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Fretboard Logic SE Review: The CAGED System Made Easy

The author is a guitarist and bassist with over 35 years of experience as a musician.

Fretboard Logic by Bill Edwards is a brilliant method for understanding the notes of the guitar.

Fretboard Logic by Bill Edwards is a brilliant method for understanding the notes of the guitar.

Fretboard Logic SE by Bill Edwards

Fretboard Logic by Bill Edwards is a groundbreaking guitar instruction manual that helps you see the notes of the guitar in a new way. If you have struggled to find your way around the guitar, the instructions presented here will help clear up the mystery of the instrument.

Music theory is important for all guitarists who want to have a strong command of the instrument, regardless of their style or genre. Understanding theory allows you to see the why of things when it comes to musical composition and songwriting.

It helps you to visualize the fretboard and sharpens your improvisational skills. Learning music theory is very beneficial for any musician.

Unfortunately, it's also really boring. Many players spend countless hours studying it, and too much of it can really suck the fun out of being a guitar player. In Fretboard Logic, Edwards helps you to understand the workings of the guitar's tuning system and presents a coherent and easy-to-follow method for getting around the fretboard. You'll learn a lot, and the time you spend with the system will show in your playing.

Fretboard Logic doesn't mess around with boring mumbo jumbo. Edwards gets right down to it, with useful advice for anyone who can play a few chords. Of course, it all takes practice, but once you've mastered the lessons, you'll find you see the fretboard clearer than ever.

Fretboard Logic definitely helped me become a better guitarist, even after 20 years of playing.

What I Learned From Fretboard Logic

I had been playing guitar for decades by the time I came across Fretboard Logic. I had experience playing in bands and in the recording studio as a lead guitarist, and I guess I was a decent player. I had learned a little music theory along the way, but I was mostly self-taught. Everything I had learned up until that point I had gleaned from different instructional books and magazine articles. Mostly, I had just figured things out on my own.

I have little patience for boring things, which is why I became a guitar player to begin with. Studying music theory is like a trip to the dentist's office. I'd much rather spend my time learning new music, either by ear or by tab. That's how I learned many of the chords and scales. I think a lot of self-taught players are that way, and it's not a bad thing. But, when you decide you want to have a deeper understanding of the instrument, learning new songs doesn't really help much.

Fretboard Logic made the notes of the guitar clearer than they had ever been before. It helped me to see how everything is connected in a practical sense, not just as dots in a book. It opened up new ideas for me, a player with a lot of experience, but I can also see how it can get a new guitarist off on the right foot. Whenever I run into someone who really wants to expand their guitar playing, this is always the book I recommend.

The CAGED System Made Easy

Fretboard Logic is based around the CAGED system, which stands for the Major chord shapes C, A, G, E, and D. You'll learn these chords all over the fretboard, and understand how to find them in any position. It really is a smart system, and simple to follow.

Don't get the idea that it will be a cakewalk though. Edwards's system may be easy to grasp, but you'll be challenged to get better every step of the way.

Once you have the chord thing down, Edwards guides you through scales and lead patterns. Here the focus is on the pentatonic scale, the most important scale in rock music.

Again using an easy-to-follow system based on the CAGED sequence, you'll learn to master the scale in any key and any position on the fretboard. If you've ever struggled at writing or improvising guitar solos you'll find this section especially helpful

Those who have studied music theory know how different chords are built from the notes of scales. It's fascinating to see that clear connection illuminated by Edwards's CAGED lessons

More Logic

When you're done with Fretboard Logic, you may wish to take a short break and work on applying everything you've learned.

But when you're ready, you'll want to move on to Volume II in the series, which is the second half of the SE edition. This book deals with more chords, scales, and arpeggios, and again brings everything together with the CAGED system.

Volume II covers diatonic scales and modes and provides some great lessons on different styles of playing. It makes for a great follow up to building on what you learned in the first book.

In Fretboard Logic Volume III, Bill Edwards begins to help us put it all together. If you've been studying the series, you've probably been doing this yourself all along. But having Edwards, the expert on the subject, put down in black and white exactly how we should go about applying this knowledge is priceless.

Here Edwards covers real-world playing situations such as pitch and timing and presents them in a way that allows each guitar player to follow along at a pace that best suits his needs.

In Fretboard Logic III, the rubber meets the road, so to speak, and the practical lessons are put to use.

Fretboard Logic DVDs and Box Set

Some people learn better with visual demonstrations, and for those guitarists, there is the Fretboard Logic I and II DVDs, which work alongside Volumes I and II.

Note that this is a companion to the books, and intended to work with them rather than replace them.

Here Edwards helps you apply what you learned in the books and further clarifies the CAGED system of guitar learning.

For those who really want to immerse themselves in the learning experience, there is the Fretboard Logic Interactive DVD, which includes more content and over 100 pages of transcriptions with tabs, charts, and notations.

This is the complete Fretboard Logic guitar system and combines all of the great books and DVDs together in one package. This is really the one-stop-shop for understanding the guitar. In the box set, you get all three books (Volumes I and II combined into the SE Edition, plus Volume III), plus three DVDs arranged on two discs, including the Interactive DVD.

Practice Hard!

You can practice the guitar for the rest of your life and still be left with new things to learn. There is always room for improvement and fresh ideas, and better ways to look at the instrument. Books like Fretboard Logic bridge the gap between newbies and seasoned players, and are among the best ways to learn scales and chords. They provide solid directions for anyone wanting to improve as a guitarist.

Fretboard Logic might not turn you into the next Eddie Van Halen, but it will improve your playing and your understanding of the instrument no matter what genre you're into. Even if you take lessons or have already been studying the guitar, this book can help to open up a few doors.

If you decide to follow the Fretboard Logic method I hope you find it as helpful as I did, and I hope it makes you better on the guitar. Bill Edwards's CAGED system will have you thinking in new ways, that's for sure.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.