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Master Music Publishing calls this nifty gadget “a 2-ounce reference library of music theory,” and I think that just about sums it up. With color-coded, clear and concise listings of diatonic triads; major, minor and diminished chords; and tonic and relative minor inversions, it could also be called “Key Center at a Glance.”
As a songwriter and player, I am intrigued by the ease with which you can find all the rules in any key center with the turn of a dial. Transposing between key centers is effortless. Finding modes is a little more challenging, but doable; if you’re playing something that centers around E minor, but you’ve got a pesky C# in there that doesn’t make sense in the key of G, there’s no easy way for this wheel to tell you what key it is. However, once you turn the dial enough and discover which key center contains both an E minor chord and a C#, then transposition to another key or charting the song is a snap. The flip side of the Guitar Wheel is a more advanced piano-based Music Theory Wheel, which is even more useful for the purposes of transposition and charting.
As an instructor, I would not necessarily use this to teach guitar because the fretboard diagrams show only 6th string rooted barre chords, but no 5th string rooted chords or open chords at all. Once a student has learned chord shapes and understands that there are many ways to play each chord, then this tool would be terrifically helpful in giving them an understanding of key centers and rudimentary music theory – areas that are often neglected because of the mistaken perception that they’re too complicated. This tool does all the heavy lifting and lets the teacher simply teach. Simply put, the Guitar Wheel is concise and complete, and does exactly what it says.
MSRP $24.95 - Master Music Publishing - guitarwheel.com
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