#1
Am finally forcing myself to learn stuff but am struggling to understand why an E major scale's root note is a G.

As in this here.


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#2
It's not.

The CAGED system is a flawed and terrible approach to understanding music because:

- it names things by using the names of other things that are different
- it uses a arbitrary basis which may not apply and transforms it to be applicable
- it is a non-musical approach

The example picture you posted is an example of all of these confusions and more:

- it is trying to show scales by using chords (misguided idea)
- the chord is being shown within a scale pattern as a shape (roots only, shape is hidden/inferred)
- the chord within the scale they want to refer to is misnamed by using another chord's shape
- the fingering suggested for the scale is the most unlikely to be used associated with the chord
- the use of numbers for fingers instead of scale degrees is unnecessary and misleading
- at no point does the picture indicate the name of the scale in question because without fret numbers, it is meant to be universal; all occurrences of this scale pattern and chord shape are intended to be known as "Pattern 1", which means "E Shape", but since the chord or scale may be other than E, they want to rename the shape to something that does not make you think of "E" because that is likely the wrong chord or scale name, so they change it to "Pattern 1".

So you are naturally looking at the picture and seeing the end of the guitar neck and seeing the G major scale notes (same as E minor if the open strings are included) and the chord shape (just some of the dots of the pattern) is the shape of E major in first position (now updated/renamed as "Pattern 1"), but in this position at the third fret root is called G major.

Unfortunately, all of that is completely incorrect because the picture does not bother to inform you that this placement on the finger board is not specific, but general - just an arbitrary section of the neck is shown, not the end down by the head stock.

My sincere advice is to run away from CAGED as fast as possible; it is the destroyer of grasping music, based on primary deception and misnaming, misleading slight of hand tricks, and comprised of false comprehensions that cannot support further musical understanding.
Quote by reverb66
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Last edited by PlusPaul at Jul 10, 2017,
#3
Quote by PlusPaul
It's not.

Right OK.

So I must be misunderstanding where it says CAGED: E Shape?

I take it it is actually the G Major scale but labelled as E Shape for some reason? I don't understand.
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Quote by metal4eva_22
What's this about ****ing corpses? My UG senses were tingling.
#5
PlusPaul 

OK I barely understand what is said here because I know nothing yet but could you point me in the right direction for some online sources that do a good job of explaining things? I mean that in regards to being better than the source I provided, not you, I don't expect you to teach me for example haha.
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Quote by metal4eva_22
What's this about ****ing corpses? My UG senses were tingling.
#6
Quote by Nero Galon
PlusPaul

OK I barely understand what is said here because I know nothing yet but could you point me in the right direction for some online sources that do a good job of explaining things? I mean that in regards to being better than the source I provided, not you, I don't expect you to teach me for example haha.

Forget CAGED, it is a monstrosity second only to the modes... run away from it immediately and ignore anyone who speaks of it. CAGED destroys guitarists.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#7
Nero, there are some people who hate CAGED and others who think it is good. I think, generally, if you are into heavy rock, metal etc then you might be better off with learning some 3 note per string scales from another website, however, I suggest you watch all 7 of Justin's videos on CAGED ( since they are free ) and try to understand it - I think the majority have learned scale theory this way.
Last edited by PSimonR at Jul 10, 2017,
#8
Quote by PlusPaul
Forget CAGED, it is a monstrosity second only to the modes... run away from it immediately and ignore anyone who speaks of it. CAGED destroys guitarists.

OK but whats the alternative...?
Dance in the moonlight my old friend twilight


Quote by metal4eva_22
What's this about ****ing corpses? My UG senses were tingling.
#9
Quote by PSimonR
Nero, there are some people who hate CAGED and others who think it is good. I think, generally, if you are into heavy rock, metal etc then you might be better off with learning some 3 note per string scales from another website, however, I suggest you watch all Justin's videos on CAGED and try to understand it - I think the majority have learned theory this way.

Damn I had no idea there was such a controversy around music theory

I am open to learning in whatever way will not bottleneck me in the future, as in, I don't plan on sticking to genres. I would rather have the flexibility of understanding the theory that will apply to everything.

