John Petrucci Invisible Monster Guitar Lesson Summary

In this post I summarize the three key takeaways from John Petrucci’s “Invisible Monster” lesson. I also include a tab for the melody and rhythm sections.

In the lesson Petrucci breaks down the songwriting and theory behind the song. The three takeaways are: how to create tension in your melody, “proggy chords” and chord resolutions.

Full lesson:


Download Guitar Tab (PNG)


melody guitar tab

Rhythm A Section

rhythm a section guitar tab

Rhythm B Section

rhythm b section guitar tab

Lesson Takeaways

Melody Tension

At 3:45 in the video Petrucci describes starting the melody on the 9th note to create tension. It’s the F# note which is the 9th of the E minor chord.

Starting on the 9th gives the melody a more haunting sound. This happens because the 9th is not a resolved tone. Resolved tones for the E minor chord are E (root), B (5th) or G (minor 3rd).

When writing the melody the band likely decided to start with a tension note as it aligns with the haunting theme of the song.

Proggy Chords

Petrucci describes how the melody is played using 2 and 3 note “proggy chords”. These chords were popularized in this music genre by Queensryche and Dream Theater.

The first chord is an E5 add 9. Petrucci referred to it as the “prog chord of the century” (4:29).

e5 add 9 chord chart

And by shifting the F# note up a half-step, you get a cool prog voicing of an Em chord. With distortion it sounds very “proggy” compared to a traditional Em barre chord.

em chord chart

And you get some more cool chords here, with the first being an inverted C chord, followed by an E5, and then an E with a flat 5 chord.

chords guitar tab

Chord Resolutions

The final takeaway from this lesson is regarding chord resolutions (6:50).

The rhythm A section begins on an Em chord, and ends on a C chord. In the rhythm B section the band wanted to resolve the section in order to transition to the verse, which is in E. Petrucci describes a few options for resolutions.

The first is a half-step resolution (F to E). This has a darker sound and is commonly used in rock music.

Another option is a fifth resolution (B to E). This gives a very satisfying resolution sound.

The band decided to go with both options, by resolving from F to B to E.

chord resolutions guitar tab

You Might Also Like...

Did You Enjoy This?

Then consider signing up for the Modern Guitar Hub newsletter. Receive new posts directly in your inbox.

Sign up here