CAGED Arpeggios: Interlocking Forms


Here is a great way of acquiring some useful improvisational tools, improving your techniques, sharpening your position shifting, discovering new chord shapes and learning some notes around the board. Carve up this pattern of arpeggios (based on the CAGED Chord System) using the economical fingerings provided. These patterns cross the strings relentlessly so while you alternate pick, slide, hammer-on, tap and pull-off etc; be sure to work in some sweeping. Once mastered, weave between these shapes randomly. This will demand fresh thought and fingerings, thereby ensuring you don't get stuck in a rut.




Take a rest, grab a fretboard diagram and examine all the notes. They are all D, F and A (repeated in that order). DFA are the notes of a D minor chord (or triad). Arpeggios are simply chords broken into their constituent notes and reassembled in alphabetical order from the root or tonic (in this case D). To reinforce this insight, break up another common chord and arpeggiate it across your board.


After you master the pattern, try jamming around in the patterns looking for licks and phrases. Anything you create will be useful in the keys where DFA can be found loitering with intent i.e. D minor (D E F G A Bv C), A Minor (A B C D E F G A), G minor (G A Bv C D Ev F) and F# Harmonic Minor (F# G# A B C# D E#/F).


Combine some of the arpeggio patterns into fretable chords. This gives you a back door into the CAGED Chord System.


These minor arpeggios can be converted into major, diminished, augmented and suspended variations with some simple tweaks. They can also be extended into 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13th, etc. Establish a key's worth of chords (e.g. Dm Emv5 F Gm Am Bv C) and practice playing progressions as arpeggios.


Guy Pople is a music, education and multimedia specialist based in the UK`s North-West. He plays guitars, studies theory and runs St Annes Music in Lytham St. Annes, a one-stop shop for musicians on the Fylde coast of Lancashire. St Annes Music offers professional instruments, recording, tuition and accessories.

His live band Nomad is currently building up their original music. You can catch him
on Virtual Strangers.

Guy Pople

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