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Guitar Super System Level 1

Learn concepts extracted directly from Berklee College of Music, presented in an interactive, effective, and fun way!
4.6 (1,126 ratings)
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5,538 students enrolled
Created by Tyler Larson
Last updated 2/2017
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23 hours left at this price!
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  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 18 mins on-demand audio
  • 56 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Play all seven modes of the Major Scale in any key
Use the Major Scale to improvise your own solos
Understand music theory behind the Major Scale
Understand the construction of different key signatures in written music
Construct and recall closed position Major, Minor, Augmented, and Diminished Triads in all keys and inversions on one string set
Play and recall multiple versions of the most popular chord forms in written music
Play one-octave Major, Minor, Augmented, and Diminished Triad Arpeggios in all keys and inversions
Play one-octave Four Part Arpeggios of the most essential varieties
Use all learned knowledge to apply to real-world guitar playing, including songwriting, live band collaboration, improvisation, studio performance, and more
View Curriculum
  • You will need a guitar, preferably electric
  • It is recommended but not required to know the names of the notes on the guitar neck
  • You should know how to read tablature, but knowledge of standard music notation is not required
  • You should be able to practice with a metronome and understand basic musical terms such as "sixteenth note", "eighth note", "pull-off" and "hammer-on"

In one sentence, what is Guitar Super System?

Guitar Super System is the final destination for those on a quest for infinite guitar knowledge, featuring eight comprehensive levels of literally everything you can know about the guitar.

Why should you listen to me?

I spent four years learning from the absolute best guitar players and teachers IN THE WORLD at the world renowned Berklee College of Music, featuring prestigious alumni like Steve Vai, John Petrucci of Dream Theater, Al Di Meola, and even John Mayer. I graduated with my bachelor's degree in 2011, and have taught hundreds of students since.

That's great, but what does that mean for me?

I realized not everyone has the opportunity or the money to attend one of the most expensive institutions on the planet. With that in mind, I've taken everything from the Berklee guitar handbook and crafted it into easy-to-follow video lessons. The average four year tuition to acquire this information is in the $200,000 range. Guitar Super System is your 99% discount on that ludicrous amount, and it will be yours forever.

Why shouldn't I take another course or just watch free YouTube lessons?

The reason has two parts: 1) your time is valuable, and 2) my instruction is based on the most successful and credible system there is. Other courses may have certain great information or certain great guitar players, but they also may not. On top of that risk, the structure of every Guitar Super System course is in place to optimize your learning and understanding. The right information presented in the correct way in the proper context. Don't waste time sifting through lessons that may not be teaching you the right way -- Guitar Super System has you covered.

I think I'm sold! You mentioned there are 8 levels, though. What's that all about?

In order to convey all the information in a digestible format, Guitar Super System is broken into eight levels. Essentially, each level is one semester of information from Berklee. Some people will never want to learn all eight levels of information, which is why the course is broken up in this way. After each completed course, you can gauge if you'd like to move on to the next level or if you've achieved what you sought out to do. This particular course is Guitar Super System Level 1, and Level 2 has just been released as of November 2015. Future levels are in production.

I like that freedom. Can you give me some specifics?

Guitar Super System includes relevant PDF attachments to nearly every lesson, so you can follow along with no problems. It's also recommended that you print out most of the attachments, so you might use them for practice outside the videos. In each Section, new concepts are introduced, accompanied by Berklee-standard play-through examples. You'll be testing your knowledge with real exercises used by the most prominent minds in music. Also included are professional quality downloadable backing tracks for you to apply your learnings over.

Who is the target audience?
  • Those who want to learn how to improvise using their ear and music theory
  • Those who may be great players by ear, but want to know more about music theory
  • Those who hope to pursue a career in guitar performance or songwriting
  • Those striving toward higher education in music, either in high school or college
  • Do not take this course if you're unwilling to practice, or if you're a complete beginner
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 104 Lectures Collapse All 104 Lectures 04:51:40
3 Lectures 05:53
  • Before taking this course, knowledge of the notes on the guitar neck and the ability to read tablature is a bonus.
Preview 02:48

Notes of the Neck
1 page

In case you need a refresher on reading tablature, check this out!

How to Read TAB (optional review)
16 Lectures 01:01:38

Learn the Chromatic Scale and how awesome it sounds... just kidding. Relevant to you, though, still!

