So I've been trying the CAGED system and I just find it rather annoying for some reason  (maybe the tutorials I've tried are bad idk) and so have gone on to learn my scales through breaking the fretboard into 3rds and it's been going well but I'm curious, what ways do you visualize the fretboard beyond the caged system?
"systems" are like training wheels..good to start with until you get you balance..I worked the scales in as many positions as I could in every direction starting on every degree of the scale..then worked on the intervals, arpeggios..then the chords of the scale and their inversions .. then progressions within the scale iii-vi-ii-V-I type things..in ALL keys..alot of work and practice but worth it to have fretboard freedom in any key
play well

When will people finally realize and admit that disappointment only naturally follows attempts at visualizing music, trying to see patterns, shapes, and positions. All those objects are how one grasps things using the eyes and visual-spatial processing strategies. The sound of music is not a visual phenomenon and trying to impose visual perception strategies on music is applying the inappropriate "channel"; you already have the proper channel built-in for this kind of processing and understanding - learn to use your ears to grasp music.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
I use the 5 region system (similar to CAGED, but not chord focused ... octave and interval focused instead).  2 regions together give 3 nps.

But I also think of intervals horizontally (all along a string from a given point), and across string pairs, with some helpful landmarks.

e.g. on any string pair apart from G,B, the following shape gives intervals 1,2,3,4 and 5.

a:  4  5  7   (these are the 3rd, 4th and 5th)
e:      5  7  (these are the 1 and 2m respectively)

Above would give the intervals 1 to 5 built from the pitch A.  but this just slides so youy can find this block of intervals anywhere along the string pair.
And right under your fingers with the above are the b2 (b9), b3, and #4 (#11 / b5).

Obviously I know the octave and same pitch patterns.

Another one I use:  a 4th below the 6 is a 3  (hence 4th below b6 is b3) ... i.e a straight line shape parallel to the fret (other than on the G,B pair.

(b)7 are found (2) or 1 frets behind the 1 on any string.

I know this stuff off by heart, so I don't think about it.

And I know the sounds that go with these.

When I practice I very rarely just play shapes ... I am fully aware of the intervals in those shapes, and the sounds they create in various contexts.

I also used to practice from any point in a scale (say), up or down (lot of people tend to play scales starting at the bottom to the top and back).

I also used to practice changing keys for  scale, or playing different chords, in the same area of the neck  (e.g. try and improvise against a chord progression within a fixed 7 frets on 1 string, or the equivalent on 2 strings.

But I never practiced shapes just as "shapes".

Also, while I know where all the pitches are to be found on the neck, I very very rarely think of these, because music is relational.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 17, 2017,
PlusPaul I totally disgree that disappointment, failure etc, follows from visualisation.  I agree that the aural skills are mega-important, but just using your ears,with no advice from anyone on how to understand where chord types, chord progressions, etc just seems draconian in the extreme.  We're given several senses we can draw on, so why restrict this? ... the brain is very happy with visualisation, and there are quite a few approaches to both memorisation and abstraction (to reduce the details to remember), that heavily draw on visual symbols.  So, what is so wrong about combining these, the knowledge they provide, with aural skills?  I use this combination all the time.  For me, understanding various musical concepts, intellectually first, and quickly followed by aural impact, gave me the big leap forward in musicality (combined with an unintended drastic loss of mechanical technique for quite some time), where I could start making sense of jazz, for example, and that gave me the confidence to keep wanting to get better at jazz and learning more and more.  And it still does.  Consequently there's many a happy chance combination of sounds I know will work in  given context, even though I could never assemble accurately that combination in my head.  Also, with pure aural skills, and no knowledge backing it up, then there will be substitutions that one would never think of, unless copying one that's already been heard.
The disappointment and failure of visualizing music is rampant; just look at the number of threads here where people are asking questions that could be answered immediately and directly by just picking up their instrument and listening for themselves.

