Monday, December 15, 2008

Guitar CAGED Chord System Theory

When I analyzed the CAGED system, I think it can be
simplified into just three (3) shapes. The D and C can
be combined. The A and G can be combined. And then the
E shape. So we have 3-shapes namely the D/C, A/G and

Inside these three shapes are found the patterns of
the major scales. Cool huh??? What do you think?

As a guitar teacher dedicated to illuminating the details of music theory for guitar, my goal is to break things down to the basic building blocks and then show guitar players how to develop from there. It sounds like you're on the right track.

The five CAGED chords can actually be simplified into just one shape. In fact, it IS one shape that covers the whole guitar fretboard. It's broken up into five pieces, or forms, so that you can learn and memorize it one step at a time. Eventually, if you learn lots of CAGED songs and apply the chord forms and arpeggio patterns to music, everything begins to bleed together. At that point, you can group the shapes however you see fit.

And yes, major scale patterns can be played inside any and all chord shapes.

The practical application of guitar theory will be thought of slightly different from player to player.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)


Anonymous said...

I just finished up the book chapter on CAGED and worked through the matching DVD. These are so well done and I feel like I am progressing from "beginner" to "intermediate" pretty fast. I have an approach to practicing the different partial shapes that seems to work well and really reinforces orientation.

Basically if you take a simple song that has a major chord progression, you can pick whichever partial form you want to practice and then just progress over the same chords using the forms instead. There is an easy Weezer song called Dreamin' (Red Album) that essentially uses D - F# - G - A. If you consider that there are about a half dozen or so different forms given for each of the CAGED (and these are just the more common examples given - you can develop more from the arpeggios), then the possibilities multiply fast. More importantly, a lot of them sound awesome.

It's very cool to be able to go back over some old favorites and play them in new ways. I will also say that the DVDs are very challenging - in a good way - in how much information is given. I know that a lot of people want to see tab. I guess that in a strange way, I view tab differently now - almost like a crutch. Without, you are challenged to think through the music theory and for me it is better learning to try and figure things out before "peeking" at the tab (which obviously is very helpful and necessary in some cases - when used correctly as a learning tool).

I'm really enjoying the entire set!

Mike Pritchard said...

I have been playing guitar for so long it's hard to remember when I actually started. (It’s probably been about 25+ years now)

I started Desi's course after having shoulder surgery. I had some down time and was able to sit down and work on my scales and guitar theory so it was a perfect opportunity for me to go back and fill in the blanks from all the years self learning.

I was amazed how clearly the fret board theory series was able to show me what I knew but never really learned along with stuff I didn’t know that I needed. It also made it possible for me to venture out into different progressions and keys with out bending certain notes to fit or sounding a little out of key.

It's a great course. I have had it for about 4 months now I'm not completely finished with it. It's best to work through it slowly and carefully so that you can pick up all the little tricks that Desi tosses out there for you. I highly recommend this course to guitar players of all levels.