Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Course Week 1

Your first Intermediate Lesson!

Welcome to your first Intermediate lesson in this Guitar Course.

In this course you will learn:

  1. 22 Acoustic Songs
  2. How to play all barred chords
  3. How to play fractions of barred chords
  4. How to create 2nd guitar parts
  5. 5 Minor Pentatonic scale shape
  6. 5 Major Pentatonic scale shape
  7. How to extend to maj7, dom7 and min7
  8. How to build and play finger style patterns
  9. How to pick and strum at great speed
  10. How chord progressions work

Just like in the beginner course, each week contain two lessons that last between 30-60 minutes.

Every lesson has two steps, let’s get right to it and start with step 1.

Week 1 – Step 1 – 15-30 min

The first thing we need to do is move away from the open position chords and start playing barred chords.

As I mentioned in the beginner course, this is the most common hurdle guitar players arrive at before they give up.

The reason they give up is based on the misunderstanding that you have to play barred chords as full shapes – you don’t, almost always will you only play fractions of a barred chord.

Before we start practicing these fractions, let’s clear up how to build all barred major and minor chords.

Study the images below and see how a chord is simply moved up the fretboard. When you move an E chord up the fretboard it becomes an E shape, an A chord an A shape, a D chord a D shape and so on.

Below are all major open position chords as major shaped barred chords.

E chord

Open Position E chord

E shape

G chord - E shape

A chord

Open Position A chord

A shape

C chord - A shape

D chord

Open Position D chord

D shape

E chord - D shape

G chord

Open Position G chord

G shape

A chord - G shape

C chord

Open Position C chord

C shape

D chord - C shape


Similarly, we can do the exact same thing to our minor chords. Now an open position Em becomes an Em shape. An Am become an Am shape and so on.

Below are all minor open position chords as minor shaped barred chords.

Em chord

Open Position Em chord

Em shape

Gm chord - Em shape

Am chord

Open Position Am chord

Am shape

Cm chord - Am shape

Dm chord

Open Position Dm chord

Dm shape

Em chord - Dm shape

Gm chord

Open Position Gm chord

Gm shape

Am chord - Gm shape

Cm chord

Open Position Cm chord

Cm shape

Dm chord - Cm shape


Spend no more than 30 minutes playing around with all these shapes.

If you can’t fret them and get a good sound when strumming, don’t worry, not all of these barred chords can be played using the full shape.

In fact, most of them are very difficult to play and even if you manage to do it, they won’t sound very good when used in a song arrangement, they simply have too many notes in them.

It is however very important that you can see the full shape.

This brings us to the first step: Playing fractions of barred chords.

Week 1 – Step 2 – 15-30 min

Let’s take the E and A shaped barred chords and play fractions of them.

Simply follow the video which move around the neck using the cycle of 4ths.

First play as in the video, but more importantly, using the fractions you see notated in the TAB below the video.

The bonus here is that you will also learn all the notes on the neck. Always call out the chord name as you play the exercises. This will connect the fret number with the note and reinforce the learning.

E shape

Here’s a video of the E chord shape moving around the neck using chord: A – D – G – C – F – Bb – Eb – Ab – Db – Gb – B – E.

Here’s the TAB for this exercise using fractions of the chord shape.
Intermediate Guitar Course Week 1 Fractions of E
Ensure you play through the entire TAB sheet before moving on to the next chord shape.

A shape

Here’s the A chord shape moving around the neck using chord: A – D – G – C – F – Bb – Eb – Ab – Db – Gb – B – E.

Here’s the TAB for this exercise using fractions of the A chord shape.
Intermediate Guitar Course Week 1 Fractions of A
Same idea in minor!

It’s easy to just translate this exercise to minor. Here’s the video for the Em shaped chord, moving through the cycle of 4ths:

Here’s the TAB for the Em exercise using fractions.
Intermediate Guitar Course Week 1 Fractions of Em
Here’s the video with the full Am shape:

And finally, here’s the TAB with the Am shaped fractions.
Intermediate Guitar Course Week 1 Fractions of Am
Spend no more than 30 minutes playing around with these exercises.

If you come back tomorrow and do the same thing again you will speed up the learning process.

Conclusion

Today you learned how to move an open position chord up the neck and create a barred chord.

It is very important that you can see the whole shape, you don’t necessarily have to play the full shape though.

This brought us to what is really important and that is to play fractions of barred chords.

If you spend some time every day playing around with these fractions you will take your guitar playing to completely new heights.

In three days time we will look at playing fractions of the three remaining shapes. As well as this, we start learning a song.

See you then!

Dan (your guitar guru)