Why CAGED for Guitar Doesn't Work Part 4: Learning to Stretch

Guitar players are willing to compromise on what they learn because their hands are too small... or are they?

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Why do many people avoid anything other than the CAGED system? If you're not using the CAGED system, is there a reason why you're learning a different way? Take a moment to go through your reasoning for the system that you use. Is yours the most logical way?

In previous articles, we've discussed how the CAGED system lacks consistency (CAGED Sucks Part 1: Right Hand Consistency) and how it cuts the fretboard up in a weird way (CAGED Sucks. Part 3: The "Natural" Division Of The Fretboard). At this point, you might be asking: "If there are so many reasons why the system doesn't work, then why do so many people still consider it the best method?"

That question has no simple answer; and I'll be the first to admit it took me longer than expected to understand what is actually happening. I began realizing that the CAGED scales are not built for the reasons people say they like them - they're not easily accessible, mechanically consistent, memorable, or even easy to use for arpeggios (see (CAGED Sucks, Part 2: Scales-Arpeggio Integration). But they are REALLY good at one thing.

They are really good at making sure a player never stretches their fretting hand fingers.

You can see how this is perfectly consistent with the "CAGED vs the world" debate going on. Indeed this is one of the biggest objection used by people who have used the CAGED system when introduced to other systems: "I can't stretch my fingers enough to make these shapes." But when you consider how much of a drawback the CAGED system is for new players, this just sounds as an excuse. Because it is.

Learning to stretch over four frets is actually really easy - even for people with stumpy fingers - if you use the right technique.

Take a look at the video below for a demonstration of how to stretch your fretting hand effortlessly and be able to easily play the "stretchy" 3-notes-per-string shapes easily. Doing this properly is about putting your hand in the proper position rather than hand size, so that anybody, even those with small hands like mine, can achieve it. Take a look at the video now:


As you see, it's not advanced particle physics. Anybody can do it. Pick up a guitar, move your fingers into the proper location and feel how easy it is to stretch into these shapes. After this, you shouldn't have any more excuses to forego the CAGED system for good.

Part 1: Inconsistent Picking
Part 2: Scales/Arpeggios Mechanical Integration
Part 3: Why 5 Shapes and What Has the Tuning to Do With It?

About the Author:
Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and teacher with a passion for music theory applied to guitar.

116 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Brad Litton
    I remember when this stretching idea of stretching your first finger backwards clicked and it was like taking the governor off of the engine of a car. Everything opened up and got so much easier. Great video, Tommaso!
    M Scholtemeijer
    Stop being pussies and learn to stretch. It's not painful at all. (UG is not letting me log in, argh)
    huesudo2
    And whoever is having issues stretching while using the first 6 frets, they can move to the next 6, or as far as they can pull off any stretching exercise comfortably (though without making it too comfortable - you're supposed to be stretching those fingers).
    aldo.chircop
    Very well explained. Indeed the idea of keeping to 'one finger per fret' at all costs must be at the root of the system. Unfortunately the system, in its attempt to solve the wrong 'problem' (which is not even a problem and very easy to overcome as you explain), creates a host of other real problems and disadvantages.
    foreverMoR
    Awesome video Tommaso! This technique revolutionized my playing when I first learned of it. I thought my old fingers would never learn before then. Not so! Thanks for sharing!
    DanMayhew
    Another great article and great video Tommaso! The way you explained the fretting potion for stretching was explained really clearly and makes it easy to understand how players get wider stretches even with smaller hands.
    ArthurSungward
    This is a great idea, I'm going to watch the other videos. I think CAGED positions have their use in specific cases though. When you're playing high up the neck onc ertain guitars it's easier to pick a note on a higher sting than to go up hte fretboard. And when you're playing Hendrix-y kind of stuff where you play a rythm on a chord whilst adding little one note phrases and double stops. But those are pretty specific situations, I can see using 3 notes per string is actually more useful. There is no diminished chord in the CAGED system, plus I think it doesn't translate to bass that well as on bass you tend to go up the neck to play scales, and 3 nps is easier to play octaves with.
    ArthurSungward
    CAGED does overlap more easily with pentatonics too.
