Essential Theory For Guitarists

If you’re relatively new to music theory, or concerned that you have gaps in your experience, then this one's for you! This course is all about understanding the foundation principles of music theory, as well as knowing how to apply them across your guitar neck. You’ll learn all of the essential music theory concepts in a musical setting, so that you’ll be able to understand them and quickly apply them into your playing.
· 15th October 2018
  • Categories: Theory
  • Duration: 4+ hours of video
  • Total Enrolled: 285
  • Last update: 8th July 2023
  • 40 total steps
  • 12 Jam Tracks
  • On-screen tabs & diagrams
  • Complete written transcripts
  • Interactive tabs
  • Downloadable tabs
  • Progress tracking
  • Difficulty = Intermediate

About This Class

Music theory is such a vast subject that can be very frustrating and hard to understand without structured guidance; especially in modern times where there are literally millions of conflicting methods and approaches across the internet. You’re surely feeling lost, confused, and you’re searching for someone to just lay it all out for you without over-complicating everything.

That’s why I’ve created “Essential Theory For Guitarists”, based on the knowledge that I once lacked as a result of confusion and naiveness, in hope that I can help a similar audience today.

This Masterclass is best suited for guitar players who are somewhat familiar with some basic principles of music theory, but sense many gaps amongst their understanding. The class has been designed to accommodate for both semi-experienced music theorists, and also complete noobs to the topic. I’ll be starting from the fundamentals, before gradually working through three core topics and how they all interlink: Scales, Chords, and Arpeggios.

Whilst the primary focus of this class is to provide you with the knowledge, I’ll also demonstrate and teach you how to apply these topics throughout your own music practice.

You’ll learn all of the essential music theory concepts in a musical setting, so that you’ll be able to understand them and quickly apply them into your playing. For each lesson, I will first explain the topic clearly, and then demonstrate the concept for you to follow along.

The course is organised into five sections. Click through the section names below to learn more about what each section entails…

  • Section 1: Theory Primer

    As the name suggests, this section will prime you for the entire course and your entire outlook on music theory. If you want the maximum benefits from music theory then it’s very important that you have a solid understanding of intervals, which is the primary subject within this section of the course. I will give you a thorough understanding of intervals, as well as show you my methods of interval visualisation across the neck.

  • Section 2: Scales & Scale/Chord Relationships

    In this section you will acquire a thorough understanding of Pentatonics, The Major Scale, The Minor Scale, Modes, as well as the ability to Understand Keys, Diatonic Chord Sequences, Modal Chord Progressions. Most importantly, I will teach you how to apply all of these topics in your Songwriting, Musical Understanding, Visualisation, and Improvisation. All music theory is developed from scale knowledge, so I’ve taken extra care to make sure that this section of the course is very thorough, easy to follow, well annotated, and relevant.

  • Section 3: Chord Construction & Application

    You will learn all of the essential theory and practical applications of chords. After following the lessons throughout this section you will be able to confidently; build the 4 primary chord types in all areas of the neck, invert triads, visualise and play diatonic chord progressions in any key and area of the neck, and understand roman numerals in relevance to music theory. You will also be able to construct extended chord voicings such as seventh chords, suspended chords, slash chords, add chords, and more!

  • Section 4: Arpeggios

    This section will combine much of the previously learned topics to help us understand and create Arpeggios. I will show you how to build your own arpeggios across the neck, as well as share some of the more common shapes that you will be able to use immediately. By the end of this section you will be able to confidently use Arpeggios in your Lead and Rhythm playing, in both Composition and Improvisation, whilst also aiding your Creativity and Visualisation of the neck.

  • Section 5: Summary

    You guessed it! This section will be a short overview and summary of the course and what you’ve learned, where to go from here, and I have also included a list of examples where I have applied some of these theory concepts to help inspire you further.