Preview 02:02

G Chromatic Scale
1 page

Play the G Chromatic Scale at 60bpm, 16th notes

Preview 00:47

The Chromatic scale is complicated, but only if you don't know where to start with it. This is a great way to approach this universal scale.

Using Chromatic Notes

Understand the Major Scale and its seven lovely Modes. All our examples are in G Major, but once you learn these modes you will be able to apply them to any key you want!

Preview 03:03

A bonus lesson for those of you hungry to learn more about the written music behind the tablature. Learn about the Circle of Fifths and how to identify the amount of sharp or flat notes in any key, and use that information to form any chord progression in any key.

Optional Bonus Lesson: The Circle of Fifths

Unlock the code to playing three note per string scales using easy-to-remember patterns. It will take a bit of getting used to, but once you have this concept down, you will be able to play the Major Scale in any key. Be sure to download and, if you can, print the attachment to this lecture.

The Major Scale: Three Notes Per String

Three Notes Per String Theory
1 page

Play all seven Modes of the G Major Scale at 60bpm, 16th notes.

TEST YOURSELF: The Major Scale: Playing Examples

The major scale is made up seven modes–we already know that. Each mode also has its own corresponding chord, so in this lesson we'll take a look at how these chords work together to form the major scale tonality.

Modes and Their Parent Chords

Have you started to ask yourself, "What mode do I use over these chords?" This lesson will break down the steps you should take in order to first identify the key of a chord progression, and then understand which mode the chords imply.

Determining Which Mode to Use Over Chords

Now that you have an understanding of the seven Major Scale modes, learn the thought process to applying them to your own guitar playing in various musical situations!

Preview 08:00

A "Home Riff" is a term I use to describe a riff you can use in any key, as long as you know what Mode you're playing in. In this example, I give you a Home Riff for G Aeolian, which would work over B Aeolian, C# Aeolian, etc...

The Major Scale: "Home Riffs" Using the G Aeolian Mode

G Aeolian Backing Track

Another Home Riff, this time derived from the Dorian Mode

The Major Scale: "Home Riffs" Using the E Dorian Mode

E Dorian Backing Track
Triads and Four Part Chords
23 Lectures 58:41

An often overlooked piece of awesomeness by many guitar players, Triads will take your playing to the next level. Learn how to construct a Major Triad and its inversions, plus how to apply these shapes to your playing over chord changes as well as improvising.

Constructing a Major Triad

There was a bit of confusion about the terminology and construction of the Triads PDF, so here is how you should use it to learn your triad shapes!

How to Read Triad Documents

Major Triad Inversions
1 page

Play each inversion of a Major Triad, starting from root position, quarter notes at 60bpm.

TEST YOURSELF: Major Triad Sequence

Learn what makes a Minor Triad different from a Major Triad. Here's a hint -- flat the third!

Constructing a Minor Triad

Minor Triad Inversions
1 page

Play each inversion of a Minor Triad, starting from root position, quarter notes at 60bpm.

TEST YOURSELF: Minor Triad Sequence

Learn to construct the very mysterious sounding Augmented Triad. The great thing is, these shapes remain the same all the way up the neck, so you only have to learn it once!

Constructing an Augmented Triad

Augmented Triad Inversions
1 page

Play each inversion of an Augmented Triad, starting from root position, quarter notes at 60bpm.

TEST YOURSELF: Augmented Triad Sequence

Learn about the ominous sounding Diminished Triad and its inversions. It might sound strange by itself, but these Triads build unique tension in your playing when used correctly.

Constructing a Diminished Triad

Diminished Triad Inversions
1 page

Play each inversion of a Diminished Triad, starting from root position, quarter notes at 60bpm.

TEST YOURSELF: Diminished Triad Sequence

Adapting triads into your guitar playing is one of the most enlightening things you can do as a guitarist. It expands the neck exponentially and provides more freedom than you ever had before, not only from a rhythm perspective, but for lead work as well.

Using Triads as Target Tones

Now that you've learned the triad shapes, it's time to understand how to seamlessly integrate them in your playing. The best way to do that is to use a song we can all sing in our sleep.

