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CAGED sequence--minor scales

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yournightmare
(@yournightmare)
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I'm not too big on theory, I kind of just play. I've had theory books but I haven't paid much attention to them. Recently I just decided for no particular reason that I was going to start studying more theory, at least as it pertains specifically to the guitar.

So, here's my question(s). Using the CAGED sequence, I know that the G pentatonic scale pattern in 5th position is the C major scale. And somehow, I know that G diatonic in 5th position is the A minor scale. I'm guessing that the minor scales work in the same way as the major scales, with regards to the CAGED sequence. So, if G diatonic at 5th position is A minor, E diatonic at 7th position is also A minor, if they follow the CAGED sequence as well, right?

So if A pentatonic pattern at 3rd position is the C scale, is A diatonic at 3rd position B minor?

If I REALLY wanted to figure this out on my own I certainly could, I just thought it'd be easier to ask somebody who already knows. THANKS!!!


   
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Ignar Hillström
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I think that with 'diatonic' you mean major, AFAIK every mode is diatonic. Anyway, C-major has the same notes as A-minor, no matter where you play them. This goes for everything else. So D->Bm and G->Em for example.


   
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yournightmare
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No, I meant the Diatonic pattern. The G Diatonic pattern can be played anywhere on the neck, but it's not always a G scale.


   
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Fretsource
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I'm trying to understand the question. By the G diatonic pattern you mean the one which is the G major scale when you start on G, right? Just trying to clarify as there are 7 diatonic patterns that start on G: G major, G natural minor, G Lydian, etc. As Ignar says, ALL the modes are diatonic. (i.e., the church modes: Dorian Lydian, etc).
Also, what do you mean that G pentatonic becomes C major when you shift to the 5th position? Pentatonic stays pentatonic, whichever note you start on.


   
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yournightmare
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First, about the pentatonic thing. Playing a pentatonic pattern means playing 5 tones, since "penta" means 5. But still, playing the "G scale form", which is a pentatonic scale form, at the 5th position is the C major pentatonic scale. I'm pretty sure you guys know that, but you didn't know if I knew that or not. So I'm just letting you know that I do know that much. And, in case you didn't know-- http://jguitar.com/scale/C/Major%20Pentatonic Also, if you click on that link, you can see the CAGED sequence at work. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th frets are the "A scale form," the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th frets are the "G scale form," the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th frets are the "E scale form," and finally the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th frets are the "D scale form." C-A-G-E-D. In this case, all of them play the C scale.

As for the gist of my question, I'm talking specifically about the CAGED sequence and its naming conventions for scales. There are 5 basic scale forms--CAGED. The C scale FORM is called the C scale FORM no matter where it is played on the fretboard. It's just the name for the PATTERN that the notes are played in. It's the same logic used for chord shapes. Using the CAGED method, the open E major chord is called the E FORM. So if you barre the first fret and play the E chord FORM, you're playing an F chord. If you barre the 3rd fret and play the E chord FORM, you're playing a G chord. The name of the chord/scale changes, but the name of the chord/scale FORM does not. Also, the CAGED method (as taught in Fretboard Logic) refuses to use the Greek names for different modes because the author says all they do is confuse the issue and that the CAGED method is much more straightforward as it is specifically for guitar.

The "basic G scale form", open position would be E----------------------------------------0--3--
B--------------------------------0---3---------
G-----------------------0---2-----------------
D---------------0--2--------------------------
A--------0--2---------------------------------
E--0--3---------------------------------------
This would be the G scale, as you said.

The "basic G scale form" in 5th position would beE-------------------------------------5--8--
B------------------------------5--8---------
G-----------------------5--7---------------
D----------------5--7----------------------
A---------5--7-----------------------------
E--5--8------------------------------------
This would be the C major scale (pentatonic, obviously).

Now, the "G scale form diatonic" in 5th position would beE----------------------------------------------------5--7--8--
B-----------------------------------------5--6--8-------------
G------------------------------4--5--7-----------------------
D-----------------------5--7----------------------------------
A-------------5--7--8----------------------------------------
E-5--7--8---------------------------------------------------
This would be the A minor scale.

Another example, using the CAGED method. This is the "basic C scale form" in open positionE--------------------------------------0--3--
B-------------------------------1--3---------
G-----------------------0--2----------------
D----------------0--2-----------------------
A---------0--3------------------------------
E--0--3-------------------------------------
And that would be the C scale. If I play the C scale FORM at 1st position, it's a C# scale, 2nd position is D scale, 3rd position is D# scale, and so on all the way down the fretboard. Again, the NAME of the scale and the notes played change, but the name of the FORM of the scale does not. It's the same as if I play a C-shaped barre chord up and down the neck--it's still called a "C-shaped barre" even though the notes are playing different chords. The SHAPE itself does not change.

