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Bluegrass Guitar Lesson: Harmonizing a Major Scale with Chris Eldridge


Understanding the framework of the fretboard and the manner in which chords and notes fit together and relate to one another is essential as you progress on the acoustic guitar. Knowledge of basic music theory and how those concepts manifest themselves on the fingerboard will make everything from internalizing new tunes to learning songs by ear, alternating between keys, and more that much easier. It will also provide you with the confidence to take on new challenges as the puzzle pieces of bluegrass guitar continue to fit together.


In this online guitar lesson, Punch Brothers co-founder, Grammy Award-winning guitarist, and ArtistWorks bluegrass guitar instructor, Chris Eldridge teaches you how to harmonize a major scale using a combination of major and minor thirds all the way up the neck. In addition to showing you how simple major and minor fingerings can be used to execute this harmonization, Chris also deconstructs the intervals between scale degrees and the harmonic framework of the major scale to provide you with a holistic understanding of how to approach harmonizing the scale. This is a great lesson for players of all levels because it combines both technical and theoretical practices to make you a more well-rounded bluegrass guitarist.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play bluegrass guitar from a master musician like Chris Eldridge? Try some free online guitar lessons now!


“If you’re interested in expanding your concept of the guitar, or seeing how the whole guitar fits together and how notes interconnect, this is very much the first step,” Chris explains. “This is laying the foundation for being able to understand the entire guitar neck.”


This lesson not only teaches you how to harmonize a major scale using major and minor thirds but also lays the groundwork for harmonizing the scale using major and minor triads, which are comprised of three rather than two scale degrees—the root, third, and fifth. Being able to harmonize the major scale using triads is the next step in your journey toward mastering the fretboard. Chris covers this in Part II of this lesson, which you can access as a member of his bluegrass guitar course here.


“The reason that we want to understand the guitar neck in terms of triads is that we sort of get three notes for the price of one,” Chris explains. “Every time we think of a triad, we have the position of three different notes under our fingers rather than just one.”


To learn how to harmonize a major scale and continue to expand your understanding of the guitar neck, dive into this online guitar lesson from Chris Eldridge:


Harmonizing a Major Scale with Chris Eldridge:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play bluegrass guitar? Through our comprehensive guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Chris Eldridge, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Chris’ course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner guitar to advanced performance techniques, classic bluegrass tunes, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as guitarists and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar Lesson: Learn to Play “Shady Grove” with Chris Eldridge

ArtistWorks Music Series Podcast—Punch Brothers’ Hell On Church Street: An Interview with Chris Eldridge & Noam Pikelny

Bluegrass Guitar Lesson: Noticing Tension with Chris Eldridge




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