Preview 06:37

Hear how I like to use Triads in a short improvisation. Download the backing track to try it yourself, too! Use D Minor triads over the D Minor Chord, Bb Major Triads over the Bb Major Chord, and C Major Triads over the C Major Chord. You can also use your Major Scale Modes! This track is derived from the key of F Major, so you can use any Modes in that key. D Aeolian would work great over this track.

Improvising Using Major and Minor Triads

D Aeolian Backing Track

Learn to make those strange sounding Augmented and Diminished Triads spice up an otherwise typical blues track. Be sure to download this track and use Bb Major, Eb Major, and F Major Triads over their respective chords. You can use F Augmented and F Diminished Triads over the F Major Chord as well. This track is derived from the key of Eb Major, so you can use modes like Eb Ionian, F Dorian, etc., but I prefer Bb Mixolydian for this track.

Improvising Using Major, Augmented, and Diminished Triads

Bb Mixolydian Backing Track

Learn two versions of 14 different chords that will lay the foundation for the many chords we'll learn in the next levels of Guitar Super System. Be sure to download the Chord Progressions attachment to play these chords in rhythm and hear how awesome they sound!

Overview: Four Part Chords

Chords List
2 pages

Refer to the Chords List to practice with. I recommend printing it out to have with you any time you play your guitar, as these chords are great to inspire songwriters and improvisers alike.

Four Part Chords: Proper Finger Placements and Playing Examples

If you're searching for a solution to enhance an otherwise bland chord progression, look no further than the minor-IV chord. Altered chords like these are a great way to depart from the ordinary, and using your knowledge of major scale chords, you'll see how these altered chords fit into place.

Introduction to Altered Chords
9 Lectures 14:32

Understand Arpeggios and how they differ from other concepts you've already learned. Deriving the tastiest, most colorful notes from Chords and Triads allows Arpeggios to sound super cool and add dynamic sound to your playing.

Overview: Triad Arpeggios and Four Part Arpeggios

Download this attachment for reference regarding Lectures 38-41.

Triad Arpeggio Shapes
2 pages

Play One-Octave Major Triad Arpeggios from the Root, Third, and Fifth at 60bpm, eighth notes. In addition to this video, you can use the Closed Triad Inversions attachment to practice these inversions on your own starting from different positions in different keys.

TEST YOURSELF: Major Triad Arpeggios: Playing Examples

Play One-Octave Minor Triad Arpeggios from the Root, Third, and Fifth at 60bpm, eighth notes. In addition to this video, you can use the Closed Triad Inversions attachment to practice these inversions on your own starting from different positions in different keys.

TEST YOURSELF: Minor Triad Arpeggios: Playing Examples

Play One-Octave Augmented Triad Arpeggios from the Root, Third, and Fifth at 60bpm, eighth notes. In addition to this video, you can use the Closed Triad Inversions attachment to practice these inversions on your own starting from different positions in different keys.

TEST YOURSELF: Augmented Triad Arpeggios: Playing Examples

Play One-Octave Diminished Major Triad Arpeggios from the Root, Third, and Fifth at 60bpm, eighth notes. In addition to this video, you can use the Closed Triad Inversions attachment to practice these inversions on your own starting from different positions in different keys.

TEST YOURSELF: Diminished Triads Arpeggios: Playing Examples

Four Part Arpeggio Shapes
2 pages

Play seven different One-Octave Arpeggios from Root position at 60bpm, eighth notes.

TEST YOURSELF: Four Part Arpeggios: Playing Examples

These tactics will help you get a feel for where to implement diminished sounds in your playing.

Using Diminished Arpeggios Over Blues Progressions
Quick Tips to Apply What You've Learned
15 Lectures 01:34:37

Ear training is inherently fun to practice. Like any skillset, you build strength by pushing yourself to the limit, so learning difficult passages of music will always be the most effective way to improve your ear. That means not using tab or other forms of notation, by the way. No shortcuts allowed! 

Ear Training for Guitar Players

When it comes to creating the perfect guitar solo, there is one word you need to know: story. Whether you're playing a delicate fingerpicking etude or a mind-numbingly epic breakdown, the solo you take should always have intention and meaning. Here are 5 tips to help you create an awesome solo.

Preview 05:06

If you learn to improvise effectively, it won't sound random at all. Improvising is all about building melody, connecting phrases, and speaking the language of music. It's the pinnacle of instrumental mastery.

