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All About Chords, Part 7

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Darrin Koltow
www.MaximumMusician.com

 

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All About Chords, Part 7
CAGED 2 Arpeggios

by Darrin Koltow
www.MaximumMusician.com


Be sure and check out all of the lessons in the "All About Chords" series.

Part 1 - how harmony and chords work
Part 2 - the ii-V-I chord progression.
Part 3
- Arpeggios
Part 4
- The Blues Injection
Part 5 - CAGED - Form E
Part 6 - CAGED 2 - Form A
Part 7 - CAGED 2 - Form A - Arpeggios
Part 8 - CAGED 2 - Form A - Chord Melody
Part 9 - CAGED 2 - Blues Chord Melody

Here's where we're going this lesson: CAGED 2 (CAGED A) Arpeggios, including Blues arpeggios. All I can say is ouch.

In the last lesson we learned how to play a basic chord accompaniment using the 16251 progression in D major around the fifth fret, using only CAGED movable chords. As we worked toward building that progression we learned more about how to turn open position chords into movable chords. That's the purpose of the CAGED system: to connect what you know well, the open position chords, with what you want to know well, the movable chords. The CAGED system makes seeing chord and scale shapes on the guitar easy.

In this lesson we need to go beyond the plain 16251 progression for CAGED 2; we need to go beyond just strumming the chords to get arpeggios under our fingers. And we need to Bluesify our CAGED 2 arpeggios so we can feel relentless, unstoppable enthusiasm for playing them.

It's a lot of playing to work through, so let's begin!

First, here's our plain but lovable 16251 progression based on the CAGED 2 chord, for us to play around the 5th fret. This is a quickie review of last lesson's main progression:

|---------|-------|-------|--------|
|o--7--7--|-7--7--|-5--5--|-5--5--o|
|---7--7--|-7--7--|-7--7--|-6--6---|
|---7--7--|-7--7--|-5--5--|-5--5---|
|o--5--5--|-------|-7--7--|-------o|
|---------|-7--7--|-------|-5--5---|


Get the Power Tab file for this progression here

And get the MIDI here

If you need the free and awesome Power Tab app, get it here:
http://power-tab.net/

Now let's make some arpeggios.

Remember that once we can smoothly play one arpeggio pattern, we want to make another pattern and another. We do this because we want to know how to play melodies starting at many different points. If we don't do this, we'll tend to start our solos from the same spot every time, and bore everyone who listens to us, including ourselves, to tears. Here's one pattern:

Q=80, 4/4

      D                Em7
  H       H         H       H
  |       |         |       |  <== Gtr II
  /       /         /       /

  E E E E E E E E   E E E E E E E E   
|-7-5-----------5-|-7---------------|
|-----7-------7---|---8-5-------5-8-|
|-------7-4-7-----|-------7-4-7-----| <== Gtr I
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|


      A7                D
  H       H         H       H
  |       |         |       |
  /       /         /       /

  E E E E E E E E   E E E E E E E E
|-5---------------|-5---------------|
|---8-5-------5-8-|---7-----------7-|
|-------6---6-----|-----7-4---4-7---|
|---------7-------|---------7-------|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Duration Legend
---------------
W-whole; H-half; Q-quarter; E-8th; S-16th; T-32nd

+ - note tied to previous
. - note dotted
.. - note double dotted

Duration letters will always appear directly above the note/fret number they represent the duration for. Duration letters with no fret number below them represent rests.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A different progression

This exercise doesn't use the 16251 progression, but a 1251 progression. What happened to the 16251? Why change from the 16251, which we played in our basic chord accompaniment exercise, to a 1251 for arpeggios? Here's why: we'd get bored if we played arpeggios over the 16251 instead of the 1251. Let's explain that.

In the 16251 progression in D major, the first two chords are D major and Bm7, correct? Well, these two different chords *can use the same arpeggio notes.* They don't have to, but we're keeping things simple.

Those arpeggio notes are as follows: D, F#, A, and B. If you were to reassemble those notes back into chords, you'd likely come up with the names of two different chords: D major 6 and B minor 7.

How the heck can one set of notes make two different chords? Answer: the bass note. Generally, a chord is named by what's in its bass. If we play this:

|---|
|-7-|
|-7-|
|-7-|
|---|
|-7-|

...which has a B in the bass, it's a Bm7. If we play this,

|---|
|-7-|
|-4-|
|-4-|
|-5-|
|---|

...which has a D in the bass, we're lookin' at a Dmaj6. Same note *names* plus different bass notes equals different chords. *Yet*, we can use the *same arpeggio* over both of them. This brings us back to our point that playing arpeggios over the one-six progression would be boring. If we had gone with the 1625(1) instead of the 1251, here's what the first two measures would have looked like:

|-7-5-----------5-|-7-5-----------5----|
|-----7-------7---|-----7-------7------|
|-------7-4-7-----|-------7-4-7--------|
|-----------------|--------------------|
|-----------------|--------------------|
|-----------------|--------------------|
  Dmaj6              Bm7

If you look in a dictionary under the term "boring," you might see a picture of this tab. I chose the 1251 to practice our arpeggios with instead of the 16251 because playing the same arpeggio twice is just not interesting. It would hurt our motivation to practice arpeggios.

