CAGED system for a newbie; Martin Miller lesson?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Randy, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. Randy

    Randy ROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOU Super Moderator

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    So, I've basically been a pentatonic and 3 note per string guy my whole life. I've got a pretty good grasp of the fretboard in terms of playing in key and over changes, mostly by ear but also by shape.

    While I'm mostly happy with what I can do now as far as moving around the fretboard and improvising, one of the main things I've been lacking is playing over non-traditional chords or integrating them into my playing/writing. You can do both through 3 note per string just fine but I usually have to count my steps/intervals if I'm doing anything besides basic major/minor which has limited my improvisation and writing.

    I've dabbled in CAGED once or twice, and I think both techniques (3NPS and CAGED) have their blind spots if you use them exclusively, but the one thing I DID like about CAGED was it's basis in chord shapes. The problem I had in the written (and a couple youtube videos as well) lessons I've run through was that they all start off really basic and then shoot way up the theory ladder without a lot of practical implementation, and I get either lost or bored.

    I saw a recent Martin Miller youtube video where he's talking about CAGED and his JamTrack improv masterclass, and it sounded a little closer to what I need to sink my teeth into. I'm looking to see if anyone here is familiar with it, if it worked for them or if there's a different path that'd help me out.

    Thanks in advance.

    The trailler for those who are unfamiliar:

     
  2. Randy

    Randy ROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOU Super Moderator

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  3. Malkav

    Malkav Washing your dishes.

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    I have the Miller video and it's really good and I'd highly recommend it, that being said I am still terrible because I lack the discipline to actually do what he tells you to do :D
     
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  4. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Martin Miller is awesome. I'm also curious to try his lessons.

    I watched the first few lessons of David Wallimann's CAGED Soloing course on Truefire and found even that quick taste pretty damned interesting.

    David has a way of describing how you characterize the CAGED shapes. For example any shape that has the root on the 5th string where the notes of the pattern occur to the left of the root (headstock side) is a C shape pattern. Doesn't matter if it's a chord, arpeggio, scale etc. And it doesn't matter if it's any of the modes or a pentatonic or whatever. 5th string, pattern occurring toward the headstock = C shape. 5th string, pattern occurring toward the body = A shape. Etc. Then he starts adding layers. I only watched a few lessons but found it interesting and exciting.
     
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  5. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    There's a great book called "Single Note Soloing" by Ted Greene and I love it. It's basically a book of short 2-4 bar jazz runs that focus on playing chord tones in various CAGED positions across the neck. I believe that the book actually predates the term "CAGED" but the principle is the same.

    Basically, the book starts from the C-shape in the key of D major. Ted takes you through the major chord plus some extended variants of the chord (maj7, maj13, maj6/9, #11, etc) and shows you the arpeggios and scales that would be based around those chord shapes. Then he gives you three little licks using only chord tones (a few licks of Dmaj7, a few licks of Dadd 9, etc etc) and then eventually he moves onto licks that use all the tones from the scale. Then it's on to the next position. Essentially, the idea is that through learning these licks and transposing them to other root notes, you'll learn where the chord tones are in each position. Eventually you start moving between chord changes, adding passing tones and getting into altered harmony ideas. I really dig it and would recommend it to folks who want to drill their CAGED knowledge.
     
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  6. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    devastone SS.org Regular

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  8. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    I inadvertently learned some of the caged method because of how a teacher taught me scales/patterns. And I tell you what, it’s a great shortcut to basic soloing/shredding. You can always work backwards and add more and more theory. But it’s a solid groundwork.
     
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  9. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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  10. Randy

    Randy ROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOU Super Moderator

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    Tons of great info in here. Thanks to everybody who's contributed!

    As an update, I did end up buying the the Martin Miller lesson, read the whole thing, did a several of the exercises and revisited a few specific chapters. As a review of the lesson itself, it's one of the more intuitive lessons I've taken, and he goes a good job of relating otherwise advanced concepts to things that match the skill level of the reader pretty well. Later on, he gets into how to use those concepts in a musical context and rather that just shredding vague examples, he sticks to shapes pretty well.

    As far as minuses, one complaint about the lessons is that he DOES jump into some more advanced concepts without much warning. Pretty early on you're still learning core concepts, which are always related to the major scale and he jumps right into other scales, modes and altered scales without much warning. There's a lot of the videos/tabs dedicated to just ascending and descending patterns in those more advanced scales without much conceptual/theoretical explanations, just memorization which is kind of what I was avoiding. There are some conceptual ideas he touches on and says "well, this lesson is already long, so I'll just give you one example and you can expand on it" which is meh since he spent time in some less useful items.

    Back to the positives and how they relate to CAGED specifically, there's some really good (albeit brief) passages about patterns. One particular section touches on core 'shapes' that relate more to the underlying idea of WHY the CAGED system lines up the way it does and simplifies it to where you can grab root, 3rd, 5th in three different configurations from basically one position in any key. In doing that, it made it really easy to find and name ALL the root notes, all the 3rds and all the 5ths you can reach in a key at a given time. I do a lot of lick based playing, but you need to be able to bring it back to the melody to resolve, and THAT bit alone has helped my visualization and note choice by a lot.

    Worth mentioning, MM suggests the books 'Jazzology' and 'The Jazz Theory Book' by Mark Levin, both of which happened to be available at the local library, so I checked them out and read about 2/3rd of the way through. They're not exclusively guitar based, so you're going to have to read staff notation. Both are probably pretty good if you commit time to them, they're obviously not really CAGED books (since they're for playing on piano, sax, etc.) but they do focus a lot on playing over chords and changes with good examples, which is an important concept in MM's lesson and CAGED overall. They also get very heavy on theory pretty fast but they show notation for all their examples, so you don't need to guess. I'm filing the two away for another time.

    Based on the suggestions in this thread, I picked up "Fretboard Logic" and "Single Note Soloing" and I've admittedly only made it through the first few chapters of each. They're actually both better WRITTEN than the Miller lessons, although you obviously get the perk of video/audio examples and backing tracks from the Miller lessons. I'm expecting to work my way through both, though. The thing I like about both is that they don't assume your level of knowledge much, so you do get a good A to Z, at least as far as I can tell.

    At this point, I'd say I've got a good grasp of CAGED as far as chord shapes, arpeggios, etc. It's helped my understanding of the fretboard as far as recognizing intervals all over the neck but, for me anyway, it's still not a complete replacement to 3NPS or pentatonic boxes as far as improvising over the entire fretboard. That might change.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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