Finally, I'm back at Berklee.
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- Jimi never strummed with his right hand. That, and stringing his right-handed Strats backward, is probably where his mojo came from, and where so many of the rest of us go wrong by sticking to our "right"-handed ways.
Good tuners are cheap now. No excuse:
As for chords, learn "open" C, A, G, E, and D, including which string/fret combinations produce the root, major third, and fifth within each form. Then:
- connect the "open" C to the A-shaped C (barre on 5th string, third fret)
- to the G-shaped C (root on 6th string, eighth fret),
- to the E-shaped C (barre on 6th string, eighth fret),
- to the D-shaped C (root on 4th string, tenth fret and 2nd string, thirteenth fret),
- back to the "open" C one octave higher (root on 5th string, fifteenth fret and 2nd string, thirteenth fret).
From there, just alter and add tones as necessary. Cmin, flat the 3rd. C7, add the b7. Cmin7, flat the 3rd, add the b7. Etc. Leave notes out if you don't have enough fingers; just keep what you can, but always the 3rd and 7th (if present). Root notes are the bass player's job.
Repeat the CAGED cycle for all other major chords. Repeat for minor chords. Dominant and minor seventh chords, too, why not?
Learn minor pentatonic scale shapes relative to the CAGED forms, again noting which string/fret combination mark which scale tones (1 b3 4 5 b7). (The "blues box" corresponds to the "E"/6th-string barre shape.) Milk the minor-to-major third move, as well as the b5. Learn major pentatonic shapes relative to the same forms (1 2 3 5 6). Play with mixing minor and major pentatonic, back and forth.
And it's best if you learn actual tunes to put all of this in context. Or, at least, work through a standard form, like 12-bar blues (I I I I IV IV I I V IV I V7, or more concretely, Ax4, Dx2, Ax2, E, D, A, E7). Record yourself if you can.
That should get you started. Let me know how it goes.Jan 18, 2013
- By G-shaped chord do you mean http://www.fretjam.com/g-shape-barre-chords.html? I've not seen it used much in tabs and it seems pretty painful for us with small hands.Jan 18, 2013
- Yeah, actually, that's it. Never heard it called a barre form before, though to literally play it you do have to barre the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings.
However, in my mind, the important thing isn't to be able to play every note in the chord at once, but to use it as a navigational tool. That's to say, to know each shape and where it appears on the neck, so you can play a part of the chord that's within reach, or to know where the chord tones are relative to the melody or scale you're playing, or to see how the voices lead to one another in the course of a progression. When you know where the root, 3rd, and 5th (and b7th) are within each of the CAGED shapes, and how those shapes connect, and which shape appears at the part of the neck where you want to play--especially relative to the major and minor pentatonic scales--then navigating the fretboard gets much easier.
For instance, that barre that's part of the G shape is what ties it to the A shape that precedes it. The two root notes on the high and low E strings are what tie it to the E shape the follows it. When you can see that, and have a feel for where the root, 3rd, 5th, and b7th are within each shape, then it's a small leap to being able to shift easily from one scale position to another while improvising, because you can see the overlap between the scale patterns and the chord shapes. The other notes in the scale (2nd, 4th, 6th) are easier to target and weave into the melody, 'cause they just lie in between those core chord tones. All those far-out jazz chords start to make sense, and it's easy to find new chords you haven't played before--and remember them. Before you know it, it gets harder (not impossible, but harder) to hit wrong notes, and easier to automatically play the note your ear wants to hear next.
It's just like learning a new language; you learn words, you learn grammar "shapes", you struggle to build linguistic muscle memory for each piece, and the ways those pieces fit together. But once you really "see" or "get" how all they work together, without thinking too much about it, fluency improves. You don't have to think (too much) about how to put the words together anymore, just (mostly) the idea you want to communicate. Or, in the infinitely more eloquent words of Mr. Miyagi, "Wax on, wax off."
If you search for "CAGED system", you'll find lots of material. I actually wasn't hip to it 'til recently, and though I'm still working on it myself, being able to see the fretboard this way really helps a lot.
Actually, that site you posted contains this information; it just doesn't call it "CAGED" directly:
http://www.fretjam.com/guitar-barre-chords.htmlJan 19, 2013
- , thanks a lot for the clear explanation! It's such a revelation. You are a natural-born tutor. :)
While we are at this topic, do you know good resources on learning arranging (in a rock band setting)?Jan 19, 2013
- Congratulations! Now have some fun with it. :-) Post updates. Enjoy.Jan 19, 2013
- Ask me at the end of the semester. :-) Seriously, at the moment, I don't know; but I am taking an arranging class.Jan 20, 2013