Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Major Scale: CAGED System

Every since I started playing guitar back around 1987, the only scale I ever learned was the minor version of the Pentatonic scale and I know all five patterns of it. Yes, the major version is the same thing with different root notes, but I never really played it and had difficulty making anything sound good when I did.

Anyway, the point of this post is to report my dissatisfaction with attempting to learn the Major scale (not Pentatonic) and all of it's patterns using the CAGED system. My issue is that every where I look on the Internet, they show different pattern blocks. One site will show pattern "A" starting with the "X" note, and the next will show it starting with a completely different note. While when playing and knowing the entire scale it doesn't matter, it does initially when I'm trying to learn it for several reasons. First, is consistency of the basic pattern! Consistency is important when learning things on the Internet some people are poor teachers or just poor at explaining some things. One person may have a very good explanation of something, but have poor examples that it is applied too that make it very difficult to understand. While another site may have very nice examples, but the person who posted it is very poor at explaining things.

Matching mixing and matching quality content of the same thing can make learning much easier. Except when they describe what you're learning completely different! I saw a nicely drawn out picture of the five different major scale patterns. It even listed the fret the first note started on (from the low E, not the root note) so you would know where each pattern started for whatever key it was in. The problem was, were it started on the G note on the low E string (3rd fret) didn't match up when it reached the G note of the higher octave. (15th fret of the low E string). As a matter a fact, it skipped right over the G note without even touching it!

I've memorized three of the patterns now to the point that I can use and mix them together and actual make something that sounds decent. I must say, since I've started learning these, I feel like I've opened so many more possibilities that I didn't have only knowing the minor Pentatonic. Everything had a big time blues sound to it.

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