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Watch the Bm7 E D A online guitar lesson by TrueFire from Rock Guitar Greatest Hits Vol. 1

Lesson Source: Robbie Calvo's Sweet Notes

In this lesson I wanted to discuss the difference between key centers and tonal centers. This is such an important lesson plan and it will help you to understand the modes and how they relate to harmonic progressions. Let's start by looking at our new chord progression, Bmi7 - E - D - A.

Those of you who have training in harmony and theory will look at the three major chords E - D - A and have deduced that those chords come from the key of A. Most of you have probably come across the term I ,IV, V progression. Well A would be I, D would be IV and E would be V. So what about the Bmi7 chord? Bmi7 is the II chord in the key of A. Are you with me so far? Good! So we know that the chords in our progression are all in the key of A. If you listen to the chord progression you will notice that the progression resolves to the Bmi7. Your ear is the ultimate guide here and I think this example is pretty definitive.

O.K., so we have chords in the key of A resolving to Bmi7. This means the key we are in is A but our tonal center is Bmi7. So what we'll want to do when improvising is ultimately target our resolutions towards the Bmi7. In Lesson 15 I will be explaining tonal centers further and hopefully de-mystifying the modes but until then let's focus our thoughts on learning a Bmi pentatonic scale at the 2nd fret and an adjoining shape so we can shift between the two if we want to. The notes in the scale are B - D - E - F# - A. Let's play this pattern/shape and name the notes. From our previous lessons you will remember that the minor pentatonic has all four of our Sweet Notes of a mi7 chord and the 4th is useable as a passing tone. The 4th is E and our chord tones are B - D - F# - A.

Single-note Lick 1 - Here is a single note U2 style idea over our chord progression. Add some ping-pong delay to get the full effect.

Lick 1a - Bmi pentatonic scale starting and ending on B. Lick 2a - Bmi pentatonic scale starting on D (mi3) and resolving to D. Lick 3a - Bmi pentatonic scale starting and resolving to F# (5th). Lick 4a - Bmi pentatonic scale starting and resolving to A (b7). Lick 5a - A Bmi pentatonic lick that starts with a whole tone bend from E up to F# in bar 1, 'lets down' to the root of the E chord in bar 2 and resolves to B on the last quarter note. Lick 2b - A Bmi7 arpeggio lick resolving to the root (B). Lick 3b - This is a triplet feel minor pentatonic lick with a position shift out of our box at the second fret which allows us to incorporate some nice glissando/slides into the phrasing. Try to make this really smooth. Lick 4b - This is a really nice position shift lick which again allows us to slide in and out of position.

***Please note that at 15.46 in this video segment I say 'take the B up to A. What I meant to say was take the A up to B.