Learn CAGED Major Scale Patterns | Will Edwards | Skillshare
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16 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Why Use Octave Patterns?

    • 3. What Are the 5 Octave Patterns?

    • 4. Octaves & CAGED

    • 5. Why Isn't CAGED Enough?

    • 6. Relating Modes to CAGED and Octaves

    • 7. What is a Modal Tonic?

    • 8. Quick Mode Review

    • 9. 1st Octave Pattern (Phrygian)

    • 10. 2nd Octave Pattern (Mixolydian)

    • 11. 3rd Octave Pattern (Aeolian/Minor)

    • 12. 4th Octave Pattern (Ionian/Major)

    • 13. 5th Octave Pattern (Dorian)

    • 14. Recipe for Success

    • 15. Demonstration, Tips and Tricks

    • 16. Conclusion

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About This Class

Octave patterns are the fastest way to learn the guitar fretboard.  This course helps students make connections between the CAGED system and navigating the fretboard with 5 simple octave shapes.  The CAGED system is a universal methodology for navigating the neck that is used by millions of guitar players.  However, the 5 scale shapes and the CAGED system don't always seem to align easily for guitarists.  So, this course makes that connection super solid and helps demonstration how you can use a series of 5 octave patterns to master the neck simply.

Meet Your Teacher

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Will Edwards

Artist. Creative Problem Solver. Musician


I am a full-time professional musician who has broad teaching experience with guitar & bass students in rock, blues, jazz and many other genres. I perform live on bass, guitar and keyboards.  In addition, I perform live electronic music improvisation.  I've devoted over 26 years to my own well-rounded musical education, focusing on a mastery of all aspects of modern music - from music theory to ear training; from live performance to composition and practice routines.

I specialize in bridging the gap between music and technology, focusing on using modern tools to demonstrate all aspects of music.  I compose and perform with Ableton and Push 2 and I have experience with Cubase, ProTools and Logic.  I'm extremely comfortable using web-based to... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Welcome to the course. This is all about demystifying the fret board, but specifically focusing on unlocking octave positions and octave patterns. So what does that mean? Well, in the, in the first group of lessons here, I'm gonna talk about what these octave positions are. And I'm also going to kind of explain how they relate to another framework that a lot of people know that cage system. But I'm also going to explain why you want to relate these. Why it's so valuable to know both the cage system and the octave patterns. Ultimately, you're gonna see in step-by-step hands-on demonstrations how you can connect these five simple, simple octave positions and patterns on the fret board, two modes and scales, as well as chords from the cage system, and then navigate the fret board with total freedom because you're always aware of your options harmonically and your options melodically. So that's the goal of the course. The first several lessons we're going to be kind of discussing the philosophy and implications. And then the latter lessons are really highly practical hands-on demonstrations. So I wish you luck and let's continue. 2. Why Use Octave Patterns?: So it makes it a lot of sense to ask why use Octave shapes, octave patterns at all? And there are three main reasons. First, these are very simple patterns and anything simple is a lot easier, right? The second thing is that they provide contexts because these are octaves, these notes. They provide context in our key and within our scale. And finally, the third and maybe the most valuable reason is that these simple patterns allow us some kind of connection to navigating the fret board with e is using a lot of new points of reference. And that's ultimately what a lot of guitarists need when they're trying to demystify the fret board is an understanding of their reference points, understanding where they're at, what's around them and octave positions do a lot to help us with that. 3. What Are the 5 Octave Patterns?: In this lesson, I'm going to actually show you what five octave patterns are, just in case you aren't already familiar with these. Through the course. We're going to connect these up with What's known as the cage system. But that's going to kind of be expanding our awareness. These octave patterns are the foundation, the fundamental ingredient in this group of lessons. So we start with this octave right here, which is from a C to another C. Ok. Now it's not important that does this. See, this is the same octave fat and even though it's from C to C sharp. But this is our Octave position. We're going to call this first position. And then we move on to our second position again. And the same nodes and Octave. Of course, this is our second position, octave. And then of course we have this, which is the hardest to play. We have three nodes because we have two octaves. This is our third position, our third octave pattern. Then we come up to this one here. Again, we have three nodes to. These nodes are being shared between the third position, fourth position. And then finally, our fifth position. Looks like this. So these are all C's. And you can hear how those are all exactly the same note. So I've got a PDF that you can download and print out. It's got the guitar tab for these and also some chord diagrams. Okay? The chord diagrams are showing the octave, so they're not cords. But coord diagram mechanism is a great way to communicate this. So you can download that as well, memorize these five octave positions, and then come back and we'll continue the course. 4. Octaves & CAGED: Now we're going to be relating these five octave positions to the cage system because the cage system is a universally recognized and very efficient way to break down the fretboard. So often position one relates to a C chord, C major chord. The two notes that are rude, right? R, c and c fits perfectly into a C major chord. Now in this position, what we know in the cage system as an a position C chord, we have the octave represented again, the third position of our third octave position. This is what in the cave system would correlate to a G position coordinate. Very hard chord to play in the middle of a song. We don't really use this core position, but I'm playing it here as a demonstration. And then of course we've got r e position chord from the cage system. And we've got those Octave position, that fourth octave position right there. And you can also remember this is the fourth octave position correlates to the fourth letter in the word caged, the position. Okay, and then the final one, final I was a fifth octave position. Octave pattern belongs to r d position chord from caged, which makes a D shape, right? So remember to correlate these five positions, these five octave positions that you've memorized, and then try to correlate them to this cage system. Now, if you're not familiar with the case and I'm kind of assuming that you will be. And if you're not familiar with it, it's basically just those five chords. The main thing going on here is that all of these chords are C chords. They're all C major chords, right? So the cage system is, is a way of navigating harmony or chords on the fret board. It's very effective. What we're doing by connecting this up with the octave patterns, however, is building a link between melody, is ITER soloing and our improvisations hooking up melodies with harmony or courts. Ok, so connecting up melodies and harmonies and creating a framework for doing that. So the octave positions is one important ingredient. Correlating it to the cage system is just basically correlating this to chords. It's very helpful. And I think it'll help make sense with things as this particular group of lessons continues. But fundamentally this is oriented around the octave positions because that's where we start to liberate our creativity in soloing and improvising and coming up with melodies. 