Chapter 1: (00:35) Lesson Intro
Get tuned up and ready for a new lesson! Jim Deeming provides a brief fingerstyle performance in this introduction scene.
Chapter 2: (18:38) Chords and Keys
-Learn the remaining chords in the "CAGED" system. The CAGED system refers to the most commonly used chords in first position. Each letter stands for a specific major chord. At this point, Jim has discussed the G, C, and D chords. In the current lesson, you will learn the A major and E major chords. The visual fretboard shapes that are used to play the CAGED chords will later be converted into movable barre chord voicings.
-Learn how chords relate to one another within a specific key.
-Apply these concepts to some basic chord progression exercises in the keys of D and A major.
At this point in the series, Jim has demonstrated three chord shapes - G, C, and D. By now, you should feel very comfortable with these chords. Remember which strings are strummed within each chord. All six strings are strummed in the G chord. The sixth string is omitted from the C chord. The D chord omits the sixth and fifth strings.
You should also be able to apply these chords to the various strumming patterns discussed in the last two lessons. Remember that rhythm is the most important aspect when playing an accompaniment pattern. You absolutely must be able to perform these exercises in time with a metronome. If you have not yet succeeded in this task, keep practicing!
Primary Triads (I, IV, and V Chords)
There are three primary triads that outline the harmonic structure of each major key. A "triad" is a chord that contains three distinct pitches. The primary triads for a major key comprise the most common type of chord progression used in Western music. This progression is referred to as the I, IV, V progression.
The G, C, and D chords are the primary triads in the key of G major. The primary triads are built from the first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees of the major scale that shares the same letter name. For example, when referring to the key of G major, the G, C, and D chords are derived from the first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees of the G major scale. The G major scale is spelled as follows: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G.
A Roman numeral can be applied to each note in the scale based on its order. Study the list below:
As you can see, G, C, and D are the I, IV, and V scale degrees within the G major scale. The primary triads are built from these scale degrees. When referring to these chords in the context of G major, the G, C, and D chords are labeled with Roman numerals I, IV, and V respectively.
Using Roman numerals in place of chord letter names has one specific advantage. Roman numerals show the relationship between chords regardless of a specific key. Consequently, they are frequently used when transposing a chord progression to a new key.
I, IV, and V Chords in D Major
Jim applies these concepts to the key of D major at 04:10 in the lesson video. The D major scale is spelled as follows: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D. The corresponding Roman numeral for each scale degree is listed below.
Thus, in the key of D major, the I, IV, and V chords are D, G, and A respectively.
At this point, you have already learned the D and G chords. Now it's time to learn the A chord.
A Major Chord
This chord features two open strings and three fretted notes. Both the fifth string and the first string are played open. The low sixth string is omitted from the A chord. The first finger frets the note E at the 2nd fret of the fourth string. An A root note is fretted by the second finger at the 2nd fret of the third string. Finally, the third finger frets the note C# at the 2nd fret of the second string.
Alternate Fingerings for the A Chord
All of the possible fingerings for A major that are detailed in this lesson are perfectly acceptable. Each fingering has its own advantages. The appropriate fingering is dependent upon the other chords that are used in a progression.
Fingers 2, 3, 4
Within this fingering, the fifth and first strings are still played open. The fretted notes occur in the same locations as well. However, an alternate fingering is applied to the fretted notes. Now, the second finger frets the note at the 2nd fret of the fourth string. The A root note on the third string is fretted by the third finger. Finally, the note on the second string is fretted by the pinkie finger. Jim finds this fingering to be the most comfortable due to the size of his fingers.
When first learning this fingering, place the fingers on the fretboard in this order: 4, 2, 3. It is usually easiest to fit these fingers into a small, compact area when they are placed on the fretboard in this order.
Fingers 2, 1, 3
The fretted notes within the A chord are now fretted by the second, first, and third fingers respectively. The vast majority of guitarists find this fingering to be the most comfortable.
Potential A Chord Problems
The A chord typically gives beginning guitarists some problems. Three fingers must be crammed into the space of a single fret. This is especially challenging for adult guitarists with large hands. Others have problems producing a clear tone with the open E string. Remember the proper left hand guidelines from lessons 5 and 6. Fret the notes with the very tips of the fingers. Arching the wrist outwards will help with this technique. Also, keep your fingernails as short as possible.
