Working on a new song and I have the first two parts that I began with....I've added alot more, but the song feels like it's going in two different directions now, and I feel I have to reel it back a bit. So, it could go two different way now, and I'm really not sure which way I want to go now...what I really would like to know is: What key am I playing in here?

I found this article online, but can't understand it at all, as I know zilch about music theory, or notes, or anything:

I want to know what key I am in because there's another article that talks about the 7 chords that work with whatever key you're in:

Can someone tell me an easy way to figure this out...and finding the 7 chords as well. I think this would be a huge help in getting this song written well.

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I don't have a guitar in my hands, but assuming you're in GDG tuning, that first riff is in G Major.  When you make the move to the 3rd and 5th fret, that's a bluesy move, somewhere in between major and minor, still in G.  When you add the 1st fret 2nd string note, that really brings home the G minor.  So I'd say you're in the key of G in general, moving in between major and minor.

It's a cool sound and perfectly fine, but doesn't quite fit into that 7 chord structure thing you're talking about. That works when you're in a certain key/scale and you can use the notes in that scale to construct the 7 chords.

For example, take G Major.  There are 7 notes in the scale.  G, A, B, C, D, E, F#.  Each note of the scale becomes a root note for a corresponding chord.  Start on G, skip the next note, take the B, skip the next note and take the D.  That gives you GBD, which is a G Major chord.

Do the same thing with A. - A, skip one, C, skip one E - that's an A Minor.

Continue through the scale and you've built the chords of G Major - G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F#dim

This works for any scale and any key to derive chords, although the purpose/use of the chords depends on what key you're in.

Sticking with Major Keys - Instead of letter names, let's number the notes of the scale from 1 to 7

G=1, A=2, B=3 and so on.  Doing this allows us to transpose to any key or tuning, which is good for CBGs with lots of tuning options and you don't have to memorize the letter names for every key.  It also drives home the idea that the relationships between the notes are the important things, not necessarily the names of the notes themselves.

Here's the Major scale on a GDG (151) tuned guitar:

With this, you should be able to use the take a note, skip a note thing to get the chords in a key.  Where you choose to play those note combinations on the fretboard is up to you.  Here you can also see why the CBG is good for slide or one finger chords as they all line up as barre chords in their simplest forms (2 note chords or power chords)  Except for that 7 chord which is kind of an anomaly anyway.

Here it is fleshed out a little further with the triads built from the root note on the 3rd string. With that 3rd note in the chord, you get "proper" chords which determine whether they are major or minor.  Chords are numbered with Roman numerals, similar to the 1-7 of the individual notes with upper case being major and lower case being minor.  The 7 chord (vii) is diminished and different, but it all works out. 

I could talk about this forever, but hope this helps.  There's more to it, but I think if you learn the major scale, you can use that to do just about anything there is to do in music.  

Thanks Todd. That's alot to digest for my non-musical theory thinking mind, LOL. I'm gonna have to read this post over and over again, because it's just not sinking in yet...I'm just not getting it. This reminds me of math, and it was my worst subject...which is odd because I'm great at keeping rhythm (time). I've been thinking lately of taking CBG lessons from a guy about 25 miles away from me. He's a guitar teacher, and he also makes, builds, and plays CBG's. We talked previously, but he gave me the impression he doesn't play his CBG in the standard tuning I am familiar with (namely GDG), and had mentioned some other odd tuning. I guess I'm hesitant because I'm not sure what he intends on teaching me (he plays in a classic rock band on the side). I'm getting up to speed with moving around the neck, and finally sounding a bit musical now, so maybe I should seek some lessons at this point. That way I can pick the teachers brain when we meet, and maybe makes some sense of this stuff.

Yeah, I may have skipped ahead a little bit here, sorry.  I'm with you on the math part, I figured that stuff was never going to be my thing, and that's what attracted me to CBGs in the first place, but here I am spouting theory.

It took me a long time to wrap my head around it and I feel like I'm just scratching the surface in a lot of ways, but this basic idea was what made it all click for me.  I'd say go for a lesson or two, it'll be worth it in one way or another.  

Turtlehead hit it square an complete.

But if you want a starting point on wrapping your mind around it


G string: open, 2nd fret, 4th fret, 5th fret, 7th fret, 9th fret, 11th fret, 12th fret.

That's cool. Never thought of that.


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