Understanding Intervals (Guitar Lesson)

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David Wallimann

Understanding Intervals

Before one can truly understand music theory the concept of intervals must be introduced. This lesson covers that topic in great depth.

Taught by David Wallimann in Theory and Improvisation with David Wallimann seriesLength: 27:40Difficulty: 2.0 of 5

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

John ChapmanJohn Chapman replied

I have been stuck in a rut for a while, playing the same chords and notes. I think this will start to help me over that plateau.

rrojasmd@gmail.com[email protected] replied

He's the reason I signed up for JamPlay!! Very good teacher, explains things super easy and seems like a nice guy

B-rad31bajzaB-rad31bajza replied

Awesome lesson I just have a question someone might be able to help me with so once you get lower on the guitar it kinda stops like the format required 3 strings so once you get to the B string there are no more intervals? Or is it a different form

PeterAgoPeterAgo replied

Great lesson! Very clear!

imonarimonar replied

Actually the Guitar is not tuned perfectly in "Perfect 4ths" because E F G A B C D E. You would end up with E -> A -> D -> G -> C -> F which is NOT how the guitar is tuned (Standard tuning is E A D G B E). If you're wondering why, then it is really about how the guitar came to be. Correct me if I am wrong.

imonarimonar replied

Nevermind me. I went on an investigation to find out and it turns out he explained it 5 seconds later :)

fizzyfizzy replied

Great first chapter and teaching, thx David.

longlenselonglense replied

David Wallimann is an exceptional teacher.

rarebird0rarebird0 replied

I recommend this series to everyone trying to understand the guitar and it's relationship to intervals in scales and modes. Excellent work, David

KendowellKendowell replied

Please note the demonstration is played with the pattern root at the fifth fret not the second fret as shown in the on screen diagram.

KendowellKendowell replied

During your demonstration, at 2:40, you moved your root F# of the scale pattern away from the second fret shown in the diagram. I understand, but beginners may be confused by not sticking to the diagram exactly.

geo14ggeo14g replied

Enter your comment here.

geo14ggeo14g replied

In the augmented and diminished video shows that the perfect 4th is augmented and can that note also be called the diminished 5th i mean is the same note right?

alexacousticgalexacousticg replied

Thank you. Very easy to understand.

dankordankor replied

super lesson!!

maurihsmaurihs replied


jus121orjus121or replied

if i use the scale pattern 1 on the 7th fret(b) of the e string.. the pattern doesnt work. because C is the next fret up. am i missing something? or does the pattern change?

rarebird0rarebird0 replied

the RareBird0 rule: no on-line guitar instructor should use a guitar without visible fret markers to the students. I know in this video it didn't matter but it is rule to follow because it can lose even one student. And that is unacceptable in my no-miss modality world.

AaronMillerAaronMiller replied

Point taken. Thanks for the feedback. We definitely know this is an issue and make sure to tell instructors this.

keltiebrucekeltiebruce replied

Dave, Thanks you for the lesson. I understand the lesson and the patterns that incorporate the application of whole steps and half steps to get from the Root to the Octave. What I am having trouble with is understanding pattern over all six strings. In other words the playing of multiple octaves within a given position, for example using all strings using whole steps and half steps. Hope I make sense.

keltiebrucekeltiebruce replied

Figured it out. For pattern 1, the G string pattern is the same as the D string, then the pattern repeats itself for the B and E strings to complete the Major scales pattern over all 6 strings. I think..

BobDylansBluesBobDylansBlues replied

thank you David. you're awesome :D

andre niemandtandre niemandt replied

Dave after struggling through various books and internet sites I finally now know what and why there is a perfect 4th and 5th.Great lesson.

andre niemandtandre niemandt replied

Enter your comment here.

pichipichi replied

great lesson

brdai2008brdai2008 replied

I cant watch scene 6 and so on is there anything wrong?

bogiosbogios replied

this was fantastic

seannoticeseannotice replied

David, as everyone here says, you're a great teacher. There is no question about it.

charlieboycharlieboy replied

thanks that helped me a lot

charlieboycharlieboy replied

thanks man that helped me a lot!

dalemoultondalemoulton replied

Thank you David, excellent work. Many people get confused when getting lessons from great players, because being a player of excellence does not mean a teacher of excellence. You on the other hand have a huge depth of knowledge and an excellent teaching style full of insight and clarity. First class work, thank you

lawandguitarlawandguitar replied

This is a great lesson!