Chord Change Exercises
Practice switching back and forth between the A chord and the other chords that you have already learned. Experiment with each fingering for the A chord within this exercise. When switching from D to A for example, the 2, 1, 3 fingering works the best, because the first finger does not have to move. Always use the fingering option that requires the smallest amount of left hand movement.
Key of D Exercise
This exercise utilizes the I, IV, and V chords in the key of D major (D, G, and A). Each chord is strummed in quarter notes for one measure. Within each measure, the lowest root note of the chord is picked on beats 1 and 3. The remaining strings in the chord are strummed with downstrokes on beats 2 and 4.
Remember to practice all chord progression exercises with a metronome! Tap your foot along with the beat to internalize the pulse. Also, count the beat out loud.
E Major Chord
The E major chord is the last to learn in the CAGED system. This chord is actually one of the easiest to play in the entire guitar vocabulary.
All six strings are strummed within an E chord. The sixth, second, and first strings are played open. The second finger frets the note B at the 2nd fret of the fifth string. The third finger frets an E root note at the 2nd fret of the fourth string. Finally, the first finger frets the note G# at the 1st fret of the third string. There are no alternate fingerings to learn for this chord.
Chord Change Exercises
Practice switching back and forth between the E chord and the other chords that you have learned. When switching from E to A for example, the 2, 1, 3 fingering and the 2, 3, 4 fingering work best for A. These fingering options require the least amount of left hand movement.
Key of A Exercise
This exercise features the I, IV, and V chords in the key of A major (A, D, and E). Each chord is strummed in quarter notes for one measure. Within each measure, the lowest root note of the chord is picked on beats 1 and 3. The remaining strings in the chord are strummed with downstrokes on beats 2 and 4.
Function of the Primary Triads
Each of the primary triads carries out a specific function. The I chord, or tonic chord, serves as a musical home base. The IV chord typically returns to the I chord or precedes the V chord. The V chord typically returns back to the I chord. Jim demonstrates a common progression in the lesson video that exhibits these concepts. In the key of A major, this progression features the following chord changes: I, IV, I, V, I, IV, V, I (A, D, A, E, A, D, E, A).
Video Subtitles / Captions
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Jim Deeming, Instructor for JamPlay.com plays a musical introduction to Basic Guitar Episode 8.
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Hello, I'm Jim Deeming, instructor for JamPlay.com.
Welcome to lesson number eight.
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Today we are going to add some more chords and fill out what we call the CAGED system.
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C.A.G.E.D. and what that refers to is the five most common first position chords that you're going to deal with
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and you may remember that we've talked all along about chord shapes.
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Those five chords C.A.G.E.D. cover the five basic shapes on which many, many other things are built.
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So that's what we're going to do today.
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First I want to review where we've been just in case you've been away for a little while.
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We've talked about three chords.
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The G chord…
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The C chord…
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And the D chord…
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So review the shapes and remember you don't even have to look at the neck of the guitar.
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These shapes should start to get familiar to you.
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The G looks like this, the C is a picture like this and the D is a picture like this.
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So thinking in terms of shapes from your birds eye view of the neck you should start to get a real good mental picture of what's going on
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and learn the names with the pictures.
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Also let's review how many strings your right hand is covering for each one of these.
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The first one the G chord is a big six string chord… and that works that way.
We have a root note, a G note at the bottom of our chord.
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The next one the C chord we don't play the sixth string it's only a five string chord at this at this point…
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and recall that we have as a root note here a C note for our C chord.
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The last one is a D chord and it's only a four string chord with a D on the bottom.
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The open fourth string is a D note and that's the D chord.
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Remember we also talked about a key for the first time in the last lesson and
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that is that basically these three chords are a family that go together, they are related to each other, with a million and one songs with those three chords.
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Slightly more than that if you play out of tune because there are a lot of bluegrass songs that you can play out of tune.
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Alright what we're going to do now is also talk about a numbering system that we can refer to chords by
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so that when you move to different keys you'll be able to figure out where you're at, how to do what we call transposing.
