Acoustic Gutiar Techniques: How to Use Chord Grips to Generate Great Soloing Ideas

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When soloing, ideally you want the whole fingerboard to be your playground, so you can go anywhere and find lines and riffs that mesh with the song. But how do you reach that level of comfort and familiarity on the neck, especially when venturing away from the old faithful low frets? The key is using chord shapes. Solos can be built from scales and modes, too, but for the kind of soloing where the notes change to reflect the song’s chord progression, shapes are the most useful tool. Navigating the guitar by shapes is a common strategy—it’s the basis of the CAGED system, in which you orient yourself by applying the basic open-chord shapes for C, A, G, E, and D played up the neck. A visual system like this just makes sense on an instrument that’s not linear like a piano and not even symmetrically tuned like a mandolin or violin. In this lesson, you’ll see how chord shapes can help you build great-sounding solos—and help you move confidently up and down the neck.

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