# The 5 scale shapes and the CAGED system

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scousertommy
02-21-2005, 01:32 PM
Hey I actually submitted this same lesson a few days ago but I realise now that I fucked up the diagrams in it by not realising that code would fix it :bonk:

WARNING: This lesson pre-supposes that you know the tonal (interval)
structure of the Major scale, the Nat. minor scale, and the
modes.

Okay, I've seen other people with the major scale etc in their lessons,
and several shapes of it in some lessons. There are 5 shapes in total,
and just these 5 shapes encompass all 7 diatonic scales,
(Excluding harmonic and melodic minors however).

These 5 shapes, taught to me by my old guitar teacher,
are the most convenient ones to use, and I'm pretty
sure I haven't seen anyone else at UG with these
in their lesson.
(Though the_strat_man did come close, to be fair).

Also, remember that even though the shapes are named "E major" etc,
this does not mean that this particular shape will only play a scale
in the key of E major; they are ENTIRELY MOVEABLE to ANY fret, and this naming nuance is explained below.

Without further ado, here are the shapes. ('R' signifies the root note, and the other numbers on each fret indicate which note from the scale it is, e.g. |-6-| = 6th note of the major scale.)

|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|
|-5-|---|-6-|---|---|
|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|
|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|
|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|

C major SHAPE

|---|-5-|---|-6-|---| |---|-5-|---|---|---|
|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-| |---|---|---|-3-|---|
|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---| _________\ |---|---|---|-R-|---|
|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---| / |---|---|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---| |---|-R-|---|---|---|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|---| |---|-X-|---|---|---|

A major SHAPE A major CHORD SHAPE

^^ (Here you can see why it's called
the A major SHAPE, even though it
doesn't necessarily play in the key
of A. When you take the 1st, 3rd,
and 5th notes from this scale you
will get the A major chord shape,
i.e. the fingering pattern used
to play 'A major' in the open
position).

|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|
|---|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|
|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|
|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|
|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|

G major SHAPE

|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|
|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|
|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|
|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|

E major SHAPE

|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|
|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|
|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|
|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|

D major SHAPE

These shapes fit together so that you can switch between positions
at any time while improvising, this will dramatically improve your
improvisation if you learn the shapes linked together all over the
fretboard.

The shapes fit together in the order:
Cmaj-Amaj-Gmaj-Emaj-Dmaj-Cmaj....etc over and over.

For this reason, this system of playing the shapes linked together
is known as the C-A-G-E-D system.

Here is C major all over the fretboard, to give you an idea:

| 3 |-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|
| 7 |-R-|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|
| 5 |---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|
| 2 |---|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|
| 6 |---|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|
| 3 |-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|-7-|-R-|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|

^ ^ ^ ^
open 3rd 5th 7th.....etc
fret

It is not easy to discern at first, but you can see that the shapes
are all linked together in the order of C-A-G-E-D .
(^^I included an extra C major SHAPE at the end here also; frets 14-18).

***********************************************************
***********************************************************
If you know how modes work, then you should already be able
to figure out how to play the shapes for the minor scale, or
any other mode (use the same fingerings, but with the Root note
beginning in a different place).

However, for your convenience, I have painstakingly written
them out:)

|-5-|-6-|---|-7-|---|
|-2-|-3-|---|-4-|---|
|-7-|---|-R-|---|---|
|-4-|---|-5-|-6-|---|
|-R-|---|-2-|-3-|---|
|-5-|-6-|---|-7-|---|

A minor SHAPE

|---|-7-|---|-R-|---|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|-6-|
|-R-|---|-2-|-3-|---|
|-5-|-6-|---|-7-|---|
|-2-|-3-|---|-4-|---|
|---|-7-|---|-R-|---|

G minor SHAPE

|---|-R-|---|-2-|-3-| |---|-R-|---|---|---|
|---|-5-|-6-|---|-7-| |---|-5-|---|---|---|
|-2-|-3-|---|-4-|---| _______\ |---|-3-|---|---|---|
|---|-7-|---|-R-|---| / |---|---|---|-R-|---|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|-6-| |---|---|---|-5-|---|
|---|-R-|---|-2-|-3-| |---|-R-|---|---|---|

E minor SHAPE E minor CHORD SHAPE

^^ (The same principle applies here
as did for A major CHORD SHAPE
above).

|-2-|-3-|---|-4-|---|
|---|-7-|---|-R-|---|
|-4-|---|-5-|-6-|---|
|-R-|---|-2-|-3-|---|
|-5-|-6-|---|-7-|---|
|-2-|-3-|---|-4-|---|

D minor SHAPE

|---|-4-|---|-5-|-6-|
|---|-R-|---|-2-|-3-|
|-5-|-6-|---|-7-|---|
|-2-|-3-|---|-4-|---|
|---|-7-|---|-R-|---|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|-6-|

C minor SHAPE

This probably goes without saying, but,
when practising these shapes, I advise you
to always start and finish on the root note.
Otherwise they tend to sound a bit contextless.

