Scales

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to learn, understand, and incorporate the musical characteristics found in countless spy-film soundtracks.

Beginner

Intermediate

  • Explore genre-defining elements of spy guitar.
  • Learn how to use these elements to create your own spy guitar sounds and songs.
  • Discover how musical intuition and music theory can work together to create mystery and suspense.
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Although many might suspect that the sound of spy guitar begins in 1962 with the “James Bond Theme,” one must in fact go back to 1958 and Henry Mancini’s equally iconic theme for Peter Gunn.

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Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.

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Photo by Franco Monsalvo

Open-string licks, hand-wrenching bends, blazing double-stops, and much more.

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Learn how to incorporate outside notes to a Mixolydian scale.
  • Understand how to phrase in both traditional and modern country settings.
  • Create a deeper vocabulary over dominant chords.
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How many times are you paralyzed by the sheer number of options you can play over a dominant chord? It’s probably one of the only chords where nearly anything works if you land correctly. One of the most common sounds to use is the Mixolydian scale, which is simply a major scale with a lowered 7. But let’s add on to this sound by expanding our musical Mixolydian palette with a few blue notes and some chromatic embellishments.

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It’s not easy. But it’s worth the work.

Advanced

Intermediate

  • Demonstrate a variety of Frank Zappa-esque guitar licks.
  • Examine Zappa’s chord progressions and use of modes.
  • Discuss Zappa’s guitar tone and rhythm sections.
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While there may be countless books, magazine articles, websites, and videos concerning Frank Zappa and his music, I have found that there are few that demonstrate how to solo like Frank. Even the amazing, though at times inscrutable, The Frank Zappa Guitar Book (transcribed by Steve Vai) features only transcriptions of Zappa solos, not a specific “how to” section. With more than 100 releases it can be almost impossible to know where to begin. Paradoxically, I do not suggest starting with the Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar series. Those guitar solos are out of context (and for diehard fans). So, where do you begin?
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With a few minor fingering adjustments another world of musical expression can be unlocked.

Beginner

Beginner

  • Look at the pentatonic scale in a new light.
  • Understand how to navigate diagonally across the fretboard.
  • Use this newfound knowledge to create more musical phrases.
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Likely the first melodic device any improvising musician learns is the pentatonic scale. It’s a simple pattern to learn on guitar, it’s easy to play, and it always sounds “correct.” It contains mostly the “good” notes and usually you don’t need to think too much about which notes to avoid. What’s not to love? After a while, however, a certain sameness begins to emerge, and one begins to wonder, “Is there something more here?” Well, it has much more to offer than what you see on the surface.
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