Introduction to the intermediate acoustic guitar course and the so-called CAGED system.
Learn how you can convert your open position major and minor chords into barre chord shapes.
346 learners taking this course
Introduction to the intermediate acoustic guitar course and the so-called CAGED system.
Learn how you can convert your open position major and minor chords into barre chord shapes.
In this first step, we learn how to play the verse and chorus from ‘Hey There Delilah, just like the original recording.
Use the TAB and loops to master these two relatively simple sections of the song.
In this step, we focus on how to play the M8 section from ‘Hey There Delilah’.
You’ll soon find out how this is in many ways recycling the chords you already played in the verse and chorus.
In this step, we learn how to play ‘Hey There Delilah’ from beginning to end, just like the original recording.
Use the TAB and the video to play along with me and the singer.
In this step, we look at how the CAGED system can help us discover 2nd guitar parts for ‘Hey There Delilah’.
The secret to unlocking the guitar fretboard lies within linking the CAGED chord shapes up and down the fretboard.
In this step, we work out a 2nd guitar part around fret 5. All chords are now barre chords.
However, as we only use three strings, there is not much barring going on!
It’s time to move up the neck and find yet another 2nd guitar part, this time around fret 10.
Where will all this lead? To improvising and learning how to write parts, that’s where.
In this final step, I’ll show you how you can use the CAGED system to improvise up an endless amount of guitar parts.
Play along with me and the singer one final time, make up your own part as you go along.
To learn how to play ‘Mad World’, we start by looking at the verse. First, practice all examples to the loop as the TAB display, then start improvising the patterns.
This composition is in Dorian, that means chord II is our home.
In this step, we learn how to play the chorus. There are three examples to first learn before you start improvising.
The chorus only move between the II and V chord, a very common movement.
In this step, we take a look at how to play the intro/instrumental melody. To understand how a melody is constructed, we anchor it in the chord shapes.
This will also help with remembering it, as well as understanding music and the guitar neck on a deeper level.
In this step, we play the complete song. You get a loop and a simple TAB chart to play along to.
When you’re comfortable playing this, try it with me and a singer as well.
In this step, we explore how to play all Em and A chords using the CAGED system.
These two chords are a II – V and what you play in the chorus of ‘Mad World’.
Today we do what we did to the chorus in the last step to the verse of ‘Mad World’. As there are four chords rather than just two, it may be a bit more difficult.
Persist and you will soon master the CAGED system.
With a capo on fret 2 we are set up to think of ‘Mad World’ in the key of Dm.
We can now play the intro melody using open strings and add a sus4 instead of a sus2 to our I chord which is now a C.
In this final step, we fit a capo to fret 5. This means we now must think in Bm. Bm being chord II.
To make the chorus work better with the capo, I use a Bm7 instead of a Bm.
In this step, we start working on a bunch of fretting exercises from the CAGED system.
First we learn the C, Cm, A, and Am shapes.
In this step, we continue working on our CAGED fretting exercises.
It’s time to nail the G, Gm, E and Em shapes. Practice along to the loops for best results.
In this final step of fretting exercises for the CAGED system we work on the D and Dm shapes.
First, practice each line individually on your own, then put them together and play with the loop.
In this step, we put the CAGED systems shapes to the test as we play a chord progression in every area of the neck.
The progression is I III II V and the key is C.
We are back playing a song again, well, almost.
In this step, we go through all the areas you can play this song in for the key of A.
In this step we play the complete song with a female singer.
However, in order to do this, we must first learn it all over the neck in the key of G.
Let’s learn ‘Whistle For The Choir’ in the key of E as well.
After all, this is the original key of the song!
In this final step, we play in the key of D as this is what the instrumental section is in. Still, the progression is I III II V.
Playing this progression in so many keys and positions, you’ll probably recognise it on the radio now, in other songs!
Before we start working on ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, we first practice some chromatic and sweeping exercises.
The first two use the rhythm of one 8th, two 16th notes.