Is this guy teaching it OK in your opinion?
Dance in the moonlight my old friend twilight


Quote by metal4eva_22
What's this about ****ing corpses? My UG senses were tingling.
#10
Quote by Nero Galon
OK but whats the alternative...?

Everything you want to be able to do and understand is in the songs you want to be able to play - learn to play songs. The best way is to figure them out by listening to them, but this is not very popular these days because of the effort and time required - people find the promises of quick methods appealing. Nevertheless, figuring out by ear has always been the best way and still is.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#11
gah, it hurts my brain to look at those fingering charts. That's definitely the hard way to learn this stuff. Learn up on how to read from the staff, it will make these concepts much easier to digest. You will still have to apply them to fretboard one way or another, but at least you'll already know what you're trying to do.

The CAGED system refers to finger positions by the "shape" of the open position chord or scale. The E major scale uses the same finger positions as the G major scale in that picture, just starting on G instead of E. And yes, that is extremely confusing to anyone who doesn't already understand this. The whole system is built around the concept of moveable finger positions, which is why everything is named for the open position beginner chords, C A G E and D.

This kind of thing is a lot easier with an instructor to demonstrate how one scale or chord is literally the same as another, just moved up or down to a different root.

If you want real mastery of the fretboard, you have to take this on without reference to overly complicated charts and stuff. Look up the major scale formula and just start doing the math on the fretboard. I usually recommend 3 note per string scales because they are easy to play and don't have goofy overlaps in finger position. It's entirely practical and beneficial to learn scales without learning these "boxes" from diagrams.

Those "boxes" become one of the biggest hurdles that guitarists have to overcome later on. Rather than scales and such being a roadmap of harmony, they become narrow swaths of notes across the fretboard that only carry the fingers one direction or the other. Chords become small regions on the neck that don't interact with each other or express any melodic content. That's all very limiting musically, at least in terms of guitar itself.

One of the best things I ever did for my playing was take the advice of an amazing professor I had in college for a jazz improv class, Dr David Baker. The first chapter, maybe even the prologue, prescribed a manner of practicing scales that uses the entire instrument. You go from the lowest note in the scale that you can play to the highest, and back down. Even if the lowest note isn't the root, you start there. For example, if you're practicing the C major scale, you'd start on the open low E string, because that's the lowest C major note you can play. You'd play 0-1-3 on the low E, 0-2-3 on the A string, and so forth, until you got to 1-3-5 on the high E, and then you'd move up to the next position, and descend in the same fashion, staring with 7-5-3 on the high E.

Remember you're not playing patterns or positions or shapes, you're playing notes and harmonies and intervals. The best way to learn is the one that gets you to that understanding the most directly. No reason to use technique as an intermediary for fretboard knowledge. Learning the fretboard from the bottom up (literally) lets you see it for what it is: a collection of notes to choose from freely.
#12
Here are the two lowest positions of C major tabbed out, since it was probably really unclear in that paragraph

e-------------------------------1-3-5-|-7-5-3-------------------------------|
B-------------------------1-3-5-------|-------6-5-3-------------------------|
G-------------------0-2-4-------------|-------------5-4-2-------------------|
D-------------0-2-3-------------------|-------------------5-3-2-------------|
A-------0-2-3-------------------------|-------------------------5-3-2-------|
E-0-1-3-------------------------------|-------------------------------5-3-1-|
  E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A   B A G F E D C B A G F E D C B A G F

Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 10, 2017,
#13
cdgraves 

Now ya talkin. Cheers.
Dance in the moonlight my old friend twilight


Quote by metal4eva_22
What's this about ****ing corpses? My UG senses were tingling.
#14
The scale shape really has nothing to do with E major. The CAGED system starts with chord shapes, and when you start to learn the CAGED scale shapes, it is assumed that you already know the CAGED chord shapes. Those scale shapes are built around the chord shapes. So what the "E shape" refers to is the open E major chord shape that the scale shape is built around.

And an "E shape chord" is just a chord that looks like the open E major chord, but it can be played on any fret. For example, an "E shape" G major chord would be 3 5 5 4 3 3. That looks similar to the open E major chord (0 2 2 1 0 0), and that's why in CAGED system it's named that way. It really has nothing to do with E major, it's just named that way because it's a similar shape as the open E major chord.