ChapsDungarooChapsDungaroo replied

The last scene is missing. Any chance of a reupload? This is good stuff!

ChapsDungarooChapsDungaroo replied

Nevermind. Seems like something on my end!

williampickeralwilliampickeral replied

David, you are a great teacher! This is just what I was looking for! THanks!

pure joypure joy replied

Dave, you're a great instructor. Relaxed, articulate and able to explain in easy to understand language. Thanks!

billyboyblubillyboyblu replied

Thanks Dav. You are a very relaxed teacher. I fully understand the interval concepts...and now after five years of takeing lessons I have finally learned it...Great Job...and Keep on Teaching..

billyboyblubillyboyblu replied

Thanks Dav. You are a very relaxed teacher. I fully understand the interval concepts...and now after five years of takeing lessons I have finally learned it...Great Job...and Keep on Teaching..

mrmark50mrmark50 replied

Man I wish I had found this material years ago when I was working one on one with teachers about the material I am learning from all of the teachers I've watched so far, I would be way ahead of where I am. I especially like this info on Intervals because of the way I am able to absorb the info. Which has to do with the teacher's methods because the other's I've worked with left me more confused than enthused. Like I did not know there were different shapes to play based on which string you were beginning your root on so this is a wonderment to me . Thank you Dave and the others.

mrmark50mrmark50 replied

Man I wish I had found this material years ago when I was working one on one with teachers about the material I am learning from all of the teachers I've watched so far, I would be way ahead of where I am. I especially like this info on Intervals because of the way I am able to absorb the info. Which has to do with the teacher's methods because the other's I've worked with left me more confused than enthused. Like I did not know there were different shapes to play based on which string you were beginning your root on so this is a wonderment to me . Thank you Dave and the others.

mrmark50mrmark50 replied

Man I wish I had found this material years ago when I was working one on one with teachers about the material I am learning from all of the teachers I've watched so far, I would be way ahead of where I am. I especially like this info on Intervals because of the way I am able to absorb the info. Which has to do with the teacher's methods because the other's I've worked with left me more confused than enthused. Like I did not know there were different shapes to play based on which string you were beginning your root on so this is a wonderment to me . Thank you Dave and the others.

flightflight replied

Oh man, you really like vibrato.

bryce777mbryce777m replied

Hi David. thanks for putting your lessons on Jam Play. I have had music theory a long time ago and have been studying intervals in books lately. But it seems most music theory books are written for the piano. I just didn't see where intervals were any use to me on the guitar. Then after working through the major interval lesson you taught, suddenly, the light came on, I got it! It was the patterns that helped. Thank You very much.

billstockmanbillstockman replied

Hey David that was good stuff I really enjoyed the lesson and am headed for your other lessons.

not2koolnot2kool replied

Nice job. Very clear explanations!

rflora4660rflora4660 replied

I've been bouncing around jamplay for a while and am bummed I didn't come across this series earlier. Would have saved myself a lot of frustration and confusion. Thanks David. Nice first lesson. Looking forward to the rest.

3deeder3deeder replied

great teacher...a natural..

mgratzermgratzer replied

David, Great explanation. What if I want to play an interval with the root on the first or second string, fifth fret? What would the shape look like? Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself or missing something?

cds6465cds6465 replied

Great explanation. Thanks a lot.

nash24nash24 replied

Great lesson!!!

jboothjbooth replied

Did you guys find the animated fretboard and such useful? I have no problem doing it for future lessons in this series but it added a LOT of extra time so I wanna make sure it was helpful.

jam_play_guitarjam_play_guitar replied

David, Great Job of explaining the intervals (Major, Minor , Diminished, Augmented) all make so much sense now!!! I am already using the patten to help me with unison/octave pattern all over the guitar. That animated fretboard really helps understanding what you are trying to get across. Thank you again to for taking time to teach.

myerssa1970myerssa1970 replied

I found the animated fretboard very useful. It definately helped to visualize the pattern while David was explaining it. Not sure it would be as helpful in all types of lessons, but for discussing intervalic theory it was spot on!

timothy davidsontimothy davidson replied

Great lesson! Liked the fretboard on the lesson.

royreddyroyreddy replied

Fretboard was an important ingredient. Animated helpful but not substantially so.

