Dobro Lessons – Music Theory + Playing by Ear = Super Musician!

Here are 3 things I recommend you memorize.

1.    All the notes of the dobro or specific instrument

2.    All the Key Signatures

3.    All the Chords and Chord Tones for each key

Question: Why do this?

Answer: To gain a more complete understanding of your instrument, and to know where you are at all times and to know why what you are playing may sound good and why it may sound not so good.

Question: Is there an easier way? Can I get around not knowing any music theory and not knowing where any of the notes on my instrument are located?

Answer: I have found if you do not want to learn any music theory one can still play and in fact get quit good. Tons of great players have done it, and this is what I think ones options are if they want to get really good, but do not want to learn any music theory.

No Music Theory Option 1:

(I highly recommend doing this “In addition” to also understanding music theory)

To simply transcribe tons and tons and tons of songs, solos, rhythm playing, song forms, etc…so many that you can use the memory of those solos to dictate what you should play when you hear it in the context of a song. Your memory of all the songs and solos that you’ve learned and transcribed will trigger a muscle memory with your fingers and mind, and it will be like you are speaking with your instrument. Simply reacting to what you hear like you would if you were carrying on a conversation with someone. You will see all the patterns, and scales, and key signatures more as shapes that you equate to things that you’ve learned from solos, songs, and other musicians. You will have a working knowledge of the theory, but will not know why any of it works. You just know it does.

This is actually a great way of learning, and this way combined with an understanding of music theory can dramatically improve your playing and improvising in a much quicker way than just theory alone, or just transcribing alone.

Wtih theory you can take one thing that you transcribe and play it in other keys. Know how to change it around and play it over other chords. Basically multiplying everything that you already know.

No Music Theory Option 2:

(I do not recommend doing this)

The slowest way of improving….Not transcribing solos and simply to use trial and error or “noodling” around, fishing for the right note, not having a clue why anything you play sounds good or bad.

Getting Started:

The Keys:

The Sharp Keys:

C MAJOR – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

G MAJOR – G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G

D MAJOR – D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

A MAJOR – A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A

E MAJOR – E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E

B MAJOR – B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B

F# MAJOR – F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E#, F#

C# MAJOR – C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, B#, C#

The Flat Keys

C MAJOR – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

F MAJOR – F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F

Bb MAJOR – Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb

Eb MAJOR – Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb

Ab MAJOR – Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab

Db MAJOR – Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db

Gb MAJOR – Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, F, Gb

Cb MAJOR – Cb, Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb

To Start Memorizing the Chords and Chord Tones Just Use these simple rules:

1) Chords are built in 3rds – Root, 3rd, 5th. Start with your root, skip a note, then you’ve got your third, skip a note, then you’ve got your fifth.

2) If you do that in a major key you end up with this pattern, harmonizing over each note of the scale: (examples are in the Key of G major)

1. = MAJOR ex. GBD

2. = minor ex. ACE

3. = minor ex. BDF#

4. = MAJOR ex. CEG

5. = MAJOR ex. DF#A

6. = minor ex. EGB

7. = diminished ex. F#AC


To memorize anything quickly, simply use NOTE CARDS, and make out a set for your Key Signatures, a set for your Chords per Key, and a set for your chord tones per key.

Carry them around with you and when you are waiting in line or just don’t have anything to do. Pull them out and start memorizing them. In a month or so you will see dramatic improvements.

Musician Websites: A Must-Have New Model

For more engagement and fan drive, all up-and-coming musicians need the most important aspect of an online presence for music promotion – a website. A website is not just a place to sell your music, it can be much, much more. A website will allure potential fans, and be a place where current fans, and super fans can get updates. A website is a place for publishing music, a tool to represent your brand, a portfolio for all your creations, and merchandise. It’s the face of your band, the first thing that people will see, and so, a professionally-constructed site will show that your music and band has reached a specific standard and already produces content that’s worth listening to. It will act as the main source to find and help others connect to your social media sites. Your website will make all your content accessible.

To use your website as a funnel of fan engagement make sure to hit the big three; address the three different types of fans.

1) Potential fans – For them you want to make a solid first impression. What they want to see is a visually-pleasing, easily navigated website. This includes your choice of colors, fonts, pictures, and orderliness. These people aren’t invested in your site, and so just want to quickly find their wanted info and leave; but these people also might become new fans, so include a music player with full versions of your best songs (free is the best way to independently promote music at first) and have all this right on the first page!

2) Current fans – These people are the vast majority of your fan base. For them create a well-crafted bio which gets personal and down-to-earth. You can also try blogging and having behind-the-scenes content or pictures. Keep current and have easy-to-navigate-to merchandise, albums, tickets, and tour info should also exist on the site for them to boost your music promotion. Different price points and different designs will also always be a plus.

3) Super fans – You may not have a lot of them yet, but they are the majority of your buyers and site visitors according to the well-known 80/20 rule. So keep them happy, constantly updated, and interested. Tell them the stories behind your songs, behind your lyrics, do some music PR on your side of things. Have a login system and membership option to give them the option of exclusivity. Offer meet-and-greets and special previews.