There is very little guitar instruction on the chromatic scale, this is because there is yet to be a universal method of playing the scale. As we learned in a previous lesson, the chromatic scale is the name given to the scale that contains all 12 notes of the western octave. It is a great scale to base exercises on aimed at developing fretting hand finger independence, and also as a great scale to use in improvising in certain contexts; so in short, a great scale to look at if you want to learn acoustic guitar.
Chrom- is the prefix from the Greek word “chroma”, this translates as ‘colour’, therefore the chromatic scale means the scale of colour; it is given this name because the scale contains every note in the octave, every colour in the musical palette.
This scale really began to be exploited by composers such as Chopin in the romantic era of western classical music, so take the time to check out some of his compositions, they were usually very expressive pieces of music, but since their time of composition they have been used by students of the piano to develop complete control and virtuoso technique. The same can be applied when you learn to play the acoustic guitar.
The reason this scale is often used for fingering exercises is that all the fingering I have seen for the scale utilise all 4 fingers of the fretting hand so thorough practice of the scale will result in a high level of dexterity on the left hand fingers.
Here is the chromatic scale demonstrated on a single string, there are some tricky position shifts involved when playing the scale like this

It is more common to see the scale played in this fashion, again, the downside is that as you ascend the scale you descend the fretboard. This also doubles as an effective alternate picking workout.

This is another fingering I have seen for the chromatic scale. Although this one stays in position its downside is that it has 5 notes on each string so will always include a position shift on one of the fingers. The other downside is that the stroke you start each string with alternates with each new string.
This exercise doesn’t contain all 12 notes of the chromatic scale but it is rooted heavily in the chromatic context we have been looking at in this guitar instruction. Once you have ascended the following exercise you can move up a fret and descend the exercise. When you reach the bottom you can move up a fret and start over again. Play this slowly and focus on the strict alternate picking required to execute the exercise.


Learn Acoustic Guitar

April 14, 2010

Learn Acoustic Guitar
By Antonio Orrico

Do you want to learn guitar chords? Then this story is for you to guide you in the process. Follow these tips and you’ll get good results fast.

One of the greatest things about playing the guitar is that it’s not vital to study much theory before you can play a song. While a pianist needs to know the notes in a chord a guitarist doesn’t need to, as he mainly uses chord blocks. In the guitar world we have what is called the CAGED system. We basically have five basic open chord shapes C, A, G, E and D, and by transposing them around the fingerboard – using a barre’ or a capo – we make up all the other chords.

We call “open chords” those chords that make use of both open strings and pressed notes. They are normally played close to the headstock and their unique sound makes them the chords of choice in many genres of music.

In music we have two important chord families, the Major and the Minor chords. A Major chord is made up of three notes the 1st, 3rd and 5th note of the scale, while a minor chord is basically the same but will have a flat 3rd. For example if you need to know which notes are in the C Major chord you have take the C major scale – C D E F G A B C – and take the 1st, the 3rd and the 5th out of the scale, which means that C Major Chord ( C ) is of C, E and G, while C minor chord (Cm) will be C, Eb and G. We call them triads as they are made up of three note even though on the guitar we double notes and use 4, 5 or even 6 strings to play them.

If all of this sounds Greek to you don’t worry, as you can just learn the guitar chords shapes and there you go. All you need to know is that the Major chords have a “Happy” feel and the Minor chords a “Sad” feel.

Once you have learned how to play simple triads – at least the open shapes – you should start practising alterations of them. The most popular are the sus2, sus4, 7th and add9 chords. You have a suspended chord when you substitute the 3rd with the 2nd or the 4th. You get a 7th or a add9 chord when you ad the 7th or the 9th note on top of the triad. Again don’t worry about the theory you can just learn the shapes for now.

The movable shapes are also very important and you should start by practicing the E and A barre’ chords first. They are very simple to memorize because one shape could now be used across the neck and give you different chords. Barre’ chords could be a little bit more challenging to play than open chords but they are very important as they enable you to play in most keys including sharps and flats.

Eventually you should work on power chords. Because they are made of the 1st and the 5th only, they are neither major or minor and one shape is used for both. Power chords make use of 2 max 3 notes and one shape fits all just like barre’ chords – actually they are identical to the low 3 strings on the E and A barre’ chords.

Even though they can sound nice on a acoustic guitar, it’s on a distorted electric guitar that they can shine and have been the work horse of Blues, Pop, Rock, Metal and more. Even melodic artist like Cold Play use power chords for their riffs.

When you learn guitar chords it’s a good idea to make use a chord book and learn from a good teacher. There’s so much to learn and, as you improve in your playing, it’s wiser to mastering the theory behind building chords. That way you can build your own chord shapes making use of the CAGED system instead of memorizing hundreds of shapes.

