Spanish Guitar Progressions

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In this guitar lesson, we will learn a Spanish type guitar progression. The progression will use the guitar chords of Dm, F, Bb and A. There's a lot going on in this lesson, much more than what can be explained in just one lesson. What I want to do, is touch on a couple key topics, concerning this progression and the guitar scales used.

I'm not trying to teach Spanish guitar in this lesson, but I would like to touch on a couple scales and progressions that give that Spanish flavor. Both of these scales and the progression, are also used in Rock, Metal and other types of music.

There are two very important scales that are used in this video and should be learned. The guitar chords of Dm, F, Bb and A do not come from any one particular guitar scale, but come from a combination of two separate scales.

In the key of F major, you have the notes and chords of: F   Gm   Am   Bb   C   Dm   Edim   and F.

Throughout our lessons, I've always tried to stress that all major keys are constructed the same way. Each major scale has 3 major, 3 minor and 1 diminished chord. Look at the notes and chords above and notice you have only the Dm, F and Bb chords and not the A major chord that are used in the progression.

In the key of F major, you have the notes and chords of: F   Gm   Am   Bb   C   Dm   Edim   and F.

The progression we are playing, uses the chords of Dm, F, Bb and A. In the key of F major, we have the chord of Am and not A major. To get a sense of the two distinct sounds, strum the chords of Dm, F, Bb and A. Then strum the chords of Dm, F, Bb and Am. You may notice that the progression of Dm, F, Bb and A has a much more decisive ending. The Am chord leaves you hanging out there, kind of needing direction as where to go next.

When I strum the progression of Dm, F, Bb and A, it makes me want to play the A Phrygian mode. The Phrygian mode in the key of F major is the 3rd note or the A. The notes of A Phrygian are A  Bb C D E F G and A.

Strum and record the progression of Dm, F Bb and A and  then play the A Phrygian mode over the progression. It should sound good, but maybe missing something. Once again, we have the Am chord in the key of F major, but we are using the A major chord in the progression.

So where does that A major chord come from? Lets lay out the notes from the key of F major, but start with the D note. Dm  Edim F Gm  Am Bb C Dm.

Now lets lay out the notes of D harmonic minor. D E F G A Bb C# D.
Notice that there is now a C# note. That C# note now makes the A chord the major chord. The notes of the A major chord are A C# E and the notes of the Am chord are A C E.
 
The harmonic minor scale is a major scale with lowered 3rd and lowered 6th notes.
The chords and notes of the D harmonic scale are:
Dm E diminished  F augmented  Gm A Bb C# diminshed and Dm.

So in the harmonic minor scale, we have 2 minor chords, 2 major chords, 2 diminished chords and 1 augmented chord. We really aren't going to concern ourselves with these chords. The only thing I would like to get across, is that you can play the D harmonic minor scale over the A major chord in our progression.

D E F G A Bb C# D

Just like that of the major scale, there are modes or scales within the harmonic minor scale. Look at the notes of the D major scale above. The A note is the 5th note in the D harmonic minor scale. This is called the Dominant Phrygian scale. So we write out the notes of A Bb C# D E F G A. You could use this scale to play over the A chord in our progression of Dm F Bb and A.

With all this said, you are going to use two different scales for the Dm F Bb and A progression.

  1. A Phrygian mode
  2. A Dominant Phrygian

The A Phrygian mode is the 3rd note from the key of F major.

Learn the Phrygian mode

The A Dominant Phrygian mode is the 5th note of the D harmonic minor scale. The notes 12 frets higher, illustrate the A Phrygian mode, compare the two modes. Very similar.

A Phrygian Dominant Mode

The first image below, illustrates the guitar chords and the arpeggio exercise notes.

The second image, illustrates the A Phrygian mode scale exercise. Try to compare the tablature illustrated below to the images above.

Good luck,

Guitar Secrets

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