Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Course Week 10 Step 3 and 4

Mad World Intro + Finger Style!

Welcome back, today we learn the Intro to ‘Mad World’.

To do this successfully you need to know the pentatonic scale shapes the Intro melody sit in.

That’s why you started off by practicing these on their own a few days ago.

We also look at how you can play ‘Mad World’ using just your fingers.

Week 10 – Step 3 – 10-15 min

As you know the scales and the melody is just a few bars, so this step won’t take long.

The main thing here is to see how the melody moves between the scale shapes.

It is a common misconception that when playing a solo or a melody, you only use one scale over a the chord progression.

flat earthYou might think you do and previous guitar teachers might have told you that you do but in reality, when the chord changes, the scale changes too.

It doesn’t matter if you think it doesn’t, it still does!

Millions of guitar players would argue themselves blue in the face about this since they only think about one scale when they solo.

I guess all I can say is; there was a time, not long ago when everyone believed the earth was flat. It wasn’t, it was just what people believed!

With this in mind, let’s look at the Intro in TAB, can you see how the melody is following the chord shapes?
Mad World Intro
The first note is pushed, coming from beat 4 &. This is the m3rd of the E Minor pentatonic, in an Am shape.

Following this we play more notes from the Em pentatonic with an added note, fret 7 on string 2. This is the 2nd/9th of the scale, the note F#.

You could call this Dorian as well. But it is only Dorian for this bar. over the A chord we are playing an A scale in an E shape.

Em Minor Pentatonic – Am shape

E Minor Pentatonic - Am shape


A Major Pentatonic – E shape

A Major Pentatonic - E shape


A Major Pentatonic – D shape

A Major Pentatonic - D shape


E Dorian – Am shape

E Dorian - Am shape


In the next bar we start on fret 6, string 3. This is the 3rd of the A chord and we are playing an E shaped Major Pentatonic. Following this we go between the Root (an A) and back to the 3rd (a C#).

In the second to last bar we are back in Em and play almost exactly the same thing in our Am shape as when we started the melody. The only difference is that the last two notes now go up the scale.

The final bar (an A chord) is played in a D shape, here we move between the Root of the A chord and the 5th.

Can you hear how the melody is following the chords? Here it is again:
Mad World Intro
If you can, you can also see how whenever a chord change, the scale must change too.

Just like the earth is round, it’s a fact.

Here’s the video to play along with, you must think:

  1. E Minor Pentatonic/Dorian – Am shape
  2. A Major Pentatonic – E shape
  3. E Minor Pentatonic/Dorian – Am shape
  4. A Major Pentatonic – D shape

Week 10 – Step 4 – 15-30 min

I prefer playing ‘Mad World’ with a pick, I like the way each note pops out from the sound of the pick, rather than the finger.

However, you could easily play this with your fingers, so let’s try it!

Use the same pattern as when you played with a pick, all you have to do is decide what fingers to use.

Here’s the complete chart for the song. Use the video above to play along with.
Mad World


Today you learned the Intro for ‘Mad World’. Most importantly you thought about different scale shapes when you played the melody.

Following this you tried playing the whole song using just your fingers.

What fingers you used was up to you.

Next week we start working on a new song in ‘Empire State Of Mind’, we will then have to learn how to play maj7 chords.

See you then!

Dan (your guitar guru)