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#1
*ATTENTION* First couple of excercises have been added. I will make and add more when I have time


I'm assuming those of you who read this lesson have an understanding of the modes and their sounds. I'm not here to tell you about the modes, just to give you a new perspective in playing them and to look at the fretboard as a whole. If you are looking to learn about the modes, the information is available elsewhere.


The CAGED Scale System for Electric Bass


Alright, so this method was taught to me by my bass instructor, Chris Kemp, who happens to be a guitarist on the side and has graduated from Berklee College of Music. This scale system is meant to give the player the ability to play in any key and be able to play all over the fret board. You may be asking “Okay, what’s the catch? Why should I learn this method?” I’ll tell you why, because you only need to memorize five different forms, all of which blend into one another and share a common pattern.

What does CAGED stand for?

CAGED is merely a representation for the names of each form. C form, A form, G form, etc.

How does the system work?

At first it can be a bit troublesome but it’s rather easy once you get used to it. Each form has a “lock-in note”. This note is used to change the mode you play in. You shift the form so that the “lock-in note lines up with a specific mode. The lock in note is not the key note.

Here is a diagram of the lock-in notes for each mode in relation to the key note.

 
|---|---|Mix|---|Lyd|Phr|
|Dor|---|Ion|Loc|---|Aeo|
         KN


*NOTE* The diagram is layed out like a fretboard*NOTE*

I know a lot of you will be saying “hey, that’s completely backwards right?” Well it is, but you’ll see how this works later on.

The Forms

L = Lock in note

C Form

G|-1-|---|-3-|---|---|---|
D|-1-|---|-3-|-4-|---|---|
A|-1-|---|-3-|-4-|---|---|
E|-1-|-2-|---|-4-|---|---|
B|-1-|-L-|---|-4-|---|---|

A Form 

|---|-3-|---|-5-|-6-|---|
|---|-3-|-4-|---|-6-|---|
|---|-3-|-4-|---|-6-|---|
|-2-|---|-4-|---|-6-|---|
|-L-|---|-4-|---|-6-|---|

G Form

|-5-|-6-|---|-8-|---|---|
|---|-6-|---|-8-|---|---|
|---|-6-|---|-8-|-9-|---|
|---|-6-|---|-8-|-L-|---|
|---|-6-|-7-|---|-9-|---|

E Form

|---|-8-|---|-10-|-11-|---|
|---|-8-|---|-10-|-11-|---|
|---|-8-|-9-|----|-11-|---|
|---|-8-|-L-|----|-11-|---|
|-7-|---|-9-|----|-11-|---|

D Form

|-10-|-11-|----|-13-|----|----|
|-10-|-11-|----|-13-|----|----|
|----|-11-|----|-13-|----|----|
|----|-11-|----|-13-|-14-|----|
|----|-11-|----|-13-|-L--|----|

The forms can be moved around anywhere on the fret board. Also, notice how each form is just a combination of two forms. For example, the G form is a mix of the last half of the A form and the first half of the E form. The Tablature above is just in place to give you an idea of how each form looks. A good way to learn these forms and build muscle memory is by doing this exercise. My teacher taught me this exercise and it really helped me memorize the forms. This exercise has you starting at each lock-in note and playing from there.

Bring It All Together

Ok, for those of you who are still not understanding how this system works (it took me forever to fully comprehend the system) I’ll give you some examples of how it works.
Let’s say you wanted to play in G Phrygian using the G form. You would look at the lock in note diagram (which I’ve kindly placed down here).
 
|---|---|Mix|---|Lyd|Phr|
|Dor|---|Ion|Loc|---|Aeo|
         KN

The Lock-in note for G phrygian would be Eb (or D#). You would move the G form so that the lock in note would be Eb.

Understand now? Good. Just one more thing.

Now, try connecting the forms together. You can refer to my second exercise to help you out. Notice that no matter what, playing in the forms will allow you to always play in key. Once you get used to the feel of each form and the patterns between each one, you’ll be able to set up in one form and play all over the fret board from there.

