Web Guitar Tutor
 
Your left hand can choose anywhere on the fretboard, from first fret up to the 22nd or 24th on your shred machine.  But, you are not always moving your hand up and down, to hit the notes you need.  

Sometimes, you want to keep your hand stationary, and have full reign across all 6 strings (or 7 or 8, you monster!)  

There is a systematic way to learn both of these movements, and every guitarist needs to figure out how.  Ultimately, your hand wants to be left alone with your right hand and your subconscious, rapidly conspiring to bring music to life.  There are exercises you can consciously practice to facilitate your left hand movements.  

In short, to get really smoking, you need to practice fundamental movements— up-down and across.

Up down means the movement from low frets to high frets.  Specifcally, to get better, you want to practice in a single key, up and down. 

On the guitar, it’s easy to play different keys by simply moving your hand up and down.  Play an A power chord.  Move it up 2 frets, now you are playing a B chord.  It’s so easy. 

It’s why many people pick up guitar an languish in the land of power chords.  Power chords rock, but there’s more worlds to explore.

What you want to be able to do, is to move your hand up and down, without changing keys.  You want to stay in the key of A, a the 1st fret, 5th fret, and the 15th fret.  Wherever your hand lands, you want to be able to play in the key of A.  Or B.  Or any key— all 12.  

The key to mastering up-down movement is to be able to stay in a single key, wherever you are on the neck.

This is opposed to across movements, where your hand stays in one place on the neck.

When your hand is in one place, say over the 5th fret, it’s easy to play one or two keys.  Guitarists can jam for years in A and D.  I know, I have enjoyed many, many hours of vamping between A and D. 

But, with your hand in that same location, you should be able to play in any key.  All 12 keys are playable right there. 

The key to mastering playing across all 6 strings in one location is to play all 12 keys in that position.  Keep your first finger hovering around the 5th fret and play a Bb Maj.  Eb Maj.  Ab maj.  

Now, you can play any key up and down the neck.  Also, you can plant your hand in one place and play all 12 keys.  This means, in reality, you can plop your hand anywhere on the neck and play any key.  Now, you need to be able to play every scale.  Major, minor, harmonic minor, pentatonic, and modes thereof.  And chords— triads, 7ths, 9ths, all extensions.  Chord scales.  Etc.

There are two ways that I believe are most efficient to gain this proficiency., CAGED shapes and the Circle of 5ths.

CAGED shapes give you a framework for learning all the shapes you need to play everywhere on the neck.  

The circle of 5ths is a systematic way to maintain harmonic progression as you choose to practice different keys.  You don’t choose a sequence of keys randomly, or even by a favorite chord progression, you use the circle of 5ths.  This gives you maximum efficiency, because the circle of 5ths is so systematic and intervalic.  

Those two topics provide a lot of study material, and with the right focus, they can really help positio

 


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