Most players think of CAGED as just a chord system that is based on open chord positions. However, the CAGED system is also one of the most powerful tools for developing incredible lines for improvising, over any chord progression.
In this Soloing edition of David Walliman’s Guitar DNA series, David will show you how to take full advantage of the CAGED system for your solos and improvisations using a 3-layer approach.
"We’ll start by learning all five moveable shapes of the CAGED system and putting them to use improvising with 4-note arpeggios over a backing track. In the second layer we’ll take our CAGED improvisation to the next level by adding in the notes of the minor and major pentatonic scales. The third layer focuses on adding all of the colors and character of the modes using your CAGED based lines. We’ll wrap up the course with six performance studies illustrating all of the possibilities."
In the first section of the course, David explains and demonstrates the CAGED system, which he refers to as The Shapes of Freedom. "The CAGED system is based on the characteristics found in the open chords C, A, G, E, and D. To do this, we need to study where the roots are within those chords. This will unlock the true meaning of the CAGED system!"
5th String Root Shapes (CAged)
6th String Root Shapes (caGEd)
4th String Root Shape (cageD)
The second section is focused on the first layer, which is comprised of CAGED chord tone. "The first layer is made of chord tones. That layer is not very expressive, but very safe because the notes found in that layer are the exact notes found in the chord(s) you are playing over."
C and A Shape: Major 7 Arpeggios
G and E Shape: Major 7 Arpeggios
D Shape: Major 7 Arpeggios
C and A Shape: Minor 7 Arpeggios
G and E Shape: Minor 7 Arpeggios
D Shape: Minor 7 Arpeggios
C and A Shape: Dom 7 Arpeggios
G and E Shape: Dom 7 Arpeggios
D Shape: Dom 7 Arpeggios
In the third section David dives a little deeper into the his approach with a series of demonstrations focused on the second layer. "The second layer offers more possibilities. That layer is made of the 5 notes of the pentatonic scale. Although there are sometimes exceptions, we'll think of Major pentatonic scales for Major chords, minor pentatonic scales for minor chords."
C and A Shape: Minor Pentatonic
G and E Shape: Minor Pentatonic
D Shape: Minor Pentatonic
C and A Shape: Major Pentatonic
G and E Shape: Major Pentatonic
D Shape: Major Pentatonic
In the fourth section, David explains and demonstrates applications of the third layer, which focuses on adding all of the colors and character of the modes using CAGED-based lines. "The 3rd and final layer which is the most expressive layer we can operate in. This layer is made of the 7 note scales. In this course, we'll study the church modes, but keep in mind that there are many more 7 note scales you can use."
E Shape: Ionian Mode
E Shape: Lydian Mode
E Shape: Mixolydian Mode
E Shape: Dorian Mode
E Shape: Phrygian Mode
E Shape: Aeolian Mode
What About Locrian?
C and A Shape: Locrian Mode
G and E Shape: Locrian Mode
D Shape: Locrian Mod
In the last section of the course, David applies all of the principals and approaches that he presented in the previous sections over backing tracks. "Now that we covered all the positions, we can start making music! The following Performance Studies were built using all the CAGED systems and layers that we studied in the previous sections."
Funky Three Layer Cake - "In this first example, we'll take a look at a diatonic chord progression, which means that the chords are extracted from the same scale. The chords are Dm7 and CMaj7 which are part of a D Dorian mode."
Laid Back Layer Ballad - "This second example is also diatonic. The chord progression is in G Ionian. The chords we'll play over are GMaj7, Am7, Bm7, and Am7."
Minor Modulation - "Let's now work with modulating chord progressions. Each time a chord is heard you will have to change scales. This is where your ear and personal taste comes in the picture, as there is more than one answer. The chords are Bm7 and Dm7. We'll consider a Dorian mode for each chord."
Major Modulation - "In this example we will play over CMaj7, BbMaj7, GMaj7 and F#Maj7. We'll use the following scales: CMaj7 - C Ionian, BbMaj7 - Bb Lydian, GMaj7 - G Lydian, F#Maj7 - F# Lydian."
Modulated Mixology - "For this progression, we'll use the following scales: Dm7 - D Dorian, AMaj7 - A Lydian, Bbm7 - Bb Dorian, B7 - B Mixolydian."
CAGED Bluesin' - "In this final example, we'll apply what we learned over a blues in A: A7 - A Mixolydian, D7 - D Mixolydian, E7 - E Mixolydian."
David will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way. You’ll get standard notation, tabs and diagrams for the key examples and performance studies. Plus, David includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own. In addition, you’ll be able to loop or slow down any of the performances so that you can work with the materials at your own pace.
Grab your guitar and lets power up our improvisational prowess with David Walliman!