    ArthurSungward
    Damn, 3nps makes playing scales in broken intervals way simpler and logical too.
    tommaso.zillio
    Yes it does Just think about what this added consistency can do for your ear training, sight reading, improvisation, technique... It's more than just "using different patterns", it's a completely different way to think.
    tommaso.zillio
    That's because CAGED started as pentatonic + extra notes. But using pentatonic does not meant that you are using CAGED (I know you know, I just want to make it clear for other people reading). I do use pentatonic a lot, but I integrate it with 3NPS and arpeggios - in the medium-long run it'w actually much easier this way.
    steve.peasey
    That's because CAGED started as pentatonic + extra notes. ----- No idea where you got that idea. The system was developed around the chords they are built off of. Im baffled where some get their info from.. another says there is no diminished chord... its a seven note scale.. harmonize it and you'll find the diminished chord. Bottom line I can tie two caged scales together that are side to side and wail away pulling notes from both of them and bam... I'm playing 3fps... ITS ALL THE SAME SHIT !! lol.... EVH said "Its 12 notes do with them what you want" ....Did he mean caged or 3fps ??!! ... I'm guessing neither.
    tommaso.zillio
    You are confusing music theory (that applies to all instruments) with scale systems (that apply on the guitar fretboard and have to respect music theory). EVH was talking about music theory of course.
    Jace Bastian
    Another great video Tommaso! A great way to overcome a (stupid) objection to a clearly superior system.
    Jere Toikka
    A good video! It's interesting that the one thing CAGED is optimized for shuoldn't really be a concern at all.
    RyanMueller
    It's quite baffling that this objection is so common that it warrants needing a video to address it. That said, great video, article and break-down of the stretching exercise to pull it off. Very good explanation! Well done Tommaso!
    steve.peasey
    Actually this is silly. A caged system, just like a three note per string system contains all the notes of the scale that whatever key signature your playing in. I can easily take (THINK ABOUT THIS) ... any two of the five caged system positions that are next to each other.. and play three notes per string because I am exploiting notes from both positions by stretching out over both positions. The idea that you can't play 3 note per string lines because your using the CAGED idea is technically incorrect and just outright silly to view that way. Usually once a student has a grasp of how each of the five caged boxes sit in succession to each other they are directed to work them up one and down the other and visa versa up and down the neck. In as many keys as possible. Further to that single string lines are studied so the player can play those scales on one string alone so they can see the fretboard laterally as well as horizontally. Entire scales exist on one string and that is true of each of them. The idea of the CAGED system isn't to create boxes to contain your hands in they are there to help the person learning the instrument get command of the fretboard faster. Its a tool. There is no rule saying you can't step left or right from that scale your playing because notes of that scale exist to the left and right of that position. All 5 positions and shapes of the CAGED system tied together = possibilities up and down the strings as well as up and down the neck 3 notes 4 notes 5 notes 6 7 8 10 ... they are all tied together the same way the 3 string pattern is so this is really pointless.
    DanMayhew
    if you have to mix and match positions of together to get 'new' positions that weren't possibly available to you, the system is flawed. If the system is good then you do not need to do this, 3NPS as one example (and there others) is a system where you do not have to 'mix and match' to get 'new' positions. All this does is create extra work for your brain, thus not only making it harder to master guitar but also making it take longer, leaving students with more frustration and more importantly then have to spend more money learning just to get to the same end result. The idea about learning the fretboard 'faster' may be true in the beginning but would you rather students have temporary success only to have to undo things later on to have to learn the fretboard properly and unlearn their 'baby' method of learning the fretboard in the beginning. There are other ways of getting the students to learn the fretboard, learn the notes on guitar, scales, arpeggios, and chords, and how to apply them all into music and integrate the skills together in a much easier way that allow students to really see how music works instead of some 'cheat method' or some 'quick fix'. Tell me, why is that no other instrument uses CAGED yet they all manage to learn their arpeggios, scales, chords etc... perfectly fine?
