Ok so recently I've begun seeing an instructor again. I just felt like I wasn't progressing as I should and the lessons began pretty fast and furious. At the last session he played a rhythm in the key of C or G (I can't remember) and had me solo over it using the A minor pentatonic. However he called it the C form of the minor pentatonic and according to him it starts at the 12th fret and takes what we might consider form 5 (shape 5). I'm going to ask him about it tomorrow but here is my confusion. There are 5 shapes (forms) of the minor pentatonic. So, if the C form starts 7 frets higher than the G form then why is it called C form? The root note at the 12th fret would be E. To further inject confusion why would the G form start at the 5th fret since that is an A? And why would the A form start at the 3rd fret since that is a G? I'm not new to this stuff but new to this terminology. I'm assuming we are playing in the key of A minor all of the time (all whole tones) but I thought the various forms (shapes) were movable and that they were not denoted with note names? He is using the term CAGED in discussing this. I am familiar with that term but am still confused as to what shapes get called what note names? So, is form 5 always called the C form and if so why? Since that is the form I'm soloing in at the 12th fret. And is form 5 always called the A form and if so, why? Can anyone shed some light on this?
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GEAR:

Ibanez SGT520VS Sage Series Acoustic
Yamaha FG720S-12 12 String Acoustic
Schecter C-1 Classic
Crate Flexwave FW65 Combo Amp
So, I've taken a look at all 5 forms and just realized that if you look at the leading edges of the scales you can form a G chord in form 1, an E chord in form 2, a D chord in form 3, a C chord in form 4 and an A chord in form 5. Am I close?
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GEAR:

Ibanez SGT520VS Sage Series Acoustic
Yamaha FG720S-12 12 String Acoustic
Schecter C-1 Classic
Crate Flexwave FW65 Combo Amp
I'm sorry if I totally misread your question, but you're just playing the same scale (A minor pentatonic) in different positons of the neck. You're still playing the same notes.

You can solo over something in C with the A minor pentatonic because they consist of the same notes. However, you still would be soloing in C major, but just using the shape of the A minor pentatonic scale.
the caged reference doesn't imply that you are playing in that key

the caged forms are the standard shapes of the different chords, the reason they reference the specific chords is that they have a shape of that chord in open position, but must be shifted down the neck to the relative fret in order to be in the key you want to be in, it might be that where you are starting the shape is not the root, ie when you mention that the 12th fret is not A, it is E which is 5th of A so is a note that will work well with this chord

so since i think that seems a little wordy, in conclusion the form is a reference to shape, and not necessarily where they are being played, if you searched caged system on google that will probably help too, but might be spoiling your teachers next lesson
Last edited by openedmind at Apr 3, 2012,
I think you're confused because you're mixing two terminologies, the CAGED system, and some other system involving "forms".

You're on the right track though, the C shaped chord can be derived from the C shape in the CAGED system. For A minor, this shape starts on the 12th fret.

I actually like the CAGED system, it is a good introduction to getting around the fretboard. But you should also not keys and scale relationships so that you understand the function of the notes that you're playing.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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Thank you all for your responses! Ideally my questions should have been much easier than I worded them. First, I knew all along that I was playing the A minor pentatonic as there were only whole tones and no sharps or flats. He didn't indicate that to me in the lesson and then throwing the word "forms" in there really threw me. A form starts 2 frets lower than the G form and the C form starts 7 frets higher than the G form. My confusion is easily understood by me

Incidentally I too like the CAGED system. It really makes learning all the notes on the fretboard very easy as well as understanding how scales and chord progressions fit together. Thanks again for all your help!
____________________________________________
GEAR:

Ibanez SGT520VS Sage Series Acoustic
Yamaha FG720S-12 12 String Acoustic
Schecter C-1 Classic
Crate Flexwave FW65 Combo Amp