Introducing Rhythm: it is not just for backing a Soloist

Rhythm and having a good understanding of rhythmic concepts is often seen as being less important than playing through numerous scales fast or just seen as being the staple of the backing guitarist taking a back seat whilst the soloist grabs the limelight. This is not strictly true. In fact some if not all the greatest Soloists demonstrate a complete mastery and understanding of rhythmic concepts and that is ultimately what makes them the great players that they are or were.

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The Blues Scale

In this Post we will be looking at the Blues Scale. To me this is one of the top most useful Scales. Most reference sources will show you the Blues Scale in its Minor Form with a Flattened 3 rd degree (bIII) and a flattened fifth degree( bV). This is okay but it is really half of the story and half of the usefulness of this particular Scale. This is because if you make the Blues Scale into a Major Scale Pattern then the Flattened fifth note (bV) actually now becomes the flattened 3rd (bIII). The Flattened 3rd when played against a Major Chord or Dominant 7th chord is a true Blues Note found in many examples of Blues Styles. So by changing the Blues Scale to a Major pattern you have got instant access to the Blues. I will show you how to do this but most of you will already have covered all this if you have already been studying my approach to the CAGED System (C-A-G-E-D). If not go and have a look at this as it shows you how to use the 5 patterns to find both major and minor scales from pentatonic scale shapes.

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Finding the Chords in the Patterns

So far I have given you the scale shape patterns for both the Minor and the Major. Now we are going to look more closely at what these notes in the respective scales actually are. Basically I am going to throw some theory at you.

Once we have done this I can discuss what are probably the most important scales to know. So far we have only looked at Pentatonic Shapes: this means that these are are shortened version of scales. These Scales contain only 5 notes hence Penta. Full scales usually contain 8 notes so a C major scale would have 8 notes beginning on C (Root) and ending on C an Octave higher = 8 notes. Pentatonic Scales are easier to remember because they only contain 5 notes. However it is possible to use the Pentatonic Scales either Minor or Major to develop a full scale of 8 notes or more by adding some of the missing notes depending upon which scale you want.

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C-A-G-E-D Part Vi

Here are all the 5 Shapes presented as minor Shapes

Here are all the 5 shapes presented as Minor Shape Patterns. As I mentioned earlier this is the easiest way to remember the shapes and the position of the Root Notes. This is important because it allows us to then use our system to find the position for the Major Shape Pattern. Simply go back 3 frets from any of the Root Notes in the Patterns and you will find the VI note. When you have found the VI note simply re-position the same pattern to start from the VI note. Obviously the Root of the major scale shape (Key Note) will be the note you play in the pattern after the VI Note. If unsure go back to part V to familiarize yourself with this concept.

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CAGED System Part 4

Hello again and welcome to Part IV of my article on the CAGED System. In this part we are going to explore what can make a Shape pattern Major or Minor. First though a bit of music theory.

In every Major Scale there is a relative minor chord. The minor chord can be found by building a chord starting on the VI degree ( 6th note ) of the major scale.  Lets take C Major Scale because it has no sharps or flats and is the easiest scale to look at. The Stating note of the Major Scale is obviously a C note. From now on we will refer to the starting note as the ROOT NOTE. This is the root note of the scale – the starting note.

The Scale of C Major is as follows

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The CAGED System Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of the CAGED System explanation. Here is the point where I give you the remaining fingering patterns for the 4 remaining elements of the C-A-G-E-D Grid. So far we have only seen the one pattern for the G letter. Now I give you the C, the A, the E and the D.

However before I do this I want to take you back to the G Shape Pattern. As we have seen this pattern can be either Major scale or minor scale depending on where you play it. If you start the pattern at Fret 3 String 6 ( low String) you will be playing a Minor scale. If you shift it back 3 frets ( this is an open position so starts at Fret 0 of String 6 and follow the pattern you are playing notes from a Major Scale. You would see this if you play either a G maj Chord against the notes you are playing and you will hear some differences in the mood they make against the chord. At position fret 3 it will sound moody maybe like Blues music, at fret 0 it will sound happier and brighter with a traditional feel.

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