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The CAGED System and Modes

I often get new students who have taken guitar lessons and tried to learn the modes on guitar through a popular method known as the “CAGED system.” While the CAGED system does have some value, I have noticed that it is a hindrance when learning how to analyze songs for their mode. The biggest issue is the fact that students rely too much on “shapes” and not “tonality” when only using this system.

Improvisation on guitar is a very unique animal when compared to other instruments. It is very easy to jump into soloing and improvisation on guitar by learning a few pentatonic shapes. Other instruments have to start with learning intervals and chord tones. Guitarists tend to get caught up in this rut of relying on shapes and not knowing their intervals.


How the CAGED system relates to LVL UP GTR

The CAGED system teaches five different shapes of the Ionian mode. When you go through the 101 course of the LVL UP GTR program, you will recognize these shapes, but the roots will be completely different.


One of Many Approaches to Learn Guitar Modes

The LVL UP GTR membership program teaches the intermediate guitarist five different ways to approach each scale and mode- the box patterns, up one string, scale cells, 3 note, and 4 note per string approaches. The CAGED shapes fall into the “box pattern” category. The reasoning for this is due to their resemblance to the pentatonic boxes. This is a far more useful application because the contemporary guitarist is already very familiar with these pentatonic shapes, and they can easily mix pentatonic runs in their improvisation.


Guitar Scales and Modes Final Thought

Consider these box patterns only one of five different ways to approach these guitar scales and modes. Each different modal approach inspires creativity and different melodic ideas. Do not get in the rut of learning just one way to play your scales!

If you are serious about learning and improving your guitar modes and scales, contact us today to learn how we can help you. If you are ready to go now, sign up for our online intermediate guitar lessons to get started instantly!

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