NicaNica replied

Animated fretboard Fantastic

sachisachi replied

Great Lesson David. Thank you. I really liked the animated fretboard. It was great to see the pattern like that during the lesson. I can't wait to see lesson 2. I think this is what I've been missing for 20 years! I acn play tons of songs from tab but never really know what I'm actually doing. Thanks again!

pikopiko replied

Really usefull, indeed.

jayohhjayohh replied

Hmm.. Looks like these lessons have been here for a while, without me noticing. There´s some theory in all the other phase 2 sections, but you kind of have to look for them and try to put them together by yourself.. So I´m still struggeling with which scales to play over a given pregression... Hope this series can clear some of this stuff up for me. Looking at the first video now, which is very very basic. But that´s the way it has to be.. Babysteps :) Gonna go through the other 8 tonight, and hope more are coming:)

ilovemusicilovemusic replied

thanx dave. so is this similar to counting the intervals on the aeolian mode or minor

maverick218maverick218 replied

Thank you David! Intervals now make much more sense to me. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

caliban4caliban4 replied

Modern music after the impressionist era sounds very discordant. Is it because the composers have been tinkering around with intervals not falling neatly within the usual straight scale? I'll aslo add to the chorus of other posters and say I've never heard this topic expressed so clearly and easily before. Great lesson.

guitardriverguitardriver replied

Well Done! I tink I was able to conceptualize and comprehend everything in this lesson (now I just need to practice and learn those patterns). I look forward to reviewing this lesson and viewing your other lessons as well.

deadlystandeadlystan replied

Great lesson David. I really like the way you teach.

ehudehud replied


gilmourrulesgilmourrules replied

Finally I understand intervals..... many many thanks.... awesome lesson....

taijuandotaijuando replied

great....where does this all take us....why is it helpful to know intervals....what can you do better once you understand intervals?

pikopiko replied

I got a bit confused... What is the difference between minor interval and diminished interval? You said that there`s no minor 4th but there is diminished 4th. Actually it all comes to going down a one fret, so if there is diminished 4th why there`s no minor 4th?

vikingbluesvikingblues replied

Al last - someone has talked about intervals in a way that I can make some sense of! Usually my brain goes blank when confronted with theory. Thank you.

jkrivisjkrivis replied

you are a terrific teacher!

blueguitar24blueguitar24 replied

Great job Dave your the man!

gvanausdlegvanausdle replied

Now I get it and use the fretboard is very useful.

jbrady03jbrady03 replied

great lesson david, fretboard was very helpful

jimbeanejimbeane replied

You are an excellent teacher, making things easily understood.

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

David,Thamk you for your suggestion to watch this ,by far the best Lesson on the Fretboard I have. I'am enjoying it. Thanks Dennis

citizensoldiercitizensoldier replied

Dude that was gr8!!! Really helped! thanks.

tangohuntertangohunter replied


NicaNica replied

This was amazing David, and just what I needed to make sense of it all. Love the theory stuff - its the manna!

citizensoldiercitizensoldier replied

Dude that was gr8!! really helped!

cool merccool merc replied

great lesson just what i needed,hope to see more,thanks i'm starting to get it.

cdwalshcdwalsh replied

David, you have a gift as a great teacher. I thought I understood intervals before, but not as completely as you taught them here. I am really looking forward to more of your lessons.

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied


eduartboudewijneduartboudewijn replied

Hey David. Awesome lesson, you're a great teacher. You explain everything in depth, so it all becomes really logically...

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

so true

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

am so glad you are starting phase 2 lessons,these are the lessons i/ve been wanting-awsome

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

love it

brandonlbrandonl replied

Nice, I learned from this.

dmb2574dmb2574 replied

Great lesson David, I'm looking forward to more like this.

oldrockeroldrocker replied

Nice job Dave! Very well explained:)

tangohuntertangohunter replied


David.WallimannDavid.Wallimann replied

Thanks a lot for the encouraging words everyone! It goes a long way! :-)

gorbaggorbag replied

Great job, David! Learning songs has become a bit less fun for me lately and hopefully this lesson set will expand my knowledge of the fretboard so I can start making up some of my own stuff.

