Combining and Numbering CAGED Chords and Scales
In my book, Fretboard Theory, and also the related video program, CAGED System Chords: How to Easily Master the Chord Forms Used to Play Rock’s Most Iconic Rhythm Guitar Parts, I teach the CAGED method strictly as a system for learning chord shapes and arpeggio patterns. But sometimes you see instructors teach scale patterns along with it by combining each chord form with a related scale pattern.
I teach how to combine the CAGED forms with pentatonic and major scale patterns throughout my Fretboard Theory guitar theory course, and I’m careful to point out that there are several ways in which these components can be combined. For example, the “C form” chord shape can be combined with either my major scale pattern 3, 5 or 1 depending on whether the music is in Ionian, Lydian, or Mixolydian mode. An “E minor form” chord shape can be combined with either my major scale pattern 5, 2 or 3 depending on whether you’re in Aeolian, Dorian, or Phrygian mode. You really need to work on combining chord forms and scale patterns on a case by case basis, and not rely on one system to use all the time.
As far as how I number the scale patterns that I teach, there is no correlation between the CAGED forms and the numbers assigned to the pentatonic and major scale patterns. In fact, the pattern numbers are irrelevant. I only number them so that I can refer to each one specifically when needed. I used the numberings that I usually see other guitar teachers use, but the patterns can certainly be numbered differently. For example, some instructional methods start with what I teach as pentatonic pattern five and call it pattern one, and so on.
In the second half of the Fretboard Theory course (book two and its videos) I show you how to use CAGED chord forms and arpeggio patterns to target chord tones in your lead lines. This technique, called chord tone soloing, gives your melodies and solos more direction and helps you to connect scales more closely to their related chords and chord changes.
Is the Guitar CAGED System a Bad Thing?
To learn more about the pros and cons of using the CAGED system as a means to arrange scales on the fretboard, read my article, “Is the Guitar CAGED System a Bad Thing?”