5. Why Isn't CAGED Enough?: So it might be worth asking and maybe you're wondering, why isn't the caged system enough? Why do we need these octopi pattern? And like I said in the last lesson, it's really that the cage system helps us navigate fretboard were chords are concerned. And that's just one way of talking about harmony, harmony and chords and more or less the same thing. Now, chords and harmony are essential. They are an essential ingredient in music, right? So we don't want to exclude them by any means. It's just that when it comes time to improvise a solo or write a melody, or improvise a melody. Solders and melodies are basically the same thing. But to do that, the cave system really doesn't give us a good framework because it's focused just on cords. And harmony doesn't really have any melodic value connecting up these octave patterns. And as you see as we go through these lessons, specifically connecting them up to familiar scales and modes. Suddenly we bring together, a whole lot of information brings together modes. You know, most people study modal playing. And it's, it's always kind of elusive for a lot of my students. This is going to connect all that up so that you know where the root of your key is really valuable. Point of contacts, point of reference to have. You're going to be equipped with tools that are specifically powerful for making melodies and solos, rather than just cords. But it's going to be connected with this universal framework. And that's also useful for chords. So that as you're playing melodies, as you're playing solos, you're also aware of where the cords aren't different points. So bring it all together into one cohesive framework. And that's why caged, the cage system isn't really enough. And why we want to take these octave shapes and we want to connect them and integrate them into our cage system. 6. Relating Modes to CAGED and Octaves: Now, as we move through the rest of the lessons in the course, I'm going to be giving you a lot of hands-on, kinda 101 demonstrations. I'm gonna give you a very quick overview here. So this is not intended to be the full lesson, but just kind of a bird's eye view because I think that that'll frame up the total value of these group of lessons for you so that as the lessons continue and you can kind of plug in the useful pieces and really digested alot more effectively. So what I wanna do here is just a very quick review of five, is five scale patterns in a specific order. And I'm going to correlate them to modes. And we are going to be doing each one of these in detail a little later on. But this is just a very quick summary and correlating it to our, our Octave patterns. So we start with our first octave pattern here. And I'm gonna play this within what we call the first position, C major scale. Or you could also call this, and I prefer to call it E Phrygian. Okay, so that's a mode as the phrygian mode, and it belongs with our first position. Octave physician octave shape. Okay, the next one, I know as G Mixolydian, again from using modes, modal names. But you could also call this the, you could also connect this with the second position of R octave pattern. Ok? So the third position, octave shape, the third octave pattern matches this scale, okay? Which I'm going to call a eolian, Aeolian mode. That's a modal name, but it's the same as natural minor. And this is a minor. But if you wanted to call it by its modal name, you'd call it a Jolie. Next we have our fourth octave shape, fourth octave pattern. Ok? And that goes along with this scale, which many of us know as the major scale. But we can also give this modal name of ion in, so we could call this the Ionian mode. So inside here, we find our fourth position of the octave. Now our final Octave position, the fifth octave position looks like this. Okay? And the scale that this is going to match is Dorian. That's the modal name. Okay, now I've got PDFs that outline these shapes for your these scale patterns and labels them correctly with the modal names. And in the case of ionian and eolian, I also point out that those are major and minor respectively. This is just a quick run through. I'm going to do each one of these in more detail later on. 7. What is a Modal Tonic?: There's just one more thing I want to cover, and that's this concept of a modal tonic. This is a term that you'll hear me use, and it's a term I recommend you start paying some awareness to. A modal tonic is the pitch that sounds like home in the song. So for example, if you know anything about modes, you'll know that E Phrygian For example, this scale or mode, that's the E Phrygian mode, that contains all the same notes as C major. And this isn't really a course on modes, but this is just an example I've done it, this makes sense to you. I don't think that it's terribly important that you understand it, but it is a concise definition of what a model tonic is. So what's the difference between C major and E Phrygian? Well, the notes are exactly the same in both scales. The difference is the modal tonic in C major. C feels like home that CEO feels like we arrive in his grounded in E Phrygian. The note that's our tonic is e. So that's what a modal tonic is, is that it represents a mode. So in the key of C major, E represents the phrygian mode. E is our Phrygian tonic. Ok, so that's what modal tonic is. You'll hear me use it. And I think it's just a nice way to refer to this rather abstract relationship between the modes and they are related major keys. 8. Quick Mode Review: Now I wanna do a quick review with you of the five main modes we're going to be using. There are seven modes total. If you're familiar with Locrian and Lydian, we're not going to be using those here. And the main reason is that they don't correlate to our Octave patterns in a simple way. So we're gonna be using Phrygian, followed by Mixolydian, followed by eolian, followed by Ionian, or major, followed by Doherty. And I'm going to show you what those are and I've got a PDF you can download that shows you these five mode patterns with guitar tab as well. So if you don't know them, then you can download that. And I highly recommend memorizing them before you really dive too deep into these lessons. So here we go. This would be a Phrygian mode. Now we have the Mixolydian mode. Now we have the eolian or minor, natural minor. And then of course we've got Ionian, which is the same as our regular Major Scale. And then finally Dorian. Those five modes, Phrygian, Mixolydian, eolian, or natural minor, followed by Ionian or major. And dorian are the ones you really want to know. For the next five lessons, we're going to look at each one individually and correlate them to and the cage system. But also more importantly, our Octave patterns. 