Use the CAGED system to quickly find your way around the fretboard.
The whole idea of using the CAGED method to create guitar solos is a very useful one but is sometimes oversold when you hear it spoken about. If you are new to the CAGED guitar system then stick around because you are about to learn a very useful thing to help with your guitar playing. The only thing is, don’t expect to revolutionise your guitar playing overnight, it’s a great method but it takes some time to get used to it enough before you can use it to it’s full benefit.
Throughout the pages on this site we will be finding ways to use the CAGED method by building our knowledge one step at a time with practical examples including TAB, audio and some practice jam tracks.
The first thing we ned to do is untangle a few myths. You can’t just learn what the caged method is and then start using it to any benefit. Not only does it take time to get used to but you will also need to be familiar with the notes on the fretboard. If you can’t find them easily at least on the fifth and sixth strings then you aren’t going anywhere fast with the CAGED method.
I’m not going to waste time telling you how to find the notes on the fretboard, a quick Google search and you will find thousands of websites with that information. What we will take a look at here is the important part… using the notes on the fretboard to locate the chords we want.
The CAGED diagrams on the main page gives the basic info on the CAGED system and it’s related chords. Here’s how we use the fretboard notes to line up those chords. The red notes are the root notes of each chord. It’s important that you learn these so well that you don’t need to think about them. As you get better at finding the notes on the fretboard you will find it easy to find these chords in any position almost instantly.
The red notes are the root notes, you must learn them.
Practice these chord positions regularly until you know them inside out and make sure you practice them in all twelve keys, this is extremely important. If you can’t use them in all keys then you are never going to see any benefit from using this method. You might be wondering why learning the chords are so important, after all isn’t the CAGED system supposed to be all about helping you with your guitar solos? Yes it is, however the chord sequence itself is the heart of the system. It’s these chord shapes and positions that you can use as your foundation or your guide to find chord tones, arpeggios and scales anywhere on the fretboard very quickly and that is the heart of creating good guitar solos.
A great guitar solo isn’t just about choosing the right scale, that’s easy to do for most chord progressions. What we are looking for to create professional sounding lead guitar is ways to break out of the scale rut and the systematic use of them. A good guitar solo takes as much notice, possibly even more notice of the chord tones. Scales can be put to good use in a decent guitar lead but, they are often used as the core, the foundation if you like, but the best solo’s have character. They always fit the music perfectly and most of the time this id done by knowing the best notes to use at the best time, which is basically making proper use of chord tones that fit the chord at that moment in the chord progression.
In the next lesson you will learn how to make use of the CAGED chords and patterns to create guitar solos with chord tones instead of scales.