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Watch the I iii bVII IV: Area 4 online guitar lesson by Brad Carlton from Guitar Lab: CAGED Comping

This lesson covers the I iii bVII IV progression in the key of A in area four. The chords are: A, C#m, G, and D. The C form from the CAGED system is used for the A chord, the E minor form from the EDCAG system is used for the C# minor chord, the A form from the CAGED system is used for the G chord, and the E form from the CAGED system is used for the D chord.

The first two chords in this progression are a I iii in the key of A major. The second two chords are a IV I in the key of D major. These are the theoretical keys that exist for this progression. Therefore the modes are as follows: A Ionian for the A chord, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7; C# Phrygian for the C# minor chord, 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7; G Lydian for the G chord, 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7; and D Ionian for the D chord, 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7.

The arpeggios for these chords are labeled in red in the diagrams. The remaining four tones are labeled in black which then form the modes for each of these chords. For the A chord, add the 2 and the 6 to the major arpeggio to form the fifth string rooted A major pentatonic scale. For the C# minor chord, add the 4 and the b7 to the minor arpeggio to form the sixth string rooted C# minor pentatonic scale. For the G chord, add the 2 and the 6 to the major arpeggio to form the third string rooted G major pentatonic scale. For the D chord, add the 2 and the 6 to the major arpeggio to form the fourth string rooted D major pentatonic scale.

Be sure to memorize the formulas for your modes because then you will clearly see the pentatonic subscales that exist within them.