Fretboard Visualization | Part 1

Group guitar class taught by Mike Salow

1 hour per week · intermediate

5.0 (3 reviews)

In part 1 of this Fretboard Visualization course we'll focus on developing your knowledge of the CAGED system as a visualization tool. We'll start by learning how to use octave shapes to visualize how intervals, triads, pentatonic (and blues) scales all relate to each other. We'll also delve into tools (outside of the CAGED system) that will help you connect every position of the pentatonic scale, in order to create long flowing lines and sequences similar to the likes of Eric Johnson, Joe Bonamassa, or Scott Henderson. Part 1 of this course will directly set you up for success in Part 2 where we will further discuss intervals, the 7 modes, 7th chords (with extensions), and arpeggios. We will also touch lightly on chord progressions and harmony.

What's included

Video chat lessons

Learn and ask questions with Mike Salow every week.

Lesson replays

Unlimited access to recordings from class.

Private community

Practice with people who share your love of guitar.

Taught by Mike Salow
Teaching on Til since 2022

5.00 · 25 students · 15 lessons

Mike Salow is an American guitarist, songwriter, and music educator from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He's spent his entire career sharing with others, what he's learned about music and guitar. Most notably as a teacher at McNally Smith College of Music and through his short lessons via Instagram.
What you'll do

Octave Shapes

Being able to locate the root notes of chords and scales is one of the most fundamental/useful things you can learn on the guitar. The best way to locate all root notes is to use octave shapes. We'll learn that there are 7 in position octave shapes available as well as 1 double octave shape. Once you learn this, you'll be able to locate any note, anywhere on the fretboard.


We'll use the CAGED system to visualize how we can take our 5 basic chords (in major or minor) and barre them in order to get every possible position of each chord. Each triad (chord) position will have a coinciding pentatonic shape that we will learn as well. The triad has 3 of the 5 notes that make up a pentatonic scale so in turn, the triad notes are ideal landing notes when soloing.

Pentatonic Scales

The pentatonic scale is the easiest scale to use when soloing. This is partly because of the limited information within the scale. Most chord scales (like the major or minor scale) have 7 notes, while the pentatonic scale only has 5 notes (penta = 5). We'll further learn how functional the pentatonic scale is within Part 1 of this course.

Expanding Beyond the Pentatonic Boxes

Once we've fully discussed triads and pentatonic scales we will then delve into the Blues scale in all positions, as well as using 2 string symmetrical patterns to develop longer pentatonic lines and sequences. If we have time, we will touch lightly on major and minor scales and the modes, which will be discussed in detail in Part 2 of the course.

Who you are
This is for students who are intermediate, however, it could fill in gaps for more advanced students. It will be helpful to have an understanding of all basic open chords as well as some exposure to 1 or more pentatonic boxes. Knowledge of intervals will be helpful but we will touch on common intervals at the beginning of this course. THIS IS NOT A MUSIC THEORY COURSE. Our main goal is to be able to visualize all the common shapes on the fretboard. A complete music theory course will be coming in the future.
What to bring
Your guitar and curiosity.
5.0 (3 reviews)
December 2022

For someone who's played a lot of cowboy chords, this was a great class for me to better understand the fretboard and be more comfortable with leads and solos.

Eric Barnum
December 2022

Awesome course from a down to earth and well educated teacher. My knowledge of the fretboard and my improvisation have increased over the 8 weeks working with Mike. I highly recommend.

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