"Consequently there's many a happy chance combination of sounds I know will work in  given context, even though I could never assemble accurately that combination in my head.  Also, with pure aural skills, and no knowledge backing it up, then there will be substitutions that one would never think of, unless copying one that's already been heard."

Not picking on you, but that quote gets right to the heart of the matter, because it indicates no idea what I'm talking about. The accurate assembly of sound combinations in one's head is what I'm talking about. The idea of pure aural skills without knowledge again indicates no idea what I'm talking about... aural skills are not tricks, they are the knowledge without translation through verbal language or graphical visualization. Assuming that unique and novel substitutions flow freely without being copies of things previously heard only after the sound of music has been translated into some information system of knowledge that is verbal / visual is the primary source of confusion and disillusionment with trying to understand music... all creative and constructive attributes are fully available with the "direct feed" of the sound itself without translation.

I have been trying to avoid the conclusion that most people must be tone deaf, including musicians. I'm not quite there yet, but I am amazed that so many people are not using their ears to grasp music directly. Music is self evident - it teaches itself as you listen.

I need to stop here, an electrical storm is starting up...
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
PlusPaul Paul,  based on what you posited above, no note should be played on instrument, without first hearing it in your head, correct?  And that we must not use anything other than fumbling around to find where that note is?  I could play more and more of what I heard in my head accurately, and could pick up the surrounding musical context more and more accurately (genre-specific) over time, and I extended my explorations beyond the limits of my aural capabilities, by using knowledge. therefore discovering other beautiful sounds.  This was all on-going as my aural skills developed.  Still is.  What is so wrong with that.  

My point is, with your dogmatic insistence there is no other way  ... you may be ruling out a lot of  folk that cannot or don't want to make any decent progress this way, initially, and they may well be put off, rather than incentivised, if they just use their ears ... again ... INITIALLY.   I'm sure you don't intend for that?  I want for everyone to to be encouraged to get better from the get-go.

However, I am open minded whether a no-form-of-knowledge-gained-other-than-from-listening approch let's people progress better to start.

I've only met 2 people so far that work purely by ear, and haven't studied at all, and both of these have perfect pitch.  But one of them just repeats what he hears, and can't improvise at all.  I played Giant Steps with him ... he got every chord,got the melody, got the lines I was playing ... but as soon as I stopped, he stopped.  But he could listen and immediately play any piece of music, from jazz to classical etc.   The other guy could play by ear  but I only ever heard him in  a rock context  And he could happily improvise.

Those 2 aside, every other musician I know (there are quite a few in several countries)  has learned by some combination of the senses, and not just ears alone.  And this includes top players.

So, my knowledge of other's learning approaches may be statistically insignificant.   Are you making statements based on personal acquaintance of a lot of players uneducated in music other than by ear alone?  

I do know that everyone I've taught or spoken with about music responds very quickly when visual information is present as well.

I strongly doubt that, back in the be-bop era, for example, the use of upper triad structures was initiated by the ear, as opposed to theoretical knowledge leading to enquiry into how these work against the underlying chords.  I doubt that minorisation was a result of inner hearing, rather than experimentation based on substitution, and then hearing a pleasing result that could be developed by ear.    I'm about 99% certain that George Russell's Lydian Chromatic concept was derived from intellect, not ear, initially.   The tempered scale was an invention of the intellect, that was responsible for a big leap in ideas composers took. as more distant keys became vailable to them ...  and so it goes on.

So, for me personally, I use every scrap of musical information and ideas I can get, be that ears, minds-ear, vision, touch, symbology, etc ... everything reinforces everything else, and has opened up more and more scope.

Other than that, good luck with the storm.  It's really hot and humid here as well, with "storms" predicted soon.  These are very rarely as intense over here (UK).
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 18, 2017,
"...no note should be played on instrument, without first hearing it in your head, correct?"