So if I start out playing the C FORM scale open position it's the C scale, if I play the A scale FORM at 3rd position it's the C scale, if I play the G scale FORM at 5th position it's the C scale, if I play the E scale form at 7th position it's the C scale, and if I play the D scale FORM at 10th position it's the C scale. Hence, the CAGED sequence.

Likewise, if I start out with G scale FORM in open position, it's the G scale. If I play the E scale form at 3rd position, it's the G scale. If I played the D scale form at 5th position, it's the G scale. Again, it follows the CAGED sequence.

All I want to know is if the CAGED sequence applies to minor scales, too. I believe that A minor is the relative minor of C, right? So the "basic G scale form" played at 5th position is the C scale, and the "diatonic G scale form" played at fifth position is the A minor scale. If I play the "basic E scale form" in first position, I'm playing the F scale. If the minor scales follow the CAGED sequence, then playing the "diatonic E scale form" in first position would give me the D minor scale. Right? I believe so.

Please let me know if you still don't know what I'm asking.


   
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yournightmare
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Oh and hey, sorry if that last post sounded condescending or snotty or anything like that. It wasn't meant to be, at all. I'm just not too good at explaining things, and sometimes when I try to explain things I think I come off like I have some kind of attitude. I just don't want you guys to misinterpret the tone of that last post.


   
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NoteBoat
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ARRRGGGGGGHH!

That's frustration for two reasons - first is that I'd just typed a lengthy response that vanished into the ether. Second, as a guitar teacher I understand the true use of the CAGED system - I use it to teach the basic barre chord forms.

I do NOT use it to teach scales.

The CAGED system is promoted as a complete way to organize the fretboard. It isn't complete... and it's going to get in the way of understanding scales and theory.

A picture is worth a thousand words. I assume you mean this by "G form pentatonic, right?"

5-8
5-8
5-7
5-7
5-7
5-8

And I'm guessing you think that's somehow related to the C major fingering at fifth position, since that contains all the pentatonic notes, right?

5-7-8
5-6-8
5-7
5-7-9
5-7-8
5-7-8

So... why isn't it the F major scale?

5-6-8
5-7-8
5-7
5-7-8
5-7-8
5-6-8

Or the G major scale?

5-7-8
5-7-8
5-7
5-7-9
5-7-9
5-7-8

Pentatonic scales aren't diatonic. You will not be able to equate one pentatonic fingering to one major scale.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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Scrybe
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Noteboat - I'm really glad you posted that. I'd read the thread but didn't post, mainly because it just really confused me and I wasn't sure how right I was to feel confused. To me, it just feels that adding in these extra bits of info to understand scales on a guitar (i.e. naming patterns as scale-forms) just adds one more bit of info to remember instead of making it simpler to understand which, surely, is the whole point of having systems. It also, IMO, encourages you to stick to one scale-pattern in, e.g. an improvised solo, rather than being able to move up and down the neck freely. I think I started learning scales this way ages ago (I was basically playing say G major scale, then moving up two frets to play the G major scale, but starting on A - so effectively playing an A Dorian scale, I believe). But it was when I started mixing these 'box shape' patterns with scales running up and down the neck that my soloing improved and my ability to 'think theory for guitar' improved, if that makes sense.

Ra Er Ga.

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http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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KR2
 KR2
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I haven't gotten into the pentatonic scales yet in my lessons (Learn and Master the Guitar).
And from the above posts it sounds like it can get pretty complicated.
Just reading that stuff short circuited my brain.
I'll try to keep an open mind but am now approaching music theory with fear and trepidation and certainly respect for anyone who can make sense out of all of that.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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yournightmare
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And I'm guessing you think that's somehow related to the C major fingering at fifth position, since that contains all the pentatonic notes, right?
Absolutely not. I know the pentatonic scales aren't diatonic. That's not what I'm asking. All I'm asking is if the CAGED sequence applies to minor scales.

Once again, by "basic G scale form" and "pentatonic G scale form" I mean exactly what you said:
5-8
5-8
5-7
5-7
5-7
5-8

I don't "think" that is the C scale, Fretboard Logic clearly states that it's the C scale. Obviously it's a pentatonic scale because it only has 5 notes and a major scale has 7.

By "diatonic G scale form" I mean this:
5-7-8
5-6-8
4-5-7
5-7
5-7-8
5-7-8

^^This is the A minor scale.

Fretboard Logic says the "basic C scale form"/"C scale form pentatonic" is (I'm just going to do it at 2nd position):
2-5
3-5
2-4
2-4
2-5
2-5

^^Fretboard logic says that's a D scale.

