String Theory 1

Course Number: MUS-154DL Credit Hours: 2

Course Description

In this series, students study the practical application of harmony and theory as it pertains to the guitar neck. Selected subjects include devising a practice schedule, the CAGED system, major & minor Pentatonic, cycle of 5ths progression, bending, and vibrato techniques.


Dave Hill

Guitar Faculty

Dave Hill has been around music his entire life. He started off playing piano as a young boy. He became interested in learning guitar when his 3rd grade teacher offered after school lessons. He has been playing guitar ever since. Growing up in Seattle Washington, his love of music went all directions – Pop music, country, jazz, blues rock and folk. His diverse love of music enabled him to soak up the essential characteristics of many styles of guitar playing.

To further his studies,and immerse himself in the music scene Dave moved to Los Angels in 1983. He has been on the staff at Los Angeles College of Music since 2001.

He has been active in the Los Angles music scene since 1985, playing countless recording sessions, and gigs including, Contemporary Jazz great Gregg Karukas, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Max Bennett of the LA Express, Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjacketsand most recently a world tour with legendary British singer Englebert Humperdinck. In 2008, Dave appeared with Freddie Ravel at the Playboy Jazz festival in Los Angeles.

Dave’s music has taken him around the word on almost every continent. His music is particularly appreciated by audiences in Europe and regularly tours Italy doing Guitar Clinics and concerts. Dave has published a popular book with Hal Leonard entitled, “The Licktionary”.

He can be seen playing around the Los Angeles/ Orange county area with Contemporary Jazz keyboard player, Scott Wilkie, Freddie Ravel, and Pretzel Logic, “A Steely Dan Review”. In 2004 he released his contemporary Jazz CD, “Two Seasons” to critical acclaim and toured to promote it. In 2010, he followed that release with “New World”. This CD finds him in stellar musical company as he has Jazz heavy weights “The Yellowjackets” guest appear on it. The results are impressive. Dave is currently in production of his latest CD.

Dave’s classes at LACM include, String Theory, Studio Guitar, and Contemporary Guitar Styles as well as giving Private Instruction. As a professional in the music business for 35 years, Dave shares his wealth of knowledge with a blend of humor, and a lot of practical insight.

Lesson 1: Getting Started

  • Overview of course
  • Practice schedule
  • Warmup exercises
  • CAGED System
  • Open & Barre Chords
  • Caged System workout

Lesson 2: Pentatonics

  • Major Pentatonic introduction
  • Pentatonic – patterns 2 & 3
  • Pentatonic – Patterns 4,5, & 1
  • Minor Pentatonic, 1- 5
  • Sequencing the Pentatonic scale

Lesson 3: Major Scales

  • More Pentatonic sequences
  • Major scales in Patterns 1-5
  • CAGED Chords
  • Diatonic 3rd sequence in patterns 4 & 5
  • Diatonic 3rd sequence in patterns 1 & 2
  • Diatonic 4th sequence in patterns 4

Lesson 4: Major Scale Applications

  • Cycle of 5ths Progression
  • Workout with Major scales with cycle of 5ths progression
  • Pentatonic Scales over progressions
  • Major Scales in 2 keys over progression
  • Workout on Major scale progression

Lesson 5: Guitar Ornamentations

  • Bending techniques
  • Double string bends
  • Bending with Melody
  • “Around the Bend” – melody with bends
  • Vibrato techniques
  • Summary of String Theory Course

Hardware & Equipment Requirements:

You will need:

  • Electric guitar
  • Acoustic guitar
  • Amp
  • Metronome (or metronome app)
  • Audio Technica ATR2100-USB microphone
  • Behringer Xenyx Q502USB Mixer
  • CD/MP3 player (separate from computer)
  • Webcam
  • Desktop or laptop PC or Mac with speakers, running the most up-to-date versions of Google Chrome or Firefox (see “Software Requirements” for more info)
  • Video/audio recording software, such as iMovie or Windows Live Movie Maker
  • Printer, so that you can print out music examples used in the course or an iPad or similar device

Software Requirements: