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Boss TU-2 Chromatic Stompbox Tuner
Boss TU-2 Chromatic Stompbox Tuner
With a single stomp you can shift to bypass mode for silent tuning.


Easy Guitar Chord Tricks, Licks and Lessons

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CAGED System Part I

by Predrag Pedja Simovic. (Scroll down for Pedja's bio)

There are many things that every guitarist should be capable of doing. Depending on the style of music you are playing, there are certain things that are universal. My teaching experience has shown me that a lot of guitarists have problems with position playing. Some of you might think that this is not such an important issue- buzz- wrong! Let me tell you how this stuff works...

Have you ever found your self wondering what would it be like if you could expand your vocabulary of licks, tricks and chords? What would even make you a true Guitar master? Is there actual way to learn guitar in the easiest and fastest way, in order to get the best results quick? Well look no further, because CAGED system is all about those things!

Letís first clear up what CAGED stands for. I am sure that you all know how to play your open chords (chords that use open strings). Those chords are usually played on first three frets using different combination of fretting strings. Some of those chords are:

  • C Major ;5th and 2nd strings are used for root- on the 6th, 4th, and 1st strings is a major 3rd Ė and on 3rd string there is interval of perfect 5th (from the root). ē
  • A Major; 5th and 3rd strings are used for root of the chord- on the 6th,4th and 1st strings is a major 5th of a chord- and on the 2nd string is a major 3rd of a chord. ē
  • G Major; 6th, 3rd and 1st strings are used for root- on 5th and 2nd strings is a major 3rd- and on 4th string there is a interval of perfect 5th ē
  • E Major; 6th, 4th and 1st strings are used for root of the chord- on 3rd string is a major 3rd of a chord- and on 5th and 2nd strings is a perfect 5th ē
  • D Major; 4th and 2nd string are used for root of the chord- on 1st string is a major 3rd of a chord Ė and on 3rd string is a perfect 5th
On the diagrams bellow, you can clearly see how these are fretted.

Now, what you are about to learn will change your guitar playing forever. Believe it or not, those 5 chords (chord shapes) actually represent the whole guitar neck. Which means that guitar neck/fret board is divided mathematically in 5 positions (or shapes), and their exact order is C shape, A shape, G shape, E shape and D shape.

Now letís check out how all this stuff actually works.

If we take our first shape- which is C major, C shape (the shapes get the names by the original chord names Ė in this example first chord is C, so the shapes becomes C shape), how would we know what our next shape/position of playing is? Simply by running mathematical formula of CAGED, we could assume that our next shape would be A shape. Now, this is where this stuff comes to its best. All of the 5 chord shapes above are transposable, which means that you can move them up and down the neck all the time!

How do we get our C major chord A shape? Simply by taking A major, A shape, and transposing it (moving it up) by 3 frets! After A shape comes G shape. We simply take G shape and transpose it until we get C major chord using G shape. The same thing we do for both E and D shapes. On the example bellow you can actually see how all the shapes have been used and transformed in order to get C major across whole guitar neck.

Now, thatís what I call good stuff! Youíve just learned how to play C major chord in 5 different places all over guitar neck. Now remember, after 12th fret, this stuff keeps repeating which means that you actually know how to play C major in 10 positions (only if your guitar has 25 frets and you are great guy that likes to use them all!).

Now, for this lesson Iíve only decided to show you some hints how to practice your major chords using this magical stuff. In the following lessons I will be talking more about minor chords, major and minor scales, modes, positional playing- but this should be enough for now. Practicing using Chromatic scale

I am sure that you all know about chromatic scale- Am I right? Itís the scale that contains all 12 possible tones that are used in music today. This scale is made exclusively from half steps. Letís start this scale on tone C for example- our scale would go: C, C#(C sharp), D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B and 13th tone of the scale is the octave which is C. Now, letís see how we can use this scale to practice CAGED system.

First you need to take C major chord and play it through CAGED system. All this you can achieve by looking at the diagrams already presented above. Now that you have done this, pick any note from a chromatic scale and do the same thing! Remember, not all the chords start with C shape, but the important thing is to remember formula and you will never get lost! For example- E major starts with E shape, which means that next shape would be D shape then C then A then G. You can see all this stuff on the diagrams bellow.

Let me do another one for you. Letís take A major. The first shape would be A shape of course; then its G shape, E shape, D shape and C shape. Check it out on the diagram below.

The ultimate goal of this exercise is to learn all 12 major chords from chromatic scale to play them through CAGED system. If you do this, whether you realize it or not, you just learned 60 different Major Chords across whole guitar! For those of you who like challenges, I suggest practicing through CAGED system using Metronome. Set up a tempo, and on each click play next shape! This is great exercise for your brain and hand coordination. Of course, the ultimate goal here is to be able to play both on fastest and on slowest click.

I hope you are having with this stuff and I will catch you all with part 2 lesson about minor chords!

Ready, steady- grab your guitar and start practicing this stuff!

Pedja Simovic Ė Pedjazz

Pedja was born in Serbia & Montenegro and has been playing guitar for over 10 years. A graduate of London Guitar Institute and more recently from Berklee College of Music, Pedja has received various awards, performed at festivals in Serbia & Montenegro, and has been featured on television and radio stations shows about his life and career. Besides performing, he is very dedicated to teaching guitar and helping his students across the world. Visit his web site and check out his customized video lesson, correspondence and private lesson programs: www.pedjazz.com .

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