In CAGED system all major chords can be played in five different shapes that are the C shape, A shape, G shape, E shape and D shape. That's also the order in which the shapes appear on the fretboard (and the pattern obviously repeats in different octaves). For example let's take the C major chord and find all of the barre chord shapes and start from the open position:

x 3 2 0 1 0 ("C shape")

x 3 5 5 5 3 ("A shape" - compare to the open A major chord)

8 7 5 5 5 8 ("G shape" - compare to the open G major chord)

8 10 10 9 8 8 ("E shape" - compare to the open E major chord)

x x 10 12 13 12 ("D shape" - compare to the open D major chord)

The pattern would repeat and the next shape would be a "C shape" again, just played an octave higher - x 15 14 12 13 12

Take any major chord and the order of the shapes will be the same. The same thing also applies to the scale shapes.

CAGED system only makes sense if you learn it properly (start from the chord shapes and after you know them all over the fretboard, build the scale shapes around the chords). But yeah, the naming of the shapes can be really confusing. Then again, I don't think it's any more confusing than the "modal names" people many times attach to the 3nps shapes. (If you decide to learn the 3nps shapes, ignore the modal names.)

I don't know why different positions even need to be named. In the end it doesn't matter which position you use to play something. Nobody will hear the position. People will hear the notes that you play and those notes can be found in any position of the same scale.


Plus Paul is correct when he says that learning by ear is a great way of learning music. But I don't see why you wouldn't also learn theoretic concepts. Those will help you when figuring out songs by ear. If you understand major and minor keys, it becomes a lot easier to figure out how to play something by ear because it's not complete trial and error any more (you will come to the same conclusions regardless of whether or not you learn theory, but learning some theory will make it faster). When you learn by ear, I think it's really important to also notice connections between different things. If you don't notice those connections, for example that the verses of "Don't Stop Believing" and "Let It Be" start with the same four chords (in different keys), you aren't learning as efficiently as you could be. And it's not even a theoretic concept that those songs have the same chords in them. You can notice that by ear. But many people haven't developed their ear to notice that automatically. And that's when theoretic knowledge will help you. It makes you pay attention to details that you wouldn't necessarily notice otherwise.

I really don't support Plus Paul's attitude of not using the available information. Why not use it? Sure, you need to use your ears and that can't be over emphasized. But you will use your ears more effectively if you know what to pay attention to. And why only learn by ear? If learning from tabs makes learning songs faster for you, why not use them too? I used to be more anti-tabs, but honestly, I don't see the point. The point of playing an instrument is playing music. Sure, being completely reliant on tabs is not a good thing, but it's also not a bad thing to use tabs every now and then, especially if the song that you are learning is way beyond your aural skill level. For example if it has some weird extended chords that your ears are just not used to, getting your ears used to them would be easier if you learned some songs that use those chords first from tab/notation.

Sorry about a rant that has little to do with the topic. But the lack of replies that had to do with the topic annoyed me. You asked a question about CAGED method, and the first proper reply was post #11. Typical internet stuff, smh.


But yeah, use whatever method works for you. If CAGED method now makes sense to you, use it. Don't take other people's experiences as the objective truth. People that say CAGED sucks may have had bad experiences with it. It may not work for them but it has worked for a lot of people. This applies to all methods. Different methods work for different people, and some people treat those methods like religions. Sure, not learning something properly can actually be hurtful. But when learned properly it has more to do with your personal preferences and what works for you personally. So find a method that works for you. CAGED and 3nps are common ways. But you may even find your own way. Different shapes are just different ways of playing exactly the same notes. A scale is all over the fretboard.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jul 11, 2017,
#16
Quote by MaggaraMarine
The scale shape really has nothing to do with E major. The CAGED system starts with chord shapes, and when you start to learn the CAGED scale shapes, it is assumed that you already know the CAGED chord shapes. Those scale shapes are built around the chord shapes. So what the "E shape" refers to is the open E major chord shape that the scale shape is built around.