Yes! The choice of what note to play must be made with respect to how it is going to sound along with what else is going on. The choice is made formally when composing music, and when performing that one certainly must hear it in advance of playing. Informally in some rock and most blues and jazz one improvises by making choices the same way... in both situations one needs to hear what one is about to play in order to control it, express it, blend it, etc... the least of which is that you need to verify that the sound you wanted is actually the sound and pitch and tone that came out when you played it.  Music is always about using musical judgement, and the primary "quality control" process is the sound comparison of what you actually played with what you wanted to play.

"...must not use anything other than fumbling around to find where that note is?"

Learning the instrument is learning how to get the sounds out of it. All methods are going to be "fumbly" in the beginning; it is part of the learning, especially on the guitar because of its unique characteristics as a musical instrument. Trial and error has always been the superior learning scheme to a constant succession of successes (because learning requires encounter with the unknown).

I'm trying not to be dogmatic; there are other ways of looking at things, and reasons for those ways (analytic, pedagogic, theoretic). Today, it is so easy to generate and distribute "methods" comprised of endless content of text and pictures, videos, and interactive what not... but no one has yet come up with a method that allows a student to use the teacher's ears to enable the student to hear and grasp what the teacher hears and grasps. Ultimately, we all have to hear with out own ears, which is why my emphasis is on engaging them from the beginning, not as an after thought, or something extra in addition to the "theory", or as advanced future lessons of ear training, etc.

On the other hand, last weekend I was teaching one of my jazz bands to play a tune I composed... in D, 15 chord progression using 10 of the chromatic pitches for roots, leaving out A and G... the bass player was wanting me to call the roots of the progression chords as we played through it. I couldn't do it (I could call the roots or play through it but not both, inserting the verbal task distracted me because I don't think of the names when I play - that is "extra knowledge" to me).  
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
Last edited by PlusPaul at Jul 18, 2017,
PlusPaul That's really interesting how speech interfered with playing.  The act of consciously naming rather than speaking out, I guess?  That really does show how different areas of the brain get involved in separate activities, and how processing (brain resources)  gets prioritised.  The more I research into the brain's dealing with music, the more I want to find out.

To further clarify my approach, I do know the aural consequences of my note choice ... I know the sound that will arise ... but I cannot always 100% accurately hear that internally.  I will always roughly hear it as I "think" about my musical response at a given moment, and envision it (totally inapproriate word, but I can't think of the equivalent one word for sound).  I m definitely hearing melodic contour and hearing/feeling the rhythm/phrasing that seems right at that time.  But my visual system also kicks in, sort of.  So overall I know where to place my mitts to produce that sound ... I'm absolutely not just mechanically jumping round through a shape and hoping for the best (or rather very rarely).  And my handas will do the right thing to nuance that sound.

When I'm in the moment, so to speak, I don't really think a lot, in the intellectual sense ... I may consciously choose a starting sound (be consciously awre of the interval I want), then depending on the speed of notes I produce, the rest may be on auto pilot, but I'll think how I want to end the phrase.  The slower the rate of notes, the more I'll hear/choose each sound I want.

I absolutely agree that being totally shape driven (and especially working in boxes), totally visually, with no conception of how the notes present will work with the rest of the music, is a dead end.

I also agree that building aural facility from day one is something really important for students.  Not set aside as an "ear training lesson".  For example. one of things I do when teaching is to get a beginner student to shut his eyes, and I'll play  random chord, and get him to immediately play a random note, and use his ears to decide whether that choice sounded good, and to try moving a semitone either way when it doesn't.  Everyone so far has done the "right" thing.  And that little exercise instills some confidence to take chances and deal with the results.  Another thing I try with them is an atonal bass line, so it doesn't matter what notes they play, so we can look at rhythm without regard for note choice.  Again, that seems to encourage freedom and confidence.

To be honest, I can't really accurately say, if someone plays a note against a chord say, and I reproduce that note ... I'm really not to sure which mental process wins.  Obviously I detect the note (as an interval) by ear, but I'm not sure how much the visual representation kicks in for me to decide where to play it.  By visual, I don't mean looking at the guitar.  I can quite happily play with my eyes shut.  I guess this is just a consequence that my development of note placement was much more biased visually than aurally, as I was learning.

