With 47 years of experience on the acoustic guitar, Rolly has been a National Fingerpicking Champion and a Philadelphia Music Award nominee. He has performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Tasmanian Folk Festival, and tons of places in between. He hosted the Guitar Wizards radio show which ran on public radio in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Maine for several years, introducing listeners to guitarists and techniques usually searched out only by total guitar maniacs. He has served as a sideman for Magpie, Winnie Winston, Saul Broudy, Jack McGann, Priscilla Herdman, Jay Ansill, and many others, and has performed extensively with National Flatpicking Champion Mark Cosgrove, and, until her tragic death, with the late fiddler and singer extraordinaire Freyda Epstein. For the past decade, Rolly has been a popular teacher and performer at a number of guitar camps, appearing at Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamps (Maryville TN), the Swannanoa Gathering (Asheville NC), Summer Acoustic Music Week in New Hampshire, the convention of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society in Nashville TN, and others. His Youtube videos (instructional and performance) have garnered well over 100,000 hits.
Understanding, Implementing and Overcoming the Caged System
The CAGED system has become the most popular of many methods for understanding how to navigate the guitar fingerboard. In this DVD, Rolly Brown discusses its strengths and weaknesses, how to use it in order to get the maximum result with the least effort, and how to transcend its weaknesses, becoming able to move up and down the neck in the most fluid and fluent fashion.
• The five neck positions and their chord structures
• The five most effortless major scale fingerings
• Superimposition of scales and chords
• Understanding chord movement in each position
• Blues scale fingerings o Minor scales
• Horizontal and vertical concepts of navigation
• Overcoming CAGED with interval scales, horizontal scales, sliding pentatonic scales, and arpeggios
Running time: 121 minutes • Level 2 • Tab/Music material is on the DVD
Review: The CAGED system gets its name from the common major chords C, A, G, E, and D that it uses to teach the guitar fingerboard in a way that's easily understood and implemented. It's a handy mnemonic and has entered into the mainstream of guitar instruction perhaps because it is such a simple method.
Rolly Brown is an articulate teacher who has done several DVDs for the Stefan Grossman Guitar Workshop. He knows how to start with basic concepts and build on them - not a common trait in instructors who are also players. The two-hour DVD goes through the system: the five neck positions; chord structures; major, minor, and blues scales and arpeggios; and how to navigate through them. What sets Rolly's DVD apart is that he also discusses the limitations of the system and how to overcome them. He adds sections on intervals, pentatonic scales, and playing outside the bounds of the basic CAGED system. Tab and notation is on the DVD.
One tip: the table of contents is under the menu item "The Show." Recommended for guitarists looking for a way into scales and arpeggios. – Bluegrass Unlimited
Review: So you want to be a guitarist? Although perhaps not as sexy as copping Robert Johnson licks or mastering Mississippi Fred McDowell's bottleneck technique or getting hip to Wes Montgomery octaves (in all of which Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop DVDs can assist), commanding the whole fingerboard - conceptually and practically, horizontally and vertically - is key to freedom. Real wind-in-your-hair, fly-all-around-the-neck kind of six-string freedom. That's where the CAGED system comes in. Developed to help foster epiphanies in navigating about, the method uses a series of five fingerings normally associated with basic chords in open positions: namely C chord, A chord, G chord, E, and D. Add them up and what do they spell? CAGED. Catchy? You bet. Valuable for finding notes for chords, scales and arpeggios along the neck? You bet. "Uncaged & Free" not only teaches the system (hitting major, minor and blues scales), but ventures beyond, detailing its pros as well as its cons, even offering end-around approaches for overcoming those limitations. And having won the National Fingerpicking Championship, Rolly Brown knows a little something about fingerboards and the math behind their music. So these two valuable hours spent under his patient guidance are but a springboard into independence, of both the CAGED and, as wittily promised in its title, freed varieties. – Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag