Welcome to the third part of our David Gilmour course! In this set of five lessons we will discuss and learn the idea of 'layering' multiple elements around a single position on the neck. This is a powerful tool as it really opens up your improvisation, allowing you to quickly and easily play pentatonics, full scales, chords and arpeggios without having to move anywhere! This is a skill that Gilmour incorporates expertly when soloing, and you can too!
The first thing we need to understand is how to use arpeggios in improvisation. There are two ways to do this:
The first, and most obvious way to use arpeggios is to play the correct arpeggio over the chord. For example, if the backing track contains a D major chord then the obvious arpeggio to use would be D major. You can use any of the D major positions that we have learnt. Equally, if the chord were Dmaj7, Dmaj9, Dmaj13 or any other major-based chord, you could still use a D major arpeggio as it contains the main triad notes (1st, 3rd and 5th). This method of using arpeggios requires a strong knowledge of the backing track and a little more thought than the next we will learn!
The second way to use arpeggios is to put them in a key. For example, if we were playing in the key of D major or B minor then we could use a D major or B minor arpeggio at any point during the track. Even over the G chord, Am chord or indeed any other chord from that key, you could still play the same arpeggios. This is the basis behind the idea of the layering effect and something we will be learning in more detail.
To illustrate the layering effect, let's take the major arpeggio shapes and combine them with a pentatonic scale and a chord shape. There are three to learn, all shown in the fretboard diagrams.
For the first shape, we combine the pentatonic shape 2 and the 'E' shape CAGED chord. This example is in G major, but will work with any major key.
For the second shape, we combine the pentatonic shape 4 and the 'C' shape CAGED chord. The example is in G major, but will work with any major key.
For the third shape, we combine the pentatonic shape 5 and the 'A' shape CAGED chord. The example is in G major, but will work with any major key.
We will now apply the same principle to the minor arpeggio shapes. There are three to learn, all shown below.
For the first shape, we combine it with the pentatonic shape 1 and the 'Em' shape CAGED chord. The example is in G major but will work with any major key.
For the second shape, we combine it with the pentatonic shape 3 and the 'Cm' shape CAGED chord. The example is in G major but will work with any major key.
For the third shape, we combine it with the pentatonic shape 4 and the 'Am' shape CAGED chord. The example is in G major but will work with any major key.
As well as the three layers we already have (chord, pentatonic, arpeggio) we can also add a fourth - the full scale. This simply means adding the extra major or minor scale notes to the pentatonic. This is a concept we cover in detail in the intermediate lead course, but we will recap the five shapes for you in the fretboard diagrams.
So, with all those full scale shapes to hand, let's take a look at an example layer, starting from the minor arpeggio. It looks like this:
In this video, we walk you through how to put all of this into practice. All you have to do is choose a key, find any single 'layer' of the layering effect, and you're set! For example, we may take the key of A minor and then find the three chord shapes - which we can find quickly and easily. Pay close attention to the video to see how this works.
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