demystifying the fretboard

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ndcaster, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I see questions about inversions and moving beyond cowboy chords here, so I thought the following might be helpful, because it was helpful to me

    there are many locations of C on the fretboard

    you know at least two, down there in first position

    here are the six strings of the guitar:

    Screen Shot 2019-08-11 at 7.19.46 PM.png

    notice where the other C's are (i.e. all the circular dots)

    on a given single string, between two circular dots (one low, one higher up), there is color bar. this color bar represents the pitches between each location of C. these are "octaves." they are are color-coded to help you distinguish them.

    notice how you can play the same notes in the same octave on different strings.

    let's stick to thinking about that C major chord. we hear sometimes that playing the C major chord on the fretboard can be done in five "CAGED shapes," thus:

    C caged shapes.jpg

    personally, and for several reasons, I think you should throw this idea in the trash can.

    don't think about music in terms of mnemonic devices with names that can be confused with chord names. think about the actual notes.

    if the C major is spelled C, E, G, then any combination of those three notes (a "triad") is a C major chord, just arranged in a different order. here is how to play C major triads, in sequence, on the first three strings:

    C major inversions 123.jpg

    these three shapes constitute a repeating pattern (and it repeats in grey in the higher octaves).

    these triads have notes that are spelled (low to high):

    1. GCE
    2. CEG
    3. EGC

    to turn these into C minor triads, just lower the E one fret to Eb. to make them diminished, lower both the E and the G one fret. to make them augmented, raise the G one fret.

    (if you want to explore further, lower all the C's two frets to make them Bb's. now you have the fundamental pitches of C7. if you want to go to Texas and play steel licks, raise the G's two frets to make them A's. now you have the basic notes of C6. go find the D's: those are 9ths.)

    and so on.

    this is one reason why learning triad shapes is so useful.

    ok, here is the C major triad sequence on strings 2, 3, and 4:

    C major inversions 234.jpg

    these C major triads have notes that are spelled (low to high):

    1. EGC
    2. GCE
    3. CEG

    now alter them in the ways I mentioned above, and practice them in the higher octave up the neck to get used to hearing that higher octave.

    ok, now on strings 3, 4, and 5:

    C major inversions 345.jpg
    and finally on strings 4, 5, and 6:

    C major triads 456.jpg

    once you get this in your head and under your fingers, find the F major triads and G major triads that are *closest* to each C major triad.

    try altering those F major triads to F minor ones, and the G's to G7's.

    you can now move easily between I, IV (or iv), and V (or V7) chords and play a TON of songs

    plus, finding where the scale notes are nested among those triad shapes will mean, with practice, that you can move effortlessly between them and make melodies on the fly without getting lost

    have fun
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  2. schoech1

    schoech1 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Ndcaster, showing the overlaps helps
     
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  3. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    And there are more shapes than that.
     
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  4. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks, this is appropriate for where I'm at in learning the triads. And some other things too.

    Many:):):):)
     
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  5. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    excellent ! Well stated and shown. I also think part of the issue for many who want to expand , is they feel that the term COWBOY CHORDS is a lessor thing. It's a term that some folks applied to simplistic triads or chords under the 5th fret which is assumed to be only for beginner or novice players , and only work for Country Music.

    uhhh....no---oh...!
     
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  6. thebowl

    thebowl Tele-Meister

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    I don't see it being helpful/instructive to suggest that the CAGED way of visualizing the fretboard be thrown in the trash. It is an aid to visualization; nothing more. Something that can be retired with thanks when one moves past it. And as far as patterns are concerned, an important milestone along the way for me has been to recognize that, subject to the one fret adjustment needed when crossing from the G string to the B string, there is really only ONE pattern of notes on the fretboard.
     
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  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Not patterns of notes...patterns of scales and chords. There are definitely more than one pattern to play any one scale...and therefore more than one ‘pattern’ for any one chord.
     
  8. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    sometimes to make a point you have to sharpen one

    yes, sure, one overall pattern of notes, but we are looking for sub-patterns, groups

    to find them, we have to force ourselves to play things in more than one position

    for example, one classic progression is I-VI7-II7-V7-I

    say we're in C. we could turn to our trusty first-position cowboy chords and go:

    x32010
    x02023
    xx0212
    xx0001
    x32010

    or we could find some tight voice-leading stuff like this:

    C major 6251.1.jpg
    black = C
    dark green = A7
    purple = D7
    red = G7

    you're right about the B string being responsible for throwing a monkey wrench not just in that position, but on any combination of strings that includes it. thus, the same 6251 can be played here:

    C major 6251.2.jpg
    which is a little different

    once you're on strings 4 through 6, things get more regular. here is the same progression, same notes, played there:

    C major 6251.3.jpg
    that same pattern occurs when the bottom note of the C triad (in this case, G) is on the sixth string

    try noodling around those shapes, in rhythm, and you'll see how ergonomic it can be to move out of stock chord shapes
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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  9. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

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    I think it might be helpful to add that there is a difference between what you know and how you organize it. CAGED, or Position 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are essentially the same thing. What difference does it make if your call it an E shape of a G chord, a position 4 G chord (Maybe, not really sure which pattern corresponds), or a 3rd position G Chord? Ultimately what matters is that you have a G B and a D.

    Now you could try and map out every GB and D, then map out every FA and C, then every Bb D F, or you could just memorize the shapes and chord tones.

    Agreed, if all you do is memorize the shapes, you aren't doing yourself any favors, but I think that using the CAGED framework to organize and categorize what you already know can be quite helpful.
     
