#1
Hi there,

I've just started learning the notes of the fretboard. Decided that doing this, learning scales, and a bit of theory is necessary for me to progress. Relying on tabs just isn't cutting it and makes learning songs too slow (especially fingerstlye). I'd obviously be in a better position if I knew the scales and could easily work the scale to find the right notes.

However, I see a lot of people talk about the CAGED system, but haven't really learned it myself (other than the chord shape of each).

Without learning the CAGED system I can already start to see the patterns of the scale on the fretboard. This is simply because, as long as I know where the root notes are I can see the whole step x2, half step, whole step x3, half step continuation of notes (for major, and minor looks to be the major scale shifted). Therefore, it's fairly simple to work out where you are on the fretboard. Obviously I still suck at it, I'm slow, because I still don't know all the root note positions off by heart. That will come in time though I assume.

My question is, do I need to learn the CAGED system if I can already see the pattern? What exactly is it's advantage? Is it for muscle memory so I don't need to look at the fret board?
#2
never heard of it til recently. from what i've read it has a fair amount of flaws. best way to learn scales is to get yourself a book or website that shows how each is patterned on the neck. learn the formula and then apply it. once you understand the forumla and have learned the notes on the neck then you're good to go. start with the pentatonic scale as that is the easiest to learn and go from there.
#3
Before you start with this, know that learning scales is grueling and frustrating at times, but in the end they benefit you and all who listen to you!

Quote by gweddle.nz
Hi there,

I've just started learning the notes of the fretboard. Decided that doing this, learning scales, and a bit of theory is necessary for me to progress. Relying on tabs just isn't cutting it and makes learning songs too slow (especially fingerstlye). I'd obviously be in a better position if I knew the scales and could easily work the scale to find the right notes.


Good! I'm glad that you realize that you can only get so far with tabs. Many people these days don't get that at all.

Quote by gweddle.nz
However, I see a lot of people talk about the CAGED system, but haven't really learned it myself (other than the chord shape of each).
Without learning the CAGED system I can already start to see the patterns of the scale on the fretboard. This is simply because, as long as I know where the root notes are I can see the whole step x2, half step, whole step x3, half step continuation of notes (for major, and minor looks to be the major scale shifted). Therefore, it's fairly simple to work out where you are on the fretboard. Obviously I still suck at it, I'm slow, because I still don't know all the root note positions off by heart. That will come in time though I assume.

Some of what you said makes sense. If you learn through the CAGED system, then you will probably be one of the few who understands the CAGED system. I learned all of my scales from a book, and I find that method to be superior. Of course, you could do this through trial and effort, but learning through a book will speed up the process

Quote by gweddle.nz
My question is, do I need to learn the CAGED system if I can already see the pattern? What exactly is it's advantage? Is it for muscle memory so I don't need to look at the fret board?


The CAGED system is not essential, and I do not recommend it as much as I do learning scales from a book. Check out these articles to explain the system and what the disadvantages are to it. There are not a lot of advantages to learning CAGED, as some people think it's malpractice. However, on the flipside it's just another way to learn scales. Whatever works, man.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/scales/9_reasons_why_the_caged_system_for_guitar_scales_sucks.html

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/soloing/caged_system_explained.html


Quote by monwobobbo
never heard of it til recently. from what i've read it has a fair amount of flaws. best way to learn scales is to get yourself a book or website that shows how each is patterned on the neck. learn the formula and then apply it. once you understand the forumla and have learned the notes on the neck then you're good to go. start with the pentatonic scale as that is the easiest to learn and go from there.

^^ +1

Definitely start with the pentatonic, that's gonna help you with the majority of the other scales. Make sure you practice the same pattern in different keys, so you're not memorizing fret numbers instead of the pattern. Also practice knowing your scales back and forth on each string, in triplets, thirds, and as many ways as you can.
#4
learn your arpeggios then add the extra notes to manufacture scales

scales really aren't very important and for the most part you're never going to be running up and down scales in music unless you play shred, which you'll hopefully outgrow by the second year of playing
modes are a social construct
#5
Thanks guys. I have no interest in shredding, or even playing much lead. I'd rather the benefit of being able to work out songs by ear, but mostly to be able to create my own songs with decent melodies (either through fingerstyle or when singing), interesting chord shapes and progressions, etc... And yeah, tabs aren't going to help me with that!

Any links to learning the arpeggios that you recommend? I will just google it otherwise.

