Intermediate Chords

The ten barre chord shapes

Five minor and five major shapes

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The CAGED system


How to turn your open position chords into barre chords

In order to play more chords than the first ten open position chords, you can use your index finger to barre the strings.

By doing this, you replace the nut of the guitar and have created moveable barre chord shapes.

To learn how to fret these barre chords we can use an exercise called the cycle of 4th.

When you play the chords, say the name of them out loud. This will teach you all the notes on the neck at the same time.

The intermediate course goes into all the details about how to do this. If you can reach, play the full shapes as I do in the videos, but more importantly, you must play fractions of the chord shapes.

Do this and your barre chord shapes will map out the entire fretboard.


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Five major CAGED barre chord shapes


The minor CAGED barre chord shapes

Just like with the open position chords, to create the five minor shapes, we must find the third interval of each chord shape and move it down one fret.

These five shapes are really important as you’ll use them to visualize the fretboard.

You can’t see it in these video lessons, but the real secret behind playing barre chords is to play fractions of them. Not to play any of the big clunky full barre chord shapes.

The best way to learn how to do this is by playing famous songs, and as you do, try the chord progression of every song in all areas of the neck, using different fractions of the full shapes.


Watch These Videos

Five minor CAGED barre chord shapes


Acoustic Guitar Lessons


Hey There Delilah – Step 1

In this first step, we learn how to play the verse and chorus from Hey There Delilah, just like on the original recording.

Use the TAB loops to master these two relatively simple sections of the song.

Go to Hey There Delilah Step 1.


Mad World – Step 1

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, which means chord II is our home.

Go to Mad World Step 1.


Whistle For The Choir – Step 1

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.

Go to Whistle For The Choir Step 1.


Blowin’ In The Wind – Step 1

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.

Go to Blowin’ In The Wind Step 1.


Kiss Me – Step 1

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.

Go to Kiss Me Step 1.


Babylon – Step 1

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.

Go to Babylon Step 1.


Fast Car – Step 1

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.

Go to Fast Car Step 1.


Angie – Step 1

In the first step of how to play Angie, we look at how to strum the verse and chorus.

Use the TAB loops to practice each section individually.

Go to Angie Step 1.


American Pie – Step 1

It’s time to discover how one of the world’s most legendary songs was put together.

Let’s put Don McLean’s American Pie under the microscope, we start with the chorus.

Go to American Pie Step 1.


A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 1

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.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come Step 1.


Sunny Afternoon – Step 1

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.

Go to Sunny Afternoon Step 1.


Dreadlock Holiday – Step 1

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 one guitar arrangement are not correct. Find out what we can learn from this.

Go to Dreadlock Holiday Step 1.


I’m Yours – Step 1

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.

Go to I’m Yours Step 1.


Red – Step 1

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.

Go to Red Step 1.


Starman – Step 1

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. TAB loops are available for everything.

Go to Starman Step 1.


I Can’t Stand The Rain – Step 1

In this first step, we look at how to play the main riff in the key of A.

To learn from it we study the intervals, play it in five areas of the neck as well as consider hammer on’s, bends, slides and pull off’s.

Go to I Can’t Stand The Rain Step 1.


Electric Guitar Lessons


Rescue Me – Step 1

For bands playing other people’s songs, Rescue Me has become an easy classic to add to the Motown/Soul repertoire.

Before we look at how to play each section in detail, let’s have a listen to the complete song and study a Bars and Beats chart.

Go to Rescue Me Step 1.


You Can’t Hurry Love – Step 1

Written in 1966 by Motown’s production team Holland-Dozier-Holland, You Can’t Hurry Love went straight to #1 in the Billboard charts.

Sixteen years later, Phil Collins recorded it in a different key and again put it back at the #1 spot, this time in the U.K.

Go to You Can’t Hurry Love Step 1.


Can I Get A Witness – Step 1

Today we start working on Marvin Gaye’s Can I Get A Witness. This is a song in the key of Eb and structured similarly to a blues.

