CAGED System

5 of the 6 strings on a standard guitar are tuned to different keys. This creates an irregular pattern of notes across the fretboard. One practical, popular, and arguabley the best method for making use of this resulting pattern is the CAGED system.

CAGED stands for the C, A, G, E, and D Major chord forms found consecutively, repeating, and overlapping across the fretboard. When isolated you can see that each form has a unique shape and requires a different fingering pattern, yet they all represent the same repeating 7 notes of the Major scale. This is why they are not considered scales alone, but rather scale forms or shapes. A practical understanding of the CAGED system is invaluable for many reasons, here are a few:

 

Changing keys requires a simple shift of the scale forms left or right across the fretboard until the particular key’s note allign with the root note. After which the entire fretboard may be relatively understood and utilized.

The 7 modes (minor being on of them) are essentially the Major Scale starting and stopping on a different scale degree while retaining the same overall spacing pattern. Therefore the same CAGED pattern applies to all 7 modes. Hence no need to learn any new patterns, just a mental shift of the scale degrees.

The CAGED system provides a helpful structure for open and moveable chords as well. You may obtain a complete understanding of not only the notes in which make up a particular chord, but also the mode from which the chord is formed - thus making chord construction, alterations, and placement more freely.

 

The CAGED system provides a helpful structure for open and moveable chords as well. You may obtain a complete understanding of not only the notes in which make up a particular chord, but also the mode from which the chord is formed - making chord construction, alterations, and placement more freely.

As these scale forms seamlessly overlap, so will your playing. This system will enable you to move up down and across the fretboard with confidence of knowing which notes your playing and why.

Learning the CAGED system is really quite easy. Observe the following pages, and practice the 5 seperate scale forms in both major and minor. The rest will come naturally - you'll see!

 

 

 

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