Chris Eldridge

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Scale Degrees and Melody

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Chris Eldridge Sample Lesson >

Fundamentals > Scale Degrees and Melody

Finding your way around the guitar can be confusing. There are a lot of different notes and sorting them into patterns that make sense can feel daunting. To help cut through the fog we're going to take a look at scale degrees and the number system. The basic concept is pretty simple. A major scale (think the white keys on the piano starting at C or do, rey, mi, fa, so, la. ti, do) can be counted out as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Each note in the scale, or scale degree, has it's own color relative to the tonic (aka 1, or "Do"). If this seems confusing to read about I think it will make perfect sense when you hear it. Having a basic grip on scale degrees will not only make picking out and learning melodies much easier, but it will lay the framework for understanding how and why chords are built.

We'll also take a look at the melody of White Dove and how to decode it using scale degrees.




Loop 1:04 Scale Degress

Loop 4:25 Noticing the Color of Each Note

Loop 6:22 Chord Numbering

Loop 11:32 White Dove Melody with Scale Degrees

Loop 14:13 White Dove Melody Example - Capo on 3rd Fret


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 16:21 The Importance of Learning by Ear





Q: What will Chris be teaching over the coming year?

A: From Chris: I'll be teaching many of the concepts and techniques, both large and small, that have helped me become a better musician and guitar player. For me to actually learn something, I have to understand why I should learn it. I'll discuss these concepts and techniques in the context of a song or arrangement, so that their relevance will be more clearly understood. In the first lessons I'll be starting out with basics, because I believe that every single musician will stand to benefit from stronger fundamentals. For instance, holding the pick is still something that me and my guitar buddies still talk about. You never master those things, but you should always be working on them. Eventually we'll get into more advanced topics like chord voicings, different approaches to improvising, building up technique, musicianship, etc.

Over the course of the year we'll learn about 10 new songs, but each week I'd like to illuminate different approaches that can be applied to these songs. I'll also share what I've learned about singing and delivering a song to an audience.

Chris "Critter" Eldridge

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Q: What Awards has Chris won?

A: Chris has won 3 International Bluegrass Music Awards and has been nominated for 3 Grammy's.

Q: Who has Chris worked with?

A: Chris is founding member of the The Punch Brothers and has worked alongside with Paul Simon, Renee Fleming, T-Bone Burnett, John Paul Jones, Marcus Mumford, Elvis Costello, Jerry Douglas, Del McCoury among others. More recently, Chris has recorded and toured with renowned jazz guitarist Julian Lage.

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