9. 1st Octave Pattern (Phrygian): So we're starting a series here. In the next five lessons, we're taking each one of the five octave positions. We're going to correlate to the cage system and scale and a chord from the cage system in detail. Okay, so our first position, octave shape is like this. Now is relates to the C chord from our caged system, K. So C is the first letter in the cage system. This is our first octave pattern. Now it relates to this scale, which I'm going to call E Phrygian. E Phrygian mode within the key of C major. And it contains, very easily contains this octave pattern. So when you find yourself playing this octave pattern, and this is something I'm gonna talk about a little later in the course when you kinda doodling and you find yourself playing this pattern. Then I want you to be able to reverse engineer and immediately correlate it to this scale pattern. And then you really got something because you've got the chord that is probably going to be really pertinent in the music you're playing. But you've also got a cool scale that you can shred around notes on and do some improvisation. Okay, so we have first position octave relates to this chord and relates to this scale pattern, which I'm going to call E Phrygian as a modal name. In the next lesson, we're gonna do the neck. We're going to shift up the neck little bit and look at the next octave position, the second position. 10. 2nd Octave Pattern (Mixolydian): All right, now in this lesson we're looking at the second octave position, which looks like this. And that's gonna correlate with this scale pattern, which is G Mixolydian. And within that scale, we have this octave pattern. Does our modal tonic, even though it's a G Mixolydian scale. This is our Ionian modal time, C. Okay? Now, as we move up the neck unit by unit like this, we're going to see that there's a relationship of one chord, one scale, and one octave pattern. Second position octave pattern, Mixolydian mode. And of course, the chord shape here is an a position chord from caged. Alright, so C position, a position there's about a C Major chord. So we're going to be drawing that correlation as we move up threat forward. We've done first position that we just did second position in the next lesson, we'll do third position. 11. 3rd Octave Pattern (Aeolian/Minor): Now the third position which we're discussing in this lesson correlates to the Aeolian mode, which is also the same as Natural Minor. Okay, so we've got this position here. These are an octave obviously because R E strings, they're always tune the same. Whatever note we play. As long as it's on the same fret, they have the same name. These are seeds, but there's a C right here. Right? So you can hear those are all the same note. There's are all Cs. This is our third octave position. And it correlates to this scale, which is eolian, a minor. Now, it also correlates to a G position chord, which is very impractical to play. But if for some reason you need to do it, this is the way that you'd play it. It's a very impractical chord. But it's still helpful to relate this scale because it's the minor scale correlates all sorta minor pentatonic and some other stuff. So even though the T-shaped chord is not really a, didn't really have very many applications for us. This scale and this octave position really does. So this is the third octet position, and it matches the, the G position chord, which I agree is impractical, but keeps us on track with a cave system. And then of course it also matches are eolian mode. And we can still find it within our a minor or a aeolian mode. We can still find the modal tonic of our key, which is seeing. 12. 4th Octave Pattern (Ionian/Major): Alright, well, moving right along. Now we're looking at the fourth octave position, which looks like this. Again, all C's octa position is two octaves here, so there's three notes total. And this correlates our fourth position correlates with the fourth letter in the cave system, the position chord. Okay? So this is an E position coordinate cage system. And this is our fourth octave position, okay, but it also correlates to the major scale, also known by its modal name, Ionian, like this. So you want to start memory. You probably already have memorized the major scale. You want to memorize this correlation that within the major scale that the modal tonic of the major Ionian modal tonic has this octave pattern. Ok, that's all you're trying to find those within the mode and also understand that it relates to the cage system with the fourth chord, ii, ii position chord in cave system. Next we're gonna do the final one in the fifth position, Fifth octave position. You're going to find out what scale that relates to or what mode and where the chord is as well. 13. 5th Octave Pattern (Dorian): So here we are with the final one we're looking at in the fifth position. This is our fifth octave position, looks like this. Okay? And that's going to correlate to our cave system with d position chord. D is the fifth letter in the cage. And so we also know this as the fifth octave position. And that's going to match this scale. Which if you already know this scale by hand, maybe it's in your hands. That is the Dorian mode, okay? So the fifth octave position is matched with the Dorian mode. And it's also matched with the D position chord from the cage system. So that's what you want to memorize, is that relationship. Now, we're gonna look at some ways to apply this information. Of course, up until now I've been covering this and concise lessons, but I'm assuming that you're going to take time to really memorize and practice these things with a lot of repetition. I don't think there's any way around a lot of repetition to get to the point where, you know this stuff, these shapes are in your hand. You know, even if you know modes, even if you already have muscle memory of this, even if you know the octave shapes, maybe connecting it all up with cage system, the chord, scale or mode, and the octal position. Maybe. I'm imagining that if you're here in this course, then