I hope this lesson helped you out and opened some possibilities for you. If you need any help or clarification, just pm me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Attachments:
CAGED Excercises.zip
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Last edited by Funkbass796 at Apr 9, 2008,
#2
i dont get it at all, but then again i know nothing of modes yet

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#3
*stickied* and open for discussion.

Powertab would be better, its free and you can import into GP if you are so inclined.

I'll have to wrap my brain about this for a bit. You've given me a bit to think about as I practice scales tonight.
#4
MIND****

When you see it you'll **** bricks.

Seriously, just managed to comprehend it, and its already blown my mind. You should put up the GP tabs, and then let someone convert them to PT.

EDIT: Do you know if this can work for the melodic minor and harmonic minor scales? If there is a way to make this work for that, I would cry from happiness.
Last edited by IndianRockStar at Apr 9, 2008,
#6
Quote by IndianRockStar
MIND****

When you see it you'll **** bricks.

Seriously, just managed to comprehend it, and its already blown my mind. You should put up the GP tabs, and then let someone convert them to PT.

EDIT: Do you know if this can work for the melodic minor and harmonic minor scales? If there is a way to make this work for that, I would cry from happiness.



Yes there is a way to make it work for those scales. I'm currently learning that. I'll add in some more examples so you people can see it more clearly. I know fenderbassist can help me explain this system a bit, he has the same teacher as me.
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#8
Quote by Deliriumbassist
funk, on the guitar pro thing... Tuxguitar is a free program that opens PTab AND GP files for free. Spread the word


Awesome, thanks dude.

The files will be posted later tonight after I get home from work. I think when you all see the excercises, you'll be able to grasp the concept better.
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#10
I'm finding it hard to understand. When I have time to figure it out (later tonight) I'll give it a proper go.
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#11
I have a question - on some of the examples the L falls on the B string, but what if you are using a four-string bass? I assume it would move up to the octave above, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.
#12
Quote by aguacateojos
I have a question - on some of the examples the L falls on the B string, but what if you are using a four-string bass? I assume it would move up to the octave above, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.


Just move it up an octave, all notes and positions will be the same.

This sounds very intelligent, too bad I'm lurking through UG Bass in my 6th period English class, or I'd try to understand this a little better. I don't know my modes yet though, I just don't have much time outside of school to wrap my mind around a lot of theory. The last thing I want to do when I come home from school is think some more. TS, if your music teacher graduated from there, then I definitely trust this. I'm saving it as a Word document and I'll try to take it all in when I know more theory. Seems very useful.
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#15
Quote by Puma89
So I can use any form for any scale?


Yes, you can. The key note however, may be in a position that it would be more beneficial to play a different form around it. For example:

Let's say you wanted to play D Dorian with the G form. Well, the Lock-in note is C. So that has you playing the form behind your intended note. In this case, you would move up one form and play the E form.

This is assuming however, that you want the key note to be on a lower string (E, A, or B) and want to play other notes in the scale that are higher in pitch. (Hope I didn't lose anyone there)

I have also added the first wave of excercises to the original post.
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#16
I swear to god this is true. I went to my bass lesson tonight and my teacher asked

"Have you ever heard of the CAGED system for learning scales / modes on guitar and bass?"

I think my jaw dropped open, I was so stunned.

Thanks for the download, it looks quite interesting; I"ll have to work on this before my next lesson!
#17
Okey I did not get that with "So that has you playing the form behind your intended note." What does that mean?

I dont get the difference between using the G form for D dorian and the example before with G Phrygian using the G form?
#18
Quote by Puma89
Okey I did not get that with "So that has you playing the form behind your intended note." What does that mean?

I dont get the difference between using the G form for D dorian and the example before with G Phrygian using the G form?


Simple enough.

Let's look at the way both the G form and E form are layed out.