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When I talk about the key of G this is what's called the key chord, the number one chord if you will.
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The musical alphabet only has seven notes.
It starts with A goes through G and then repeats back to A again.
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So you have A, B, C, D, E, F, G and then the eighth note would be back at the beginning at A again.
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So when we have a G chord we're going to call it number one chord but when you're at the end of the alphabet already with a G chord
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you've got to start over again with an A, B, C, D and hopefully you caught what happened there we just went by the other two family members.
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G being one, A being two, B, C, D.
C and D are the other two characters in the family.
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So G being a one chord, C is the four chord and D is the five chord.
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A lot of times when we're talking about a key we'll refer to the one, four and five chords.
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So when we move to a different key, let's say for example we will go to D.
If D became the one chord we'd go D, E, F, G, A.
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Well there they are again, there's our family D, E, F, G, D, G and A.
Alright so D, G and A are the other chord in the key of D
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and that would sound like this.
D being the one chord now, this is our four chord, this is our 5 chord.
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So one, four and five is a pattern that you're going to see a lot, in a huge percentage of the music that you deal with.
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So in order to play the rest of the keys now that we want to talk about we need a couple more chords and let's start with the A chord.
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It looks like this, I've done another video on the A chord, question and answer because this one can give you some trouble and that's alright.
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Essentially the notes that you're after are fretting the second string second fret, third string second fret and fourth string second fret.
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These are all stacked right on top of each other and trust me when I say everyone struggles with this,
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it's not because your hand are too small or too big or your guitar isn't right for you this is tricky to do until you get used to it.
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So you may do it, a lot of guitars books will teach you: here's one, two and three, some will teach it with two, three and four which is the position I prefer
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but regardless what's going on here is within this small amount of space we've got to fit three fingers in the same fret.
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Invariably what's going to happen is they are going to end up at an angle as you can see mine are.
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Remember in our good fretting policy we always talked about trying to fret up as close to the fret as we possibly can
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but this is a case where that's just not very practical.
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You are going to have to fudge back a little bit, good that you have a nice strong finger here to press harder and make up for that deficiency.
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I encourage you to watch that other video on the A shape and the A shaped bar chords for more troubleshooting
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but one little tip here that seems to be helpful for most people.
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Start with your pinky and anchor that one first, then go next to the middle finger on the fourth string so you've kind of surrounded this cluster here
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and then stick that third one in last.
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What you're doing is really kind of squeezing those fingers together, fitting them all in
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and then always try to keep your first string the E string down here ringing open and this is a five string chord.
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So down here on the bottom, ringing open the fifth string is an A string, that give us a nice A root note for an A chord.
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One little variety you may try for fretting this is to use the two and three outside then tuck number one in behind it.
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That looks a little strange, it may be the ticket though for to get them all ringing clear and clean.
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Personally I use all of those and more because in finger style I'm always looking for ways to fret notes
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and little varieties of a chord to pick up melody lines so I actually make use of this version, this one, this one and also a little bar version of it.
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There's been some discussion on the forums about the bar chord version, the limitation there is unless you're really double jointed on your first finger
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it's very hard to get that first string to ring open underneath that bar.
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I pick it up here, another high A and that works.
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So that's the A chord and you can as with any chord learn the picture, here's what it looks like on your arm.
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That's the picture, your birds eye view, this is what you're after, lands on there, when you think A that's the picture you want to see.
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Try to begin working on transitioning into and out of the A from other chords.
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D for example would be a good one…
Here's a D chord.
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Go to the D back from the A…
Ooh you caught me ha ha ha.
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I cheated on the D.
We've learned to fret it this way.
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Making transitions easier you might of notice that I went this way instead.
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We'll talk more about this is the future but you can do it regardless of how you fret these and that's kind of nice.
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Remember when we've talked about other transitions one of the things we look for is minimal movements
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and that's a good way to practice it is to figure out when I go to the A chord which finger has to move the shortest distance if at all
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and in this case to pick up a D chord this third finger is only sliding forward one fret, that one drops down, these guys drop down one.
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So picture or focus in your mind on this third finger on this transition.
That third finger is only moving one fret and is on the same string.
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That's nice, that's why you saw me do this in this version of the chord I wanted to go there, minimizing movement again.
