Truefire's "CAGED Dominant" Is Smokin 'Hot

From bluegrass to swing and everything in between, True Fire's "CAGED Dominant" is a godsend for budding guitarists and accomplished aficionados alike.

Legendary guitarist and master instructor Brad Carlton guides students through the five moveable CAGED positions on the guitar, continuously relating them to the dominant seventh chord-the premier harmonic foundation of blues, jazz and rock music. For those readers allergic to music theory: the dominant seventh chord is constructed from the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and b7th notes of the major scale.

Does your head hurt yet? Yeah, mine too. Luckily, that's all the boring music theory necessary to master the two hours of instructional material presented in "CAGED Dominant."

The lessons are straightforward and easy to digest. After relating the five moveable chord forms to their corresponding arpeggio patterns, Carlton then demonstrates a wide range of melodic patterns for soloing and some basic chromatic moves like the b3 to 3 and b7 to 1-both classic staples to the sound jazz and blues music.

This is where the course really heats up.

Carlton then blows some killer solos over the most common chord progressions found in popular music and jazz like C7 – F7 (I – IV), C7 – B7 (I – bVII) and C7 – Eb 7 (I- bIII substitution).

Finally, Carlton pulls the curtains back and reveals the true awe inspiring power of the CAGED moveable chord system, linking the block chords and arpeggios to the major and minor pentatonics and the mixolydian mode as well.

But don't let all those geeky scale names scare you off. These concepts are actually quite simple to grasp. After the first few minutes of study, I was playing bebop solos so hot, my fingers were drippin 'chicken grease.

Unfortunately, "CAGED Dominant's" best asset is also its biggest drawback: it focuses on the dominant chord to the exclusion of everything else, so those students hoping to improve his or her improvisational skills over major, minor, or diminished chords best look elsewhere.

In the end, "CAGED Dominant" is the perfect learning tool for both accomplished and aspiring musicians alike. In addition, the software package includes guitar tab, slow motion, looping and hours of jam tracks to apply your newfound skills.

Available at for both Mac and PC users and priced at $ 29 for an instant download or $ 39 for a DATA-DVD, I give "CAGED Dominant" a perfect five out of five guitar picks.

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