G Form

|-5-|-L-|---|-8-|---|---|
|---|-6-|---|-8-|---|---|
|---|-6-|---|-8-|-9-|---|
|---|-6-|---|-8-|-L-|---|
|---|-6-|-7-|---|-9-|---|

E Form

|---|-8-|---|-10-|-11-|---|
|---|-8-|---|-10-|-11-|---|
|---|-8-|-9-|----|-11-|---|
|---|-8-|-L-|----|-11-|---|
|-7-|---|-9-|----|-11-|---|


Notice where the lock-in notes for the G form are compared to where it is for the E form? The Lock-in notes both happen to be on the E-string. Now lets see what our lock-in note is:


 

|---|---|Mix|---|Lyd|Phr|
|Dor|---|Ion|Loc|---|Aeo|
         KN


Looking at this diagram you see the your lock-in note should be on C in order to play D Dorian. D on the E string is the 10th fret. So C is the 8th fret. So your form would end up looking like this.

|-4-|-5-|---|-7-|---|
|---|-5-|---|-7-|---|
|---|-5-|---|-7-|-8-|
|---|-5-|---|-7-|-8-|
|---|-5-|-6-|---|-8-|


Notice how the only Ds in the C form now are on the A string and the G string. You can use the form like this. Though, if you wanted D on the E string then it would be a better idea to use the E form which would end up looking like this:


|----|--7-|----|--9-|-10-|
|----|--7-|----|--9-|-10-|
|----|--7-|--8-|----|-10-|
|----|--7-|--8-|----|-10-|
|--6-|----|--8-|----|-10-|


Get it now?
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Last edited by Funkbass796 at Apr 10, 2008,
#19
So can those forms which you have the 'lock-in' note on the B string be adapted to a four string bass as well?
*
#20
Quote by jsbassboy
So can those forms which you have the 'lock-in' note on the B string be adapted to a four string bass as well?


Yes. The lock-in note just moves an octave up.
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#21
Quote by Funkbass796
Yes. The lock-in note just moves an octave up.



would the rest of the form up as well then? or would you still be able to use the bottom notes of the form which in the 5string version are on the E and A?
*
#22
Quote by jsbassboy
would the rest of the form up as well then? or would you still be able to use the bottom notes of the form which in the 5string version are on the E and A?


No the form would not move at all. For 4 stringers, you'll have lock-in notes on the E and A strings. The C, A, and D forms will have lock-in notes on the A string.
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#23
Okey so you ratter used the E-form to the the Key note to be low. Okey I see that makes sense. Thanks bro
#24
I don't understand this thing at all:

 

|---|---|Mix|---|Lyd|Phr|
|Dor|---|Ion|Loc|---|Aeo|
         KN


I know it's supposed to be a fretboard, but I don't know if it's a fretboard point left to right (like tabs) or up and down (like a chord diagram).

I'm going to assume it's going sideways. Which strings are they supposed to be? Can it be any two adjacent ones?
#25
Yes it's like tabs. You can put the form anywhere on the fretboard.
#26
Quote by Scourge441
I don't understand this thing at all:

 

|---|---|Mix|---|Lyd|Phr|
|Dor|---|Ion|Loc|---|Aeo|
KN


I know it's supposed to be a fretboard, but I don't know if it's a fretboard point left to right (like tabs) or up and down (like a chord diagram).

I'm going to assume it's going sideways. Which strings are they supposed to be? Can it be any two adjacent ones?


Yes, it can be any two adjacent strings and it goes from left to right. The left being the headstock end and the right being the body end.

Also, the bottom strings is the lower string. For example, if the bottom string is E, the top one is A. If the bottom string is D, the top one is G.

Understand now?
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#27
I should really learn this, would help immensely with my improvising but I don't really understand what you mean by the "lock-in note" and "key note". The form is kind of confusing as well, I don't see how it works. I can see how it fits on the fretboard but I don't get how you find the lock in notes etc from it.
#28
Maybe I was caught in the euphoria of having the example work, but this thing isn't really working for me. For example, if I want to play in A minor using the A form, I end up with C Major. Sure its the right notes, but I'm not really in key. The G and D forms are the only ones that would work. Is there something I'm not understanding?
#29
Quote by IndianRockStar
Maybe I was caught in the euphoria of having the example work, but this thing isn't really working for me. For example, if I want to play in A minor using the A form, I end up with C Major. Sure its the right notes, but I'm not really in key. The G and D forms are the only ones that would work. Is there something I'm not understanding?