The 3 Pillars of Improvisation

While the best method is to actually combine these four approaches, visualizing the fretboard is something any guitar player would do well to work on.

4 Ways to Visualize the Fretboard

Avoiding root notes in your solos can lead to interesting and new phrasing in your guitar playing, as well as an obvious change in your sound. This concept also forces you to think about the notes you're choosing, which is a great exercise to improve your improvisation. This is a strategy that has been taught to me by past guitar teachers, and I was recently reminded of it in a Paul Gilbert interview.

Avoiding Root Notes in Guitar Solos

In order to apply tension to a guitar solo, you must first understand how to construct a solo. This means using your ear or knowledge of music theory to build melodies that move the listener in different ways.

Preview 10:44

Learn how to change your way of thinking over standard blues progressions.

Utilizing the Dorian Mode

Here are some tips on evoking the dreamy qualities of the Lydian mode.

Sound Dreamy in Lydian

A question I constantly hear (er... read, really) is something along the lines of, "How do I get started learning to solo using the Major Scale?" I've found that most guitar players are familiar with the minor pentatonic root position box shape, so I've created this lesson to show you just how closely related the Aeolian mode is to that box we all know and love.

How to Attack Aeolian

These are a few overarching techniques that you can apply to be more expressive with your playing.

How to Sound More Melodic

Explore the versatility of triads in the Hendrix-style approach.

Play Guitar Like a Piano

Sometimes, inspiration from a song can be found in more places than just the melody or harmony.

Accidental Inspiration

Watch how one simple trick will completely change your blues solos. Blues guitar is all about subtlety and nuance, changing an otherwise standard sounding lick into an extremely expressive and passionate statement. Most guitar players start with blues licks and scales, and this trick will take what you already know and give it a little jolt of new life.

The Half-Step Slide

These chords will inspire new sounds in your head.

Slick Sounding Chords

This is a tutorial on using the Reading Studies for Guitar book to learn how to sight read.

Become a Sight Reading Master
Sight Reading Extras!
13 Lectures 08:15
How to Decipher Chord Symbols
1 page

1 page

Blowing Changes
1 page

Blues Backstage
1 page

1 page

Bud's Blues
1 page

Times Lie
1 page

1 page

1 page

C Lydian Improvisation Example

C Aeolian Improvisation Example

C Aeolian Backing Track

C Lydian Backing Track
More Extras!
25 Lectures 02:04
Learning How to Sight Read

Scales in all keys - Open (1st) Position
1 page

Scales in all keys - Open (1st) Position continued
1 page

Bb Sight Reading Example 1
1 page

Bb Sight Reading Example 2
1 page

Bb Sight Reading Example 3
1 page

Bb Sight Reading Example 4
1 page

C Sight Reading Example 1
1 page

C Sight Reading Example 2
1 page

C Sight Reading Example 3
1 page

C Sight Reading Example 4
1 page

C Sight Reading Example 5
1 page

C Sight Reading Example 6
1 page

C Sight Reading Example 7
1 page

C Sight Reading Example 8
1 page

G Sight Reading Example 1
1 page

G Sight Reading Example 2
1 page

G Sight Reading Example 3
1 page

G Sight Reading Example 4
1 page

G Sight Reading Example 5
1 page

G Sight Reading Example 6
1 page

G Sight Reading Example 7
1 page

Melodic Rhythms Example 1
1 page

Melodic Rhythms Example 2
1 page

Melodic Rhythms Example 3
1 page
About the Instructor
4.6 Average rating
1,552 Reviews
7,520 Students
5 Courses
Founder of Music is Win

Tyler Larson (born May 30, 1989) is a musician of many influences. With over fifteen years experience playing the guitar, Tyler has appeared on several studio albums, performed with many diverse artists, and studied with some of the most renowned guitarists on the planet, including Joe Stump, Dave Fiuczynski, Tomo Fujita, Dave Tronzo, Jon Finn, and others.

After earning his B.M. Degree in Guitar Performance from the esteemed Berklee College of Music, which includes alumni such as Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Al Di Meola, and Pat Metheny, among others, Tyler began his career as a professional musician, and in 2015 Tyler founded a website called Music is Win which has become a rising force in the entertainment and music space, with his videos amassing tens of millions of views to date.

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