Scale Basics: CAGED Major Scale Patterns (Guitar Lesson)


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Daniel Gilbert

Scale Basics: CAGED Major Scale Patterns

Whether you've practiced a lot of scales or you are new to lead playing, Daniel's presentation of the CAGED major scale patterns is one you won't want to miss! You'll also receive valuable practice advice and a simple chord progression to play over.

Taught by Daniel Gilbert in Improvisation with Daniel Gilbert seriesLength: 11:40Difficulty: 2.5 of 5


Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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em1dem1d replied on May 2nd, 2017

Sorry, I didn't follow this at all, and I'm already familiar with the caged system for chord shapes. What makes each pattern correspond to a particular shape within the CAGED system? The system was never explained.

paulismoodypaulismoody replied on May 1st, 2017

that backing track is hot fire

arturdiazarturdiaz replied on November 27th, 2016

lesson that demands a lot of study and attention if you are not familiar with the major scales in the CAGED position, but it seems essential to go further in improvisation. Thanks!! I think I'm gonna be stuck here for 3-4 weeks

edsangedsang replied on April 23rd, 2014

i find these scales to be awkward with alot of jumping around - i hve the impression daniel does too as a couple of times he plays un evenly. the one he calls the g shape is fine and i knew it already. he says "now i ll do what i call the G shape scale" but gives no explaination why he does call it the G shape.

pedrom2137pedrom2137 replied on April 21st, 2014

Hi! I'm from Venezuela. Sometimes it's difficult to me keep the rythm of the english instructions. I would like to know what "shapes" and "forms" are, because when I heard those words, I don't know what to do! thanks! :D

AaronMillerAaronMiller replied on April 22nd, 2014

a shape is a pattern of notes. if you look at our scale library you will see that the notes repeat themselves all over the neck and make patterns. these patterns will help you memorize the fretboard. forms are I believe a very similar thing but apply to chords.

loureiro_70loureiro_70 replied on April 6th, 2014

Great Style... Great teaching. If you know some music theory this lesson will go smooth... If you're just trying to memorize dots on a scale well then it should be confusing.

JustOldBobJustOldBob replied on January 2nd, 2014

Maybe everything isn't just right,But im getting alot out of these lessons with Daniel.I can learn from mistakes even..Plus I really like his style.

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on October 8th, 2013

Most instructors who use the "CAGED" acronym refer to the chord shape that scale is built off of. For example, the "C" shape actually looks like the basic "open C" chord. You can build the scale around the chord shape and you can extract the chord shape from the scale. Throughout this series, Daniel uses "CAGED" but he disconnects the name of the scale pattern from the chord shape it is based on. Instead, he attaches the name of each pattern to the NOTE NAME he begins each pattern with. This IS confusing, especially if you've learned pieces of the CAGED system from someone who teaches it the traditional way. This series by Nick Kellie provides that approach: http://members.jamplay.com/lessons/phase-2/series/78-improv-with-nick-kellie Keep in mind, once you understand Daniel's naming scheme, the series does an exceptional job outlining and demonstrating each position as well as advancing in to some cool ways to apply each pattern and sound... particularly as the series progresses. Enjoy and stick with it!

edsangedsang replied on April 23rd, 2014

i m goin to check out the other method u mention and then come back to daniels method. thanks for the encouragement!

bennie357bennie357 replied on March 4th, 2014

Yes.The more I see Daniels approach, the more practical it seems. It's worth knowing both approaches. You just need to be aware of the differences. There's no mistakes here. If you look in every example here, Daniel is starting & ending at the tonic of the major scale, rather than the lowest note in the pattern. This is really helpful in memorizing the root positions in each pattern rather than just memorizing the pattern, which is pretty important. Thanks Chris

bennie357bennie357 replied on August 3rd, 2013

When Daniel says he's starting w/the G pattern he's actually starting w/the E pattern. & so on. You basically just need to replace what he says is the pattern name. Thus G=E, E=D, D=C, C=A , A=G. I hope that can clarify things rather than confuse. The supplemental content seems to be ok.

bennie357bennie357 replied on August 3rd, 2013

It's worth while also to check out the JP scale library to see the patterns on the fret board. click on diatonic Ionian for the major scale.

budstickybudsticky replied on June 17th, 2013

They really need to put a disclaimer up at the beginning of this lesson if they aren't going to redo it. This is all wrong as far as the naming of the patterns, and people who don't understand and don't check these comments will never know.

jean3wjean3w replied on May 6th, 2013

This lesson should be redone. If you want a good understanding of the caged system, listen to the videos that Nick Kellie made.