In this step, we practice another couple of chromatic and sweeping exercises.
Spend up to twenty minutes doing this before you move on to the final set of exercises in step 3.
In this final step, we practice the same rhythm you’ll use when playing ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’.
This is easier than previous examples for the chromatic version but much, much more difficult for the sweeping pattern.
In this step, we learn the verse of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ using a capo on fret 2.
What you’ll hear is in the key of D, however, you must think as if in the key of C.
In this step, you’ll learn the chorus and instrumental sections.
When you can play these two sections you can play the complete song, which we do together at the end of this step.
Let’s not play exactly the same thing as each other!
In this step you pick the part as I strum, now we sound like a band, a much better idea when playing together.
Let’s remove that capo and create a picked part using the chords D, G, and A.
When you practiced along to the loop enough, try it with me and the singer again. We should now sound even better together.
In this final step, we play ‘Blowin In The Wind’ fingerstyle.
The capo is back at fret 2 as we play this thinking in the key of C again.
In this first step we work towards playing ‘Kiss Me’ by fine tuning our picking technique.
The video lesson explain this in detail as you get four exercises that move the accent around a chromatic exercise.
In this step we use the verse rhythm of ‘Kiss Me’ and apply it to both the chromatic and the sweeping exercise.
To be successful, you must sing the rhythm as you play, especially when you sweep.
In this step, we again prepare for playing ‘Kiss Me’, this time by looking at how to create those maj, maj7, and dom7 chords.
To fully understand how to do this, we must first do it as open position chords, then as barre chords.
In this step, we turn an Eb chord into Ebmaj7 and Eb7.
Using barre chords of the CAGED shapes we can easily move up and down the neck like this.
In this step, we actually start playing the song.
First up are the intro, instrumental, verse sections which all use the progression: maj – maj7 -dom7 – maj7 on a loop.
In today’s lesson, we look at the chorus of ‘Kiss Me’.
This is pretty difficult for two reasons. It’s fast and you have to find a way to switch between the chords without tripping over.
In this step we finally play the complete song.
You get a chart for this and a video to play along with me and a singer.
In this last step, we remove the capo and invent a 2nd guitar part.
Play this with me and the singer and we sound like a band rather than a double booking.
Today we start exploring a bunch of hammer on exercises. You don’t need a metronome for this, instead just focus on the clarity and volume of each note.
Most likely, the slower you play this, the better.
Today we reverse the idea by pulling off instead of hammering on.
Still, there is not really any need for a metronome, just focus on getting those notes to pop out nice and clear.
In order to get a great technique, we must exercise all our fingers.
Starting on fret 2 with your middle finger, then play fret 4 with your little finger will take care of this.
How is it possible to pull off when you only play one note per string?
During the switch from one fret to the next, that’s how.
Today we finally start working on a song again!
It’s ‘Babylon’ by David Gray and of course, it does have a hammer on and pull off lick in it.
Today we learn the chorus for ‘Babylon’. I’ve got two versions here for you. The first is super simple and a bit boring.
The second example is very chaotic looking and comes from what naturally happened when playing with a singer, having just the one guitar.
Today we play the complete song. I’ve got a chart here for you, it’s in the key of D.
When you play along with me and the singer, you must fit a capo on fret 1 or you’ll create the worst sound in the world by being a semitone out.
Today we play the song together. I have my part and you have yours.
Now, when you play with me and the singer, we sound like a band!
In this first step, we learn how to play the two guitar parts that make up the original verse of ‘Fast Car’.
Complete this step and you’ll realize that just working out the original part is not enough if you want to learn how to actually write something like this.
In this step, we develop that two guitar part verse into a one guitar part.
Learn these before you start developing your own variations.
Let’s look at three different strumming patterns you could use to play the chorus of ‘Fast Car’.
All are played with a pick as this sounds better. In the video lesson, I show you how you could play it fingerstyle as well.
It’s time to play the complete song. Use the ten verse ideas as you play along with me and the singer. Aim to vary your verse part as much as possible.
