The Contrary Musician — Mastering Piano & Guitar By Learning To Improvise Right From The Start…

Improvise For Real Website


You can choose to go through learning scales and chords and music theory and riffs and songs and all that for years, finally being able to improvise freely on your instrument — Justin Sandercoe is the best free guitar teacher on line — or, you can shortcut right to improvising from the start and learn all the basics in the process.

David Reed’s book presents his improvising method for guitar, piano and other instruments, and his video series for guitar is also superb. (His guitar teaching uses standard guitar tuning, but he personally uses regular tuning.)

By using a regular tuning on guitar (see below), and learning to improvise right from the start, you can cut years off the time it takes to master it and be much more creative in the process.

The problem with learning guitar using standard tuning

The standard tuning of EADGBE is illogical, and because of it you have to learn several different fingerings for simple chords depending where they are on the fretboard. Yes, you can learn Barre chords which simplifies it somewhat, but using your index finger to bar the fretboard is painful and difficult.


The Contrary Musician has found an answer… Major Thirds tuning…


The fingering for a Major Chord triad is shown above. If the root, C in this case, is on the C note wherever you find it on the fretboard, it’s the C Major chord. Move that shape one semitone up using the same shape, and it is a C# chord… etc. Extended chords, like a C7sus4 work the same way.

FretboardGuitar Toolkit App

To keep as close to the tuning that guitars are tuned to so strings don’t break, I’ve tuned by major thirds (E Ab C E Ab C). Your four fingers are placed one per fret in each four fret section over the six strings across the fretboard. Two complete octaves of twelve notes (4×3) is available per section… and any scale is also available in each octave.

“Quit the herd and unleash your guitar and your creativity…”

m1Jakub Marian: Major Third Tuning

rpRalph Patt: Major Third Tuning


Ralph Patt: Basic Chord Changes to Jazz Standards
Cool On-Line Chord Practice for Piano, or Guitar… Any Tuning, Any Genre


Ralph Patt: Backing Tracks for Vanilla Book


m3Ole Kirkeby: M3 Guitar

Also: [Works for 6-string guitars also.]



One Comment

Yeah. Nobody determines whether or not a piece of music is any good by looking at an oscilloscope. It doesn’t have to be so complicated.