Before we dive into how to play the main riff, let’s have a listen to the complete song and map out the arrangement.

Go to Can I Get A Witness Step 1.


Be My Baby – Step 1

In this lesson, we start working on Be My Baby, an early Motown smash hit produced by Phil Spector and performed by The Ronettes.

Before we get into building the guitar part, let’s have a listen to the complete song.

Go to Be My Baby Step 1.


Soul Man – Step 1

Today we start working on Soul Man by Sam & Dave. This song is, unlike many songs in this course, built around a driving and repetitive guitar riff.

The man behind the guitar part is Steve Cropper, a legendary soul guitarist who was a member of Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

Go to Soul Man Step 1.


Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 1

Today we start learning Money (That’s What I Want). Written by Barry Gordy and performed by Barrett Strong.

This is an early Motown hit with an easy to recognize guitar riff that has been covered by many artists and bands since.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) Step 1.


I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 1

Today we start working on a new song in Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine.

This song has a very clever chord progression. The home chord, Ebm, feels different depending on what section it appears in.

Go to I Heard It Through The Grapevine Step 1.


Get Ready – Step 1

Written and produced by Smokey Robinson, Get Ready was originally written for a dance craze at the time.

Performed by The Temptations, it was released in 1966 and made it to the number 1 spot in the R & B charts.

Go to Get Ready Step 1.


Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 1

Today we start working on a new song in Dusty Springfield’s legendary Son Of A Preacher Man.

Due to the lack of guitar on the original recording, we are going to have to invent a guitar part.

Go to Son Of A Preacherman Step 1.


My Guy – Step 1

A standard on the Motown/Soul setlist, this sugar-sweet pop hit is a must to learn for the aspiring soul guitarist.

With one foot in jazz rather than blues, we get more maj7 and 6 chords than dom7 chords.

Go to My Guy Step 1.


Respect – Step 1

Originally, Respect was written by Otis Redding but aimed for a singer called Speedo Sims who made an attempt to record it with his band.

After an unsuccessful session at legendary Muscle Shoals studios, Otis decided to record it himself and then again with Aretha Franklin.

Go to Respect Step 1.


Jimmy Mack – Step 1

With Jimmy Mack, we get a relatively straight forward arrangement, although there are little variations in there.

Let’s start this off by listening to the complete song and work out the structure.

Go to Jimmy Mack Step 1.


Master Blaster – Step 1

Today we start working on Master Blaster (Jammin’) by Stevie Wonder.

This is probably my favorite song to play as it literally encourages me to improvise, or as the title suggests, Jammin’.

Go to Master Blaster Step 1.


Related Pages


Exercises

All those open position chords you learned in the beginner course now become barre chords and pentatonic scales.

We’ll use this to map out the entire fretboard. Everything becomes easier to visualize once this foundation is laid.

Go to Intermediate Guitar Exercises.


Acoustic Course

Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The intermediate songs require you to learn barre chords and pentatonic scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fretboard.

Go to Intermediate Guitar Course.


Intermediate Acoustic Songs

You can learn how to play these intermediate songs on the acoustic guitar.

A Change Is Gonna Come, American Pie, Angie, Babylon, Blowin’ In The Wind, Dreadlock Holiday, Fast Car, Hey There Delilah, I Can’t Stand The Rain, I’m Yours, Kiss Me, Mad World, Red, Starman, Sunny Afternoon, and Whistle For The Choir.

Go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs.


Electric Course

Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

These Motown/Soul songs require you to learn how to play fractions of barre chord shapes and build improvised licks using pentatonic scales.

Go to Intermediate Electric Guitar Course.


Intermediate Electric Songs

You can learn how to play these intermediate songs on the electric guitar.

Be My Baby, Can I Get A Witness, Get Ready, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Jimmy Mack, Master Blaster (Jammin’), Money (That’s What I Want), My Guy, Rescue Me, Respect, Son Of A Preacher Man, Soul Man, and You Can’t Hurry Love.

Go to Intermediate Electric Songs.


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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

Go to Monthly Subscription.