Express Guitar - The Ultimate Guitar Learning Kit

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      Play Guitar By Ear - Chord Qualities


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  Because musicians who play guitar by ear often don't read printed
  music they have to rely on a well developed memory for sound.
  Apart from being able to (a) recognize musical form, (b) predict
  they chord changes, (c) discern the chord qualities.

  Trying to describe sound is a bit like trying to describe color,
  just as no two people see color exactly the same way, on two
  people hear music the same way.

  It's interesting to watch when one a guitarist hands a guitar to
  another guitarist how the second guitarist will make slight
  adjustments to the intonation of the guitar to suit how they
  'hear' music.

  With that said here is a couple generalizations to get you
  thinking of other ways to describe sound. The important thing is
  to use some way of describing sound that has meaning to you.

  We want to have a clear and simple description of what we are
  hearing so that when we hear these sounds again we will be able
  to recall the 'feel' of these sounds.

  So rather than using technical or theoretical descriptions we
  will use everyday words to describe the sound of each chord.

  Chord qualities:

                          chord name     symbol        description

    major                C                  happy

 minor                Cm                sad

  dominant 7th          C7                restless

  In the above examples the letter "C" has been used for the chord
  symbol, any letter of the musical alphabet can be substituted for
  the letter "C".

  Written using the letter "G" as a substitute for "C". this chart
  would look like this:

  Chord qualities:

          chord type     chord symbol      description

major                G                happy

minor                Gm              sad   

dominant 7th        G7             restless 

  We could also re-write the desrciptions of each chord like this:

  Chord qualities:

 chord type     chord symbol      description

major              C              bright

minor            Cm             dull

dominant 7th       C7             roaming

  or like this ...

  Chord qualities:

chord type     chord symbol      description

major              C              positive

minor              Cm             negitive

dominant 7th       C7             connecting

  See how different words were used to describe the same chords,
  the important thing is to find words that will help to recall
  these chord qualities.

  As you discover better words to help you mentally file the sounds
  remember to update your list, this is your own contribution to
  your learning.

  It is essential that you hear the different qualities of each
  chord, pick a key and play the three chord types.

  Start by playing ...

  C, then Cm and finally C7

  Take your time and listen to each chord carefully, strum the
  chord once and let each chord ring for four beats.

  As you play each chord try and think of word that will help to
  describe the sound you are playing and hearing.This is the best
  way to accelerate your ability to play guitar by ear.


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Rave Reviews for Express Guitar:


As a student of Mike Hayes since 1999, I have found his teaching methods and products to be first class. Whatever style or area of music I have been interested in, he has provided me with useful information, advice and study materials. His style of teaching and teaching products enabled me to progress through his guitar course far quicker than I ever imagined. He also helps in teaching yourself to find and develop your own style of music. Mike’s teaching gives his student’s the ability to become useful musicians, not just guitarists.

Stephen J Reid
Guitarist & Musician



This course teaches us how to learn, how to retain, and how to recall information quickly. This entire program is built around "connected learning" with key phrases, picture words ( yes there is such a thing ) and the most dynamic personal motivator I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Ken C Simpson
Business Owner & Guitarist
Queensland, Australia



The course is varied, in-depth and well-structured, making learning and comprehension fast, thorough and enjoyable. It’s a great way of learning, as you can pace yourself and move onto the next stage when you feel competent. I find this course both innovative and inspirational. I find myself leaving Mike’s lessons with the determination to reach my new goals.

Karl J Ricker
Sales Manager
Sunshine Coast, Australia