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  10. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Two C harmonized scales, one goes up, one goes down.

    this is very common, all chords have similar motion, upwards,
    -C----Dm---Em---F----G----Am-----B°
    --------------------------------------------------
    -1------3------5-----6-----8----10-----12
    -0------2------4-----5-----7------9-----12
    -2------3------5-----7-----9----10-----12
    --------------------------------------------------
    --------------------------------------------------

    Same scale but it's uncommon for the shapes to descend as the chord names to ascend. It's still similar motion.
    -C----Dm----Em---F----G---Am----B°---C
    ------------------------------------------------------
    -8------6-------5-----1---------------------------
    -9------7-------4-----2----4------2-------------
    10-----7-------5-----3----5------2-----3-----2
    -------------------------------5------3-----5-----3
    ----------------------------------------------7-----3

    Mick Goodrick suggests learning this kind of thing in all 12 keys, but just start with one key and learn it well with songs in the key of C,,, then maybe another key a bit later.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  11. blujaz1

    blujaz1 TDPRI Member

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    This...
     
  12. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

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    What color pick is best to use when practicing triads?
     
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  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I don't use mnemonics either (though my Tele is a mnemonic) and I love triads!

    I would not however recommend my method for coming to love triads, whci was chopping off the tip of my LH pinkie before I took up guitar.

    My visualization is intervallic, which always works even if changing keys, since intervallic shapes move around and are not dependent on your position. I never use positions on the neck either, choosing the next note based on the most fluid possible transitions for the next few notes planned.
    I suppose any pattern map will work if moved to different positions, but then the names of the notes will all be wrong.

    For whatever reason I long ago decided I don't like playing open strings, I guess because my intervallic concept is fluid and those open strings are stuck in one place, not movable. Lost out on a bunch of cool technique possibilities there, but I'm fine with that I guess.

    Choosing an approach to guitar is often a series of compromises, unless in guitar college we learn to do every possible thing every player ever did.
    How other players conceptualize, visualize (or don't visualize) and think within playing (as opposed to while learning) is a mystery, but threads like this are illuminating.
     
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  14. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Here is the same thing 3x through the scale to get all 3 of the inversions,

    Each one of these triads can be related to a CAGED shape, major CAGED and minor CAGED, plus one diminished chord.

    Playing all 3 of these is 1 time through the complete inversion cycle pattern, then it starts over,,,

    . . Do. . . . Re. . . . ..Me. . .. Fa. . . .Sol. . . . La. . . Ti << sing along
    . C. . . Dm. . Em. . F. . . G. . Am. B°
    -15-----13-----12-----8-----7-----5-----1
    -17-----15-----12----10----8-----5-----3
    -17-----14-----12----10----7-----5-----4
    ---------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------

    . C. . . Dm. Em. . F. . . G. . Am. B°
    -12-----10-----7-----5-----3-------------
    -13-----10-----8-----6-----3-----5-----3
    -12-----10-----9-----5-----4-----5-----4
    ----------------------------------------7-----3
    -------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------

    . C. . . Dm. .Em. .F. . .G. . Am. .B°. .C
    -------------------------------------------------------
    -13-----10-----8-----6-----3--------------------
    -12-----10-----9-----5-----4-----5-----4-----0
    -14-----12-----9-----7-----5-----7-----3-----2
    ----------------------------------------7-----5-----3
    --------------------------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  15. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you're serious about triads than look no further than Whit Smith's Chordination Vol. 2.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    A great study in this is to learn Charlie Christian's solo in Rose Room and Flying home. Actually all of his are great, but those to connect chord shapes really nicely.
     
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  17. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    change your pick every time you change octaves

    plus, thin picks for lower octaves, fat picks for higher ones

    Jimi Hendrix explains all this in his latest youtube video, click to subscribe
     
  18. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    What you're showing is exactly what CAGED is.....your simply showing what for years I've been calling CAGED octaves.....so you haven't thrown CAGED away at all....you've simply reduced it to it's most important aspect. CAGED is not about chord shapes....it's fundamental, and most useful patterns are the octave shapes you have shown.

    CAGED isn't a theory or a mnemonic device.....it's simply a literal map of the fretboard in standard tuning. So in truth is you can't throw it away....if you're in standard tuning and you're seeing patterns that you are using to navigate, then, whether you know it or not, you are using CAGED. The standard open string tuning determines the shape of the CAGED patterns (octaves,chords, scales etc.).
     
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  19. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I used to practice alternating between position scales (12 keys per position) and scales played up/down 12-15 frets on each string. I would name each note aloud, and I didn't worry about keeping a steady tempo, as it was ever so easy to get momentarily hung up on a note name.

    When I played gigs, I didn't try to apply that stuff to my playing directly. When teaching lessons, if the student is playing chords and I'm on melody, I would try to play the notes as disjunct as possible, while trying to make the lines coherent and singable.
     
  20. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, the CAGED phenom is always there.
    It's a great thing to become aware of the big picture of triads.

    But the CAGED is just a snapshot of one moment when relating to a song, and that's not enough because song chords change. A simple folk song of
    C F & G chords would require three CAGED chord patterns.

    What the CAGED will not tell you is some of the most important stuff. Like what scales to use, it doesn't tell you the key, it doesn't explain the "other" notes of the key so you don't know whether to play Ionian or Mixolydian or??? What about minor chords or 7th chords, on and on. CAGED does not help navigate the chord changes in real time. And who wants to hear someone struggle with being overwhelmed with all these patterns whizzing by.

    So, to find that info means you have to go back to some point in the beginning where these basic topics are explained.

    Knowing the CAGED does not advance a musician to achieve these fundamentals. Still the CAGED is great for any study that is static, not progressing. CAGED worked excellent forJoe Pass who immediately saw linear chord lines with it, pretty advanced. Joe was where I learned of CAGED. Joe was an exception to the typical CAGED usage.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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