For the chorus, there’s a new idea available in TAB that will work along with my frenetic fingerstyle strumming.
It’s time to take that Fast Car and keep on driving up and down the fretboard.
Using a real song to learn about the fretboard is always a better idea than playing a random exercise.
In this step, we find another 2nd guitar part that compliments the fingerstyle version.
This time, it is played using only string 1-3. Can you do this without reading the TAB?
In today’s step, we largely ignore the songs melody. Instead, we improvise, using the chord shapes as a guide.
Aim to connect the fretboard by playing all over it.
In this final step, take everything you’ve learned and come up with a 2nd guitar part that makes me and the singer sound better.
You part need to sound as if it belongs to the performance. Simply put the video on repeat and come up with stuff. If it works, repeat it.
In the first step of how to play ‘Angie’, we look at how to strum the verse and chorus.
Use the TAB and loops to practice each section individually.
In this step, we learn the M8 and Intro. The M8 has two examples to practice along to the loop but you could make up your own as well.
The intro should be played exactly like the original recording as it is more of a composed part.
Let’s play the complete song from beginning to end.
Use the video of me and the singer to play along with. There is also a chart to follow.
As you already know how to play the song now, let’s start learning from the song.
First up, let’s learn the vocal melody and the scale upon which it is built.
More A Minor Pentatonic shapes in this step as we learn the Dm and Cm shape as well as repeat the Am shape at fret 12.
Of course, we also look at how the verse and chorus melody use it as we play in all shapes.
Let’s work out a 2nd guitar part for the verse of ‘Angie’. As one guitar is already playing big chords, this part can be more free, even improvised.
Before you let go and improvise, start by learning the TAB, focusing on how the A Minor Pentatonic is used.
In this step, let’s do to the chorus what we just did to the verse.
Use these ideas as your starting point before developing them yourself. If you can’t come up with anything, move these ideas to other shapes.
In this final step, we play together as if we were a band.
Make it sound nice by playing melodies in between vocal lines and chords in different shapes to me.
It’s time to discover how one of the worlds most legendary songs was put together.
Let’s put Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ under the microscope, we start with the chorus.
In this step, we work on the (very) long chord progression that is ‘American Pie’s verse.
Instead of memorising it, aim to hear the movement of the chords by imagining the melody.
In this step, we look at the intro and the seemingly identical outro.
This is played in free time, meaning you slow down and speed up for extra emotional effect.
Let’s play the entire song, all 8:46 of it along with me and a singer.
See this as me holding your hand as we play it. In the next step we start working on a 2nd guitar part, that way we can start a band.
Let’s apply a capo and play as if in the key of C.
We start with the chorus as this is the easiest part of the song to play.
In this step, we work out how to play the verse using a capo, thinking in the key of C.
Aim to sync this with the first guitar which is supplied as a loop for your practicing pleasure.
This is the most difficult step, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sync this with the “original” intro and outro.
The loops are played to a click in order to make this possible.
We’ve come to the end of this ‘American Pie’ dissertation. I’m going to give you a chart in the key of C, without rhythms.
The question is, can you make it work along with me and the singer?
In this firsts step, we learn two extremely detailed TAB examples which are exact transcriptions of what I play in the video with the singer.
Out of all 8 steps, this is by far the most difficult. It is also the most complex lesson so far in this course as well!
Luckily, this step is much easier to nail than step 1, which was testing, to say the least.
Now we’re dealing with chord II and VI mainly. The rhythm is super repetitive and you could even make up your own variations.
The easiest step among these 8 is here, playing the intro.
Ironically, it looks the most complicated if you focus on the chord names. In the video, I talk about why these chords have the names they do.
It’s time to play the complete song. As you’ve practiced each section individually, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Saying that, the verse strumming is still difficult. Try copying me in detail as well as just playing along, not worrying too much about it.
Is it an F# Minor Pentatonic, or is it an A Major Pentatonic? That is the question you must answer today by being able to hear the difference.
This is definitely not easy as they have the same notes!