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There's not a right or wrong in here other than the right frets need to get pressed.
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So which finger you use you have some discretion there and in fact I encourage you to learn to do it multiple ways.
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How about a G to an A.
Remember this chord go from G.
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Ok so with picking up the A chord now we've got a key of D that we can do.
D being our one chord…
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The four chord would be D, E, F, G.
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So the G is the four chord and after G go to the beginning of the alphabet, A is the five chord.
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So here's your key of D…
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Remember those are all related and it's that same one, four and five pattern that we talked about in the key of G.
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Remember this: one, four, five. Ok, now we're doing the same thing here: one, four, five and back to one again.
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Now let's add another one straight away here and then we're going to cover another key.
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If you think about the word CAGED that I told you about C. A. G. E. D.
The one that we're missing is the E chord.
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This is actually one of the easier ones to do.
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Let's start by building it with the first finger on the first fret, third string now you're third finger is going to go on the fourth string second fret
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and the middle finger, second fret fifth string.
There's your chord picture…
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Nice, big, six string, strong sounding chord.
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Probably makes the most use out of the bottom end of the guitar of all of the open position chords.
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You've got two open, ringing strings the full range of the guitar is ringing out and think of it as a Big chord.
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Transitioning in and out from say the A chord.
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These two are already in the shape they need to be in, we just need to drop them both one string, lift the pinky and drop the first finger and we're there.
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This is a transition you're going to really want to have down.
Very useful, not too hard to do, big open chords.
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Ok, so with that new E chord now we can add the key of A.
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From big A our four chord what's our one chord? B, C, D and the five chord with be our E chord.
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So A, one.
D is four and E is the five chord so this key sounds like this…
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Now let's check and make sure that you caught what my bass notes are for each of those two chords they are root notes.
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The A that we talked about has a root note of an A and then the rest of the chords.
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So remember in the last lesson we worked on having a bass note and then a strum, same thing applies here .
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Base A and a strum.
Base E and a strum.
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In this case they both happen to be open strings the fifth and sixth string so the same strum patterns apply. As they have on all of the other chords.
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So your right hand job hasn't changed much today.
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Alright, what I'd like you to do at this point is take some time and get familiar with these two new shapes.
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The E and the A and I want you to review the keys that we talked about.
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Remember the word CAGED.
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Those are all of your chords down here and the keys that we now know are the key of D, remember one, four, five.
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We know the key of G, one, four, five and now we have the key of A, one, four, five.
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Alright, if you get stuck use your five fingered hand, one, four, five, rotate through your musical alphabet A through G
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and you should be able to find any chords for those three keys, even if you forget you can count them off and figure it out.
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What I prefer that you get to fairly quickly now is pictures and muscle memory and just know when I'm in the key of A…
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I need a D and I need an E to finish it off.
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I hope those chords start to have a feeling to you.
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When I said finish it off that means something to me musically.
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This is our root chord, this is home, the key we're in.
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Now we're going to go somewhere else, we're taking a little trip we're on the four chord.
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Right before we go back home though this chord to me musically says "We're heading back home" and finishing up the musical phrase.
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That's a five chord that does that.
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This doesn't apply in every song but if you think in traditional one, four, five music that's a pattern that you'll hear a lot, almost there now we're done.
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A lot of songs are written off of this pattern, just a build a little bit on the numbered chord idea
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and by the way when you see these in musical notation, typically chord numbers are written in roman numerals.
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So you would see a roman numeral one and a one V for roman numeral four and then a V for roman numeral five.
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That will almost always be in reference to the one, four, five chords in a key.
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Also one very common song pattern would be to go: one, four, one, five, one, four, five and then back home.
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So it goes like this, one, four, one, five, one, four, five.
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If you do that a little bit I bet you'll start to think of songs that fit that pattern.
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So to review today what we've covered is the meaning of the one, four and five roman numerals regardless of what key you're in.
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We've finished out the CAGED chord patterns C.A.G.E.D. and now we know all of the chords for three different keys.
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The key of D, the key of G and the key of A.
We'll be back to add some more later.
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Take your time now and practice those, in each key, practice your transitions
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and practice on fretting those clean without struggling and remember to keep it fun.
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