But pretty much from day one, I heard what I wanted to play (to a degree), but just really struggled to produce it on-instrument, and it was linking the sounds with the physical shapes that produced them (in a visual manner) that gve me the progress I wanted, all a very long time ago now.

I also really wished I had worked on my aural recognition for very early on ... for sure, that held me back for quite awhile until I did properly get into it.

BTW: I never think note names when playing, either ... (other than initially extracting the structure of the tune, if available up front).
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 19, 2017,
Not saying these are the answer here, but here are some doors you can open. Learning the fretboard is a long journey that never ends:

- Check out "An Improvisor's OS" by Wayne Krantz. Wayne talks about visualizing scales as numbers and applying this to the fretboard as a way to move beyond shapes. This is all about giving yourself "choices" in the moment

- Learn more chords. Learning chord shapes, then learning how they work, then learning what happens to the chord if you lower / raise notes in it will force you to learn where the notes of that chord sit on the neck. Here's an exercise to start:

CMaj7 :  X | 3 | 5 | 4 | 5 | X
CMaj7:   X | 7 | 9 | 5 | 8 | X
CMaj7:   X | 10 | 10 | 9 | 12 | X
CMaj7:   X | 14 | 14 | 12 | 13 | X

These are all CMaj7 chords (same notes, just in a different order). Figure out where the 1, 3, 5, 7 are in each chord. If this is a jargon, then I suggest spending the time to look into how chords are made. Once you have these chord shapes down, try to adjust one note in every chord so play a C7 chord for each shape. Then try to turn that C7 into a Cmin7. Then try to turn that Cmin7 into a Cmin7b5

- Learn how to play licks you know on a single string. This sounds tedious and silly, but it will open your eyes up to how these licks are constructed in a different way, and some of these licks might sound better played on one string. You can make this an exercise to explore new sounds as well. . . Try adding a bend to reach the top note, try sliding to the notes, try adding hammer ones in different spots, etc. 

These are just some ideas on exercises to expand fretboard visualizations, they aren't "systems" per say. Systems to me are limiting, I think it is better to try to  build upon the knowledge you already have and make your own connections. Make sure you spend a bit of time every day playing on part of the neck that makes you feel uncomfortable and makes you think hard.  Personally I tune in all 4ths (EADGCF), which started as an exercise for myself to help expand my fretboard knowledge and I ended up loving it so much that I never really switched back. 

a ted greene exercise...using the inversions of each four note chord in the major scale on all string sets in all keys..its a quick reality check when you think you really "know" chords of the major scale..example Cmaj7 (3rd fret) voiced 1 5 7 3 and all the other chords in the scale are voiced the same way..next inversion voiced 3 7 1 5 then 5 1 3 7 then 7 3 5 1 and back to 1 5 7 3 next octave...then he creates some ii7-V7 etc using these voicings,,yeah
play well

Quote by jerrykramskoy
I use the 5 region system (similar to CAGED, but not chord focused ... octave and interval focused instead).  2 regions together give 3 nps.

Hi Jerry. Just curious what you mean by a 5 region system. Would you be able to explain a bit how you arrange and use this?

Is it similar to Caged as in the same patterns but you think of it differently?
Vreid Hi ... CAGED encourages learning chord shapes in 5 different areas.  Which is fine, but the mental approach can lock you in too much in terms of thinking of the open C or open A shapes etc (relocated around the neck).  Nonetheless, these chord shapes make fine land marks.

The 5 region system doesn't concentrate on chords.  Instead, it focuses on where all duplicates and octaves of a given pitch are, giving 5 adjacent regions on the neck, covering a block of 12 frets.  The block repeats.  Hence you apply this to any pitch (C, C# etc) to be able to find all the other pitches of the same name on the neck.  Learning the basic pattern for this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes, a couple of times a day, repeated for a few days.  With this in place, combined with a knowledge of how to build intervals (the other part of the region system), you can build intervals from each of the pitches in the basic pattern.