    aldo.chircop
    Oh, so once again it boils down to: 'everyone is really using the CAGED system..they just don't know they do' or 'everything you can do on guitar is part of the CAGED system, you just don't see it'. Please. If you need to step outside the 'cages' and combine patterns together to come up with 3nps patterns and so on, then guess what..that's proof that the system was limiting you and you naturally progressed to a 3nps pattern system. Why? Because you discovered it's *more efficient*. Hence you just proved that Tommaso is 100% right in what he's saying. If those 3 nps patterns are just better, then why not use them from day one to visualize the fret board, instead of first teaching someone to see everything as 5 one-finger-pre-fret boxes, hoping that someday they might stumble by accident on more efficient 'combinations of boxes'? Just learn the more efficient method first then and do away with the confusion.
    steve.peasey
    If those 3 nps patterns are just better, then why not use them from day one to visualize the fret board, instead of first teaching someone to see everything as 5 one-finger-pre-fret boxes, hoping that someday they might stumble by accident on more efficient 'combinations of boxes'? Just learn the more efficient method first then and do away with the confusion. ----- Because there are chord shapes directly associated with each of the CAGED shapes. There is a reason for it. It has a purpose.
    tommaso.zillio
    Chord shapes: dealt with in the 2nd video of the series. Curiously, most comments on that video were about the "stretchy" shapes. How it is that every time the important issue is the one dealt with in the OTHER video?
    Jere Toikka
    What is your point? You can mix and match, cut and paste to get different systems? Of course you can, and this is true for all kinds of scale systems. You can also derive the CAGED patterns out of 3nps patterns (although I have no idea why you'd want to do that). But what has this to do with the point expressed in the video?
    steve.peasey
    What is your point? You can mix and match, cut and paste to get different systems? Of course you can, ----- you just answered your own question. Of course thats my point. The writers assertion is that isn't the case and three note per string patterns are the only ones that allow for it. Which is BS.
    tommaso.zillio
    Of course I never said that. In both systems if you cut, paste, shift, modify the patterns enough you get the other system patterns. What I am saying is that there are definite mechanical and cognitive advantages to use 3NPS over CAGED. Review my previous videos to have the whole story.
    DanMayhew
    Are you going to reply to what's actually in this article/video or just talk about a completely different point about the CAGED system that has already been covered?
    tommaso.zillio
    DanMayhew: they can't resist. With EVERY one of the other videos there were half a dozen people commenting on the "stretchy" shapes... but they will not comment on it here, of course
    tommaso.zillio
    By the same reasoning, if you learn 3NPS then you can play anything that is in CAGED. Thanks for explaining people for me why they can just learn 3NPS (that is easier, more consistent, with better integration) and do not need to study CAGED at all.
    steve.peasey
    Because the CAGED system has the 5 inversions of chord shapes directly lying inside the scale shapes. When students learn the caged approach they see this as well. Now they can see not only how the scales tie to each other *(again plenty of three note per string action doing that) they see how each C chord *example* sits across the fretboard. The usefulness of this method and its bigger picture your clearly missing.
    tommaso.zillio
    You cannot have 5 INVERSIONS of a triad: there are only 3 (see Video number 3 in this series). Also, 3NPs integrates with arpeggios better than CAGED (see video number 2). Now, what about commenting on THIS video?
    DanMayhew
    Like Tommaso said, 5 inversions for a triad. Really? You may need to go back and study inversions... it is impossible to get 5 inversions from a 3 note chord. Where are the other 2 notes coming from? We're not playing 9th chords... One other reason why CAGED confuse students, it teaches them 5 inversions of a triad when there are actually only 3. Also you can easily teach students how scales relate to chords and arpeggios very easily within the 3NPS system. You're making a very big assumption that this isn't possible. Perhaps like many people here, including Tommaso you should fully learn both systems test them on your students and see what results you get without teaching a bias to different systems (e.g. don't half heartedly teach 3NPS and really promote CAGED.. this will not bring you accurate results).
    Robert Callus
    Can you give me one valid reason why I should not take the word of an established guitar teacher (Tommaso) and instead take the word of someone who thinks a triad can have a 5th inversion?