you haven't memorized all those relationships, but there's, there's some repetition involved. And it's important that you really spent time with it. 14. Recipe for Success: So let's talk about a recipe for success with us. Okay, there's three steps I'm going to outline. Now. The first step is kinda doodling, right? So let's say you've got to jam track plan. You've got some chords, you playing with a buddy and they're playing guitar and you just jam and along with it, right? If you just doodle eventually probably you're going to wind up settling on the tonic of the key. And that's just because it's the easiest here. And you know, for example, if we're playing a 12-bar Blues in C, and you're doodling around. It just feels right to land on a C. So you just doodle, that's the first step. And nine times out of ten are Western ears, if you're used to listening to Western music and going to settle on the tonic. Now that you know where the tonic is, you know, during your kind of dueling around. You want to try and figure out will, okay, that's my tonic, but which of the five octave positions does that remind me of the quickest, right? Find, find an octave position. Then the third step is you reverse engineer from that octa position to a scale and chord. So you know from the previous five lessons that you're octave pattern is going to match exactly to a chord from the cage system. And it's going to match to one of these modes that we've been talking about. One of the five examples that I gave you. She went to re-injury reverse engineer that quickly. Okay. So you want to be able to know this stuff and do this kind of transaction in your, in your head quickly. And that's the goal. And that's really the kind of grail of this situation, the holy grail of learning this material is that you can take it from a doodle to a really comprehensive intellectual understanding of where you are with the music, okay? Those are the three steps that you want to practice and you can do that with any old jam track. I've got a jam tracked in C major that you can download along with this course if you want to do that. But you can also find countless jam tracks on YouTube and other resources. And the one I provided is just kind of something to get you started, but the idea is always the same. You start with a doodle, you figure out where an octave pattern is, and then you reverse engineer to that cage relationship and a mode or scale that you're playing so that you can have a really solid framework for navigating the fret board. And that of course, is why this course is about demystifying the fret board. Okay, so now let's look at an example and then we'll close out the course. 15. Demonstration, Tips and Tricks: So I want to give you some example, sort of tips and tricks for further success. Okay, the first is, let's say you, you, you're finding that you are, you've located this octave pattern and you wanna know, well, how do I actually jam that out? Like, Yeah, I understand that intellectually. But that's not really a musical. You're not just going to be doing this and even correlating that to this scale. You can run the scale, but that's like the worst nightmare of an improvisers having to run scales. So what you do is you connect it up to arpeggios, right? So you know, these are your roots. You can grab that arpeggio. You can do that, right? What I just played is just arpeggio units just straight coordinate with a little bit a hammer on and pull off and stuff like that. So that's the first thing you can do is correlate this in real, in the real world when you're playing, you can just play arpeggios off the root notes. Now, another thing you can do is to become aware of your color tones around those chord tones, right? So just by knowing where the octave route is, why are the Ionian tonic or the major tonic key is because you've found the octave position, right? That's the root of your key. So if you know the arpeggios root third, fifth, you know, with a two and the four is more than 911 are, right, you know where that six is. So you can find the color tones as well. And then of course, you can find chromatic because those are the ones that aren't in the scale. So knowing where the Octa position is can give you a launch pad, if you will, for exploring the full depth of the chromatic scale, where you've got all 12 notes to deal with. And you can identify how they're going to impact your solo emotionally. So that is a really great way to apply this knowledge. 16. Conclusion: So in conclusion, what this course has helped you do is learn the five octave positions on the guitar fretboard as you move up, they're always going to move in that exact same direction. If you start on first position, second position comes after it. If you start on third position, right, starting third position like that. The next one's going to be fourth position in fifth position, first position, second position, so on. So once you can correlate and you've memorized that relationship between the octave position and a scale or mode and a chord from the cave system. Then you can kind of bounce back and forth between thinking in terms of harmony and chords, and thinking and scales. And that's what's happening when you see guitar players kinda like jam and out. And they seem to sort of sometimes be playing leads, sometimes kinda play in rhythm, playing chords, right? Well, that's one of the things that they're doing is they're aware that wherever their hand is, there's a coordinate and wherever their hand is, there's also an octave. And that octave is giving them a framework for navigating to all the other notes. The key to learning all of this is that you need to spend time doing repetition and mainly follow those five lessons included here, where I talk about the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, octa positions and their relationships to modes and cords from the cage system and work with those repetitively until that knowledge is something that you own and you're truly comfortable with and you know, like the back of your hand. If any questions come up through this course, if there's anything you feel like you need more explanation on, please reach out to me some of totally available to help. And I hope that these lessons have been illuminating for you and I look forward to seeing you in another course. Thanks and best of luck.