jllaceyjllacey replied on December 22nd, 2012

Daniel you got the CAGED patterns mixed up , see Fretboard Logic by Bill Edwards

edsangedsang replied on April 23rd, 2014

i agree completely with you! i cant see why he makes no further explication on this comments board as to his way of thinking - is he arrogant?

mesajmesaj replied on December 8th, 2012

I find it helpful doing scales being aware of mi/fa, (3rd/4th interval),and si/do, (7th/8th interval) as the half step interval between notes on the guitar. So when I say/play the scales anywhere on the strings, I'm ready for the half steps.

ivan_cortes16ivan_cortes16 replied on November 30th, 2012

Has the tab been updated yet? I don't want to learn this the wrong way.

kuolema01kuolema01 replied on September 26th, 2012

In the Tab for the D Major Scale in the C position: why is there a G# in the fourth measure? Is this a mistake, or have I completely misunderstood something about scales (should be a G, I would say)?

walla2guywalla2guy replied on October 22nd, 2012

There appear to be systematic mistakes through all supplemental content scales for lesson three. The G Major scale is shown in the G shape, not the "E Shape" as indicated. The A major scale is in the A shape, not the "G Shape" as indicated and so forth through all five scales. All of the shape recommendations appear to be mistakes. If you watch Daniel, he starts the G shape he demonstrates on the 6th string G note. The A major scale starts on 6th string A note etc.

clemologyclemology replied on October 4th, 2012

I agree with you kuolema01, there is a mistake in the TAB, if you look carefully and listen to Daniel he plays a G.

tingo12tingo12 replied on September 25th, 2012

Can someone Please explain to me why do they call G major scale 2nd position in E shape. What I do not understand is the (E shape) thank you

kuolema01kuolema01 replied on September 28th, 2012

I'd suggest you look for another lesson about the CAGED system here on jamplay. It's a way of memorizing and understanding scale shapes. Take, for example, the open E major chord. You've probably already learned, that you get an G major (barre) chord, if you shift the position of that chord to the third fret. So you could say, you play a "G chord with the E shape". Now play that "G chord in E shape" and compare it to the notes of the major scale of G "in the shape of E". You'll see, that all the chord notes can be found in the scale shape as well. So it's really just a way of memorizing and understanding things, the notes of G major are always the same, no matter wheter you play in the shape of C, A, G, E or D. However, I'd suggest you check out any other lesson about CAGED to really understand, what it's all about :)

tingo12tingo12 replied on September 25th, 2012

Can someone explain to me why do they call G major scale 2nd position in E shape. What I do not understand is the (E shape)

jjiimmjjiimm replied on September 23rd, 2012

can we have a diagram format of the positions for each shape? that will make visualizing how each shape is used for one note depending where its played on the neck . in other words how all the shapes are used for each scale.

harrisonbroccoloharrisonbroccolo replied on September 15th, 2012

The instructor has confused the CAGED shapes. He refers to the E shape as being the G shape and so on. To find the actual name of the CAGED shaped, you can actually see the open position chord laid inside the scale.

daddy_mikedaddy_mike replied on September 14th, 2012

Very confusing lesson. The G shape played by Daniel is, in fact, the E chord shape or the ionian mode shape...the A shape played by Daniel is in fact the G chord shape and the Aeolian mode (F sharp aeolian) and so on... The CAGED chord shapes refer, as i observed - correct me if i'm wrong - to some mode shapes, that succeed in a natural order> C chord shape is seen over the Phryian pattern, A chord shape over the Mixolydian, G over the Aeolian, E over the Ionian, D over the dorian. And the chord shapes offer us the arpeggios for this mode patterns.

breynolds1957breynolds1957 replied on November 21st, 2012

You are absolutely correct that the instructor is wrong, in my opinion. He says "A Shape" when he means "A SCALE", and "G Shape" when he means "G Scale" and so on. Too bad, because the presentation is good, but with systematic error throughout the video, it will confuse many people.

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on September 10th, 2012

Drum Roll........ ....... I'm pleased to announce that the supplemental content for this lesson is now up! Sorry for the delay! Enjoy!! -Chris

WheelerWheeler replied on September 10th, 2012

Still waiting. I really want to start working on this asap.

ramedyramedy replied on September 7th, 2012

Another excellent lesson! Just a thought---maybe it would be more productive to have the supplemental content prepared prior to posting the lessons. We are lucky to have the caliber of teacher like Daniel Gilbert on JamPlay!