Theory and Improvisation with David Wallimann

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

David Wallimann will cover all of the topics necessary master the art of improvisation. He will cover theory, including intervals, scales and modes as well as techniques to improve ones improvisation.

Understanding IntervalsLesson 1

Understanding Intervals

Before one can truly understand music theory the concept of intervals must be introduced. This lesson covers that topic in great depth.

Length: 27:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic ScaleLesson 2

Minor Pentatonic Scale

David teaches the minor pentatonic scale. He explains its scale formula, various fretboard positions, and how it can be used.

Length: 20:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Major Pentatonic ScaleLesson 3

Major Pentatonic Scale

David Wallimann moves on to cover the the major pentatonic scale. He teaches its scale formula, all five patterns, and gives advice on how the scale can be used.

Length: 9:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Blues ScaleLesson 4

The Blues Scale

In this lesson, David covers both the minor and major blues scales. He explains the formulas and patterns for each scale. In addition, David has included a backing track for you to play along with.

Length: 9:08 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Minor ModesLesson 5

Minor Modes

David Wallimann introduces three minor modes. In this lesson he covers Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian modes.

Length: 11:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Major ModesLesson 6

Major Modes

David Wallimann covers three major modes in this lesson. He covers the Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian modes.

Length: 8:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Locrian ModeLesson 7

The Locrian Mode

David Wallimann introduces the Locrian mode. He explains its formula in terms of scale degrees as well as its five fretboard patterns. A few fun arpeggio-based ideas are also demonstrated.

Length: 20:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Magic FormulaLesson 8

The Magic Formula

David Wallimann teaches a magic formula that will allow you to play each of the modes up and down the entire fretboard. He also teaches some exercises to help cement this knowledge.

Length: 11:49 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Classifying ModesLesson 9

Classifying Modes

David Wallimann talks about how modes can be classified and thus used in a musical context. This is a valuable wrap-up lesson to the mini-series on modes.

Length: 13:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Creating Chord ProgressionsLesson 10

Creating Chord Progressions

David Wallimann explains how to write diatonic chord progressions. This lesson features excellent practical music theory.

Length: 12:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Easy Outside TricksLesson 11

Easy Outside Tricks

David Wallimann teaches a valuable fusion guitar technique that he calls "Easy Outside Tricks."

Length: 8:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Playing Modal with Pentatonic ScalesLesson 12

Playing Modal with Pentatonic Scales

David Wallimann demonstrates how minor pentatonic scales can be used when improvising over the minor modes.

Length: 22:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Playing Modal with Major Pentatonic ScalesLesson 13

Playing Modal with Major Pentatonic Scales

David Wallimann shows how the major pentatonic scale can be used in modal playing.

Length: 11:13 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
David Wallimann

About David Wallimann View Full Biography David was born in Aix-en-Provence, South France in 1977. At the age of 15, he picked up the guitar and started developing a true love for instrumental music and composition.

In 1999 he was recognized by Ibanez for his promising musical achievements and received an artist endorsement. That early recognition in David's musical career encouraged him to consecrate more time on crafting his musical art and apply to the school of modern music Artist' in Cavaillon, France. He received a full scholarship there where he graduated with honors.

In 2001, David won first place for the Tal Farlow French national jazz contest which gave him a full paid scholarship to the CMA school of modern music in Valenciennes, France. He graduated specializing in advance guitar with honors.

Following his school years, David spent the next 5 years working with several bands recording, writing and playing shows in France and Belgium. It's during that time that Wallimann was exposed to the world of progressive rock which opened new doors to his musical creativity.

Deep inside the Mind is his first release as a solo artist in which he exposes his Christian faith. The album was well received in the specialized press and was compared several times to some of Frank Zappa's approach to music adding an element of humor to deep subjects.

In 2005 he joined the internationally renown progressive band Glass Hammer based in Chattanooga, TN. He released several studio albums and live DVDs with the band.

David is today working on his next upcoming solo release and is also spending quite a bit of time teaching guitar in his studio and online at JamPlay.

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