I don't see much advantage to learning closed shapes, so I think I will just first progress with learning the fretboard notes and then move on to the scales. It shouldn't be hard to start visualizing the scales from there.... I hope!
#6
Quote by Hail
learn your arpeggios then add the extra notes to manufacture scales

scales really aren't very important and for the most part you're never going to be running up and down scales in music unless you play shred, which you'll hopefully outgrow by the second year of playing


have to disagree. scales are teh building blocks of soloing. you don't find arpergios in blues and many other styles so knowing them is more of a secondary thing.
#7
Gweddle.nz-
What styles are you interested in playing?
Scales are important for all styles. But most of the time, you will use more arpeggios in speed metal than you will blues, so what style do you want to play?
#8
Quote by sovaso
Gweddle.nz-
What styles are you interested in playing?
Scales are important for all styles. But most of the time, you will use more arpeggios in speed metal than you will blues, so what style do you want to play?


I prefer more folk and pop. Mostly acoustic. I enjoy playing fingerstyle, so I'm mostly interested in being able to locate chord arrangements along the fretboard.

I've made sense of the intervals and their variations on the major scale. For example; flattening the 3rd to give you a minor chord. Or flattening the 7th for a 7th chord. But now I realise I have a lot more chord shapes I need to master. Which is fine, it gives me something to work towards.
#9
Quote by gweddle.nz
I prefer more folk and pop. Mostly acoustic. I enjoy playing fingerstyle, so I'm mostly interested in being able to locate chord arrangements along the fretboard.

I've made sense of the intervals and their variations on the major scale. For example; flattening the 3rd to give you a minor chord. Or flattening the 7th for a 7th chord. But now I realise I have a lot more chord shapes I need to master. Which is fine, it gives me something to work towards.


For Folk, I would start working on learning major scales to build chords. Getting into music theory will help with that, since you learn what makes up a major chord vs. what makes up a minor chord.
I've never really been into the whole "Pop" spectrum, as I've always been more of a Rock/Blues/Jazz kind of guy. So I don't know if I can really help you there. Sorry.
#10
To be honest I'm getting a little overwhelmed. I've been researching ways to visualise the fretboard, and I think this is key to mastering the instrument. Especially if I want to improvise. I also started practice with a metronome (should have done it from that start) and found my sense of timing/rhythm is appalling. Also when slowing down the tempo it really highlighted the flaws in my technique that a faster tempo would hide.

I realize I'm only at an advanced beginner stage and perhaps I should leave the theory and visualization until my technique is better, but having said that I want to make my practice time as efficient as possible so a bit of everything is on order I think. I'm thinking of dividing my playing into 4 parts:

1. Scales.
2. Building chords over scales.
3. Technique.
4. Learning a song.

And doing all the above with a metronome to improve rhythm, as well as trying to understand the theory behind everything I do.
#12
Don't make the mistake I did and make the majority of your playing time practising scales etc. I did that and eventually fell out of love with playing. Set some time aside for practising scales, theory etc but remember the reason your playing guitar is to play songs, so that should be focus of your playing IMO. If you try and do too much at once you'll struggle to do anything.
#13
Gweddle

Take a look at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/music_theory/drastically_cut_learning_time_with_intervals.html and then at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html.

They should help you reduce the fretboard to something pretty simple. And give you the knowledge you need for playing chords, over chords etc.

You need to know scales, not as a pattern to play, but as a palette of intervals to be used to draw sounds from, over chords and so on. The scales you need will be determined by what genre(s) you're into.

cheers, Jerry
#14
Quote by jerrykramskoy
Gweddle

Take a look at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/music_theory/drastically_cut_learning_time_with_intervals.html and then at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html.

They should help you reduce the fretboard to something pretty simple. And give you the knowledge you need for playing chords, over chords etc.

You need to know scales, not as a pattern to play, but as a palette of intervals to be used to draw sounds from, over chords and so on. The scales you need will be determined by what genre(s) you're into.

cheers, Jerry


Hi Jerry,

Thanks for that. Those look fantastic. I sort of figured out what I wanted but couldn't put my finger on what it was I needed to practice to get there. These help immensely.

I just want to be able to create nice melodic pieces over chords (preferably fingerstyle) through improvisation, rather than having to slowly work out what it is I want in my head. I know that's not going to be something that happens overnight so if I'm in it for the long haul I want to know what I need to be studying!

I've given up on scales for the time being. I realize there are some simpler areas that I need to address before then.

Thanks!
#15
Quote by gweddle.nz

I've given up on scales for the time being. I realize there are some simpler areas that I need to address before then.


Personally, I would recommend continue learning scales. Not as a 50% of your practice time thing but as a partial thing. Something like out of an hour of practice time give five or ten minutes of it to playing through a scale or two. Five minutes at the beginning as part of a warm-up and then maybe five minutes at the end. I usually play through some scales as a warm-up. I personally recommend the C or E major scale as the first to learn. C because it doesn't have an accidentals and E because it is the lowest note in standard tuning. If you already know the major scale at all points on the fret-board then move onto a different scale.

Also consider which way you want to learn the scales, just two-octaves or two-octaves and three notes per string. The three notes per string will mean you play three notes past the two-octave mark. The just two-octave scales will contain three or two notes on a string. I like three notes per string personally but both are accurate.