When most people start learning guitar, the first chords that they learn are often the A, C, D, E and G open chords. And the CAGED chord system is a chordal shape that can be used to navigate the fretboard using the C, A, G, E and D open-chord shapes, in that particular order, to ultimately be able to spot any major chord all across your fretboard.
Another great thing about this spread-fingering shape is that, from a theoretical perspective, it makes it much easier to visualize your scale intervals and to navigate across them. Say, for instance, you want to figure out how your I, III and V intervals sound when played together. You can do so easily by using this spread fingering position.
Today we’re going to simplify and understand an extremely important part of music theory: chord progressions. Like all the knowledge areas we’ve covered so far in this series, I’m going to explain this in the simplest of terms so you can achieve a thorough understanding and absolute mastery of this concept.
The goal this month is not to talk about the theory behind them, although I will be doing that in the next month or two. It’s to get you adding the pitches, and exploring these notes, aurally, as well as using them in your phrasing. So let me show you what I’m talking about.
One key to becoming a more versatile blues soloist is learning to combine the minor pentatonic and major pentatonic scales to create guitar lines that go beyond the minor pentatonic scale. As a prerequisite to this lesson, you should have a basic understanding of the finger positionings for the minor pentatonic and major pentatonic scales, particularly the first and second positions of both scales.
What we’re going to be doing today is drawing on this knowledge to learn how to combine the minor and major pentatonic scales to create patterns that give us a very unique and interesting sound. For this example let’s start off by running through the first position of A minor pentatonic starting on the fifth fret of the sixth string.
Today we’re going to pick things up where we left off by tackling the notes on the fourth string. And remember, we’re going to be focusing on the prime pitches — that is A, B, C, D, E, F, G — like we did with the fifth and sixth strings. I do this because I’ve learned that simplifying the notes across the fretboard can make things easier for students to master them.
I want to continue improving your knowledge of the fretboard by touching on the topic of chords. Now, most of you probably know all your chords, but what I want to do with this series is really build up your knowledge of the fretboard from the very ground up. So, as with the last lesson, we’ll be starting off with the basics and making sure that you know all your chords with absolute certainty.
What I want to do over the course of this year is introduce you to various concepts and techniques with the ultimate goal of enabling you to improvise across the entire fretboard comfortably and confidently, using pentatonic and diatonic scales. I’m going to break down this knowledge into three categories ...
As 2014 rapidly approaches, Guitar World is taking a nostalgic look back at the most popular GuitarWorld.com stories, videos, lessons and features of 2013. Be sure to check out our other Year in Review stories here!