As a self taught player, having never taken lessons with a teacher, I found myself having to stop frequently while going thru Tommy’s lessons to find intervals. I can find them ok, just a little slow in doing and I could see the importance of it rather than just using the “learn this lick technique”. I decided to go back and start wood shedding and found the caged system helpful. This was after reading up on George Barnes’s and Barney Kessel’s view of fingerboard organization (thanks to Tommy for that). Researching further I found a DVD by Whit Smith called Chordination Vol 2. I can’t recommend this one enough. It focuses largely on triads up the neck as related to the caged and in major scales contained within. He demos all the theory toward the end to get it to sink in using songs other than Row Row Row Your Boat like you see in so much of this type of instruction. It doesn’t compete in any way with Tommys lessons and fills in any gaps you may have in the fingerboard. I’m not saying this DVD is easy. It requires many hours in the shed. I got his first Vol 1 DVD too and it’s all about Western swing very advanced rhythm techniques. Not quite ready for that one just yet. Suggestions on what you guys use for this subject are always welcomed but I think I’m on the right path with this one. Mike
I agree the Whit Smith video are very good. I love both of them and see the value in both them. The first one is great for learning the intervals as well. He does a great job spelling out the chord voicings. Even if you don’t use the chord patterns the shapes and how he names them are great. Like all of you guys I have problems defining intervals from licks. I will say the more we do it the easier it becomes. The more lines I transcribe the easier it becomes.
Two things that really helped me open up the fret board were learning inversions for chords up the neck, and the other was learning the numeric intervals on the neck if your root is here. For the inversion what I am talking about is taking a chord and learn each inversion as you go up the neck, and doing this for each type of chord Major, Minor, and Dominant 7th. An inversion, just in case, is a chord with either the root on top, 3rd on top, 5th on top, etc. For the numeric intervals I will have to see if I can find away to scan the chart I made for myself and post it later so you can see what I am talking about. It is basically like a scale pattern that is always the same. If your root is on this string the 2, 3,4,5, and such will always be in this location. Move it to this string they are always here kind of thing. This chart just shows the different string roots and where the intervals will land. That helped me a lot with figuring out chords that I didn’t know what they were earing out music. It is funny because if you point to a string at a fret and ask what note is this, I have to stop and think about it. But if I make a chord and you point to spot like that I can tell what interval that is with out thinking about it.
Your right Tommy, the more you work with it the easier it becomes. I know what you mean about inversions Bryan. It just clicked for me that the 3 notes of the E, A, and D common cowboy chord shapes are actually 2nd inversions, bottom to top 5-1-3 or
5-R-3. Little things like this should be taught in day one guitar instruction as learning guides. I didn’t see it until I started looking at triads on all the string sets. I like the triad approach tied in with CAGED because I can see the intervals surrounding them more clearly. As an example; If you just take the common cowboy A chord shape and move it up the neck, the intervals surrounding that 5-R-3 remain the same. Only the Root changes. Whit Smith and Kessel call that the Bflat position if you barre it. I wasn’t planning on getting too deep into theory stuff but once ya get started there’s no turning back. I know some pretty good players who probably don’t know this stuff. There are quite a few guys on forums like TGP who down play CAGED as a crutch. I’m interested in it and I’m crippled so what the hay. Might as well use the crutch and learn it. Gonna shut up and get work now. lol
It is funny because I never understood what the CAGED thing was until about 2 months ago. I always heard it, but never understood it and wondered what the heck people were talking about. Then Tommy mentioned to someone else when he was out here and then all of a sudden it clicked. “Oh that’s what that means.” Funny how that works sometimes. Like you say theory is not needed to be a good player, and I have always found most unique players learn it second. Learning theory didn’t make me any better as a player. It is good to know though because it helps you apply what you learn to other situations. It also helps communicate your ideas to others better, or them to you. It helped me in the jam/fill in position So I had to learn it so they could tell me the structure and I could follow what they meant. I was a self taught player, and a self taught theologian. I have learned personally that nothing will ever help you more than a well tuned ear. This is what I work on the most. If your ear can hear where things need to go, and learn to recognize the sounds of interval changes, you do not need to know the theory. Sometimes people can’t tell you what they are playing because they do not know the theory either. That has helped me more than anything. Being able to recognize the movement of the I to the II, the II to the V. The sound of a major chord vs a dominant chord vs minor. That kind of stuff.
You hit the nail on the head. The well trained ear is THE most important thing musically. Tommy points out a way to use your ear on his 32 bar/swing for the blues guitarist lesson to figure out chord progressions using the bass notes to get started. Very useful. Using that method does require that you know the sound of major, minor, dom chords and how to form them but at least gets you started, especially when your listening to a full band on a recording and trying to isolate a progression.
Sorry, I didn’t get to edit the above post. I was going to add that this is mainly in a jazz style but is relevant to any form of improvisation. I like the way he thinks. It gets good later in the vid.
And one more thing. This is too cool. Where do ya find this software?
You think it’s software or did he just fill in the boxes!
I think you’re right Grez. That looks too good to be true. He mentioned in the vid that it takes him 3 or 4 days to make it so filling in is probably what takes all the time.
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