Archive for the ‘CAGED’ Category

CAGED and Other Scales

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

photo by basheertome


In the CAGED system, do the shapes ALWAYS match up to ANY and ALL scale shapes in that area? I was watching your youtube video again, and the second part at the end you reference the Eb mixelodeon (sp?), and how the d shape and a shape fit into it. but do these CAGED shapes fit into all scales?


The CAGED shapes can serve as the basis for most scales. Certainly the Major, Mixolydian, and Lydian scales fit well. Also any major based arpeggio works. When you get into minor and more altered scales, you can still use the CAGED shapes, but some of the notes will need to be adjusted. The 3rd of the scale won’t match the note used in the CAGED pattern. If you use the Super Scale Trainer to view minor scales in reference mode with the CAGED display turned on you’ll see what I mean. The CAGED shapes still make a great starting point, but a little extra work is required.


Start with the “E” Shape at the 5th position. This gives you an “A” major chord.

"E" Shape at 5th Position -> A major

If you build a Mixolydian scale off of this shape you get the following:

A Mixolydian Scale

Notice that you can build this scale straight off the CAGED shape. Not so with minor. In minor we have to alter the CAGED shape a little. Take a look at the following:

A Minor

Most of the strings include the original CAGED note (shown in red). However the third string does not, because that CAGED note is not in the minor scale. But, since the CAGED shape is providing a note on 5 out of 6 strings it still makes a good starting point for building the scale.

If you look closely at the above minor scale, you may notice that even though the full “E” shape is not in the scale, the full “E minor” shape is. Instead of using the major chord as a skeleton (CAGED shape), a minor chord can be used, in which case you’d have a note on every string. That would look like this:

A minor scale using "minor shape"

The concept is the same: Use a first position chord as the skeleton for scales and arpeggios. The only difference is you use a minor chord instead of a major. Try it out!

If you are new to the CAGED system watch our introduction to the CAGED system.

Major Scales in CAGED

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Following up on our CAGED system for the guitar video, I am pleased to announce a new video exploring the CAGED system and major scales. This video deals with the second part of using the CAGED system, building a scale on top of a CAGED pattern. It does not cover the first part of the system, finding the location of CAGED patterns.

The best way to learn scales in the CAGED system is with baby steps. Learn one pattern at a time and learn it well. Build up from the triad (which is usally the CAGED pattern plus one or two notes) to the scale by adding one note at a time. When you practice the scale don’t just play it up and down, play it backwards, skip notes and use patterns, etc. Watch the following video for more ideas…

And part II…

CAGED Worksheets

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I put together some worksheets as a follow up to the CAGED videos from 2 weeks ago. Click Here to download the four page worksheet and answer key. They work on a basic understanding of the first step in using the CAGED system, namely finding the right CAGED shape for a specific area of the guitar.

CAGED System Worksheet

CAGED System Worksheet

For more on the second step of using the CAGED system, visit our Super Scale Trainer. There you can tie together arpeggio / scale patterns with CAGED shapes. For example a great first step towards mastering the CAGED system is learning to play all major arpeggios in all 12 keys. By using the CAGED system all 12 keys simplify down to 5 unique patterns. And those 5 patterns all tie in to the CAGED shapes, so it’s really not as much work as it sounds. More on this soon..

CAGED System for Guitar

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

We put together a 17-minute video introducing the CAGED system. For the uninitiated, the CAGED system is a way of dividing up the guitar neck, making it easier to find and play chords, scales, and arpeggios. The CAGED system is based on the first position chords C, A, G, E, and D. Since most guitarists are familiar with these chords it is much easier to learn than other fretboard systems. It is very useful for all guitar players, but especially those interested in improvising. We divided the video up in to two parts.

The first video discusses the need for the CAGED system and the basics of how it works. It introduces the concept of moveable patterns upon which the CAGED system is based. Also the origin of the name “CAGED” is discussed as it is relevant to its use. General examples of the system’s use are also included.

The second part of our study of the CAGED system deals with how the CAGED system can be used to find scales or arpeggios in a specific area of the neck (Great for improvisation). It also shows how’s Super Scale Trainer can be used while learning the CAGED system.