    DanMayhew
    Robert, being an established teacher isn't really relevant here. In fact it's just as bad to use that term than if yo were to name drop a famous guitar player who uses 'x' technique. You could an established teacher and still not teach the most effective concepts. What these articles are about is what is a better learning system based upon objective and rational thought. A teacher who agrees with this philosophy would have just as much validity to their argument than someone like Tommaso because it's not about the person who says it but what's being said.
    ha_asgag
    |-1-|---|-2-|---|-4-| |-1-|-2-|---|-4-| |-1-|---|-3-|-4-| I'm quite familiar with the Bill Edwards CAGED patterns as well as 3NPS. The 124 and 134 fingerings illustrated above are COMMON to both CAGED and 3NPS scale patterns or ascending/descending runs on one string. I wonder why Tommaso is exaggerating or making an argument against CAGED with regards to stretching?
    tommaso.zillio
    In every other videos I posted on CAGED there were lots of people complaining about the stretch in 3NPS. Now that I post a video addressing their concerns, people tell me that I am "exaggerating"... And of course many comments on THIS video are about stuff I talked in OTHER videos... it's like people purposefully try to switch issues every time I talk about a specific CAGED problem. Don't take my word for it, just read the comments thread on UG and you YT and tell me what you see..
    Dynamight
    Ever heard of paragraphs? Jesus.
    DanMayhew
    Really, that's what you have to comment on? You're avoiding the issue at hand in this article/video so much that you've become a grammar nazi... in which by the way there are 3 paragraphs in my comment so yes I have heard of paragraphs. Yes, I use them. If you're really going to be picky about paragraphs maybe you should comment on the 6th post down from the top. So back to the topic at hand, how about those stretches hey?
    Dynamight
    My reply was to steve.peasey's original post, so l2treeview. And this isn't about grammar—his post is just painful to look at.
    DanMayhew
    My apologies, your post came under mine so it looked like you were replying to what I put.
    J-Womack
    Great video Tommaso! Informative and practical! Not a big stretch to see its usefulness if applied
    Kasper_Jensen
    Great article and video, Dr. Zillio! Thank you very much for taking your time to make these awesome videos!
    FryingPan9
    I really got a lot out of watching this video. I've taken stretch positions for granted because I was already noodling around with a lot of "lead" ideas (I had no idea what I was doing) when I was introduced to scales. I never learned CAGED scales--never heard of them till a couple of years ago and I've been playing since 1978. But I never knew people actually AVOIDED stretch positions or thought they were 'bad" or whatever. I just looked at it like, "It works, and it's not that hard to do. Cool. I'll use it." Now I have a better idea how to play and use them as opposed to just having it be "a shape I know and accepted without really knowing why". Great video, Tommaso.
    Tucson_Don
    Gee, when I found out about 'CAGED' after playing for about 25+ years over a 40 year stretch, I found it to be extremely explanatory for how the patterns and scales get arranged on the fretboard due to the string tuning & western music methodology. You mean to tell me there's a playing method built around it, and it sucks? This is disappointing to learn at this point in my life!
    Drapte
    So weird how people actually believe this guy.
    tommaso.zillio
    I don't want your belief. I want your thinking. Try what I propose and make up your mind by yourself.
    Drapte
    It's just missing the whole point of learning the neck professionally.
    M Scholtemeijer
    Still not an argument. Do you know what an argument is? How is it missing the point? It would help if you explained how/why. What even is "learning the neck professionally"? Just saying that something is weird and missing the point doesn't work.
    carbenez
    Such a great comment... and should show anyone who is interested in THINKING a great deal about who Tommaso is and what he is about. Bravo.
    steve.peasey
    The CAGED system is good for: Quickly learning a set of scale fingerings that covers the fretboard. Learning to think of notes as chord tones (like b9) as opposed to letters (like F#). Learning to relate chord-playing to single-note playing. Learning to invent chord forms on the fly. Developing sight-reading skills. Encouraging the discipline of strict positional playing, which can be beneficial in some specific circumstances. Notice that all these are about learning, not mastery. The CAGED system is not a complete set of all the fingerings you'll ever need for guitar. It's a step on the ladder, and a potential reference-point you can return to later. There are many other ways to find your way around the neck; CAGED is one, and I still think it's a good one to start out with.
    tommaso.zillio
    All these things are easier with 3NPS, as you would know if you watched the other videos in the series and knew the complete system (rather than just the scale patterns). I agree with you that CAGED is not complete. That one system is not complete does not mean that other systems are necessarily incomplete too.
    Jace Bastian
    ...still waiting for that rational argument against this one particular video, instead of all these completely unrelated points...
    tegon_legend
    Hi Steve, I've been learning the guitar for 9 months only and I can do all of these things that you say. Maybe not super quickly because my fingers are still slow. But my brain can work it all out easy. I find it so much fun and logical. I looked at CAGED and it confused me to no end. So in response to what you think CAGED is good for. - "Quickly learning a set of scale fingerings that covers the fretboard." Super easy with 3NPS, took me 2 weeks to learn all my modes in major and minor in 3 NPS and can travel anywhere on the fretboard, another couple of weeks to learn all my harmonics and melodic minor scales. - "Learning to think of notes as chord tones (like b9) as opposed to letters (like F#)." I think in intervals actually when I play scales which is useful for hitting chord tones when I want to when improvising. - "Learning to relate chord-playing to single-note playing." I do this as I know all the arpeggios in all the shapes. I can definitely build on this more, but I'm still a beginner in this process. - "Learning to invent chord forms on the fly." Again, I can work on this more, but I presume it would be great straight forward for me to do so. I can interchange between chords and scales quite easily at the moment. - "Developing sight-reading skills." Sight reading is easy. Don't see what it has to do with either system though. Just need to know your notes and if you know the scale, then it's even easier. you can transcribe super easily too. Not sure if you can with CAGED. - "Encouraging the discipline of strict positional playing, which can be beneficial in some specific circumstances." Really not sure what you mean... but yes I practise my 3 NPS scales strictly? PS. I didn't spend hours learning the guitar either. I only practise about 30 mins a day if that.
    Lamboflog
    You appear to be putting technique before melody. Both methods are fine, stop being a snob about how people group notes. Seriously, and you wonder why there is conflict in the world
    tommaso.zillio
    Melodies can be played in both system. I am just showing people what works best.
    steve.peasey
    What works best. Its arrogant and assuming to say that. Its completely subjective. What works best for you and the music you play is just that. To say its the best system for everyone is just arrogant. Pick a key and then in your 3 note per string heaven with those wide stretches find the chord shapes associated along the fretboard. That would be interesting to see !!
    tommaso.zillio
    I have heard plenty of CAGED supporters saying that CAGED is best, so arrogance goes both ways here The difference is that I am stating a case and bringing proof for that case. See the other videos in the series. If you want to discuss the proof, you're welcome. If you want to stay on the sidelines and yell "arrogance", you're irrelevant.
    DanMayhew
    Easy, it's called learning your fretboard properly. Studying your scales, where the chords tones are for all 7 chords of your key (assuming there are 7), learning where you arpeggios are close to the scale (this means studying all the different ways of playing arpeggios)... and before someone comments "try playing over Jazz chord progression"... also learn how to change keys staying in the same area of the neck. All this is possible with 3NPS, and it's much easier to do so than it is with CAGED. Now back to the main point of this article and video. What comments do you have on the stretching? Or are we going to keep throwing shit on the wall and staying away from the main topic at hand here?
    Jace Bastian
    Why just melody? What about harmony? Rhythm? Texture? Timbre?...MUSIC is what should come first. That's what it's all about, right? Making the best MUSIC? But I wonder...How great can you make your music if you are using a shitty system that holds back what you are really capable of?
    Lamboflog
    Pretty great. Have you missed all the music pre 2000? You have of course completely missed the point, but then why would i expect anything less on here. The point being, why are you crapping on a perfectly good system claiming one is "better".. it's not better just different. I doesn't fit the technical stuff you do, which is self indulgent. However it does suit a lot of people and they can evolve to the 3 note per string system as they get a better grasp of the guitar. The arrogance on here is unreal
    Jace Bastian
    We're not crapping on a perfectly good system. We are pointing out the flaws of an inferior one, and the benefits of a superior one. The whole point of this particular video, is that not wanting to use the 3nps system because it "hurts your hands" when you first try it out, (again, only if you are using the wrong technique), is a stupid reason to keep using an inferior system. I'm not saying people who do this are stupid, but the REASON is. Do you agree with the point of this video, or not? If not, do you have an actual argument against the point made in this video, and can you please share it with us? I for one want to only use the best systems/techniques for learning guitar, and if CAGED IS superior, I want to know about it, so I can use it myself, and teach it to my students. (Because I actually care about them, and want them to use the right systems as well) But so far, all the evidence and rational arguments point right at 3 nps being the superior system. Do you have a rational argument in favor of CAGED?