That's all; learn these shapes well, and I hope they

I know you guys on the team probably can't give the original lesson I submitted the green light 'cause I fucked up the diagram spacing, so can one of you tell me if this lesson is ok to submit instead as a replacement?

Feedback from everyone else is welcome
:cheers:

scousertommy
02-21-2005, 02:40 PM
I think you've missed the point of the article/lesson/(call it what you want). Maybe its my fault for not making it clear though.

I never set out to impart a new understanding to the reader as to the theory of major/minor scale. (This may mean it is not technically a "lesson", but, fair enough, call it something else if you want). I only wanted to share these shapes of the scale with people because they are the most convenient shapes I have come across.

Here is why I feel they are the best shapes:

- Under what is known as "classical" technique for playing the guitar, the ideal way of fingering any series of notes involves using your four fingers to span across only 4 frets. Any further would involve a change of 'position', whereby you move your whole hand down/up a fret to accomodate this note being played outside of that 4 fret breadth. Here is an example, with index, middle, ring, and pinky notated as 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively:

|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|
|-1-|-2-|-3-|-4-|---|
|---|-1-|-2-|-3-|-4-|

Now, under classical technique, these shapes are regarded as the best shapes to use, because they do not involve any violations of the rule, such as:

|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|
|-1-|---|-2-|---|-4-|

Now you are partway toward understanding why I wanted to show these shapes in particular to the readers at UG.

- Many (if not all) of the other scale pattern examples I see in the lessons section do not make full use of what all four fingers can do in one postion on each string. I'll go now and find an example to paste of what I mean. Here:

E|---------------------------2-3--|
B|-----------------------3-5------|
G|-----------------2-4-5----------|
D|-----------2-4-5----------------|
A|-----2-3-5----------------------|
E|-3-5----------------------------|

OR, heres another example

7: A Major Extended (3 Octaves)
e|-----------------------------------------------12-14-16-17-|
B|-----------------------------------10-12-14-15-------------|
G|---------------------------9-11-13-------------------------|
D|-----------------7-9-11-12---------------------------------|
A|----------7-9-11-------------------------------------------|

Hopefully I have now cleared up why the fingering pattern in the scales I originally showed is technically better than any other I've found at UG. I may be wrong, so let me know if you find better ones.

You say my diagrams are "annoying to decipher". Well, I'm sorry, but learning usually doesn't come without a little effort...Deciphering them is well worthwhile I can tell you, however annoying it may be.

And I beg to differ that there most certainly was reason for me to show each note's degree with respect to the major scale. When one learns these scales, conscious of each note of the major scale they are playing as they practice, they are well equipped to try some jazz improvisation whereby constructing chords 'on the spot' as part of improvisation in a scale is commonly used. Nothing can be more important than knowing what degree of the scale you are playing with each note you play as you move through a scale. This will help you to "flow" with the chord changes you are playing over.

Also, neither the very mention (nor explanation, for that matter) of the CAGED system is to be found anywhere else at UG afaik. This alone warrants my article's publication, IMHO.

I agree that once people figure out what I mean, its not all that useful anymore, because at that point in time, they would already know it, wouldn't they? :rolleyes:

Sorry to have gone on about this for so long, but I wanted to make my intentions for the article clear, because I feel they've been gravely misunderstood thus far...

At the end of the day I'm forced to leave it up to you and the team to decide whether this lesson should ever go up, but I would ask that if you don't see fit to call it a "lesson", then surely you could find someplace for it? 'Cause I'm sure it will help someone out there.
:cheers:

Klayy
02-21-2005, 03:10 PM
Great lesson.
You know why? Because it is exactly like mine

scousertommy
02-21-2005, 03:23 PM
Thanks man, at least someone thinks its good. Well I can see that we both ended up writing out the major scale all across the fretboard. However, my shapes are a bit different to yours. They are actually more detailed, but the, main thing is that they are different. Yes, we both ended up showing 5 shapes for the major scale, but, as I mentioned above, mine are different. They both add up to the same thing, which is the notes all over the fretboard, but what do you want me to do? A scale is a universal thing...
Also I mentioned the CAGED system which you said nothing whatsoever of, and I gave the names for each scale shape (and gave an explanation for those names - you didnt). I included the degree of the scale that each note was - you didn't. While our lessons certainly bear similarities here and there (and what did you expect? we are both talking about scales), my lesson is certainly not "exactly like" yours. Why else would yours have been accepted and mine not?
FYI that's the first time I've seen your lesson. I hope you are not accusing me of plaguarism, Klayy.

Klayy
02-21-2005, 03:28 PM
No way I'm accusing.And the more lessons posted on a certain topic the better!I'm glad someone did this.In fact I did my lesson cause there wasn't one.
I didn't write the names or stuff like that, because I wanted to make it more about playing and less about learning theory.It's for the beginners.But your lesson is good for an advanced level of what I wrote.You have more notes in your diagrams, cause my exclude some from the modes or stuff like that.I wanted to take it much deeper in next parts if it got successful.Cheers, man :cheers:

Oh and I forgot to put a smiley in my previous post, my mistake, sorry.

