Section Overview & Practice Plan
In this section of the course we will be studying each of the Major CAGED positions individually, unlocking the potential within each one. Within each shape, I will show you a series of basic exercises which will contribute to a “CAGED Workout”.
All of these exercises are designed to benefit you both visually and practically. I recommend working on your fretboard knowledge on a regular basis, otherwise these skills will quickly fade.
Workout Format & Practice Plan
For each position, we will study the layout of the following musically crucial devices:
- Triad Arpeggio (1, 3, 5)
- 7th Arpeggio (1, 3, 5, 7)
- Pentatonic Scale (1, 2, 3, 5, 6)
- Diatonic Scale / Mode (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
It is very important that you study these devices in this specific order, because the latter ones are simply and extension of the former. When figuring out the note placement for these devices, you should always use the parent chord shape as your reference for finding the intervals.
For each exercise we will start on the lowest possible root note in that position, before ascending to the highest note of that position, then descend to the lowest note of that position, and then finally ascend back to the original root note. When this is done for every position, you will have covered every note on the fretboard.
You should avoid stretching where possible. A general rule is to not exceed 4 or 5 frets of diameter. The closer that the notes are to your original point of reference (the parent chord shape), the easier it will be for you to memorise the fretboard.
Always be mindful of the intervals which you are playing, in relation to the root note. Do not rely on finger memory! Whilst finger memory is a wonderful thing that will help us get through this, it is more important that you play consciously during these exercises.
How To Follow The Workout Videos
Each of the workout videos outline a different CAGED position. In each video, I will start off by introducing the parent shape, before we work our way through the musical devices listed above. Before I demonstrate how each device should be played, you will see a snapshot with information about the device we will work on. I recommend that you pause the video when you see these snapshots. Take a moment to get familiar with the intervallic formula for that device, shown on-screen. Feel free to figure out the note placement for that device on your own accord, before confiding in the diagram shown on-screen. I encourage that you always try to work things out yourself before checking in the answers that I provide. Once you feel comfortable enough with the note placement, go ahead and play the video and try to play the device with me, after the countdown. Once you’ve got that down, move onwards and repeat the same steps for the next device in the sequence.
Do not rush the exercises. It’s important that you play each device consciously. I recommend that you “say it as you play it“, meaning that you should speak the intervals as you play through them.
I suggest that you study one workout video over the duration of about 20 minutes (or as long as you need). After finishing the video, revise the exercises yourself using the diagrams in the lesson description if necessary. This concludes the workout for that particular position.
Perhaps you want to implement that workout into your daily practice. Once you can play the workout consciously, to the point where you feel comfortable finding all of the intervals of that position relatively quickly, you should then move on to the next position/video in the series.
At the end of the workout series, once you have studied each of the CAGED positions, you will have acquired a full fretboard workout.
Bonus Tips & Advice For Practicing
- Always compare the shape of the parent chord to the location of the notes that you are playing.
- Spend time learning what each interval sounds like. It helps to play the root note at the same time as the destination note. The more you do this, the more familiar you will become with the sound of each interval.
- Always play consciously when working on your ability to visualise the neck. Say it as you play it!
- This isn’t absolutely necessary at this point (one thing at a time), but it can be helpful to get familiar with the actual note names as you play them. Once again, say it as you play it. I will later on talk about how the “Circle Of Fifths” can help you with remembering note names. Don’t worry too much about note names if you find it too difficult at this point. Intervals are certainly more important.