    steve.peasey
    We're not crapping on a perfectly good system. We are pointing out the flaws of an inferior one, and the benefits of a superior one. ===== lol ... you seem to have your mind made up which is better or worse..so this means you have an opinion. Which your entitled to. But like I said to someone else this is completely subjective. I therefore submit that the 3fps method is inferior because no underlying associated chord shapes can be built like that. Your hands will have to close together into that dreaded "box" omg!!! ..... lol Theres your rational argument too. Unless you think you can build 4 and 5 note chords across 5 frets or more. That would be fun to see
    Jace Bastian
    I should have been more specific: Do you have a rational argument against the ONE point of this specific video? (If you have rational arguments against the individual points in the previous videos, by all means share each of them where appropriate) The whole reason Dr. Zillio is addressing one point in each video, is to keep these discussions/debates from having too many different points going on at once. None of what you say here is addressed to the point of this video, which leads me to believe that you have no rational argument against the point in this video. Is this true?
    tommaso.zillio
    Yup. Imagine how much better the pre-2000 music would have been with a better system... (BTW, 3NPS has been around from the late 70's and is responsible for lots of good music)
    Jace Bastian
    I asked, "How great can you make your music if you are using a shitty system that holds back what you are really capable of?" To which you responded, "Pretty great." Lol, you just admitted CAGED is a shitty system that holds you back. XD To which I ask: If you can take a shitty system that holds you back and make "great music", (assuming it is actually great, of course), how much GREATER will your music be if you DON'T use a shitty system that holds you back?!
    drewlee
    Hi Tommaso, thanks for sharing another clear and well explained point. Keep them coming!
    J-Womack
    What is there to believe? Any data examined and accepted as true and superior to other data would of course be obvious to those with experience with that data. Knowing is superior to believing any day. Try it and you will see.
    ha_asgag
    Complex music doesn't necessarily have to be painful to the fingers. Be a little natural and play comfortably.
    DanMayhew
    You're making the assumption that these stretches are 'painful' for the rest of your life. Once you get used to them they become comfortable. Stop making excuses people, learn to stretch.
    ArthurSungward
    If that was always a good idea there never would've been little good music, or good entertainment/arts in general. You play uncomfortably for a while so that it becomes comfortable, that's how you improve at things.
    M Scholtemeijer
    Don't be a pussy There's nothing uncomfortable about these stretches once you get to grips with them. Try 3 nps pentatonics, now THOSE are stretches.
    Jace Bastian
    If it hurts your fingers to play a superior system...you need to get a better guitar teacher.
    allahrackbar
    3NPS is great if you have large hands, sit in a classical type of position, or wear your guitar high. I still like CAGED because it's more comfortable to play in a casual sitting position or with my guitar slung reasonably low. That thumb behind middle finger stuff gets real uncomfortable if you're not holding the guitar the 'right' way (like Tommaso does and I don't). Stretching is good and necessary for playing more interesting chord shapes, but for single note lines I'd rather just move my hand along the fretboard. I mean, if it works for Pat Metheny... You're a good teacher, but I wish you would've focused on the positives of 3NPS instead of pitting it against the CAGED system. Because the more someone tells me not to do something, the more I want to do it.
    M Scholtemeijer
    No, you don't need large hands or play in the classical position for these stretches. You're just avoiding a challenge and making excuses They're not challenging at all once you get to grips with them.
    allahrackbar
    Gosh, so many assumptions.
    tommaso.zillio
    And how many of these assumptions are true? In all fairness you do sound like you are trying to find all the possible excuse to not change the way you play for the better.
    allahrackbar
    None of them. But accusing people who disagree with you of making excuses is a great way to indicate you're not interested in civil dialogue. So I'll stop commenting and let you and the downvoters get back to your circle-jerk.
    tommaso.zillio
    Fine, then let's take this: "That thumb behind middle finger stuff gets real uncomfortable if you're not holding the guitar the 'right' way (like Tommaso does and I don't)." Explain me why you can't play in the 'right' position and what is holding you back beyond your unwillingness to give it a try for a couple of weeks. You can easily prove M Scholtemeijer's assumption that you are simply unwilling to try wrong - if it actually wrong, that is.