Now, if my theory is correct, and I play the "diatonic C scale form" in the 2nd position, it should give me the relative minor scale of D:
2-3-5
2-3-5
2-4
2-4-5
2-4-5
2-3-5

The relative minor of D is B minor, right? Is what I just wrote a B minor scale or not?

It goes like this--if I play the X-shaped pentatonic scale form at fret Y, I'll know what key that pentatonic scale is in because of the CAGED sequence. Then, if I play the X-shaped diatonic scale form at fret Y, it will be the X-shaped pentatonic scale form's relative minor.

Here, Noteboat, let's try it with a different scale form at, say, 3rd position. I'll use the A scale form this time.
3-5
3-5
2-5
2-5
3-5
3-5

^^C pentatonic scale, right? I know that because the C scale form open position is obviously the C scale, and since A comes after C in the CAGED sequence, this A FORM must be C as well.

Here's the A DIATONIC scale form, also in 3rd position.
3-5
3-5-6
2-4-5
2-3-5
2-3-5
3-5

^^Is that an A minor scale or not?

The two most important questions I would like answered are: 1) Is that in fact a B minor scale I posted? and 2) Is that in fact an A minor scale I posted?

The third most important question is: Can you see the relationship between the X-shaped PENTATONIC scale form at a particular position and the same-shaped DIATONIC scale form at the same position? If I play a D-shaped pentatonic form at the 565th fret and it's a G pentatonic scale, then when I play the D-shaped diatonic form at the 565th fret, it will be the relative minor of G (E minor). Right or wrong?


   
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yournightmare
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To me, it just feels that adding in these extra bits of info to understand scales on a guitar (i.e. naming patterns as scale-forms) just adds one more bit of info to remember instead of making it simpler to understand which, surely, is the whole point of having systems. I disagree. First, the CAGED method is designed specifically for the guitar and the guitar's unique tuning. It's much simpler than trying to memorize Locrian, Phyrgian, Dorian, etc. Also, it's not adding extra bits of info, it's ignoring massive amounts of essentially irrelevant info. The CAGED method basically strips it down to the bare essentials FOR GUITAR. It's not just teaching music theory, it's GUITAR theory. It also, IMO, encourages you to stick to one scale-pattern in, e.g. an improvised solo, rather than being able to move up and down the neck freely. Again, I disagree. After learning the 5 basic scale forms, you can play all the way up and down the fretboard in whatever key you wish. These 5 patterns link up together in logical ways to create a wide variety of patterns. You can move up and down the neck as freely as you could any other way, you would just be limited by playing the notes of the particular key you're playing in.

But, this is just my opinion, I'm not saying your opinion is wrong. I'm sure the CAGED method isn't for everyone, just like learning modes with Greek names isn't for me. I'm dumb and I want it as simple as possible. I like the CAGED method because it just "clicks" with me. I know it doesn't seem like it by reading this thread, but what I'm trying to figure out here isn't discussed in Fretboard Logic. I have NoteBoat's book as well, which I'm going to move on to when I have the CAGED method down. It's really helping me quickly learn the notes on the fretboard, be able to identify chords, and be able to identify regular scales. Something about it just makes me understand more easily than the "regular" music theory stuff.


   
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NoteBoat
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I don't "think" that is the C scale, Fretboard Logic clearly states that it's the C scale. Obviously it's a pentatonic scale because it only has 5 notes and a major scale has 7.

Fretboard Logic is wrong. A pentatonic scale is not a major scale, and the notes of the C major pentatonic scale are entirely contained within THREE different major scales. I've already proven that in my earlier post.
The relative minor of D is B minor, right? Is what I just wrote a B minor scale or not?

Yes, the relative minor of D is B minor. What you wrote is the notes of a B minor scale (or a D major scale, or C# Dorian, etc - it depends on the key note)
^^Is that an A minor scale or not?

Same thing as above. Yes, it can be an A minor scale.
The third most important question is: Can you see the relationship between the X-shaped PENTATONIC scale form at a particular position and the same-shaped DIATONIC scale form at the same position?

NO! You cannot draw that conclusion, and that's where the CAGED sytem falls apart.

Again, refer to the scales I wrote out earlier - the C major pentatonic can be the C major OR the F major OR the G major scale. Each one has a "relationship" to the "X-shape pentatonic". Look at the structure of the pentatonic major scale compared to the major scale... it's got notes 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. Since 4 and 7 are missing, you CANNOT say "this pentatonic pattern is major scale X" - you need to know what the missing notes are!

Let's look at this another way.

The pentatonic scale contains five notes, right?