And an "E shape chord" is just a chord that looks like the open E major chord, but it can be played on any fret. For example, an "E shape" G major chord would be 3 5 5 4 3 3. That looks similar to the open E major chord (0 2 2 1 0 0), and that's why in CAGED system it's named that way. It really has nothing to do with E major, it's just named that way because it's a similar shape as the open E major chord.
This is the answer to the initial question.

CAGED is much like the way you learn equations in science in school that turn out to make false assumptions when you learn the more advanced stuff. It's not the be all and end all, it limits you if you stick to in later stages and the terminology isn't always the clearest, but it's an accessible way to get the basics down when it comes to the fretboard so I agree that it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. I had a guitar teacher who insisted on referring to scale positions by the name of corresponding modes which was fine for him because he liked his jazz and knew how to actually use modes, but for the students there was certainly room to confuse and mislead. Nonetheless, it made the scale shapes a little easier to remember. There's always limitations regardless of what you use to help remember things, and if you don't use such aids the limitation is that learning it is that much harder and very difficult for someone just playing guitar in their free time.

That said I do not particularly like CAGED as the chord-scale connections it makes are completely arbitrary from a musical standpoint and are only relevant to the mechanical element of playing guitar which I think probably leads to really unhelpful associations when it comes to actually using that whole fretboard you just learned. It also sounds like it's already causing you confusion. 3nps and learning note names are slower processes but I think they leave you substantially more capable when it comes to the musical application.
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#18
Quote by Nero Galon
Right OK.

So I must be misunderstanding where it says CAGED: E Shape?

I take it it is actually the G Major scale but labelled as E Shape for some reason? I don't understand.
It's called the "E shape", because it's based around a barre E chord shape on 3rd fret. Barre the 3rd fret, play the "E" chord shape and you have a G major chord. The scale pattern steps back a fret, but you should be able to see the chord shape in the pattern (3-5-5-4-3-3).

It's obviously confusing to use a name for a shape (E) which is not the chord sound produced (G), and that's the drawback of the CAGED system. But once you get your head around that - start with the C A G E D chord shapes, not the scale patterns! - it's a useful way of mapping the fretboard, IMO.
That is, I taught myself the fretboard (decades ago) using chord shapes, unaware that the method had a name (or that people wrote and sold books on it, dammit! ). It was just obviously how the fretboard worked. A no-brainer.
An F chord is an E shape moved 1 fret up (open strings filled in with the barre). Move it up 2 more frets, you have a G chord. Etc.
Take the C shape and move it up (barring the open strings). 2 frets up gives you a D chord (x-5-4-2-3-2).
Take the A shape and move it up (barring the open strings). 2 frets up gives you a B chord (x-2-4-4-4-2).
Obvious, right? (Er, assuming you know the ABCDEFG scale formula. Which you should. And the notes on 6th and 5th strings at least.)

Here are all 5 shapes for a C major chord:

x-3-2-0-1-0 = C shape
x-3-5-5-5-3 = A shape
8-7-5-5-5-8 = G shape
8-10-10-9-8-8 = E shape
x-x-10-12-13-12 = D shape
x-15-14-12-13-12 = C shape

Get the idea? The CAGED "system" is simply telling you that any major chord (all 12 of them) can be played using 5 shapes - named after the open position "cowboy" chords you already know - which, overlap up the neck in that order. The C chords happen to run in C-A-G-E-D order (useful mnemonic), but for other chords you just start the cycle with a different shape.

You want an F chord? Choose between:
E shape on fret 1;
D shape on fret 3;
C shape on fret 5;
A shape on fret 8;
G shape on fret 10.
(The fret numbers are index finger position, full or partial barre)

The scale patterns come later, and ideally you'd learn your scales in open position first. That's another reason the CAGED system is confusing, because that "E" pattern shown is actually an F major scale pattern when played in open position (lowest fret as zero, root on fret 1 6th string). So maybe it should be called an "F" pattern"?

LEARN CHORDS FIRST. Scales second - and start with open position patterns, around the common cowboy shapes. Scale patterns don't make sense unless you can tie them to chords.
Last edited by jonriley64 at Jul 13, 2017,