Why is this important?  Because intervals underpin everything in music ... they dictate the sounds you hear.  When combined they give you chords.  When played one after another, they give you melody. Different interval combinations ... different chord types.  Many different chord types share some of the intervals present ... for example, a major triad has intervals (1, 3, 5), whereas a maj7 chord has intervals (1,3,5,7) and a 7 chord has intervals (1,3,5,b7), and a m7 chord has intervals (1,b3,5,b7) ... so, even if makes little sense to you at the moment, you can still appreciate that 1 and 5 are common in all these, and that 3 appears in three of these chord types.  So, if you know the hand shapes to play a 5 or a 3 from somewhere, then these shapes are guatanteed to bhe appearing in the chord ... far less memorisation required than using note names, plus you know where to put your fingers to produce the sounds of the intervals in the chord.  Same handshapes of intervals appear in scales ... so it's a no-brainer to learn these interval shapes (at the least the common ones) to reduce massively the memorisation required across your musical life.

I've written a few lessons about this, awhile ago now, buried in the UG archive.

The first one below is about 5 region.

See https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/conquering_the_fretboard_-_part_1.html (which links to an earlier lesson talking about pitch, interval, octave).

You may also like https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/a_deep_look_at_guitar_shapes.html which explains how to adjust simple straight line interval shapes (i.e. across the same fret on 2 or more strings) to create the intervals you want.  

Ultimately the above gives the knowledge to be freed up from pattern playing in a a given area (like playing the beloved minor pentatonic in the usual 1st bix shape), and instead know where to move your fingers to to create the sound you want from wherever you are on the fretboard (for example if you're playing horizontally along a string (e.g. with slides), or you consciously want the sound of an interval but on a specific string (for more attack, say).

True expression musically on guitar is not about scale shapes when improvising ... it's about making the sounds you want where you want, using the hopefully deep-seated knowledge of how to create intervals from a given point on the guitar (and again, there are only a small handful of ways you can do this).  If practiced to build that knowledge, and the association beween sound produced by an interval, how that sound will work against the current musical context, and the physical moves required to position the finger(s), then improvisation only vaguely pulls this knowledge to the surface, and you can just "do it".
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 12, 2017,

Thanks Jerry. I'm good with intervals and scales etc. Was just curious on 5 region system.

Do you still treat them as 5 separate patterns same as the Caged shapes?
Do you reference each separate pattern by its  root or another interval within the pattern, or just as a set pattern in a position referencing the E string for example?

The reason I'm asking is because I don't use anything like that. I use a one pattern method. 
Only one Major triad. One minor triad. Etc.
Only one 3NPS diatonic pattern. Caged non stretch patterns fit into that, but give limited ways to play out. Pents fit into that also. Using 3NPS gives 3 ways to play out of every scale degree. But, because of redundancy, they all come back to just the one pattern. To me, it's just how you "see" the scale forming on the fretboard. 

In other words, I don't use separate patterns, everything is just a subset of the master pattern, which for 3NPS, covers 7 strings.
While this is true, in the context of becoming truly advanced or proficient, not everyones' brains process information the same way. Person 1 may be strong visually and tactilely, but weak auditorially. By using shapes and patterns, person 1 may reach a level of profiency that he never could have otherwise. Or maybe they needed that crutch to develop their ear to the point that they could start using it mainly. When I first learned, I could do NOTHING by ear. I was AMAZED at my other beginner friends that could figure stuff out by ear, and some with no teachers. I became very good mechanically, and eventually was able to play (simple stuff, like Motley Crue) by ear. But I still couldn't write a decent song myself to SAVE MY LIFE. I started learning as much theory as I could, and more shapes and patterns. At this point, my ear had developed enough (through years of playing and practice) that I was able to apply the theory that I learned to, finally, write some songs I am very proud of! I never would have finally hurdled over my "weak ear" without the crutches of visual shapes and patterns. I would have lost motivation. I'm kind of off-topic by this point, I'm just saying that there is more than one path. I agree that if one has a weak ear, that can't be ignored. But visual methods can be used to eventually get an ear up to par.
Quote by PlusPaul

I have been trying to avoid the conclusion that most people must be tone deaf, including musicians. I'm not quite there yet, but I am amazed that so many people are not using their ears to grasp music directly. Music is self evident - it teaches itself as you listen.

