411 on the FAQ's of guitar


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04-08-2007, 10:58 AM
I hope this lesson will help answer some of the most commonly asked questions that continually pop up on the forums. There are many lessons already covering this material, but I will phrase the info in a different way to help clarify musical concepts. This is a short crash course and by no means should be considered anything more than a brief summary of the various topics.

Circle of Fifths- First of all, lets drop the "circle" part. Most of us can better understand bar charts, so let me draw it out for you. Before we begin, quick definitions: Fifth- the fifth note from the root when the root is numbered one. This matters because lots of students forget to count the first note.
Key Note(s) to sharpen
C none

See the pattern? Start with C, no sharps/flats. Major scale is CDEFGABC. Now take the fifth of C, which is G. Sharpen the note behind it (the seventh of the new root). As we work our way down, retain the sharpen notes from the previous scale. The major scale in the Key of G is GABCDE F# G.
Next, the fifth of G is D. In the Key of D, we retain the sharpened F from the previous scale, and we sharpen the note behind the root in the new scale. The major scale for the Key of D reads AB C# DEF# GA.
Let's keep going. The fifth of D is A, so to find the major scale for the key of A, we keep all of the notes from the D scale EXCEPT now we sharpen the seventh of the new key A, which would be G. The major scale for the key of A reads ABC#DEF# G#.
I hope this clarifies the cycle of fifths. The cycle of fourths works around the wheel counterclockwise in a similar fashion; please check other lessons.

Scale Patterns
The fretboard is divided into semitones. Each fret along a given string is one semitone. To play a note, skip a fret and play the next fret is a tone. The major scale pattern (Do, Re, Mi, Fa,....) is to play the root, then tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone. To play this scale, play a string without touching the fretboard, then the 2nd fret, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th 12th. To answer a question about reading sheet music posted earlier today, just find where the first note of the scale is on the guitar, then stick with the pattern ASSUMING the scale you are struggling with is a major scale. The patterns for other scales (modes) are already posted.

CAGED System
The CAGED System is a method of learning guitar scales on a guitar. Drag out a capo and a diagram of all the notes on the fretboard. Play a C major. Notice that the root note of C is on the fifth string. If we put a capo or bar the entire third fret, what chord would be a C major? A. Play the A "shape" and then remove the capo and compare it to a C. Now put the capo back on and play the A shape again. Notice all of your fingers are on the second fret relative to the capo? Put the capo or bar where your fingers are (fifth fret). What chord shape has an open 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings? G. Play the G with the capo at the fifth fret. Now remove the capo and compare it to the C. From here on you can see the pattern, if not just im me. Remember, this is very important: chord diagrams are not sounds, they are shapes. A C or D or any other chord only looks like it does when the strings are tuned to standard. This is the rationale behind learning the CAGED system. If you play a E shape, barred at the third fret, it is no longer an E. Now, it is a G. The CAGED system is the road map for "what comes next" as you work towards the body of the guitar. The C "shape" to a major scale, in any key, is followed by the A "shape", then the G "shape", E, D, C, A, G,....
If you know the scale pattern for the C, A, G, E, and D scale in the open position, the first few frets on a guitar, then just link them together in that order for the major scale up the rest of the fretboard. Here is an easy scale pattern. R stands for the root note, 5 for the Fifth. This is not tab!
The vertical lines (I) are frets.


Notice how the fifth is one string and two fret from the root? And the octave just below that? That shape is the basic "E shaped" power chord. Notice where the octave is; the 8 above. Fourth string, the bass note for a D position. What comes after E in CAGED? D.

Drop the entire scale pattern above one string.


Our root note is now on the fifth string. This scale pattern is for an A "shape". The octave is on the G string, and what follows A in CAGED? G.
Hope this clears up what CAGED is and how it works; for the full pattern ya gotta check other lessons.

Three-Chord Theory

Let's wrap up the crash course by delving into three-chord theory. I am sure you have all seen something like this: I IV I IV V IV I. Unless you roll around town on a chariot, we can make it more simple by using cardinal numbers. I is 1, and it is just the root of the key in which you are playing. IV is the 4th, and V is the 5th. The progression would be simpler for all those born after Constatine converted to Christianity if it read:
1 4 1 4 5 4 1.
So how does that relate to modern music? Most songs rely exclusively on the 1, 4, and 5 chords. Nearly all songs rely predominately on the 1, 4, and 5.
So, for a song in modern rock, here are the chords you should try.

Key 4 5

Hope this helps; I tried to stick with the extreme basics. Any time you have trouble with any subject, try looking at it from another angle. Cheers, thanks in advance for positive feedback, stinky flatuence for the negative, and im with any questions.

04-08-2007, 11:20 AM
I didn't had time to read it all trough but it looked good and correct. should o as a lesson even if it already exists. "simple" version can be easier to understand and therefor very good :)

04-08-2007, 11:29 AM
Next, the fifth of G is A. In the Key of A, we retain the sharpened F from the previous scale, and we sharpen the note behind the root in the new scale. The major scale for the Key of A reads ABCDEF# G# A.

mmm nope i dont quite think so,

The major scale in the Key of G is GABCDE F# G.

G=root or 'one' as youve called it
A= 'two' as its called
D is the fifth

either that or my own knowledge is messed up

04-08-2007, 11:34 AM
Next, the fifth of G is A. In the Key of A, we retain the sharpened F from the previous scale, and we sharpen the note behind the root in the new scale. The major scale for the Key of A reads ABCDEF# G# A.

the C should be C# in A(refering to threadstarter)

04-08-2007, 11:43 AM
oops, you are right. I typed A where I meant D in reference to the Key, 07bevanm. I the Key names should all be rotated down one. Sorry corrections coming