You can think of Unit 1 as actually the 9th unit in the context of the 3 fingers courses! That gives us license to jump in with a super cool track that brings in the groove and style from unit 2, and adds way more chords! We're working with the CAGED chord positions to show you how to start breaking out of the first 3 or 4 frets of the guitar and create a far more expansive fingerstyle piece! Let's dive in.
Before we fully dive into the song, it's worth having a quick discussion about the way we're going to be moving our chords around the fretboard. We will be using the CAGED chord system to do this, and as we won't be going into a huge amount of detail on that system here, please make sure you check out our full courses; Major CAGED course & Minor CAGED course.
So, in general, we will be using the E and A shape CAGED chords in this piece. You may know these better as barre chords, which we cover in this course. A quick recap of the 4 shapes in major and minor can be found in the Chord Boxes section.
All these chord shapes are starting on G and, therefore, are G chords of some kind. If you want to make a B major, you need to move the major shape up to the B on the same string. Also, we are now labelling the chords with intervals ("R, 3 5" for example). So we can see that the major chords are root, 3rd and 5th, whilst the minor chords are root, b3rd and 5th!
These chords are essential to know, but as we develop, we can start to break them down into smaller chunks! We do this in this track. As Thomas said in the video, it's important to explore this for yourself, but here are a few pointers and examples. Let's take a B minor chord...
You can see how we can break this big barre chord down into little chord chunks. There are many reasons you might want to do this, but the most obvious are that it's easier to play than the barre shape, and the second that we can get far more creative with these mini versions of the chords, especially when songwriting.
Take the major version of the E shape (or the A shape chords) and try this process for yourself. What can you come up with? You should be able to find 3 triad versions of the chord. Good luck, have fun with it, and we'll dig into the song next time.
It's now time to start working through the first section of this track, which will put into practice the CAGED conversation we had in the last lesson. section A is highlighted in the soundslice, which can be found in the Guitar Tabs.
So let's start by breaking down the core chords, which are using the CAGED shapes we talked about in the previous lesson. Take a look at the Chord Boxes section to see what shapes we are using.
The groove stays pretty much consistent through the whole part, and our job is to identify the bass notes, core arpeggio notes and slaps. Here's a diagram to help!
REMEMBER: As we discussed in Level 2, the slaps are generally performed by hitting the thumb and pad of the hand onto the low strings. Be sure to go through Level 2 Acoustic Fingerstyle to learn that first!
As we loop this chord progression we start to add a few changes to the fingerstyle patterns. Keep the tab close at hand as you work through these changes, as they can be quite subtle. My advice here would be to be very specific and very deliberate with each bar. It simply takes a lot of repetition to get the 3 individual sounds together, and being specific to every beat helps with that!
It's now time to start working through the second section of the track, section B. Use the tab as your guide for this lesson, which can be found in the Guitar Tabs section.
So let's start by breaking down the core chords, which are using the CAGED shapes we talked about in the previous lesson.
As you work through the section with Thomas, use the tab to grab the exact details. As I said before, with fingerstyle it's all about putting the time in, bar by bar, and watching it gradually come together. Be patient and be kind to yourself, as it does take time.
It's now time to start working through the final section of the track, section C. Use the tab as your guide for this lesson, which can be found in the Guitar Tabs.
### The Chords
So let's start by breaking down the core chords, which are essentially the same as in section A. The big difference is that we are using different inversions and CAGED shapes to play this chord progression. This breathes a whole new life into the track, and really feels like a different section.
The descending part is a very tricky section in this song, but Thomas & Cam (the very impressive man behind the camera) came up with a cool way to remember and work through the pattern. Here's what to remember:
Have fun with this section guys! We now have 3 sections and our job in the final lesson is to get them all together! See you there.
For our final lesson of the track Thomas works with you, hand in hand, to get the song played all the way through. He kicks off at around 70BPM and starts to work up from there. Take your time at each speed level, and don't rush this process. In all likelihood, it will take some time to get the piece ready to play along even with the slowest speed, as it can be very fiddly!
Best of luck, and we'll see you in Unit 2!
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