I need to stop here, an electrical storm is starting up...

But thats just it, many people are near tone-deaf, at least at first. And they need other ways to progress initially. Why should they be denied? There is no one true way. I believe, and its obvious you do, that someone who can learn by pure listening has the most potential, but you know what? That is just an opinion, for enjoyment of music and enjoyment of writing it and fulfillment from learning to play is purely subjective.
Vreid Not sure whether you literally mean one major triad, as in purely one chord shape and that's it, or whether you mean everywhere that say an E triad can be played on the neck (incluidng all inversions).  I guess you mean the latter.

I see the regions as ways of categorising where I can find intervals relative to the reference points for that region.  For example, in the 3rd region, the reference pitch is on the 5th string and on the 2nd string, 2 frets back (towards nut).  That categorisation gave me an initial basis.  Then I'd see chords in that orientation, (the CAGED C shape. if you like, in this particular example .. but any  chord type.  And I'd see the various scales (again as interval collections) populating that region (modes etc).  Any two regions connected together gives 3 NPS.  Slice through all regions to get horizontal playing (1 or 2 string sequences etc).

That gave a solid foundation for not getting lost.  But then I got used to playing different region's scales / chords overlapping the same area of the neck.

E.g A Dorian, starting at 5th fret, E string (region 1).  C Dorian, 8th fret (region 5), D Dorian, 5th fret, 5th string (region 4).  E Dorian, 7th fret, 5th string (region 3), G Dorian, 5th fret, 3rd string (region 2) ... these all overlap.  I'd practice 1/16ths, with one chord per bar.,  Obviously not music per-se, but it laid the groundwork.  Then I would play it musically (smooth connections, approach notes, ryhthm etc)

I was aiming towards handling a chord progression or sequence, with changing scales (e.g. as in Bebop, or modal groove ..) all in one area of the neck, or all in a diffrerent area of the neckand so on, so I'm not restricted where I choose to play. 

Obviously, I know the scale shapes to do the above, but I NEVER use these as just shapes ... I know where to play to create the sound I want at that time (i.e the effect of intervals in that scale against the underlying harmony).  Ditto with chords.

These days  I just know how to make intervals from anywhere to anywhere.  I know especially the chord tones relevant to the harmony.   So, I don't consciously think too strongly of shapes ... I'm doing a mix of following what my inner-ear is suggesting, and sometimes use my eyes to help me find where to put my hands to make those sounds (I have a very strong internal visualisation of the neck, so once I've located a starting point, I can play with my eyes shut through a solo, moving around freely, helped by this visualisation.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 12, 2017,
Quote by jerrykramskoy
Vreid Not sure whether you literally mean one major triad, as in purely one chord shape and that's it, or whether you mean everywhere that say an E triad can be played on the neck (incluidng all inversions).  I guess you mean the latter.

Yep, I know it sounds weird, but I do think of just one shape or pattern for a Major triad. All 12 in all inversions.
This is for a close voiced 1,3,5. I do the same for say cowboy chords, voiced 1,5,1,3,5, and their inversions, so I see the E,A D,G and C and G open chords as being the same. Therefore, all the barred chords are just transpositions of the same.

Example. A major. Fret 5 on E string, fret 4 on A string, fret 2 on D string. That's a 1,3,5.
The pattern continues, layered in 4ths though, stacked triads. Underneath the A note there is an E on the imaginary B string. Above the E on the D string is the octave A on fret 2 G string. The pattern continues both ways with the same step pattern. 
If you have the Guitar tuned E A D G C F, all 4ths, there is no adjustment needed. With E A D G B E , I just move up a fret. I don't even have to think about it anymore, It just seems to happen.

