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Lesson 59: Positions

"The CAGED System" - the Major Scale

Let's look at C major. The most important positions for C major are:

  • I - the open position
  • II - the A form
  • V - the G form
  • VII - the E form
  • X - the D form
  • XII - the C form

These positions are commonly referred to as "the CAGED system". This comes from the open position chord forms C, A, G, E and D. There are always five good positions for any given scale + the open position. The open position is a very special case or as Mick Goodrick put it - a totally "different instrument unto itself".

Fingering for the Open Position

Open:  

Fingerings for the Other Five Positions

A form:

G form:

E form:

D form:

C form:

"The CAGED System" - a few comments

  • The system can be easily modified for harmonic and melodic ( "Jazz") minor as well as for pentatonic scales
  • When a tune modulates, one of these positions for the new scale/ mode can always be found in the same place or at most one single fret away, up or down
  • A problem is that real music doesn't fall very well into position playing. Take a look at my lesson on targeting/ enclosure and you'll see what I mean...
  • Playing up and down one string, up and down the neck and moving between positions is very important and should be practiced a lot

Fingerings for the A Minor Pentatonic Scale, Open + the Other Five Positions

Open:  

A form:

G form:

E form:

D form:

C form:

2005 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.