Stacking Freedom Blocks

When you stack Freedom Blocks, you alternate between squares and rectangles. The blocks do not overlap. The girl will help you remember how the blocks align.

Alternating squares and rectangles stacked on top of each other.

Of course, you can still use your other options like overlapping rectangles, stepping squares and side-steps.

Show how you can add additional blocks to the stacked ones, using overlapping squares and stepping squares.

My flag and chair analogy will help you align the rectangles and squares. When you move from a rectangle to a higher square it's like a flag flying high. When you move from a rectangle to a lower square it's like sitting down in a chair.

Comparing stacked squares and rectangles to the flag up being rectangle up to square and "sitting down" to a rectangle with a square on lower strings.

The only time my analogy doesn't work is when the first row of a square or rectangle lands on the B string. In those two cases, the entire Freedom Block moves up one fret.
(Notation rectangle: E2-5, A2-4, D2-4, G2-4, shift, B2-5, E2-5)
(Notation square: E9-11, A9-11, D8-11, G8-11, shift, B9-11, E9-11)

Check notation.

Here's the first stepping square sequence you learned. I've added rectangles above and below the square.

(Notation: E5, A3-5-7, D5-7, G5-7, B5-8-10, E8-10-12)

Check notation for note sequence.

The rectangle on the B and E strings is shifted up one fret causing all three Freedom Blocks to line up on the left side. This alignment might explain why this is the most famous guitar shape. If you hear a YouTuber say, "We're going to use shape one, or box one." This is the one.

Play the sequence in both directions. Try using your "pinky" or little finger to reach the wide intervals.

(Notation: E5-8, A5-7, D5-7, G5-7, B5-8, E5-8)

Check notation for note sequence.

Let's add rectangle notes to our original stepping square pattern. Play the wide interval in the rectangle with your first and third finger, first and pinky finger, or you can slide from one note to the next.

(Notation: E5, A3-5-7, D5-7, G5-7, B5-8-10, E8-10-12)

Check notation for note sequence.

Let's reverse our sequence using a different route back to the root note. Start on the 12th fret of the high E string. Notice that the rectangle shares its right-side notes with the square.

(Notation: E12-10-8-5, B8-5, G7-5, D7-5, A7-5-3, E5)

Check notation for note sequence.

"Someone told me the smile on my face gets bigger when I play the guitar."— Niall Horan

Time to Solo

Here is the same pattern with blues notes. Turn on your A minor backing track. Play up and down while adding the blues and rectangle notes. You can play the flat 3rd on the A or the E string. Notice the blues note on B4. Rectangles overlap squares. The blues note is in row 1 of every square.

(Scale pattern per string: E5-8, A3-5-6-7, D5-7, G5-7-8-9, B5-8-9, E5-8-10-11-12)

Check notation for sequence of notes.

All of our examples so far have used the A minor pentatonic scale. Below, I've moved the Freedom Blocks up two frets for an B minor scale. Find a B minor backing track and give this a try.

(Notation: E7-10, A7-8-9, D7-9, G7-9-10-11, B string shift, B10-12, E10-7, B10-7-6-5, G3-5)

Check notation for sequence of notes

Freedom Blocks let you start on any string. In this next example we're in the key of C minor starting on the 3rd fret of the A string. You can also play row one of the rectangle on the low E string.

(Notation: E3-6, A3-6, D3-4-5, G3-5, B string shift, B4-6, E3-6)

Check notation for pattern of notes starting on the A string.

"You'll never learn everything on that guitar neck."—David Edwards

So don't fret about it.


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