Next, I transpose it. Move the pattern up one string, adjust one note for the B string. Bring the bottom note up as well. You now have D Major. That's a Vertical transposition of a 4th. Slide the whole thing up Horizontally a 5th, and you are now back in A major. This will be at the 12th fret. Fret 12 E string, fret 12 A string, fret 11 D string, fret 9 G string etc.

Transpose this vertically up a 4th to D again. Then, transpose back down horizontally a 4th. Up a 4th and down a 4th is unison, but we have transposed the same notes to higher string courses. That covers all the notes of the A major triad, the open E and A string are in the lower octave, the pattern continues both horizontal and vertical.

Any time I play more than one arpeggio note per string, I am just moving up or down to that transposition of the same pattern.

So, any time I play an Arp or chord, using a 1,3,5, for example, whether I start on the 1, the 3 or 5, my fingers still "see" the whole pattern, even if I only use part of it.

I know it seems complex, but that's the logic I use behind organizing what I play. The explanation is just the understanding of how I first came up with making sense of the fretboard. All scales and chords continue of the fretboard both sides, continuously repeating. All I am doing is moving them on or off the fretboard either side, then transpose horizontally. 

All my scale work and chords follows the same transposing principle. I don't use positions, individual patterns, or shapes named after other chords etc.

That's how I came up with stacking 7 notes on top of each other in 4th's, as a base pattern for all diatonic scales. Just by knowing intervals, I can easilly build the scale patterns from that starting point.
The 7 shape system works best. Three notes per string but g and b share a note. The seven shapes are the seven natural keys in open position and the order is the keys in reverse. So if you're playing C in open position you play BAGFEDC ascending. Pretty much everything can be studied within the context of these shapes. It can also be used in combination with CAGED. Caged is just an outline of the major chord in five different shapes. Within any key there are three of these patterns superimposed. By using both systems you'll know the notes of the key and of the chord.
my beef with CAGED and "shape" based systems id that they only make total sense if you already have a strong non-shape understanding of the fretboard. When you're a beginner, it provides some shortcuts that get you playing songs faster (which I don't find valuable), but as an advance player I find it helpful in dealing with extended harmonies.

To move beyond shapes, I'd recommend going back to the scale formulas and working them out in non-CAGED patterns. 3nps is the other standard way, and 4nps is fantastic for moving between positions. 2nps 7th arpeggios are similarly useful. 3nps pentatonics, too.

But the big idea to work it all out without using finger charts or tabs. You have to figure out and remember where each note is. That forces you to develop an intervalic and key-based understanding. Your playing will go to the next level the day you don't have think about where all your C#'s are.
eddievanzant Can you provide a couple of concrete examples ... I don't get your explanation, I'm afraid.  

It sounds like you choose any of the natural notes on the bass string, and then use 3 nps from there with major scale?  

So, starting at bass E, open string, you'd play 0,1,3 and on next string 0, 2, 3 and so on.  And if you started on F on bass string, then play 1,3,5,  then 2,3,5 on next string etc.

Is this what you mean?
cdgraves I part-agree, part disagree.  For sure, there are loads of ways to traverse the neck, and being able to mix up horizontal and vertical paths gives the  most freedom

But from what I've seen, starting off with 3 nps or more seems to make it much harder for the students to understand what's under their fingers, and much easier to get lost, leading to the blind application of  a 3 nps shape across the neck with little concept of the intervals present.  Then 3nps plus modes leads to a maelstrom of confusion.  a  In my experience, students have found it much easier by being shown how to find a few intervals nearby a given string/fret, and shown how to grow that into bigger blocks of the neck.  Psychologically, this approach speaks to "chunking".  Less to take in.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 18, 2017,