Double Your Fretboard Coverage

Lead Guitar

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In this intermediate guitar lesson, I'm going to cover a simple concept that will help you to double your coverage of the fretboard. It's great for both rhythm guitar and lead guitar. For rhythm guitar playing, this concept will help you get beyond playing standard bar chords. For your lead guitar playing, it will help you to get past your 6th string root note major scales.

Standard Bar Chords

The first thing we'll go over is the idea of chord movability. We'll start by looking at your standard bar chords.

For standard 6th string root note bar chords we use the E shape. For our 5th string root note bar chords we use the A shape.

Standard Bar Chords

The important thing to grasp here, is that it's not only these 2 chord shapes that we can use to make bar chords. We can use other chords as well.

D Bar Chord Shape

The D chord is the shape we'll use for this concept. Start off by taking a look at the standard open D Major chord. We can make a bar chord out of it, and move it up and down the fretboard.

D Shape

Try moving this shape around and get used to how it feels under your fingers. Notice where the root notes are in this shape, and use them as a point of reference.

Rhythm Application

A lot of players get stuck using standard bar chords or open chords to play a progression. You can use this D shape to not only work your way up the neck, but also give you a different voicing so you can have some variety in your chord choices. We are going to play through a I, IV, V progression and try using the D shape.

Example #1: Instead of playing an open G chord for this progression, we'll try using the D shape G chord in it's place.

Open Chord Progression

Example #2: Now we'll try exchanging all the chords in this progression with the D shape.

D Shape Chord Progression

Lead Application

Now let's take a look at how you can use this exact same concept to double your fretboard coverage while playing lead.

E Bar Chord Shape: It's important to recognize which chord shapes are in the scale shapes that you're using. The E car chord shape sits over top of our standard major scale shape. The same goes for the 3 note per string shape as well. Notice where the root notes are, and use them as a point of reference.

Scale Diagrams

D Bar Chord Shape: We can use this shape to go up the next octave in the scale. Look at your 3 note per string scale. Visualize the D shape, and play the exact same shape while compensating for the tuning of the B string. Again, use the root notes as a point of reference.

Scale Diagrams

A Major Scale: We can use these shapes to play in other keys as well. Try moving it up to an A. Find your root note locations and visualize your D chord shape while playing the scale shape.

Scale Diagram

Applying This Concept

I've written a jam track that you can play along to using this new concept. It's a simple G, C, D progression. If you want to work on your rhythm guitar playing, you can use the new D shape in place of your G chord, or you can use it for the other chords as well.

If you want to apply this to lead guitar, you can use the jam track to play these new shapes over. Work on connecting your standard 6th string root note scale with the new D shape scale.