Lesson Four Summary
In this week’s lesson, we cover what’s going on when we look at the inside of each of the barre chord shapes we learned last week.
Just like we briefly mentioned when working through the power chords, we can identify how the intervals above the root note contribute to the sound of the chord.
Before we can look at all of the notes of each of the chord shapes though, we need to learn how to play the major scale shapes, because these help us learn what to call each note in the chord.
So, starting with the Major Scale on the E string, here is the pattern we need to know:
(In The Key Of G)
This pattern is the G major scale across two octaves. Each octave includes seven notes, and we end with another G completing the two octave major scale. (Remember, an octave is when we play the same pitch, but higher or lower…)
Now let’s see what happens when we give each note in the scale a number, let’s just stick to one octave for now:
We have seven notes and we start counting at one again when we hit the octave.
Now let’s check out the second octave of our major scale shape:
Before looking at which numbers make up the barre chord on the E string, we’re going to do some more music theory.
Just like chords can have Major or Minor qualities (aka “sounds”) to them, so can intervals.
(Remember, an interval is the space between two notes - given in a number, eg. 3rd, 6th, 4th, etc…)
What’s really cool about the intervals that make up the Major Scale is that it’s super easy to name them. They are all Major or Perfect intervals! We’re giving a more descriptive name to each of the notes in the scale. These intervals make up the Major Scale.
Thinking about the intervals between the root note and each note in the Major Scale, it goes like this:
Root Note (1), Major Second, Major Third, Perfect Fourth, Perfect Fifth, Major Sixth, Major Seventh, Octave.
We use “Perfect” for the fourth an fifth intervals. And “Major” for the second, third, sixth, and seventh intervals.
Not going any deeper into why right now, we’re going to associate these names with the notes we just learned of the major scale shape.
Capital “M” means Major, capital “P” means perfect.
Now we are getting somewhere!
You will definitely want to take some time and train yourself to see the intervals quickly in the scale shape. When you can instantly jump to a note and know what interval it is, then you’ve really learned this stuff!
The reason we took this detour is because we can now identify what each note is in the barre chords we learned from last week.
Here is the G Major Barre Chord with all of its intervals:
Notice that this chord only uses three intervals. The Root Note (1), the Major 3rd, and the Perfect 5th.
Guess what!? That’s how every Major Chord goes! We only have those three notes. Every time!
I bet you are wondering how to do the same this with the Minor Barre Chord…. will we have to learn the Minor Scale for that!?
Not necessarily. Not with this one little trick.
Check it out!
When you have a major interval, which ever interval it may be, you can transform it into a minor interval simply by moving it down one half step (or if you are playing guitar, that’s one fret).
Remember how there is only one note difference between the Major Barre Chord the Minor Barre Chord shape.
Let’s look at the Minor Barre Chord arpeggio:
The only difference here is the note on the G string. It’s now on fret three. Fret three is one fret lower than fret four, and we called fret four of the G string a Major 3rd (from the Root Note).
Well, as I just wrote, if you move a major interval down one fret (also known as one half step) it becomes a minor interval. And we use a lower case “m” to denote a minor interval.
Great! So you got it!
Okay, so now we will do the same thing with the barre chords on the A string.
We’ll break it down into the same three steps.
1.) Learn the Major Scale shape
2.) Give each note an interval name.
3.) See how the intervals work in the Barre Chord shapes.
So here is the Major Scale shape on the A string, let’s use the key of Eb for this:
Because we are playing an Eb Major Scale, the intervals will be the same as before in the G Major Scale.
When we look at the barre chord shapes we find the same intervals that we saw from before…
It’s the same pattern isn’t it? We are using the Root Note (1), a Major 3rd, and a Perfect 5th!
The minor chord will be the same too. By lowering just the Major 3rd by one half step, it becomes a Minor 3rd and then our chord transforms into a Minor Barre Chord.
All this information is going to be super helpful when we look at some more jazzy shapes next week. So try super hard, as you continue to practice your basic barred shapes, to think about the intervals within each chord shape.
So here’s what you’ll want to practice this week:
1.) Practice playing the Major Scale on the E and A strings. Get the finger positions down, get used to the shape of the scale positions, and think about the INTERVALS when you play it.
2.) Continue to practice the barre chord shapes. They can be tough to get down in a week. But just remember all the things I told you about how to make them properly.
3.) Still working on those root notes? How about you improvise a little bit with the natural notes on the A string this week? Can you come up with some cool riffs?