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Derrick last won the day on January 11 2020

Derrick had the most liked content!

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About Derrick

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    TAC Wizard
  • Birthday 10/06/1971

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  1. Because the topic is so vast, the CAGED system often gets presented on a "need to know" basis.  This results in players learning CAGED concepts in a disjointed manner, not seeing the connections between the concepts and how they build on each other.

    There are smarter ways to absorb and integrate CAGED into your playing.  Here's the roadmap I'd recommend:

    • Stage 1 - Learn the octave shapes.  The FBW course assumes that you already know (1) the notes of the fretboard (at minimum the notes of the low E and A strings), and (2) the octave patterns.  If you haven't done this, I would make going through the Foundations of Fretboard Navigation course a priority.  Your objective is to be able to switch between the octave shapes with fluency at a decent speed (~80 bpm)
      • Tony doesn't say this explicitly, but the octave patterns follow the CAGED order.
        • The C shape has roots on strings 2 and 5, two frets apart.
        • The A shape has roots on strings 5 and 3, two frets apart.
        • The G shape has roots on strings 3, 6, and 1, three frets apart.
        • The E shape has roots on strings 6, 1, and 4, two frets apart.
        • The D shape has roots on strings 4 and 2, three frets apart.
        • For example, here are all of the "A" notes on the fretboard.
      • agedca_cad_animation.gif.89682f81017dee8c5b9219abc111b488.gif


    • Stage 2 - Learn the CAGED movable chord shapes.  (This is where the FBW course starts)
      • The work you put in so that you can change fluently between octave shapes will have immediate pay offs here.
      • Practice (1) changing between CAGED shapes, and (2) changing between CAGED shapes and open chord shapes
        • Prioritize the E and A shapes (the most commonly used).
        • Learn the minor CAGED chord shapes (EDCAG system,  
      • Once you've mastered changing between the E and A shapes, you can move to Stage 3 (pentatonic shapes), but continue to practice transitioning between CAGED 


    • Stage 3 - Learn the five CAGED movable pentatonic scale shapes. These are briefly covered in the FBW course, but you'll need to look outside of TAC at this point for a more in-depth, structured approach to learning them. There is no magic bullet to mastering guitar, but the pentatonic scales get you 75% of the way there.  Put in the work and get them into your fingers!
      • Learn the minor pentatonic scales (EDGAC system) and major pentatonic scales (CAGED system). 
        • Learning the movable pentatonic shapes is the easiest way to improv your improv skills.  
          • Take each scale shape one at a time. Expect to spend at least 1-3 weeks on each shape
          • Start with the E movable scale shape.  Then add the adjacent scale shapes.
          • Master of the shapes isn't just doing them flawlessly ascending. You should be able to do them descending, skipping strings, etc.   
          • Highly recommended:
        • Practice scales in a musical context.  Use backing tracks you can find on YouTube (or even on streaming services like Apple Music).  I find backing tracks using apps like Chord Bank makes practicing them fun.  
      • Learn the diagonal patterns that connects the CAGED movable scale shapes.
      • Learn the modifications to the CAGED chord shapes and pentatonic scale shapes
        • Blues pentatonic scale
        • dominant and 7th chord CAGED shapes
        • full major and minor scales

    Most hobbyist guitarists will usually stop at Stage 3.  This represents about 6-12 months worth of sustained work.  This is plenty and enough knowledge to navigate the entire fretboard with confidence and ease. 

    If you want to move into advanced guitarist territory, there's one more level: expanding your improv skills.  The CAGED system is used in combination with other skills to expand your improvisational vocabulary.

    1. colinc


      TY Derrick, just the guidance and roadmap (and 'butt-kick' that I needed) to get back on course with 'fretboard 101'.  Thank you .... 👍 

    2. Arthur L

      Arthur L

      @Derrick,  thank you for this info! Very nicely presented!👍 +JMJ+

      A L 😎🎸

  2. Feeling the sugar high of winning my first eBay auction!   

    Some of you may recall  that Tim got me a birth year guitar, a 1971 Martin D-28 S, a slope-shoulder dreadnaught.  It's an amazing guitar, but it was in need of some serious luthier lovin' when we got it. Our guy did an amazing job restoring it to as perfect as a 50-year old guitar can get.   Now it's one of the best guitars in the collection.

    With that experience,  I randomly came across the an even rarer guitar: a 1971 Martin D-35 S.  Basically, the slope-shoulder D-35 version of the D-28 S we already have.  They regularly sell for $3,500 - $5000.   On a lark, I put in a bid...and WON!!  

    Pretty sure this one is going to require some intensive luthier lovin', too.  Guaranteed it will need a refret and neck reset, so prob another $1000 minimum.  All told, still coming out ahead, though.

    Tim loves the D-28 S he got me.  So, by the time we get the guitar back from the luthier, it will be close to Tim's birthday.  We decided this will be his guitar.

    We now have a strict "one-in/one-out" guitarsenal policy.  I'm going to sell my 2018 Martin HD-35 and replace it with this one.  Like a bad boyfriend, I love that HD-35, it's truly fantastic, but I'm not in love with it.   It's in near-mint-condition shape, immaculately cared for, so should get a good price for it. 



    Here's a video demo the current owner made of the guitar.  I think this is going to be another great guitar for the collection. Excited to get it!



    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Derrick


      Thanks, @CJ!   I'm not well versed in guitars from the 1950s (apart from Gibson Les Pauls and 335s), but Gibson and Martin are always good places to start for dreadnoughts.  I have a thing for slope shoulder acoustics, so that preference pretty much limited me to Gibson and Martin.

    3. colinc


      Thanks Derrick, .... now then, a vintage 335 .... there's a seed been sewn with that thought ! ... 🤓

      TBH, I haven't a "Scooby" on the finer-point differences between a D and an SS construction. They look very similar to me and I have not had chance compare them for real (being a Lockdown-Noob guitarist), but have read they both give that deep base sound; although the SS is apparently warmer in the mid to high audio frequencies ? Some manufacturers use the names interchangeably. For example the Eastman 10SS/v is described as slope-shoulder dreadnought. (As you know I am  little "green behind the ears" with guitar-speak and experience ! ).

      Gibson and Martin : my recently found Luthier (a very handy local find) was a (UK) Martin/Santa Cruz/NRP authorised louthier at Dave King before setting up his own shop near Henley-on-Thames, 5 years ago. His view is that Martin acoustic guitars have greater longevity over Gibson, because they are of superior construction and hence tend to stand the test of time better. (.. might be BS, .. he was a "Martin man" ... dunno 🤔).


    4. Sharlene R

      Sharlene R

      Congratulations @Derrick, I have no doubt it will be the perfect acquisition for your collection.  And, thanks for all you do for this forum!

  3. Version 1.0.0


    Created an annotated version of the Fretboard Wizard cheat sheet document, with supplementary visuals and two new tools (scale wheel, Harmonic Table) that will help newcomers to music theory master the concepts of scales, chord construction, and functional harmony faster and easier.
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