That’s all for me today I trust this column helped you to get a better understanding of the topic.

All the best

Antonio is a professional session guitarist and composer.
He has some great tutorials for those who want to learn acoustic guitar.

Visit his blog and learn acoustic guitar today.

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One of the big reasons people want to learn acoustic guitar is to sound like their heroes, and there have been fewer inspirations players that the original blues players of the Mississippi Delta. The blues is a peculiar style of music to study as it takes many of the rules learned in western harmony and theory and throws them out of the window, but it is still the subjects of countless guitar instructions. You will find it very difficult to listen to any guitar player and not detect a small hint of the blues in their playing; it has been such an inspirational style that I think it is very important to integrate it into your routine as you learn acoustic guitar.
The foundation of the blues is the chord progression underneath, and that will be the focus of this article. The aptly named ’12 bar blues progression’ is instantly recognizable to any aspiring guitar player, and from a beginners perspective its perfect as it only contains three chords.
This is where we see how many rules the progression breaks. The three chords contained in the progression are all ‘dominant 7th chords’, when played in from A, the first chord is A7. A7 is the 5th chord of in the key of Dmaj (D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#,D), and for those of you that have an understanding of modes, we are using the 5th mode, which is A mixolydian (A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G,A). This is all ok until you look at the second chord which is D7, the notes in this are D,F#,A,C. You can see that the note C is not in the key of A mixolydian/Dmajor, in actual fact this chord comes from a totally different key. The third and final chord throws another spanner in the works as it is constructed from yet another key; E7 contains the notes E,G#,B,D again you can see there is a note (G#) that is not in the key we started in.

As complex as this all sounds it really doesn’t matter as most of the musicians you hear play over this progression will not even be aware of the theory behind it. In fact, most of the people that solo over this will just use a minor pentatonic starting from the tonic of the first chord in the progression, in this case that’s A minor pentatonic (A,C,D,E,G) so from the get go they use a scale that doesn’t even fit over the chord they are playing over as the C clashed with the C# in the chords. But as I stated, this is a tried and tested progression that has had an irreversible effect on the music you know and love. Take your time with this progression and get to know it well, it will take you one step closer to you goal as you learn acoustic guitar.

Losing My Religion

April 4, 2010

What a great guitar songs this is. In this video tutorial you’ll learn how to play it just like the original.

Losing My Religion Part I

Losing My Religion Part II

Chords Video Tutorials

April 1, 2010

Learn the 3 Chord Trick and start playing songs from the word go!

This videos show you how you don’t need to know much to be a guitar legend! Learn these basic chords and be ready to impress your audience.

3 Chord Trick

Stand By Me

The CAGED system is a visualization method used to learn acoustic guitar and other fretted instruments. CAGED is universally accepted as the most efficient guitar instruction method on the market, it breaks the neck up into 5 digestible chunks, each relating to the shaped of the five open chords C,A,G,E and D.
Once these have been committed to memory every scale mode and arpeggio will fit into each one of these shapes. The first step in mastering this system is to be totally comfortable with the 5 open chords C,A,G,E and D. Here are the diagrams for those chords, again take your time and relax the hand. When playing these the thumb should be placed on the back of the neck rather than over the top of the neck. This will enable you to have a more efficient grip on the neck as you hold the chords.

Once you have these chords mastered you can start to look into their bar forms. In order to visualize this you need to imagine that the nut of the guitar is a bar when in the open position, if you were to move everything up one fret you would have to re-finger the chord, but the result would be a chord that you can move around the neck to any key. Here is an example using the E shape of CAGED, this has been moved up along the fretboard and is one of the most commonly used chords in modern guitar.

When you look at this diagram you should be able to see the E form that this has come from. In the practical world we call this “position one CAGED” (so caged should actually be called EDCAG!). Why don’t you try moving each open chord up two frets and apply the bar? This is a really good left hand exercise too, so it all helps with learning acoustic guitar, but of course this can be applied to electric too. The last this we can do with these chords is to play the same chord in five different positions. To do this we need to know where the roots of each chord are.

When we do we can move each shape to the same root and suddenly we have one chord played in 5 different positions covering the entire fretboard. The hard part is knowing where one note is all over the neck, so to save you some time and illustrate my point I have tabbed it as an example and included it below. Once you have you brain around this method of guitar instruction and can visualize the shapes of the chords and also name the positions of chords you see, you can move on to the 5 corresponding minor shapes.

Guitar Tips & Tricks

March 25, 2010

Welcome to this blog everyone

This is just a corner away from the noise of this world were we can talk about and share our knowledge and passion for this amazing instrument. We have some cool articles and video we gather from all over the web that we believe will be of assistance in our journey with the acoustic guitar.

Enjoy you stay!