Desi Serna

Desi Serna is a popular guitarist best known for his instructional materials and Fretboard Theory series. He publishes books and DVDs plus produces videos for YouTube, podcasts for iTunes and guitar articles for his website and blog. Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Desi honed his craft through decades of guitar playing, performing, teaching and publishing. Now based in the Nashville, Tennessee area, Desi is also the author of Guitar Theory For Dummies and Guitar Rhythm and Technique For Dummieswhich are part of the world-renowned For Dummies series (a Wiley brand). Desi can be found online everyday messaging with guitar players and discussing various music theory topics with his community of followers. Sign up for free book and DVD previews.

Guitarist and Author Desi Serna

Desi Serna poses with his PRS P22, October 2013.

Comments (18)

Dear Desi, we saw you play at Brandywind CC a couple of years ago. I was very impressed and even purchased your guitar theory book.

We are having a party in Toledo in September and wanted to find out if you still play various events such as private parties. Would you please email back and, if so, I will forward more details. Thanks, Barney Cook

Thanks for the message, Barney. I’m glad you enjoyed my music at Brandywine. Unfortunately, I no longer play gigs like that anymore. s

Hi Mr Desi,

I bought your DVD on the Pentatonic scales. Now learning every lesson in it. I would like to ask a question, when trying to solo, how would I know which pattern to use from the 5 scales of the minor pentatonic ?. Thanks.

The 5 pentatonic scale patterns all include the same notes, only in different positions. They’re just pieces of the same unit. So you can move freely through them. For example, if you’re playing over a song in Em (like maybe “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix) then pentatonic pattern one is in the open position starting on the open sixth string, E, but ANY pattern (2, 3, 4, or 5) still includes the same notes and is still Em pentatonic.

There’s really only one pentatonic scale pattern and it covers the whole neck. It’s broken up into five pieces just to make it easier to learn.

I just started listening to your podcast today and it’s the best guitar podcast I’ve found. I have a lot of similar ideas about how to approach learning guitar (i.e. theory should focus first on the fretboard, not the staff etc), but I’ve never been able to put it in such clear terms. I started teaching guitar about 3 years ago and I’ve started teaching some of my students to understand chord building and scales, but now I think I’ve found the book to teach from. Thanks for the good work.

Thanks. I really appreciate the feedback. I’m glad that my guitar theory podcast is working for you. Good luck with the teaching. You might also find that you can learn get some teaching ideas from my beginner guitar page.

Hi Desi, I bought your product a year or two ago and used it. I really like it. I am taking an interest in the caged system but I have a problem. I learned the chords in a key but sometimes all I have is sheet music with notes. I have a hard time hearing the chord changes. Is there a way to look at the sheet music and find where the chord changes are by the notes? The music does not have the chords written on it. It has the accompaniment music with the sheet music and I would like to be able to play along. I hope you can help. Thanks Troy

What you’re asking to do would require reading the music. If you knew the notes on the staff, then you could figure out what chords they are. And if you could read the rhythms, then you could figure out precisely where the chord changes are. Most guitar players (including myself) don’t do this. We either get sheet music with chord symbols or we get a copy of the audio recording and figure out how to play along by ear.

where are you? do you give teach person to person? i am in calif. thanks

I’m in Ohio. When can you get here?

Actually, I don’t give private lessons. But I’m online everyday helping others the best I can. Let me know what I can do for you.

Mr. Serna,
I’m 54 years old and would love to learn how to play the guitar. Is it too late? Also, what is the acoustic guitar you play?


It’s never too late. Please visit my free beginner guitar page to get started. In my YouTube guitar videos I use a Line 6 Variax acoustic guitar.

Hey Desi,
I want to thank you for helping me put some of the finishing touches on my theory and guitar theory. I was listening to your podcast and have almost finished them and they help a ton in podcast form since i have recently been bed ridden with lyme disease. im glad i got to listen to you on this topic. you really know what your talking about the entire time. im an acoustic finger picker and the intervals podcast helped me the most.
i always think its funny how your motto is play until your fingers bleed but its not funny if your strings are the slight bit rusty.
Thanks glad you made the podcasts.

Hello Desi and thank you. I’m Manuel from Dominican Republic. I just listen your podcast about caged system and it clarify a lot of things to me. I will practice this to learn the notes on the fretboard also.

I’ll listening to your podcast too.

Good job man!
Manuel Vanderhorst R.

you’re are the best teacher in your country.i need your help.i dont know how to use scales to create guitar solo.please help me ..

Hi Desi, I recently posted a new review and bio of you on my website. I know we have talked in the past and I enjoy your products and all your posts. Stay in touch. Please feel free to repost to your fans on your feeds.

Looks great! Thanks, Derek.

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