The secret to hit melody writing is revealed in this step. Let’s learn from Sam Cooke, he’s definitely one of the best!
Having something to say certainly helps, although to get on the radio, you got to hit the correct notes as well…
In this step, we look at how you could construct a 2nd guitar part that will work with me and a singer.
Start by playing as the TAB show and I explain in the video lesson, then try varying it.
The time has come to play with me and the singer as if we were meant to play together.
Use the 2nd guitar part ideas you learned in the last step as your foundation. Every time you play it again, modify it.
Before we start exploring how to play ‘Sunny Afternoon’ I want you to gain a firm understanding of the triplet feel.
To achieve this we play the sweeping exercise using 12/8, shuffle and swing rhythms.
In this step, we learn to play the intro/chorus tag. It uses a swing feel and presents several challenges.
Not only is it difficult to fret the descending bassline, but there’s also plenty of muting going on as well.
In this step, we learn how to play the verse. This is much, much easier to achieve than playing that intro you did in the last step.
There’s also plenty of songwriting tricks here to learn from if you’d like to write hits yourself.
In this step, we play the chorus. This section is possibly the easiest of all three you need to play the complete song.
Practice along to the loop aiming to get it exactly as the TAB display before you start coming up with variations.
It’s time to play the complete song. Hopefully, that intro/chorus tag is by now not too difficult.
Use the chart to guide you as you play along with me and the singer.
Let’s develop a 2nd guitar part for the intro/chorus tag and verse.
We do this by removing the capo and play as if in the key of Dm.
In this step, we work out how to play a 2nd guitar part for the chorus.
Using both big open position chords to support the first guitar as well as small compact jazz style comping, you’ll gain lots from practicing this.
In this final step, you join me and the singer(s) again.
As we’re a band now, maybe it’s time to fire up that tour bus and book us some gigs!
In this first step, we play the intro, the verse, and the bridge of this pop-reggae classic by 10cc.
A few chords in this arrangement are not correct. Normally, I would scrap a song if this happened. However, with ‘Dreadlock Holiday, you can actually learn so much from my mistakes I decided to go ahead.
In this step, we focus on how to play the chorus, tag, and instrumental sections, just like I do in the video.
This time, only one little chord has been left out compared to the original recording.
Now, the capo has somehow miraculously moved up the fretboard so we just play the same sections again, although in a different key.
Seemingly easy to do, if it wasn’t for all those new rhythmical variations…
Let’s play the complete song, from beginning to end, including the capo move key change.
Using a chart rather than TAB, aim to let the rhythmical variations happen naturally.
Let’s start learning from ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ by creating a 2nd guitar part that explores the fretboard.
This will help with your fretboard knowledge as you run around the fretboard, finding different chord shapes.
I this step, we create a 2nd guitar for the chorus, the chorus tag, and the instrumental section.
The chorus maintains the idea of copying the bassline rhythm. The tag could be developed further.
Creating a 2nd guitar part has by now been done to all sections, so when we change key, we just move it up a fret, right?
Well… why not develop all this even further? That Chorus tag for example, can we come up with something completely new?
In this final step, you join me and the singers to form a band and play ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ as a band.
As if that wasn’t enough, I also give you a completely new concept for how to play this tune on your own, without a capo. Time to fire the assistant and embark on a solo career!
Let’s find out how to write a hit melody! The secret is in rhythmic repetition and how the intervals relate to the chords.
To understand this we start by studying the nursery rhyme ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’, which is actually more complex than ‘I’m Yours’.
Let’s put 6 massive hits under the microscope that all use nursery style melody writing.
They all do so over the very catchy I V VI IV progression.
The time has come to learn how to play I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz.
I actually recorded this before Jason released his official version and had my own first youtube hit with it.
In this step, we look at the M8. This section provide some much needed tension!
Without it, I’m Yours’ may have been a bit too nursery rhyme like.
It’s time to play the complete song. A simple chart is provided in the key we think of as we use a capo.
