All about chords, part 4 Online Guitar Lessons
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All About Chords, part 4

Guest Teacher Series
Darrin Koltow


Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF

Breaking out of open position

Okay, prepare for blastoff. We are leaving the solar system, heading for Alpha Centauri: we're moving from the open position chords to learn chord forms you can *move*. This includes bar chords and other movable forms.

You might feel you're not ready yet to move to another position and learn new chord forms. Heck, you might be content to play open position for the rest of your life. That's fine. For those who want to explore other parts of the fretboard, this section will be a breath of fresh air.

First, let's put open position in perspective by relating it to other positions. Open position chords and patterns only *seem* easier than patterns in other parts of the fretboard, for a number of reasons. One is that those other parts of the fretboard represent for you the Great Unknown. And we know how scary and intimidating that can be.

The fact is, if you had started learning bar chords the very first day you started playing guitar, then they'd seem as natural to you as stink is to my laundry. So, if you're concerned about leaving the comfort of the open position chords for the *temporary* discomfort of learning the new, cool bar chords and moveable chords, recognize that the discomfort *is* only temporary.

Shoot, don't you remember how awkward it was to play *anything* on the guitar the first time you picked it up? And now you're probably playing a whole bunch of songs well enough to make you and others smile.

Intro to CAGED

Okay, enough pep talk. Let's move out of open position into moveable chord forms to play the essential 16251 progression. To do this we're going to create the moveable chord forms using the CAGED system.

"CAGED?" you say. "What's that?" Rather than explain it, let's *do* it. Make the C major chord in open position. You know, good 'ol C major. It looks like this:

|-1-- Finger 1
|-0-- (Open, no finger)
|-2-- Finger 2
|-3-- Finger 3

Now, slide your fingers up, holding the same exact shape, so your first finger is on the fifth fret. You'll have this:

--5----| Finger 1
--0----| (Open, no finger)
--6----| Finger 2
--7----| Finger 3

Go ahead and play that. It's a real chord, and sounds kind of Bluesey, but the sound isn't quite right for our basic 16251. Why not? Well, look at the notes you're hitting: E, G, G#, and B. These are the notes for the E major chord, plus, a G note from the open G string. Let's get rid of that G note so we can have a regular E major chord.

Before we get rid of the G, first notice the fingers you're using. Look at the previous tab. Now, play the same exact notes, but with these fingers:

--5----| Finger 2
--0----| (Open, no finger)
--6----| Finger 3
--7----| Finger 4

Feels kind of funky, working in that pinky, doesn't it? Don't worry, funky is good, even if it's not the hippest word around anymore.

You're almost done forming the E major chord. Add one more finger, like this:

--5----| Finger 2
--4----| Finger 1
--6----| Finger 3
--7----| Finger 4

Play this. How does it sound? Are all the notes ringing clearly? If not, you might need to get your thumb further down, so each finger can hit its note without blocking the other notes. Remember, the awkwardness will pass.

Although the actual chord you just played is an E major, the moveable chord *form* is one we can call CAGED form 1 or the C Caged form. We call it the C CAGED shape or form, because we used the open position C major chord to create it. All we did to make the movable shape from the open position one was to change the fingering a bit, and add one more finger.

You can move this shape *anywhere* on the fretboard to get a major chord. It's pretty nifty. Move the shape so your first finger lies on the second fret. That's a D major chord. Move the shape so your first finger sits on the seventh fret. That's G major. All these chords are from one movable shape. And, that moveable shape comes from an open position, immovable one: C major.

Page 2, How we made the Blues tab

Page 4, More CAGED shapes

Lesson Jump Zone
A Bit o' Review - The Blues Injection
How we made the Blues tab
Breaking out of open position - Intro to CAGED
More CAGED shapes

© 2002 Darrin Koltow, All rights reserved

Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF

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