Ev­ery month, Justin San­der­coe of justin­gui­ lends GT his in­sight as one of the world’s most suc­cess­ful gui­tar teach­ers. This month: un­lock the neck with a step up on the B!

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Justin San­der­coe’s in­struc­tive col­umn; plus Ses­sion Shenani­gans, Jam Tracks and more.

Iwant to share a lit­tle bit of fret­board logic that I dis­cov­ered a few years back that re­ally helped me un­lock the gui­tar neck. I’d been mess­ing about with tun­ing in 4ths (E-A-D-G-C-F) and was try­ing to fig­ure out how chord logic worked in this tun­ing when I stum­bled onto some­thing that re­ally helped me un­lock reg­u­lar tun­ing.

Per­haps you are aware that there are five ma­jor chord shapes we have on the gui­tar. If you draw all the notes of a ma­jor triad on a big neck di­a­gram you can see how they fall to­gether into the five shapes, com­monly known as the CAGED sys­tem – named af­ter the chord shapes of C,A, G, E and D. But it gets deeper than that, and to ex­plore it I’d like you to try play­ing along with this lit­tle ad­ven­ture and find another way to find the CAGED shapes.

Play an open E chord. Now move all your fin­gers down (to­wards the ground) one string. Now move the note on the sec­ond string up one fret. You’ve got your­self an A chord, right? Now move this shape down again, by another string, and again move the note on the sec­ond string up one fret – now you’ve got a D chord. Now put down a G chord (the three-fin­ger ‘folk’ shape us­ing sec­ond, third and fourth fin­gers). Move it down one string and move the note on the sec­ond string up a fret, you got a C chord. Try again, move the C chord shape down a string and move the note on the sec­ond string up a fret and you’ll find your­self with a small F chord (which is an E shape barre chord).

I hope you see the logic go­ing on there, and also no­tice that I skipped over the change from D to G; it works, but it’s just not quite as ob­vi­ous. Mov­ing the D down and mov­ing the sec­ond string note up gives us XX0033 which is the top part of a big four-fin­ger G and you’d have to add the notes on the thick­est two strings.

What we find is that by mov­ing any chord (works with scales and arpeg­gios too!) down a string we can use the same shape but we need to move the sec­ond string note (or notes) up a fret. This is use­ful and help­ful in many ways; most ob­vi­ously it can help with mem­o­ris­ing chords and scales and arpeg­gios, but can also be great for find­ing new chord shapes on dif­fer­ent string sets and for mov­ing licks or lines to another part of the fret­board.

One ex­er­cise that can be re­ally good fun to start with is look­ing at how the mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic shapes change as you move them down a string set – you’ll see that all the shapes are re­mark­ably sim­i­lar when you look at them from this new per­spec­tive.

Give this thought and you’ll find many other in­ter­est­ing uses for this lit­tle nugget to help you un­der­stand our six-string friend. Get more info and links to re­lated lessons on all Justin’s GT ar­ti­cles at www.justin­gui­­mag

if you draw the notes of a ma­jor triad on a big neck di­a­gram they fall into the five caged shapes

Justin San­der­coe has a neat trick for mem­o­ris­ing the gui­tar fret­board

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