Have you ever had somebody teach you the CAGED method of learning chords and scales on the neck of a guitar? Or do have you taken a look and thought, "that method just isn't for me?" Or do you give every method you see a chance?
Whether or not you've used the CAGED system of learning to use the fretboard, there has been a significant amount of debate on different forums over whether or not this system actually works for beginner guitar players. The topic has been divisive at best - destroying friendships have been destroyed, relationships forged in the heat of battle, comrades have backstabbed each other, and I've witnessed major plot twists not even Steven Spielberg could dream of - the kind of thing would makes for a fantastic story on the silver screen, but maybe a bit over the top for people trying to learn guitar:-)
"Does this really matter that much?" many people are asking. And the answer is yes, it really is a big deal: guitar instructors like myself see a major change when students really understand how a fretboard works. Quite honestly, this is one of the most important aspects of learning to play, considering the amount of time people work on it, just to be able to navigate the fretboard at will.
If you're aware of this debate, you've likely noticed how hard it is to follow based on a number of factors, such as:
- Some of the debaters use ad hominem (or, personal) attacks instead of getting to the point, which don't really make for a good argument.
- The debate happens over different media and in different places (Facebook, YouTube, etc..), and many different issues are discussed at the same time.
- The most pertinent issue, however, is that the majority of people in the debate just state their positions, without having any argument to back up their points (or even without making their point clear!)
In this first video, I will show how the CAGED system is often inconsistent. Take a look at the video below to get an idea of what I mean.
The video clearly shows how the CAGED method lacks consistency, and how much harder players, when using that system, are going to have to work to learn to play a guitar efficiently and at the level they dream of.
Part 2: Scales/Arpeggios Mechanical Integration
Part 3: Why 5 Shapes and What Has the Tuning to Do With It?
Part 4: Learning to Stretch
About the Author:
Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and teacher with a passion for music theory applied to guitar.