    M Scholtemeijer
    Not at all, you yourself just said that you find CAGED more comfortable. Which means you're avoiding learning the stretches properly as they do feel totally comfortable when you have them down. There isn't a difference in "comfortable" level.
    huesudo2
    But does it work for you, though? Have you tried other systems, have you gotten a feel for how much they work for you? Plus, finger stretching is the gateway to being able to play whatever the hell you want on the fretboard.
    allahrackbar
    Taking the approach of shifting positions more than I stretch definitely works for me. It feels good, and I can play whatever the hell I want--I might use a different fingering than someone whose playing is 3NPS-oriented, but who'd hear the difference? I learned 3NPS and CAGED when I started out sixteen years ago. I still use both, and I think both have their pros and cons.
    huesudo2
    Taking up 3NPS instead of CAGED is not a decision that would affect your guitar playing once you master the system, it's a decision that affects how long it takes you to learn the concepts. So if you already know and use both, and you have good skills with both, then you might not notice a difference. But I wonder what a novice would think if you told them that there's a system that only takes a little bit more effort and a little bit more attention to technical detail to get results in fingering and fretboard management much, MUCH faster and in a much less confusing way?
    tommaso.zillio
    Yeah, also my 5 years old wants to do everything I tell her not to do. You don't need large hands to play 3NPS (that was the main message of the video...) and adopting the "correct" position or not is just a matter of will - but if you CHOOSE to play the wrong way, then how can you ever get better?
    allahrackbar
    Lots of great players play the 'wrong' way by your standards, so I'm not worried about the path I'm on.
    tommaso.zillio
    They are great DESPITE that, though, not thanks to that.
    allahrackbar
    What makes a musician great has very little to do with how they play scales. There are countless guitarists on YT with flawless scale technique who no one wants to listen to.
    tommaso.zillio
    But the correct way to practice scales makes you more versatile and consume less "brain power" that you can use to be more creative. By the same count, YT is full of mediocre CAGED players. The point is: which system will make YOU the better musician?
    steve.peasey
    The point is both have uses and are both valid. Insisting one is better than the other repeatedly doesn't make it true. Quote - In all fairness you do sound like you are trying to find all the possible excuse to not change the way you play for the better - In all fairness you sound like you think everyone should learn exactly as you have or their method or approach is inferior and substandard. Furthermore --- quote --YT is full of mediocre CAGED players. Um....ok I see whats going on now.. your a Tom Hess fan. Ok. He's alright.. I see here he's pushing against the caged system..https://tomhess.net/WhyTheCAGEDSystemHurtsYourG... Every assertion made on this page is bullshit. "You will struggle to play solos using the entire fretboard" -- Absolute BS. Ridiculous. I will give the 3 note per one advantage.. it IS easier.. to play them fast...but it in no way means the caged system cant be played fast, by someone that is willing to put in the work. 3fps may be great for shredding and wanking at 300 bpm but thats only one part (and a small one) of the musical world. Not everyone on this planet is interested in or even likes high speed death metal. I know its true. Some of us are far more calm and like the more refined things in life. To which the caged and whatever other tool works just fine. I just read in another forum someone wrote that Joe Pass tipped them off to the CAGED scale during a clinic years ago. Was his playing "mediocre" too ??
    tommaso.zillio
    Long string of ad-hominem: check. Statements without arguments: check. Quoting out of context check. "3NPS is only good for speed, you wanking shredders": check. "I am a sensitive and refined guitar player": check. Name dropping: check (as if Joe Pass was using what is today taught as CAGED... where do you take your information?)
    Jace Bastian
    You're saying a lot here, but again none of it is a rational argument against the point made in this video. Do you have one, or not?
    DanMayhew
    I have no issues playing live and using 3NPS and I do not have my guitar up super high either. Also lets stop the name dropping "If uses it then it must be good". This does nothing to support your argument and it is a logically fallacy. Just because someone uses something doesn't mean it's the best system. You can train the body to do all kind of things but what we're focused on is what is the easiest, what will get you from A-B fastest, and what is going to help integrate all your skills together smoothly without bringing up contradictions or needing to 'undo' what you've practiced in the past. I could run a race hopping on one leg going backwards and I could say that it's "What I feel is easiest" but that doesn't mean it's the best way to get from A-B.