The forms aren't meant to give you the scale with the tonic at the ends of each form. Is that what you inferred? The forms are merely there to give you all the notes of a scale laid out for you so you don't have to switch position, and they also help you visualize the scale all over the rest of the fretboard.

Really, what key you play in is all dependant on what notes you emphasize. For minor, emphasizing the b3, b6, and b7 are essential to sounding minor. Also, playing A on the one of the measure is essential to establishing the key. That's a different topic all together.
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#30
its an interesting concept, but if you memorize your scale shapes 2 octives and are able to identify your modes throughout that scale, you'll have twice the flow and comprehension as this method..........

just my theory, but then again, i dont fully understand yours, it seems to be mostly starting a scale in a different spot than the key note and identifying the differences in each mode? i dont know.
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#31
i think my bass teacher was talking about this in my last lesson, is it bassically C major scale starting on the next note each time?
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#32
Is there any other way to explain this? I don't get how that diagram of modes on the fretboard is applied to the CAGED pattern on the fretboard.
#33
Quote by bass dude nick
i think my bass teacher was talking about this in my last lesson, is it bassically C major scale starting on the next note each time?


Not really, with the with C Ionian as the lock-in note the C and A forms start on C, the G form on E, the E form on F, and the D form on A.

Quote by Fool's Paradise
Is there any other way to explain this? I don't get how that diagram of modes on the fretboard is applied to the CAGED pattern on the fretboard.


Do you notice how each form has a lock-in note? That is more or less the central point in the scale that allows the entire form to be moved. The diagram of modes shows where to move the form so that you'll be playing the mode you want to.
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#34
C form=Locrian mode
A form=Ionian mode
G form=Phrygian mode
E form=Lydian mode
D form=Aeolian mode

I just noticed that.

I still don't understand the purpose of this thing or how to use it, though. Why are the lock-in notes never on the tonic?
#35
Quote by Scourge441
C form=Locrian mode
A form=Ionian mode
G form=Phrygian mode
E form=Lydian mode
D form=Aeolian mode

I just noticed that.

I still don't understand the purpose of this thing or how to use it, though. Why are the lock-in notes never on the tonic?


The lock-in notes are always on the tonic, relative to the major scale.

The purpose of this system is to help you see how the mode is spread all over the fretboard. I'm gonna try to publish a more comprehensive lesson in the future about how to use this sytem. I didn't give this the time it deserved or needed.
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#36
I just gave this a quick readthrough and kudos, dude, I've been trying to construct something similar to this for a while now. Thanks.
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#37
Quote by Funkbass796
The lock-in notes are always on the tonic, relative to the major scale.

The purpose of this system is to help you see how the mode is spread all over the fretboard. I'm gonna try to publish a more comprehensive lesson in the future about how to use this sytem. I didn't give this the time it deserved or needed.

So this shows us how to play modes all over the fretboard?
Like vertical ,horizontal ,and diagonal?
If thats it I learned an easier way out of a book.
If not I'll wait till I start getting what it is. Stuff like like this makes more sense to me if I think about it for a while.
#38
i think this should be bumped, chris made this whole curriculum up and its amazing.

i like it because all of the forms connect and just run off of each other.

anyone need some clarification? i might be able to help.
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#39
Quote by fenderbassist12
i think this should be bumped, chris made this whole curriculum up and its amazing.

i like it because all of the forms connect and just run off of each other.

anyone need some clarification? i might be able to help.


Wow, I was wondering what had happened to this thread. But yeah, I'm still willing to help anyone understand this method. You're help is appreciated as well.
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#40
I'm rwally lost on how this works on a four banger, can someone explain it in a bit more detail please?
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