Thursday, April 10, 2008

Upcoming CD Released Free, One Track
at a Time

The tunes are all written, and I'm spending lots of time in the studio now. It's all instrumental rock, with an emphasis on melodic soloing and cool arrangements, with the requisite hot licks and some shredding here and there.

When the songs are all mixed and mastered, you'll be able to download one song for free each month. Every month the free song will be switched to a different one off the album. You can contact me to be notified when the CD is available or when each new monthly song is available. Just state your preference. If you give me your address I won't give it to anyone else. No time for marketing shenanigans. I will only contact you when I have new product!

Of course you'll also be able to buy the CD right away if you want CD quality, or if you don't want to wait for the songs. That would be nice.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Help with Guitar Fretboard Workbook, pg 10: Root Shapes; also Dropped Tunings

Hi Barrett,
[...I am on the 2nd chapter of the Fretboard workbook where you are talking about root shapes. I totally understand memorizing the the C notes for the Key of C... but once you mention G and then go on to the exercises I am lost. I guess I understand that the shapes work in a train like pattern... when a certain shape starts at any given point on the fret board the next shape will be the same as it would be if that shape started anywhere else....

I am looking at the finished example in exercise 4 page 10. Do I need to know the key before I can make the shape? Maybe I am reading too far into this but I am just so lost. Is there a book that I should read before this one? Once again thank you for taking time out of your day to try to ease my mind...]

Steve S.

First quick answer: you are correct, you don't need to worry about keys or note names to do Exercises 4 and 5. There is no way to know them yet. I just show you a starting note in Exercises 4 and 5. At the moment it doesn't matter what the name of the note is.

In a way, I'm glad that you got stuck on Exercises 4 and 5 and not a later one. It gives me the opportunity to say right up front that you need to go slow and be patient. We all do. Part of what makes it hard is that you probably expect yourself to just rip through it because you've been playing for years. You don't need another book to prepare for this one, but be ready to spend a long time on each chapter. It's not like a chord chart that you can strum through in a day or two.

The only prior knowledge you need for Exercises 4 and 5 is contained in the book. Make sure you know your correct fret and string numbers as shown on page 6. If you have to stop and think about those, it'll make you forget what you're doing when you try to do the later exercises. It's like math in that way. You have to learn how to count without thinking before you learn to add and subtract.

You may want to review pages 8 and 9 every day for a week or two. The root shapes need to be memorized so well that you could teach them to someone else. Throughout the book, wherever I have you repeat things aloud, I'm telling you they should be memorized that firmly.

When you can play the five patterns of root shapes (as shown on page 8) without looking at the book, you are playing every C note on the guitar---except for some high ones way up the neck.

The demonstration diagrams are not completely abstract, with no note names, because I want to stress the fact that the big sequence of five root shapes stays the same when the key changes. So the diagram is shown in the key of C on page 8, and in G at the bottom of page 9. The main concern at this point, however, is not note names or keys, but just learning the relative locations of the notes within the root shapes and the exact order those root shapes follow.

So please bust out some blank paper and draw the exact same "C" diagram for yourself. Then draw the same diagram two more times, moving each note one fret higher each time. The shapes should stay the same, but you will be drawing all the roots in C#, and then in D. It'll be just like sliding a clear plastic template with dots on it over the graph formed by the strings and frets.

Then, to further cement the knowledge, please answer these questions for me.
(The answers are further down in this post.)
1. Which root shapes have a note on the 3rd string?
2. I have my first finger on the 6th string at any fret. Which root shape can I play?
3. How many frets apart are the roots in pattern 5?
4. I have my pinky finger on the 2nd string at fret 4 (or higher). Which root shape can I play?
5. Which root shapes have a note on the 4th string?
6. I have my 2nd finger on the 5th string at fret 4. Which root shape can I play?
7. Which root shapes have a note on the 1st string?
8. In pattern 1, the roots are two frets apart. Which strings are they on?
9. If I have my first finger on the 5th string, which root shape can I play?
10. What if I have my 4th finger on the 5th string? Which root shape can I play?

You are correct when you say "when a certain shape starts at any given point on the fret board the next shape will be the same as it would be if that shape started anywhere else." You can start with (for example) pattern 2 at the first fret, and go up from there to pattern 3 at fret 3.

It's the same as if I told you to recite the alphabet starting from the letter E, you could say, "E F G H I J," and so on. If I told you to recite it from the letter W and start over when you hit the end, you could say, "W X Y Z A B C," etc. The same applies to the five root shapes. Pattern 5 is always followed by pattern 1 as you move up the neck.

When you go back to the book on page 10, I suggest you do Exercise 5 before Exercise 4. Experience has shown that Exercise 5 is a little bit easier for most people; I think it's because it doesn't make you think about your fingers as much.

1. Patterns 2 and 3
2. Pattern 4
3. 3 frets apart
4. Pattern 5
5. Patterns 4 and 5
6. Pattern 2
7. Patterns 3 and 4
8. Strings 2 and 5
9. Pattern 2
10. Pattern 1, but only if the 4th finger is at fret 2 or higher.

OK, please work on that and get back to me.

Thanks for the great reply! Ok... so I think I am starting to get it now. Looking at excercise 5 helped me. But lets make sure I am thinking about this the right way. If you look at exercise 5 number 2... the first notes is on the 3rd fret on the b string. So I look up at exercise 1 and I see that the note appears twice in that position on the b string not just on the 3rd fret. So then I apply the pattern that I see in the 1st exercise to number 2. So anyway... this means that anytime I have a root on the high e string/low e string it means that it will involve a triangle pattern.... right? no matter what? As long as I am in standard tuning. Now I usually play in Drop C tuning... CGCFAD. I think thats what... 2 or 2 and a half steps down from D standard tuning? Well how much would these diagrams change? Would I have to memorize another set of diagrams or is there a way to use these? I guess the triangle patterns on the 6th string would be the only ones shifted... but is there an easier way to think about it? I actually just bought your soloing book maybe 30 mins ago from amazon... I know that book is probably over my head until I get this one down. But to be able to solo and play lead riffs in my band is my goal. I can write pretty good stuff but when it comes to playing something different over the other guitar playing riffs... I start to get lost.


Hi Steve,

You're right. In standard tuning, any time you have a root on an E string, you will have a triangular pattern of roots: either pattern 3 (if your pinky is playing the E-string notes) or pattern 4 (if your index or maybe your middle finger is playing the E-string notes). I think you're getting it. The answers are all in the back of the book to help you make sure.

Dropped D tuning (DADGBE) is the same as standard tuning in its absolute string intervals except for the 6th string. So again you are correct; the fretboard workbook will apply, except that any note on the 6th string will need to be moved up by two frets in the diagram. Also, as I'm sure you know because it's why you're using this tuning, some chords will become available that are not mentioned in the book because they are too hard to play in standard tuning.

If you then tune the entire guitar down a whole step, producing CGCFAD, any note or chord root letter in the book will of course be off by a whole step.

I think it would be a good idea to make a few of your own diagrams (not a whole book's worth) just to get you on track with the tuning you use. It can't hurt. Another thing I'm sure you've considered is keeping one guitar in standard tuning around the house to use when you're working with books or playing along with most of the recorded guitars you hear.

Thanks for buying the other book, Chord Tone Soloing, too! I think you'll like it, and it won't be as tough as you might think to understand. I tried very hard to put every little step in the correct order and keep the learning curve as shallow as possible for the first half of the book. So go ahead and check out the first couple of chapters when you get it, even if you're still working with the other one. I'd be interested in hearing what you think of it.


Barrett Tagliarino

Barrett Tagliarino