I use the circle of fourths as a way to practice things in a musical way on the guitar. It’s a lot easier to think of things chromatically going up fret by fret.

But music very often up in force or down in force. Some refer to it as the circle of fifths. I’m going to refer to it as the circle of fourths.

I use this in my practice of working on scales, triads, seventh chords, anything to make it so that you have a really strong control of whatever the concept is. If you can do it around the circle of fourths, you’ve got a much better control of it, rather than just moving the same shape up the fretboard.

Let me demonstrate that while the notes of the circle of fourths are C, F, B flat, E flat, a flat, D flat, F sharp, B, E, A, D, G, C, that takes us all the way through all 12 keys.

Now I know that F sharp could also be called G flat, and D flat could also be called C sharp.

To me, it’s more important that you’re starting from that enharmonic route and making it so you’re going through 12 keys, whatever the name of them, but I’m pretty consistent as far as saying a D flat, F sharp, B, E, A d, g c.

One way to practice this is to use the metronome as kind of a coach to help you along.

I use the metronome in a lot of different ways.

When I’m practicing, if you can make the metronome dance, then that means you’re playing at a great time.

If the metronome sounds like a pedantic teacher, just a nasty sort of telling you 1234, that means you know the problem is not with the metronome. It means that you’re playing with more of a wooden sort of feel, or it’s just not there yet, you’re not fluent with it yet.

If something is too difficult, the metronome is set too fast.

So practice the circle of fourths and just think about the notes.

To me, it’s easiest to think about the fretboard and visualize the fretboard just going across the fretboard.

And to Fred’s instruments.

I’m going to make each one a whole note. 1234 C, B flat, E flat, a flat, D flat, and F sharp.

B, E, A, D, G, C, C, F, B flat, E flat, a flat, D flat, F sharp, B, E, A, D, G, C.

I guess my guitar went a little out of tune there.

Just kidding.

But to come back to the same pitch at the end is a real challenge when you’re seeing it acapella.

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