Read more

Suggested Prerequisites

  • Little or vague understanding of music theory
  • Discipline to practice and focus

Class Perks

  • Content On Demand
    After purchasing a course, you will have immediate access to all of its resources from any device that you log-in from. You only require an internet connection. No huge downloads are necessary!
  • Comprehensive Diagrams & Tabs
    Where possible, diagrams and tabs are provided both on-screen and as downloads to help you to fully engage with the topic at hand. Tabs are always available for download in both PDF and Guitar Pro format.
  • Support & Community
    Get feedback on your progress directly from Darryl and your peers.

Course Content

Expand All

Introduction: Primer

Scales & Scale/Chord Relationships
Chord Construction & Application
+282 enrolled
Membership Plan


Unrestricted access to all classes and resources across Fretwise.
Single Course


Course Includes

  • 40 total steps
  • Tabs, Backing Tracks, and Diagrams throughout
  • 4+ hours of video

As Good of a Theory Primer as it Gets

This course goes along perfectly with the CAGED course that he offers and I personally have gone through both at least twice and plan to reference it as needed over years to come. Lessons are concise, yet thorough. I’d recommend doing one lesson per day to really get the most out of the material and to help it stick. The material he’s sharing is all very relevant and pertinent to your every day playing. There’s actually no section in any of his courses thus far that I’ve found to be redundant or non-practical. Keep rockin’ my friends!

Avatar for sdavisjr
12th May 2022

A gem of a course from a gem of a player/teacher. Hands down winner here. I've learned so much from Darryl. Thank you!

I haven’t finished this course as I’m being as thorough as possible but its already provided so many incredible tools and lessons for hours of endless learning. It’s already a 5-Star course in my book. Darryl is an incredible teacher and player that has heaps of wonderful insight to the basics of guitar and music theory. Not to mention his tasteful playing is such an inspiration to my own. I’ve learned so much here and on youtube and I have you to thanks Darryl! Thank you. I love feeling the progress and finding connections through your lessons and my everyday playing. Hope to become my own best version of musical self on my guitar journey.

Personal side note as someone who has play guitar for over a decade and never learned a lick of theory. As I move through the course I make sure to take breaks in between learning the course material and try to apply it to both writing and learning other musicians music. I then go back and try to take a deeper dive and truly learn the theory behind what I’m playing and not just “memorizing” the shapes but really understanding the intervalic value and understanding what I’m playing (I happen to be learning triads). I find this more digestible and advise other to do the same if it feels overwhelming. I compare it to learning a new language – if you just memorize a sentence/words do you really know what your saying? It takes time and effort to truly understand it all. Multiple visits to the same lesson is it’s own lesson I’m learning! – You’re your own boss when truly learning and no ones watching so make it count! Good luck to everyone!

Avatar for ronnietyler
12th November 2021

A truly brilliant course and unbelievable value!

This course is absolutely fantastic (and worth way more). If you want a better understanding of Music Theory then this is 100% for you. The structure of the lessons and the content proves that Darryl not only can play the guitar (obviously) but can TEACH it too which is rare. I feel I’m already improving and actually understanding what I’m doing rather than just relying on memory. You get the structure, content, transcripts for every lesson, PDF’s when needed, and can ask questions too. Honestly, it’s been the best purchase in my guitar learning journey so far. If you’re thinking about it, get it! Thanks so much, Darryl.

Avatar for Ross
30th March 2021

The value and what you get for the price is insane

I think the title of this class already said it. This has helped me a lot. Darryls way of teaching things is clear, easy to understand and logically build up and he is a calm very kind guy. Definitely would buy it again. 10/10!

Avatar for Olaf
23rd May 2020

This is definitely the best course for learning guitar music theory.

I’ve been buying lots of programs and watched youtube videos on music theory but never really understand them too well, but Darryl sets this program in an understandable order. Thank you so much, would definitely buy other programs too when you make them. Currently halfway through this program haha

Avatar for Shaun
2nd May 2020