View Full Version : practical theory

05-03-2003, 09:38 AM
hi guys,i havent been on this forum for almost a year.in that time i have been taking lessons from a classically trained teacher and have delved deep into the theory side which i have enjoyed IMENSLEY. my question today is the C.A.G.E.D system of learning the guitar.this is what i have been diong.what do you guys think about it? has anyone been taught with it? i personally think that it is the most complete way of learning the fretboard.every scale,arpeggio/triad,pentatonic can all be refrenced from each and every C.A.G.E.D form. is there any other way of learning the fretboard? please reply and its great to be speaking to you guys again!!
thanks Peter

05-03-2003, 02:21 PM
The CAGED system is actually quite limiting, in that it only teaches 5 forms for each scale. More exhaustive methods exist for learning the fretboard.

Bongo Boy
05-03-2003, 03:56 PM
I haven't looked around at all the available descriptions of CAGED, but I have a book, Guitar SCale Guru (Karl Aranjo) that references the system. Problem is, I absolutely don't 'get it' at all. Maybe you can explain how it helped you.

My book says:
To quickly learn 5 positions of any scale, center your thinking around 5 plain old chords in the open position.Then of course C, A, G, E and D chords are shown in open voicings. I just don't understand the significance--what's the point?

Relating a C major scale in open position to a particular C ma chord, C major in 2nd position to a particular A ma chord, etc., doesn't do anything for me. I just don't see any useful connection. In fact, I'm still completely baffled as to how a chord (that I haven't remembered) will help me learn a scale (that I haven't remembered). All these chords represent to me is some particular, arbitrarily-selected fragment of the scale I'm trying to learn.

In addition, many of the chords given (that I'm supposed to somehow 'link' to the scale) are unfamiliar and unplayable for me...so all this does is add one more difficult task to the process.

On top of all that, nearly all of the fingerings shown for any of the scales begin 4 or 5 notes below the root, and don't end on the root either. This has nothing to do with CAGED as far as I know, but it does make learning the sound of a scale harder, to me.

Since I've been practicing I've stuck with beginning and ending on the root tone, this has made a huge difference in my ability to hear incorrect notes when I'm noodling in a particular key (in which case I go anywhere I please regardless of root).

I'm not saying CAGED isn't useful...clearly it's been very useful for a very long time. But it sure doesn't 'connect' for me or help me remember anything. Maybe part of what I'm missing is that I don't see a connection between this topic and music theory--that could be the key.

05-03-2003, 04:31 PM
Everyone needs a starting point, and CAGED seems to work well for many people. Ultimately you should figure out how everything connects together in a seemless manner.

One thing I did was use very thin translucent paper and colored pencils to learn the fretboard. I drew a fretboard diagram on a normal piece of paper using a ruler and made the lines very dark. I could easily see this through the thin paper. Then I drew out the notes for scales, chords, etc on the thin paper. When I overlayed the two I could easily transpose keys, see how scales "fell off the neck" at the nut, and lots of other neat things that I was having trouble visualizing.

Just making the diagrams was a big help! It stretches the boundaries of how you think about things. Creating all these diagrams also reinforced how repetitive everything is on the fretboard. Of course, I was in junior high at the time and I had lots of time in study hall to do this stuff!:D

Anyways, this is just one more method of learning the fretboard. Maybe you can adapt it for your own benefit.;)

05-03-2003, 04:36 PM
The CAGED System is a method of organizing the scale patterns, based on the shapes of the open position chords C-A-G-E-D.
The shape of each chord moves up the fingerboard in the CAGED order.
In the key of C major the C pattern occurs at the open position, the A pattern occurs at the 3rd fret, the G pattern occurs at the 5th fret the E pattern at the 8th fret and the D pattern at the 10th fret. Positions of the C major scale are learned at these locations, using the CAGED chord forms as mnemonic devices.

To use this system with other keys you need only know the order these occur in and the relationship to the other patterns.
In the key of A major the A pattern is in the open position, the G pattern is at the 2nd fret, the E pattern is at the 5th fret, the D pattern is at the 7th fret and the C pattern is at the 9th fret. This system has some advantages, as there are only five different patterns for each type of scale, but this is a limiting factor in executing many phrases.
Mathematics dictates that for each seven-note scale you should learn at least seven different patterns.

05-03-2003, 04:52 PM
Here are the open position references for the chord forms.
Remember these are movable. The fuzzy note is the root.

So the root for C would occur at A3 & B1 for the C pattern,
A3 & G5 for the A pattern, E8 & G5 for the G pattern, E8 & D10 for the E pattern and D10 & B13 for the D pattern.

05-03-2003, 04:53 PM
Now the scales.
There are some obvious variations to these patterns by stretching up the neck instead of below the patterns.

05-03-2003, 05:26 PM
Here is TAB in open Position.

05-03-2003, 05:31 PM
Here is the tab of the same ascending up the neck using C as the root.

05-03-2003, 06:24 PM
I started out just learning the scales all around the neck... and then I went to a workshop and this guitarist told me that the caged system wouldn't be as limiting as what i was doing. He went on arguing about how you can add more interesting notes... then I asked him why you couldn't just apply that same chromatic idea (what he meant by more interesting notes) with scales and he told me that it'd be better with caged b/c it would make more sense if I thought about the chords being played.

He called his system horizontal soloing (or was it vertical... crap). I think it was horizontal... but i don't see what the advantage to it is.

Is horizontal soloing the same thing as caged?

05-03-2003, 07:34 PM
What this guy was most likely talking about was using the caged system as a reference to the chord you were improvising over and learning the tensions as they relate to the caged form. There is no reason why you can't do the same with any scale form. The problems arise from there being many ways to look at the same thing. I suggest learning the C major scale everywhere on the fretboard using every scale form you can find. Then I suggest you learn the note names or at least the scale degrees of each note in each form (in each position). From there you can begin to have all possible tensions from each physical position. This is a lot of stuff to memorize and the caged system reduces the amount to memorize drastically.

05-04-2003, 12:45 AM
thanks for your input guys.sulz has a very good point in that it only gives 5 scales form each root.this has me very interested.could you please tell me where i can get this book 'escape from the cage'? it sounds interesting. to answer bongo boys thread,i would suggest you go over the caged system with somone who understands it completely because trying to understand it on your own is difficult.for me it has been a HUGE help in navigating the fretboard.the most important skill you must have along with the caged sytem is knowing all the notes on the fretboard and where they fit in each chord,triad,arpeggio,pentatonic,etc.without this you are limited to allways starting on the 6th or 5th where most patterns are referenced from.when i would improvise , i would always use pentatonics as my base frame work and then hoplessly try to jump to an arpeggio or scale tinking that it is a seperate entity.but know with the caged system it links all these improvisational tools to each other(they actually overlap each other) and know i can play any scale,arpeggio,triad,pentatonic i like with out getting lost amongst them all.this has been a HUGE step forward for me. thanks again guys, Peter

05-04-2003, 01:11 AM
This is actually a book that I have spent the last 20 years writing.
I have been considering self publication of this, but am more recently considering an online subscription service to it along with help forums.

05-04-2003, 09:27 PM
please announce it on this site sulz when you decide as it sounds very interesting. ,peter

05-05-2003, 03:02 AM
'E' Form.
This one starts at the 8th fret for C major.
This is different than the little black squares version of a few posts ago, in the stretches are up the neck instead of below the 8th fret, and the other one started at the 7th fret. But I would consider both of these 'E' Forms

05-05-2003, 03:06 AM
'C' Form.