BRIAN MAY
Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from Unit 1 | Take A Bow

Let's get down to some nitty-gritty by looking at a fantastic way to start grouping scales and chords into "lead clusters" that will help you quickly navigate chord changes whilst playing some very cool lead licks. This is a technique that Brian May absolutely loves to use and one that we can get to grips with very fast... Especially if you've tackled the CAGED system before. If you haven't, we recommend you also dive into our Unlocking CAGED courses, which you can find here: Major CAGED, Minor CAGED. Check out the first video to get started and click here to check out the Materials Section below to access the interactive tab!

Lesson 6: Major Triads

Let's begin by finding 3 major triads based around the G, B and E strings. Knowing the shapes as well as how to easily find them is crucial here. We talk a lot about "root inversion", "first inversion" and "second inversion". The root inversion starts from the root, the first inversion starts from the major 3rd, and the second inversion starts from the 5th degree. The three triad shapes are based around the CAGED chord C, E and A shapes. Check out the fretboard diagrams and get these learnt before moving on.







Lesson 7: Clusters

Now we have our major triads in place, let's add the scale shapes to those. The combination of the chord moving around with the scale shape gives us our clusters! The idea is to get the triad played, followed by the scale (see the fretboard diagrams) and then switch them to any key of the major chord you can think of. This way, when a major chord pops up in a track, you know that you can play the triad and scale together to create a really cool lead line!







Lesson 8: Minor Triads

Let's now find 3 minor triads based around the G, B and E strings. Knowing the shapes as well as how to easily find them is crucial here. We talk a lot about "root inversion", "first inversion" and "second inversion". The root inversion starts from the root, the first inversion starts from the flattened 3rd, and the second inversion starts from the 5th degree. The three triad shapes are based around the minor CAGED chord Em, Dm and Am shapes. Check out the fretboard diagrams and get these learnt before moving on.







Lesson 9: Clusters

Now we have our minor triads in place, let's add the scale shapes to those. The combination of the chord moving around with the scale shape gives us our clusters! The idea is to get the triad played, followed by the scale (see the fretboard diagrams) and then switch them to any key of the major chord you can think of. This way, when a minor chord pops up in a track, you know that you can play the triad and scale together to create a really cool lead line!







Lesson 10: Application

Now we have all of the theory, let's get some really cool application, based around a simple chord progression. The chord progression is as follows:




In this chord progression, we have 3 chords that are diatonic to the key of C major: C major, G major & D minor. These are the root, 5th and minor 2nd degrees of the C major scale. The Bb, however, is non-diatonic, which means we need to be more considerate about our lead guitar over the top. This is a perfect application for our new knowledge. We play a cool lick based around each of the chord shapes, using our clusters. Use the tab to not only learn the part but also spot each of the clusters (The triad and scale pattern) we are using! Good luck! 😃




Materials: Interactive Tab

Below are the materials for this group of lessons. Click on the tab icon to open our super cool interactive tab player (this will allow you to slow down the tab and play along with the video). Alternatively, jump straight in with the backing tracks below. Good luck!


Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Unit 3 | Queen Of Hearts

In our third unit, we will be working on some more application of our "cluster" concept by learning another Brian May style solo. As well as that, we'll be continuing to narrow down on Brian's lead guitar techniques, scale runs and even some of his awesome rhythm playing.