Now think about how you can finger a five note scale. In any position, one of those notes is going to be the lowest note you play on the 6th string (which finger plays it doesn't matter - one note has to be the lowest one). Since you have five different notes in the scale, you end up with five different playing positions; each position has two notes on each string.

The major scale (and the relative minor scale) are different. They have SEVEN notes. And that means you simply can't fit them into five fingering patterns. As the structure of a scale becomes more complex, the CAGED system can't cope.

Let's say the major scale is a cow. Different keys are different cuts of meat. The pentatonic scale is ground beef. You can put the cow through the meat grinder and get ground beef - no matter what cut of meat you start with.

C major (top sirloin)
C D E F G A B C
through the meat grinder...
C D E G A C
= ground beef (C major pentatonic)

G major (chuck roast)
G A B C D E F# G
through the grinder....
G A C D E G
= ground beef (C major pentatonic)

F major (flank steak)
F G A Bb C D E F
run it through the grinder...
G A C D E
= ground beef - the C major pentatonic notes again.

It's just as hard (and about as practical) to use the pentatonic patterns to master the major and minor scales as it is to re-assemble cows from hamburger.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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NoteBoat
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By the way, I disagree with teaching scales using the mode names too. It's counterproductive and confusing, since fingerings have nothing to do with modes.

CAGED is one way to organize the guitar. As you say, it simplifies things. It's that simplification that causes problems when you're looking at anything more complex than the pentatonic scale.

It's really not accurate to say "after learning the five basic scale forms you can play all the way up and down the fretboard". If the goal is finding the shortest way to play all the pentatonic notes on the guitar, you can do that by using just THREE scale forms. Try it: play in F minor pentatonic at the first, fifth, and tenth positions. You'll have hit every single note in the scale on every string.

Five patterns (the CAGED sytem) is useful for the pentatonic... because there are five notes in the scale. Since the pentatonic scale has two notes on each string, five positions is it: each form has one scale note as the lowest, and they all follow after that. That means it's a complete system for organizing the possible pentatonic fingerings. More complicated than the bare bones you need to know to play along the whole fretboard, complete if you want the pentatonic scale, over-simplified if you want anything else.

The major scale is complicated on the guitar, and CAGED does not address the complications. There are seven notes, each of which can be the lowest one in a position. If you wanted to do something like CAGED that addressed the lowest note in each position, you'd need two more fingerings.

But in fact, major/minor scales are even more complicated than that. There's an uneven distribution of notes - some strings have two, others three. That means you can have more than one way to finger a scale using the same lowest note - as we've already proven in this thread with two different C-major scale fingerings each having A as the lowest note.

The best way to learn major/minor scales is by memorizing the spellings and learning the position of the notes on the fretboard. There are only 12 steps in a chromatic scale... learn the major scale on each one and you've learned something that's applicable to lots more in music. Learn all the possible "pattern" of the major scale and you've done nearly as much work - there are 11 possible fingerings - without any of the benefit the scale spellings provide for learning chord structure, theory, harmony, arranging....

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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MCH
 MCH
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Wow. After reading through this thread my head almost erupted.
This stuff is way beyond me. But it sure seems like Kirk Lorange's method of following the chord tones for playing solos is the way to go.
So far I've learned the five positions for the minor pentatonic scales and basically the same for the major pentatonic. Doing a major scale starting with the root note on the 6th string. Will have to learn the major scale starting the root note on the 5th string.
Or just nail down Kirk's method. It must work because the man can play wonderful improvisations.


   
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Moonrider
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I'll try to keep an open mind but am now approaching music theory with fear and trepidation and certainly respect for anyone who can make sense out of all of that.

No need for that. If you can count to 7, and add and subtract, you have all the tools you need to get a thorough understanding of music theory. if you have some type of keyboard handy it's even easier because you can *see* the relationships.

What makes theory funky on guitar is the fact that there's almost always more than one way to play the same sequence of notes. It's not theory that's complicated, it's that applying theory to the guitar fretboard can seem complicated. My experience has been that once you learn the fretboard, applying the theory gets a whole lot easier (and I'll thank that grumpy old jazz cat that pounded that into my thick head to my dying day).

CAGED is one method of trying to shortcut learning the fretboard. Yournightmare has confused it with a method of learning scales, which it is absolutely NOT. Learning scales themselves isn't as simple as learning the CAGED method (11 scale patterns vs. 5 CAGED patterns), but it also teaches you the entire fretboard. Learning the scales is more work up front, but simplifies everything else once you've learned them.

CAGED can be a good learning tool when you use it to figure out how to apply scales, but it doesn't teach you the scales themselves.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

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