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Dizzy Fingers Dear Theory Godmother
I’m currently working on scales using the CAGED system and I’ve hit a bit of a problem. Most of the scale patterns are fairly straightforward but when you get to the G shape there seems to be two ways of fingering it and each is a little problematic. The trouble comes when moving from string four to three; you can either play three notes on the third string or three on the fourth and I’m not sure which is better. Both are tricky, but I don’t want to programme one into my fingers only to find that the other is considered more practical. Can you help?
John I’ve outlined the two fingerings you describe in Exs 1 and 2, John. I have to agree that neither falls under the fingers easily, but both have their merits. If we look at Ex 1, I have found that this fingering represents something of a stretch for some students, particularly if they are relatively new to playing. In my example, the fourth finger would play the B at the 9th fret which means the ‘one finger per fret’ fingering system is breached as this finger is expected to reach out of position at this point. In Ex 2, the first finger plays both the B and C in a sliding motion on the third string. But there is a third way around the problem where you merely move the hand out of position and play the B, C and D with the first, second and fourth fingers respectively (Ex 3). I favour Ex 2 as the most practical situation and this is the one I have taught many pupils in the past. It might be a good idea to focus your efforts here while getting the CAGED scales under your fingers and in your head. But it would also be good to bear the other two alternatives in mind for the future. Revisit this scale shape from time to time as you progress and test out the other two fingerings as I’m sure that each will begin to feel easier as your overall experience on the guitar grows. Having all the variations available to you has to be a good thing, after all.
Key To Blues Dear Theory Godmother
I’ve been playing blues for a while now, but one tune has got me stumped. Normally, a blues will go from the I chord to the IV and I can usually make a pretty good job of
Ex 1 G CAGED shape fingering 1 navigat&ing#t#he# ch4angeoe,boeutoeBigoe Boeill Broonzy&’s To4The
Key Highway goes from the I chShourffdle sRthryathigmht to the V in the second bar and I can’t seem to get it to sound right at a9ll. got7 a bit sADtuck into the I9-IV1-1V format with my playing - have you any tips on how to approach this typeoeof thing?
REoxr5y I know exactly what you mean, Rory. In a more straightforward 12-bar we meet this chord change in bars 8 and 9 andEB so we should b12e w12it1h2 i1t3. But when it crops up unexpectedly in bar 2 it can often throw a medium sized spanner in the works. The way to get around it is to focus on the chord tones that outline the chord change. If we were playing this tune in E we would need to hit one of the notes contained in the B7 chord in the second bar and the best choice - for now, in any case would be B7’s 3rd, D#. In order to really accentuate the fact that we’ve moved to the B7 it might be a good idea to play the 5th and 7th as well, as I have done in Ex 4. This represents a very
Ex 4 Suggested I-V lick
It’sOEbest smooth transition between the I and V chords. to switch off your radar that’s looking for Pentatonic shapes that the notes fall into, and just listen to the sound that this simple idea is
du7cing. Another way of ramming this concept home would be to play something like the two arpeggio-based
ioenoeEx licks 5 a few times to get the sound of the change locked in your head. Eventually, you should be able to engage autopilot and come up with your own more creative ways of soloing o7ve7r these changes. But these exercises
definitely help you get there.
Signing Off Dear Theory Godmother
Lately I’ve been attempting to learn how to read music and I’m getting on okay. But I have read that you don’t ever see a mixture of sharps and flats in a key signature and yet on one piece of music I’m studying there’s a key signature in the middle of the piece that is a combination of natural signs and sharps. What is this?
Lance You sent me a copy of the key signature you mean and I have reproduced it in Ex 6 with all the notes removed so that we don’t outrage the original copyright holders. What you’re looking at is known as a courtesy key signature and these occur when the key of a piece of music changes mid way along its course. In the example, we’re changing from E major to D major which means that the notes G and D will no longer be sharp after this bar. So, to point this out to the reader, the courtesy key signature effectively cancels these two sharp notes by inserting a couple of naturals on the staff instead. The F# and C# remain unchanged and this is pointed out by their continuing presence in the key signature. A major difference between standard and courtesy key signatures is that the latter will often be found at the end of a line as a sort of cautionary road sign that a change of key is about to happen, whereas the standard form will be found at the beginning of each line. It’s just another example of the exception proving the rule, but I hope it’s now clear.