Vary the pattern

In keeping with the goal of changing an arpeggio pattern once you can play that pattern smoothly, here's a variation on the pattern just given. The first pattern we did started on the 6th degree of D major, note B, and went down. This next pattern starts on degree 3, note F# in D major, and goes up. Why choose these notes to start the exercise? Cosmic rays, indigestion, or a butterfly flexing its wings in China made me do it. In other words, it was totally a random decision.

Here's the 2nd pattern. Make sure you can play it smoothly before moving on to other patterns:


Q=80, 4/4

      D                Em7
  H       H         H       H
  |       |         |       |
  /       /         /       /

  E E E E E E E E   E E E E E E E E
|-----------------|-----------------|
|---------7-------|-------5-8-5-----|
|-----4-7---7-4---|---4-7-------7-4-|
|-4-7-----------7-|-5---------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|


       A7                D
   H       H         H       H
   |       |         |       |
   /       /         /       /

  E E E E E E E E   E E E E E E E E
|---------5-------|-------5-7-5-----|
|-----5-8---8-5---|-----7-------7---|
|---6-----------6-|-4-7-----------7-|
|-7---------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|

Here's the Power Tab

And here's the MIDI file

Here's a checklist of all the degrees and directions you want to cover as you practice your arpeggios:


Chord degree | Ascending  | Descending
-------------| ---------  | ----------
     1       |            |  
     3       |     X      |
     5       |            |
     6       |            |      X

Notice the patterns we did are checked off. Checklists aren't super exciting to read about, but when you use them to see the work you've done and the work still remaining, they *are* exciting. And they get *more* exciting when you reward yourself after finishing a set of checklists -- such as a set containing arpeggio exercises for all the CAGED chords.

Time for some Blues

Okay, we've paid our dues with the regular arpeggio exercise. Now, let's make practicing even more fun with a Blues injection. Before you dive into this tab, I recommend listening to the MIDI file first, and then reading the first paragraph following the tab for an important note about the rhythm notation used here.

Here's the tab:


4/4

  Q=40 (16=s16) (This means "Blues feel")
           D
  Q     Q     Q     Q       
  |     |     |     |       
  /     /     /     /       

  E S S S S E S S E S S E  
|-------------------------|
|-------------6-7---------|
|-----5-4-7-------7-4-----|
|-4-7-----------------7---|
|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|

          Em7
  Q     Q     Q       Q
  |     |     |       |
  /     /     /       /

  E S S S S E S S S S S S E
|---------------------------|
|---------5---8-6-5---------|
|---3-4-7-----------7---3-4-|
|-5-------------------------|
|---------------------------|
|---------------------------|


             A7                       
    Q     Q     Q       Q    
    |     |     |       |    
    /     /     /       /    


  E S S S S E S S S S S S E  
|-------------5-------------|
|-------5-8-----8-7-5-------|
|---5-6-----------------5-6-|
|-7-------------------------|
|---------------------------|
|---------------------------|


               D
   Q       Q       Q       Q
   |       |       |       |
   /       /       /       /

  S S +E  S S S S S S S S S S +E
|----------------------------------|
|----------------------------------|
|-4-5-(5)-4------------------------|
|-----------7---3-4---3-4----------|
|-------------------5-----5-3-(3)--|
|----------------------------------|

Don't pick the notes shown in parentheses; these are sustained from the previous note. You can find this tab in the same Power Tab and MIDI files mentioned previously.

About the rhythm: unless you're a wiz at reading durations and rhythmic values, don't try to read them in this exercise; you'll hurt yourself. I've been reading for some time, and notating this sucker almost made me think understanding Mideast politics was comparatively easy. (Man, how could something so simple and beautiful as the Blues be so hard to notate!)

Learn this exercise by ignoring the duration values of the notes as you *see* them. Pick off just the string and fret locations, and then *listen* to the MIDI or Power Tab files to hear how this piece should go.

Here's a tip on the fingering you can use to work through this exercise: Basically, do what works. I don't mean to be flip. But the usual D major bar fingering is probably going to break down if you get into higher speeds with this baby. In particular, have a look at beats 3 and 4 of measure one, and an easy fingering for them:

       *Tab*              *Fingering*
     S S E S S E          S S E S S E  
... -------------|       -------------|
    -6-7---------|       -1-3---------|
... -----7-4-----|       -----2-1-----|
    ---------7---|       ---------4---|
... -------------|       -------------|
    -------------|       -------------|


(Again, this just shows beats 3 and 4 of the first measure. The first two beats are deleted for clarity. That's what the "..." are for.)

Let's walk through that fingering step by step. You'll pick that first note with your first finger on fret 6. This obviously throws you out of the CAGED 2 position, which is fine.

Now look at the next note: it's a hammer onto fret 7 with your third finger -- not your second finger, as you will be tempted to do. Why hammer with finger 3 instead of finger 2? Take a look at the third note.

We need finger 2 to fret the D on string 3, fret 7. That's why we can't use that finger to hammer onto the F# on string 2.

Following the D on string 3, fret 7 is another position buster: we're moving our hand back to the CAGED 2 position again, to fret the B on string 3, fret 4 with our first finger.

If this description of the fingering is tough to follow, don't worry: your desire to play this tab, combined with a little bit of playing around, will make your fingers do what you want.

It's time to wrap up this edition of All About Chords. In the next lesson we'll get into the chord melody of CAGED 2, which may include a Blues chord melody.

© 2002 Darrin Koltow, All rights reserved
www.MaximumMusician.com



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