And I don't know if there aren't mistakes in your lesson, I would love to help out, but I'm not into modes and stuff...
But I'll learn those, when I grow up :)

scousertommy
02-21-2005, 03:41 PM
Originally posted by WindJammer
Um... did not you also say that there is not much to 'learn' here?

Ahem... modes...? 'A' may be the 6th degree of IONIAN, but it changes dpending on your arpeggio, or mode, or whatever. (Not to mention, we're not always in the key of C :rolleyes: )

I have written several lessons about jazz arpeggiation, and I mad sure that the reader was aware of the harmonic function, but I didn't always assume 'C', always assume Ionian, etc.

Your diagram applies only to those playing in C Ionian.

(see above post)

If you'll only look at klayy's lesson you'll see he actually doesnt explain the CAGED system.

My diagram only applies to playing in C ionian. Yes, correct. If you want me to write out every note on the fretboard for every mode in every key, I will do so. But be prepared to wait a few weeks for it. But I will do it if that's what it takes. But also recall that I explicitly stated that all of these shapes are ENTIRELY MOVEABLE, enabling the player to play in any key, using the same shapes, so why is there need for me to write it out in every key?

I know I only drew out the notes on the whole fretboard for C ionian. But I gave ample examples for the C, A, G, E, and D aeolian shapes, so I assumed that the reader would be able to work any aeolian scale out in any key acrosss the whole fretboard by the same logic. Also you will recall that at the start of the lesson I stipulated that this lesson should ideally be read once the reader already knows how to work out the modes from the major scale. But, I can direct them to where they may learn how to do so, at the start of the lesson if you wish. This is why I only included examples for the Ionian and Aeolian scales. If you want me to do out the rest, then just say so.

When I said "there is not much to learn here" (btw i dont know why you used inverted commas for that sentence when those weren't even my actual words), what I meant was that there was not much to learn "mentally", if you will, of the course the reader is still required to actually learn to physically play the shapes, through practice.
But fine, you got me, I may have said there isnt something to learn, where actually, there is. Semantics wreck my head.

:
Klayy, no worries then, as you said, the more lessons, the better
:cheers:

SilentDeftone
02-21-2005, 04:11 PM
This method is incredibly confusing; it tries to explain modes by avoiding the subject entirely. If I didn't know what you were talking about, I wouldn't get it at all.

Not that it's presented badly, it's just a confusing way to learn IMO.

scousertommy
02-21-2005, 04:16 PM
Aaagh! No, I'm not trying to explain modes! It's just an article to show you the best shapes to use for playing and improvising with modes once you already understand them!!

Klayy
02-21-2005, 04:16 PM
I think that this way is good to know where to play certain modes on your guitar using same patterns which are the sam, but moved up or down on the fretboard so you can easily remember them.

SilentDeftone
02-21-2005, 05:41 PM
Originally posted by scousertommy
Aaagh! No, I'm not trying to explain modes! It's just an article to show you the best shapes to use for playing and improvising with modes once you already understand them!! I don't understand why you didn't associate a mode name with each shape/pattern then.

scousertommy
02-22-2005, 09:05 AM
I duno what you you mean, why would I? They are all playing the major scale/ionian mode. And I wrote below each one "X major SHAPE". It appears that a few people could use this lesson; I'm not singling out SD. Let me know whats confusing about the lesson and I'll try n' fix it.

SilentDeftone
02-22-2005, 09:34 AM
Yes, I suppose if you start at the note marked R they are the major scale; however the manner in which they are tabbed suggests starting at the lowest note IMO. If some people can use the lesson, more power to you and them :)

ElexP
02-22-2005, 09:36 AM
Are people missing the point that this article was for people who already had understanding of modes and so is aimed at those people; there shouldn't really be confusion. I've only been playing for 2 years and It helped me out r.e. movable shapes for up and down the fretboard. They link together very well and if you understand modes, you can see how to use them accordingly.thank you scouser tommy.

Settle for nothing later-SETTLE FOR NOTHING NOW!!!!!!!!

scousertommy
02-22-2005, 09:45 AM
Originally posted by SilentDeftone
Yes, I suppose if you start at the note marked R they are the major scale; however the manner in which they are tabbed suggests starting at the lowest note IMO. If some people can use the lesson, more power to you and them :)

Yeah I added in the lower notes just to give the reader more notes to improv with, I made sure to make clear that the root was at R and you should start and finish at R when practising them.

So does anyone think I could submit this lesson yet?

SilentDeftone
02-22-2005, 10:05 AM
Lessons have this annoying little thing where if you put more than one space, it cuts it down to one space. That'll mess up a few of your diagrams. I took to using periods in my lessons.

After that I think you're good to go.

jof1029
02-22-2005, 03:26 PM
as SD said, the formatting that you have done will get messed up in the lessons section. its a pain in the ass to have to read a lesson where the tabs are messed up and stuff. a lot of your sections will naturally wrap around so that it wont work. so you should look at fixing that. like find a lesson that has wrapped and check how much space you actually have to work with.