Escaping The CAGED Guitar Part 1: Unlocking The Right Hand`s Potential

"The key of performance is elegance, not battalions of special cases." (Jon Bentley and Doug McIlroy)

Did you ever come across the CAGED method of learning the chords and scales on a guitar, and just thought it would never work for you? Or have you tried a few different methods with moderate success?

Whether or not you've used the CAGED system of learning to use the fret- board, there has been a significant amount of debate on different forums over whether or not this system actually works for beginner guitar players. The topic has been divisive at best - destroying friendships have been destroyed, relationships forged in the heat of battle, comrades have backstabbed each other, and I've witnessed major plot twists not even Steven Spielberg could dream of - the kind of thing would makes for a fantastic story on the silver screen, but maybe a bit over the top for people trying to learn guitar!

"Does this really matter that much?" many people are asking. And the answer is yes, it really is a big deal: guitar instructors like myself see a major change when students really understand how a fretboard works. Quite honestly, this is one of the most important aspects of learning to play, considering the amount of time people work on it, just to be able to navigate the fretboard at will.

If the debate isn't always as straightforward as it should be, this is because:

1. Mostly people making personal attacks, making the argument about the person instead of the topic at hand.

2. The debate takes place on different websites and various issues are discussed all together, which does not make it easy to answer every single one in a rational way.

3. The last and biggest reason is that people only talk about their point, but they don't show how it works. When this happens, it only leads to misinformation to creep into the debate.

ull disclosure: I don't believe the CAGED system works - as you might have guessed by the title, and articles I've published in the past - so I am creating a series of articles and videos that really show why the CAGED system doesn't work. I'm breaking this down so there can be a discussion on one piece of the argument at a time so people are not distracted by smaller issues.

In this video, I will start the debate by discussing a basic issue with teaching the CAGED system: the inconsistency of the patterns. Watch the video below to see exactly what these inconsistencies are.

The video clearly shows how the CAGED method lacks consistency, and how much harder players, when using that system, are going to have to work to learn to play a guitar efficiently and at the level they dream of.

Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.

Tommaso Zillio

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