I first came across the warp factor in Jon Finn’s amazing book, ‘Advanced Modern Rock Guitar Improvisation’, which should definitely be in your collection. The warp factor is basically due to the nature of the guitar’s tuning, and in particular the way there’s a major third gap between the G and B strings instead of a consistent fourth like all the others; what this does is offset or warp the fretboard, and in scale, arpeggio or chord terms it pushes any note on the B string up one fret with the E string following suit.
Let’s see how this works in terms of triads.
Most guitarists start out with triads by learning patterns on the top four strings such as this one:
A default pattern is one that uses the bottom four strings, the ones tuned in fourths, and doesn’t involve the B string.
Here’s our default G Major triad starting on the low E string:
Here’s the resulting triad:
What’s Going on Here?
All you need realize here is that instead of 3 or 4 different triad shapes for each inversion, there is only one shape which is warped by the fretboard as you move it across string sets. You can apply this to any triad or triad inversion, simply by starting with the ‘default’ shape on the bottom three strings and moving it across the fretboard. When you come to a pattern that involves the B string, simply shift the note from the default pattern that lands on the B string up one fret. When you have a shape that starts on the G string, the notes on the B and E strings will shift up one fret as you go through the warp zone.
If you found this idea intriguing, check out the 2 Position Scale System Tutorial, which is the introduction to an entire scale and arpeggio system based mainly on this very concept.
Here’s how the minor triad moves across the fretboard. Remember, this is the same shape just warped by the fretboard.
We start out with the default pattern on the bottom three strings:
I hope you’re getting the hang of this as it’s a really useful way to see the fretboard and gives you a great insight into the guitar’s tuning. The following four diagrams are the default patterns for Diminished, Augmented, Sus2 and Sus4 triads in G; your homework is to move them across the fretboard and work out the other shapes, and if you liked this method of learning triads, check out the full eBook. Details here.