Intermediate Guitar Course

Intermediate Guitar Course

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Course Index

Introduction to the CAGED system

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Hey There Delilah Step 1

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Hey There Delilah Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Hey There Delilah Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Hey There Delilah Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Hey There Delilah Step 5

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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!

Hey There Delilah Step 6

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Hey There Delilah Step 7

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Mad World Step 1

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Mad World Step 2

Author: Guru

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.

Mad World Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Mad World Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Mad World Step 5

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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’.

Mad World Step 6

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Mad World Step 7

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Mad World Step 8

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

CAGED Fretting Exercises Step 1

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

CAGED Fretting Exercises Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

CAGED Fretting Exercises Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

The I III II V in C

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Whistle For The Choir Step 1

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Whistle For The Choir Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Whistle For The Choir Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

Let’s learn ‘Whistle For The Choir’ in the key of E as well.

After all, this is the original key of the song!

Whistle For The Choir Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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!

Chromatic and Sweeping Exercises Step 1

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Chromatic and Sweeping Exercises Step 2

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Chromatic and Sweeping Exercises Step 3

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Blowin In The Wind Step 1

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Blowin In The Wind Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Blowin In The Wind Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Blowin In The Wind Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Blowin In The Wind Step 5

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Chromatic Exercise 2 Accent

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Chromatic and Sweeping Kiss Me rhythm

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Open Position CAGED Maj7 and Dom7

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Barre CAGED Maj7 and Dom7

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Kiss Me Step 1

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Kiss Me Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Kiss Me Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Kiss Me Step 4

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Chromatic Exercise Hammer On

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Chromatic Exercise Pull Off

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Two Notes Per String Hammer On Exercise

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Pull Off One Note Per String

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Babylon Step 1

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Babylon Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Babylon Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Babylon Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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!

Fast Car Step 1

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Fast Car Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

In this step, we develop that two guitar part verse into a one guitar part.

Learn these before you start developing your own variations.

Fast Car Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Fast Car Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Fast Car Step 5

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Fast Car Step 6

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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?

Fast Car Step 7

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Fast Car Step 8

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Angie Step 1

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Angie Step 2

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Angie Step 3

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Angie Step 4

Length: 60 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Angie Step 5

Length: 60 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Angie Step 6

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Angie Step 7

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Angie Step 8

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

American Pie Step 1

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

American Pie Step 2

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

American Pie Step 3

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

American Pie Step 4

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

American Pie Step 5

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

American Pie Step 6

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

American Pie Step 7

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

American Pie Step 8

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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?

A Change Is Gonna Come Step 1

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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!

A Change Is Gonna Come Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

A Change Is Gonna Come Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

A Change Is Gonna Come Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

A Change Is Gonna Come Step 5

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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!

A Change Is Gonna Come Step 6

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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…

A Change Is Gonna Come Step 7

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

A Change Is Gonna Come Step 8

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Sunny Afternoon Step 1

Length: 20 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Sunny Afternoon Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Sunny Afternoon Step 3

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Sunny Afternoon Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Sunny Afternoon Step 5

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Sunny Afternoon Step 6

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Sunny Afternoon Step 7

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Sunny Afternoon Step 8

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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!

Dreadlock Holiday Step 1

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Dreadlock Holiday Step 2

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Dreadlock Holiday Step 3

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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…

Dreadlock Holiday Step 4

Length: 30 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Dreadlock Holiday Step 5

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Dreadlock Holiday Step 6

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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.

Dreadlock Holiday Step 7

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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?

Dreadlock Holiday Step 8

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

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!

I’m Yours Lesson 1

Length: 60 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. Play the barre chord shapes of D, G and C, as well as fractions of these shapes
2. Play the chord progression for ‘I’m Yours’ in every area of the neck

I’m Yours Lesson 2

Length: 70 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. Revise all major barre chord shapes
2. Build up to the rhythm part of ‘I’m Yours’

I’m Yours Lesson 3

Length: 60 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. Revise all minor barre chord shapes
2. Play the m8 and get a chart for ‘I’m Yours’

Red Lesson 1

Length: 50 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. How to play barre chords, incorporating open strings
2. How to play the chords to ‘Red’

Red Lesson 2

Length: 60 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. All the strumming patterns for ‘Red’
2. A chart for the full song

Beautiful Lesson 1

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. How to play uncomfortable chords
2. The verse and chorus for ‘Beautiful’

Beautiful Lesson 2

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. Complete TAB for the intro and m8 of ‘Beautiful’
2. A chart for the same song

1234 Lesson 1

Length: 45 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. Understand and apply a drop D tuning
2. How to play ‘1234’ by Feist

1234 Lesson 2

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. Bonus song – How to play ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young
2. Play ‘1234’ by Feist

Starman Lesson 1

Length: 60 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. Yet another new chromatic exercise
2. The chords to ‘Starman’

Starman Lesson 2

Length: 60 minutesAuthor: Guru

1. All strumming patterns for ‘Starman’
2. Two complete charts for the same song