Use the video with me and the singer(s) to help you learn this one guitar arrangement.
Let the real learning begin! By creating a simple 2nd guitar part we can move around the fretboard.
Without a capo we are now in the key of B. It’s only four chords but the key is tricky…
Let’s work on a 2nd guitar part for the M8 section. As you’ve already done this for the verse it is not to difficult.
To challenge you a bit more, I’ve made another example, it’s a quick one…
Let’s play this song as a band.
You know what I’m going to play, it’s up to you to provide the variation by moving around the fretboard in an improvised way.
In the first step, we look at how to play the verse of ‘Red’ as played in this one acoustic guitar arrangement.
The tempo has been lowered from 92 to 78 BPM and the overall feel is very different from the original.
Let’s take a look at how to play the bridge and M8 sections of the song.
Both these sections use the same chord progression that moves from chord VI, down to V, finishing on chord IV.
The most difficult part of this acoustic arrangement is playing what we study in this step; the chorus.
Chorus 1, 2 and the outro chorus are fully transcribed, including loops to help you practice.
The time has come to play the complete song. A chart is provided but it is extremely simple. No rhythms are included.
Instead of reading and copying me exactly, just play along with us and see if you can keep up. Achieve this and you’ll be able to play this song on your own.
In this step, we start working on the modes. The most misunderstood music theory concept guitar players face.
As well as looking at the rise and fall of the S-E P R, we work out how to best learn, understand and use the modes.
The journey of understanding and being able to actually use the modes we work on how to play Mixolydian in this step.
First, we compare it to Ionian, only one note differ. More importantly, we have to hear the difference when using these two scales in the same key.
The final mode we must understand and be able to play in order to phrase over ‘Red’ is Lydian.
This is the mode for chord IV, the chord I feel is the essence of this particular song.
In this final step, we learn the various vocal melodies from ‘Red’. At the same time, we study the intervals used from each mode.
By digging this deep we can create improvisations that follow the same feeling as the song has. Could this be the secret to making great music?
In this first step, we look at the intro with its unique Bbadd#11 chord and the much more common Fmaj7.
Following this, we also work on the verse which has an unusual order of common chords from the key of F. Loops and TAB is available for everything.
Let’s learn the chorus and chorus tag in this step. Plenty of repetitive rhythms, clever chord progressions that don’t just come from the key are found here.
Practice along to the loops and you will soon be able to play the complete song, exactly like I do.
In this step, you’ll play the complete song from beginning to end along with me and a singer.
Do this on repeat and you’ll be able to play the song yourself. A simple chart is provided, use it as a guide.
Let’s not just learn ‘Starman’, let’s learn from it!
In this step, we play all chords form the song using only string 1-3. This will do wonders for your mapping of the fretboard.
In this step, we continue our fretboard mapping by playing on new strings.
Still, you simply play along with me and the singer, looking for the closest chord shape possible.
Learn the melody and you’ll learn the reason why this is a hit.
What intervals does the melody focus on? Only one way to find out – by playing it!
Let’s learn the fretboard as we learn the melody from ‘Starman’ in two more positions.
First, we play in a D shape, along with me and, especially, the singer. This is followed by doing it in a C shape as well.
In this final step, we play the melody in an A shape.
Lastly, you play the melody in all shapes, partly from memory, mainly by seeing the intervals in relation to the chords.
1. Turn your speed picking exercises into speed strumming exercises
2. How to play ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’
1. The instrumental sections for ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’
2. A chart for the full song, in sheet music – not TAB!
1. How to play uncomfortable chords
2. The verse and chorus for ‘Beautiful’
1. Complete TAB for the intro and m8 of ‘Beautiful’
2. A chart for the same song
1. Understand and apply a drop D tuning
2. How to play ‘1234’ by Feist
1. Bonus song – How to play ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young
2. Play ‘1234’ by Feist
1. All dom7 chord shapes
2. How to play most sections of ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’
1. More dom7 chord exercises
2. The missing sections and a chart for ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’