a music theory blog

Thursday, May 18, 2006

D-A-F Roadmap

I saw an interesting pdf file over at Fenders' Players Club website the other day. It lays out a roadmap for playing any major chord across the neck in three different positions. This is really useful stuff because it allows you to find alternate chord formations for arpeggios in a different register of the neck for lead lines.

The concept is simple: Play a standard D major chord in the open position. To voice the same chord in the next position form an A major chord starting at the 5th fret (this can be done with an A-form barre chord or you can lose string 5(A) and 6(E)). The next position is formed as an F major chord at the 10th fret (another way to look at it is as an E-form barre chord at the 10th fret). The pattern concludes by playing a D major chord form at the 14th fret (so that the chord is an octave above the original open form D major chord).

This information is very useful because it forms a neat little pattern:
D - Skip1 - A - Skip2 - F - Skip1

This pattern continues i.e. D - A - F - D - A - F and on and on. To play all of the F chords on the neck with this pattern you would simply start the loop at the F and continue as such:
F - Skip1 - D - Skip1 - A - Skip2

So how does this tell you how to play any major chord? Simply find any E-form or A-form barre chord form of the chord that you want to play somewhere else on the neck (remember that the E-form barre chord is identical to the F major shape with the 5 and 6 string added). So to play any C major chord up and down the neck start with an A-form barre chord at the 3rd fret - C major. The next version would be an F major at the 8th fret, then a D major at the 12th fret...Very powerful stuff.

The roadmap also works for minor chords... just flat the 3rd of any of these chords and you'll have the minor version of the root chord (Dm - Am - Fm roadmap).

Let me know if this has been helpful. (a link to the original pdf file)


Blogger Gishdog said...

Please use the comment feature to leave comments about this post. Let me know if it helped you out and suggest ideas for new lessons.

6:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just thought I would add that the D-A-F roadmap is part of the CAGED system. The C and G are taken out because were only focusing on the first 3 strings.

10:21 PM

Blogger Gishdog said...

The CAGED system is another way to look at it, but for simplicity, the DAF version allows you to have 3 variations without having too much overlap... Thanks for the comment.

11:06 AM


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