    Robert Callus
    "Because the more someone tells me not to do something, the more I want to do it. " Most probably that's why you're having problems with the stretch. Your pride is holding you back from learning.
    macatom
    I really want to comment on the way that all of the believers of this 3NPS system jump on anyone who dares to disagree or even tries to hold a rational debate with such rabid fervour and fury. Does the author of the videos condone the way these people act "in his name"? If I were him, I'd be embarrassed to be associated with all of this noise and downright smuggery/bullying. I can honestly say that the other example of this that I see most often, and its a very direct comparison, is when you get a bunch of Flat-Earthers jumping on people on reddit/facebook etc for having the audacity to believe that the earth is clearly a globe. You people need to chill, step back from the PC and realise that there are many different views out there and you're coming across just a little INSANE... acting like brainwashed cultists. To be clear: I'm not calling 3NPS a cult. Believing that this system is best does not make you crazy. Please let people be. (Flat earthers ARE DEFINITELY CRAZY though)
    BryceGorman
    I don't "believe" that 3NPS is better, I see in reason by referencing the facts of reality that 3NPS and the pentatonic system are objectively better than the Frankenstein that is CAGED. Flat-Earthers "believe" the Earth is flat in the face of overwhelming proof that clearly indicate otherwise. Yes, there are many different views out there, I am interested in discovering which view will bring me to my goal in the fastest and easiest way. In this context, I see in reason why CAGED is the slow way to my goal. I am not willing to spend 20 years to learn what I can in 5 or less, so for this, I praise Tommaso for showing us objective proof of the discussion between CAGED and other systems such as pentatonic and 3NPS. I don't care WHO is right or WHO uses any system or WHO uses which system more, I care about WHAT is going to get me to my goal in the fastest, funnest, and easiest way. Is my explanation "cultist" or "crazy"? Please explain where and why
    tegon_legend
    I have little hands as a girl and I can stretch, even for harmonics at the top of the neck too. So no excuses!
    steve.peasey
    Hess's argument here is that the CAGED patterns, which use a combination of 2- and 3-note groupings on each string, require awkward picking patterns. This is true. If you're playing scales straight-up-and-down against a metronome, using consistent 3-note-per-string groupings and economy picking is the best way to set a personal best. If you ask me "How fast can you play sixteenth-notes?" without specifying what I should play, I wouldn't use the CAGED patterns. However, in real-life music-making most of us don't run scales up and down. We jump around and play lines with melodic interest. They aren't laid out for maximal efficiency; the pick needs to be agile, jumping around between strings freely. Hess's criticism is irrelevant in that setting; that is, it's irrelevant to real-life music-making.
    DanMayhew
    Still avoiding the stretching issue and now name dropping someone who isn't even part of this debate? What's your reasoning for that, I mean other than avoiding what this discussion is supposed to be about... you know the video/article on this SPECIFIC POINT ABOUT THE CAGED SYSTEM. That is why Tommaso is making a series of videos so we can rationally pick apart each element of the CAGED system and why it only hinders the learning ability of a student. It doesn't surprise me that many CAGED supports find it so difficult to stay on topic before they start talking about other elements which have either been talking about already in a different video/article or are going to be talked about in the future. So back to the stretching...
    M Scholtemeijer
    Where's Hess? Tommaso made this video, Tom Hess has nothing to do with this. Turns out you're just another Hess hater.
    tommaso.zillio
    Why bring Tom Hess into this? I posted a video with one specific claim and you are trying very hard to find OTHER things to comment on. And you still haven't seen the videos: I address "jumping around between strings freely" in video 1 of the series and in many other videos on my YT channel. You clearly have not seen them, so you are commenting on what you IMAGINE I am saying...
    Jace Bastian
    XD!!! Nice argument from intimidation: "WE play in real-life musical situations...WE play with melodic interest..." (Ie; "If you don't play like us, you're not musical, or melodically interesting") Oh, and again: Where is your rational argument against this video? The more you avoid it, the more you are advertising to everyone that you have none. Please share with the class.
    StrongLikeBull
    I personally just studied nothing but the Major Modes for a few months. That has helped me out a lot.