# M by Mike Overly

```EncycloMedia Man
by Mike Overly
All The Chords I Needed To Know, I Learned At My First Lesson.
The 5 puzzle pieces are the 5 non-movable
“open” major chord shapes: E D C A G. You
probably already know these chords and you
might have learned them as CAGED. Figure 2.
To see how these 5 major chord shapes
“connect” to create a holistic fretboard, we
need to know the 3 different letters that “spell”
any major chord triad. For this lesson, we’ll use
the F major chord triad as our example.
The F major chord triad is spelled: FAC and
these 3 letters may be combined in any order.
For example: FAC, ACF, CFA, FCA. Now, as we
move up the fretboard and group these 3 letters
vertically (north and south), the 5 movable F
major chord forms appear! Figure 3.
The other day someone asked: how many
chords are there on the bass? Good question!
Six, ten thousand, a million - no one knows - but
what we do know is that there are only 5 simple
shapes from which all chords are created!
To begin, let’s imagine a puzzle box. Visualize
the picture on the box and see it as a “whole”
picture. Now, take a pair of scissors and cut this
whole picture into 5 pieces. How hard is it to
put together a puzzle with only 5 pieces? Easy,
right? Well, the “picture” on the puzzle box is
the 7 letters of music: A B C D E F G placed
horizontally (east and west) on each string of
the whole fretboard. For this lesson, the whole
fretboard will be 4 strings and 13 frets. Figure 1.
Figure 1. The whole fretboard as 7 music letters, A B C D E F G, horizontal (east and west).
1
2
3
4
G
D
A
E
Fret: 0
A
E
B
F
1
2
B
F
C
G
3
4
C
G
D
A
5
6
D
A
E
B
F
C
7
8
E
B
F
C
G
D
9
10
G
D
A
E F
11
12
13
Figure 2. 5 “open” major chord shapes (EDCAG or CAGED).
Figure 3. The three letters of the F major chord triad: F A C, vertical (north and south).
A
1
2
3 A
4
F
Fret: 0
1
C
F
C
A
F
C
A
2
3
F
C
4
5
6
7
8
A
F
9
10
11
12
13
Mike Overly * 12 Tone Music Publishing, LLC * P.O.Box 20564 Dayton OH 45420 * 1-937-256-9344 * www.12tonemusic.com * ©2007
Are you having a little trouble seeing the 5
visualize them more clearly, let’s place “squares”
around the 3 letters FAC. Figures 4 through 8.
Congratulations. Now you can “see” all 5 F
major chord forms “connected” on your holistic
fretboard. No one knows any more vertically
grouped F major chord triads than you do!
A
1
2
3 A
4
F
Fret: 0
1
Figure 4.
F major chord
in the “E shape”
Form 4 1.
Fret: 0
1
4
5
6
Fret: 0
1
3
4
5
6
3
Fret: 0
1
5
6
F
Fret: 0
1
9
3
4
5
F
C
7
8
9
5
10
11
6
7
13
12
13
F
C
8
A
F
9
10
11
12
13
F
C
F
C
A
12
F
A
4
11
A
C
3
10
F
C
6
13
F
C
A
A
2
8
C
A
1
2
3 A
4
7
12
F
F
C
F
C
2
11
A
A
4
10
F
C
C
A
F
7
A
2
9
F
C
A
2
8
F
A
F
C
1
2
3 A
4
7
A
C
A
F
Figure 8.
F major chord
in the “G shape”
Form 4 3.
3
F
C
1
2
3 A
4
Figure 7.
F major chord
in the “A shape”
Form 3 1.
F
C
A
2
F
C
A
A
F
Figure 6.
F major chord
in the “C shape”
Form 3 4.
C
F
C
1
2
3 A
4
Figure 5.
F major chord
in the “D shape”
Form 2 1.
Now, by “shifting” the 5 movable major chord
forms up and down the fretboard to different
“root” letters, all other major chords can easily
be located and played. Got your set of Bass
Fretboard Flashcards yet?
Till next time, have some fun connecting the
5 puzzle pieces and enjoy playing the beautiful
holistic fretboard picture. I’m listening...
8
A
F
9
10
11
12
13
Mike Overly is a regular contributor to BassBooks.com and author of Bass EncycloMedia, BEM
Jam audio disc 1, Bass Fretboard Facts and Bass Fretboard Flashcards for 4, 5 & 6 String Bass.
Mike Overly * 12 Tone Music Publishing, LLC * P.O.Box 20564 Dayton OH 45420 * 1-937-256-9344 * www.12tonemusic.com * ©2007
```