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on September 7th, 2012

Yes, it would be wonderful to have the supplemental content released with the lesson! But depending on the instructor, it might be less accurate. You see, many of our instructors come to the film session and add/change things in the lessons they have prepared. As a result, they sometimes need time to compare the original supplemental content with what actually got cut in to the video so that it is as accurate as possible. That said, we are working on a system to have supp content up ALWAYS at the same time as the news posting goes up. Thanks for your patience!

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on September 5th, 2012

Daniel is putting the finishing touches on the supp content and it should be up very soon! Thanks for your patience!

merrill123merrill123 replied on September 7th, 2012

...still waiting??? Daniel can speak with lightning speed, but supplemental content is s-o--s-l-o-w. Yes , I'm impatient.... I'll work on it. resetting my metronome LOL

Improvisation with Daniel Gilbert

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

This series covers scale positions, arpeggios, modes, advanced blues and more! Learn creative, outside the box ways of applying your knowledge and ideas to your improvisation.



Lesson 1

Improvisation with Daniel Gilbert

Known around the world for his inspirational approach to guitar instruction, Musician's Institute veteran Daniel Gilbert outlines his series on Improvisation.

Length: 6:01 Difficulty: 0.0 FREE
Lesson 2

Learning Techniques

Learning can be frustrating! Daniel kicks off his series by taking you through 3 basic stages of how to learn, specifically on guitar. He provides a basic lick to illustrate how to apply these learning...

Length: 13:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Scale Basics: CAGED Major Scale Patterns

Whether you've practiced a lot of scales or you are new to lead playing, Daniel's presentation of the CAGED major scale patterns is one you won't want to miss! You'll also receive valuable practice advice...

Length: 11:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Scale Sequencing

Daniel shares and demonstrates a large variety of basic and advanced scale sequences and shares his philosophy behind using them in your playing.

Length: 14:59 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Scale Basics: Minor Scale Patterns

Daniel continues his study of "Scale Basics" by teaching the five natural minor scale patterns. He discusses the similarities and differences between the major and minor scales and takes a look at improvising...

Length: 11:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Minor Pentatonic Patterns

Need a fresh approach to one of the most familiar and widely used scales on the planet? Look no further. Daniel teaches the five basic patterns, offers some unique sounding sequences to practice, and improvises...

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Major Pentatonic Patterns

Daniel teaches the patterns of the major pentatonic scale and discusses what makes this scale unique from its minor counterpart. He also shares two unconventional sequencing ideas.

Length: 8:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Starting to Make Music

Daniel wraps up his "Scale Basics" mini series by sharing a few ways to make simple scales sound a bit more interesting. Ascend one and descend another. Sequence one and play another one straight through....

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Basic Blues: Quick Change & Slow Change

Daniel teaches the "quick change" and "slow change" blues progressions and provides a blues comp idea that he calls "The Chicago". Play with both forms over shuffle and straight backing tracks!

Length: 10:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Blues Comping and the Blues Scale

Daniel covers one more chord-based blues comp as well as many riff-based comp ideas for the quick change blues. He then goes on to introduce the 5 positions of the Blues Scale.

Length: 13:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Major Blues Sounds and Bending

Daniel continues his basic blues mini series by discussing bending as a prominent style defining attribute of one's playing. He then takes you in to the possibly less common realm of Major Blues licks...

Length: 9:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Hybrid Blues

Daniel introduces the Hybrid Blues sound and uses two B. B. King "boxes" to illustrate some ways that it can be applied.

Length: 7:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Mixing Blues Sounds

Take the 3 distinct blues sounds you've practiced during this "Basic Blues" mini series and learn a really tasty way to apply each sound over a different part of a blues progression. Getting a grasp on...

Length: 9:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Major 7 Arpeggios

Daniel kicks off his "Arpeggios Mini-series" with the major 7th arpeggios. He teaches the five CAGED shapes as well as some alternate fingerings for a few of the patterns. Then, he demonstrates some of...

Length: 13:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Minor 7 Arpeggios

Learn the minor seventh arpeggio shapes and how to apply them over a couple of different chords. Apply these arpeggios over the provided backing tracks.

Length: 11:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Dominant 7 Arpeggios

If you took Daniel's "Basic Blues" lessons, you won't want to miss this lesson on dominant seventh arpeggios! These patterns provide you with a nice 'wide' sound when compared with regular scales and are...

Length: 11:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Minor 7(b5) Arpeggios

Finishing up the last of the seventh arpeggios, Mr. Gilbert teaches the m7(b5) patterns and demonstrates a few conventional and unconventional ways of applying them. Blues players, this lesson will rock...

