released numerous courses designed to help you improve your journey on the guitar. One of those courses is his „Smart practice for guitar“. This course focuses on another major topic that is key in improving fast: theory.
Theory is usually considered one of those demons that someone put into this world in order to torture us; in particular guitarists. However, theory can ease the learning process a lot! You certainly do not need theory in order to be musical. You can go ahead and create notes on an instrument and replicate songs just by ear and once you figure out how your instrument works.
Why should we then bother to learn theory at all? Let me tell you something I experienced when I started out on the guitar.
I once went to Spain with my guitar and as I was walking around the streets of Cordoba, I noticed another guitar player. I sat next to Raúl and we talked a bit about the guitar, music in Spain and so forth. A little bit later, we decided to have a small jam session. He was clearly better than I was since I had just started out but the way we connected through our instruments and played together was truly an experience that sparked my motivation for music even more. Wait… why am I telling you this? Well, in order to be able to play together we had to be on the same page. We achieved this by clarifying in which key we were about to to play and generally knowing our instrument in terms of notes, chords and basic musical stuff such as melody and harmony. In short, we connected through theory.
“Street Theory for Guitarists“ is a catchy title, but one that contains more than you would expect at first sight. Before watching this course I asked myself: what would it take to connect with other musicians you meet? Which concepts would it need to speak the same language and to be able to connect with other musicians?
Going back to the story that I had just told you, I would like to answer what it took for me to connect with Raúl by going over the content of this course. As I’ve mentioned, you certainly need to know your own instrument before you can engage in conversations. That’s why the first section is all about the very fundamentals of your guitar.
Fundamentals include “the musical alphabet“, referring back to the notes on your fretboard. If you meet other musicians on the street it is more likely to happen without tabs hanging off a wall so you need to be able to refer to notes if you want to exchange pieces and have a jam session. In order to do so, you certainly need to know your own instrument in terms of notes or the musical alphabet.
The process of learning the notes on the fretboard can be a daunting one. However, this course slowly builds that important skill by first showing you how to name the notes on the 5th and the 6th string. If you know these two strings, you will already know three strings, since you’ve got two E-strings that work the same way. Once you have this skill down you are going to learn how to find octaves on the guitar. Octaves help you to identify the various positions that exist on the fretboard and to navigate through different voicings. It also helps you build chords by narrowing the fretboard.
Once you’ve nailed the note names on the fretboard it is time to connect them by applying what is known as intervals. Intervals are the distances between two notes. As so much on the guitar, intervals are easily learnt by learning the different shapes. Last but not least, the fundamentals section is closed out by learning probably the two most important scales (arguably); the chromatic scale and the major scale.
The second section is all about chords. Knowing the formula for building chords is essential if you want to understand the concept of chord triads and chord inversions. You are also going to learn why we guitarists need barre chords and what the secret of that “barre” actually is. Once you nailed this, you are going to be taught how to name the chords in terms of roman numerals and how to build progressions out of them. Another important concept that is brought to you by Jeff Scheetz is the method to identify in which key your song is in so you know which chords to play in common progressions.
Moving on to section three, you move away from the harmonic side of music and turn towards the melodic side of it! Unless already familiar with them, you are going to be introduced to scales and different types of scales (pentatonic and blues scales as well as modes! Knowing which scale to play is crucial if you want to transfer the correct mood of a song and literally playing and staying on the same page as your fellow musicians.
Last but not least, there are some further important concepts that could certainly be put into the other sections but that are slightly more advanced. In section 4 you learn about the CAGED system and how it functions within the different chords that you can play all around the neck! This really opens up the whole neck for you and gives you more freedom and more voicings to explore! You will also learn how to move harmonies and how to arpeggiate chords. Those concepts will allow you to articulate yourself in a more complex way.
Let’s sum this course up… “Street Theory for Guitarists” by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire.com is one of those courses you may have wished as part of your starter kit, as part of your very first guitar as it can help you digest the massive load of information that you will have to acquire throughout your career. Theory is not boring at all. The way it used to be taught, however, was old-fashioned. Learn music theory the cool way with Jeff Scheetz and be able to connect with other musicians and actually speak the same language!
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This course was provided by Truefire.com