Length: 14:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

Improvising with Arpeggios

Taking all of the arpeggios learned so far, Daniel takes you through two chord progressions and demonstrates many ways to apply the patterns musically over backing tracks.

Length: 8:48 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Major Arpeggios

Saving the three note arpeggios for later in his series was a strategic one. They are actually harder to play! Once you have the seventh arpeggio shapes down, start getting these shapes in your fingers!

Length: 9:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Minor Arpeggios

Daniel begins by teaching the basic CAGED minor arpeggio patterns and then shares an etude that provides a beautiful musical context with which to apply some of the shapes covered so far.

Length: 9:54 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Diminished 7 Arpeggios

Daniel teaches the fully diminished 7th arpeggio shapes and explores several ways of applying them over chords and progressions we use every day.

Length: 9:54 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Augmented Arpeggios

In this last installment of his arpeggio mini series, Daniel teaches the augmented patterns. As usual, there is a backing track provided so that you can, using Daniel's insights, practice making music...

Length: 7:01 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

The Dorian Mode

Modes are generally a source of mass confusion for many guitarists. If you're new to modes or struggling to apply them, Mr. Gilbert's mode mini series is for you. In this lesson, learn the Dorian patterns,...

Length: 10:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

The Phrygian Mode

Apply Daniel's same easy method for learning the modes to the Phrygian mode. Daniel outlines the scale patterns and teaches some short musical phrases that help drive home the unique nature of the scale....

Length: 9:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

The Lydian Mode

Daniel teaches the CAGED Lydian patterns, some tasteful phrasing ideas, and explores some chords and progressions that are appropriate for the Lydian mode.

Length: 9:47 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

The Mixolydian Mode

Being one of Daniel's favorite sounds, he takes extra care in explaining and demonstrating the Mixolydian mode. Learn the patterns, some musical phrases and put it all together with a backing track!

Length: 8:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Modal Jams

Daniel wraps up his mini series on modes by teaching you how to play over two different modal backing tracks. Learn how to switch between modes and keys and apply scales as well as arpeggios.

Length: 12:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Advanced Blues: Expanding the A7 Chord

Welcome to Daniel's "Advanced Blues" mini series. This is an incredibly interesting lesson about how arpeggios and scales in different keys relate to the A7 chord. If you like your blues with a bit of...

Length: 16:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Advanced Blues: Using Triads

Daniel explores some conventional and unconventional ways to use triads over an A7 chord and an Am7 chord. When added tastefully, triads really spice up the old blues and pentatonic scales.

Length: 12:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Advanced Blues: Modes and Blues

Sticking with the 12 bar form, Daniel looks at different chords that can be used in place of the more traditional blues. He then dives deep into utilizing modes as a form of improvisation over the blues...

Length: 8:25 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

Advanced Blues: "A La Carte"

Put it all together with this monster modal blues beast and Daniel's series finale. If you've been following Daniel's series and practicing diligently, this is your test... your chance to reach further......

Length: 10:21 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Advanced Improvisation

Daniel now takes this series to the next step. Here he explains where this series will take you in your improvising techniques.

Length: 3:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

C-D Transitions

Daniel explains some practice techniques that will enable you to improvise over a key change of a whole step.

Length: 17:22 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 34

Minor 3rd Transitions

Learn some practice techniques that will help you improvise over two different key centers that are a minor third apart.

Length: 18:31 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Major 3rd Key Changes

This lesson is all about intervals, specifically switching between keys that are a major third apart.

Length: 11:44 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Working within A Minor

In this very detailed oriented series, Daniel now discusses some unique ways to use the A minor scale to you improvisational advantage.

Length: 9:21 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

ii-V-I Progressions

Here, Daniel covers ii-V-I progressions and explains some scale choices that can be used when improvising over them.

Length: 9:31 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Solo Opportunities

Still sticking within the ii-V-I progression, Daniel delves much deeper into the scale options available when improvising a solo.

Length: 15:43 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

Minor ii-V-i Progressions

Daniel will mellow things out by demonstrating how to play over ii-V-i progressions in minor keys.

Length: 8:17 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Chromatic Alterations

This lesson diverts into more of a chromatic direction. Learn how to incorporate basic chromatic ideas over the ii-V-I.

Length: 11:27 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only

About Daniel Gilbert View Full Biography Veteran Musician Institute guitar instructor brings his 35 years of guitar classroom teaching experience to JamPlay! His playing and perspective on the guitar will help anyone excel in their journey to become a better, well-rounded musician.

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