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chord shapes, triads and the CAGED system for country&rockabilly

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by twangbender, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. twangbender

    twangbender TDPRI Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Hi guys first of all thank you for being on this great forum i just joined the club and just bought a better guitar a tele CS 50s ! Anyway i got lots of problems with the caged system,triads,arrpegios and putting it all together.
    I mean where should i start ??
    My favorite music is country/rockabilly/swing and i know i have to follow the chords if i solo but i need to know more in order to make it an intresting solo.
    I heard that i had to learn triads, the caged system and also arppegios so i can use it all together and mix things up in my playing.
    But i just don't know where to start..
    I feel im ready to organize things and go forward with this stuff my fingers got the feeling but my memory is missing some info. Any help would be awesome ! Thanks !

  2. thumbpick

    thumbpick Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 22, 2012
    start with the melody notes,timing etc. build from there

  3. eclipse

    eclipse Tele-Meister

    Dec 30, 2006

  4. czgibson

    czgibson Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 3, 2012
    I found the CAGED system to be a big eye opener. Chances are you'll already have figured some of it out yourself. CAGED is a good way to see how the whole neck is organised.

    Here's a good explanation to get you started:

  5. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    Learn the major scale and how to build chords from it.

    This is where it all starts... It's boring at first, and might be kinda tough to stick with, but believe me when I say, I wish I had known that stuff 25 years ago!

    Once you understand how to build chords, you'll understand why the triad approach works, and how the CAGED system works and you'll know the arpeggios.

    A lot of Rockabilly, Jazz and Country are 'jazzing' up the basic Major and Minor Chords by adding extensions, and substituting other chords in their place. Without the basic knowledge of the Major Scale and Diatonic chords, this is extremely difficult to master.

  6. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    Boy, czgibson, that site hits the spot for me. About the third page of his explanation of the chord shapes in each position, I could see the chords flowering up and down the neck. I think maybe I'll be able to find good diads and triads soon, to go with whichever scale positions I'm using. CAGED has saved me from cowboy-chord hell!

    Edit: after some more browsing through the justinguitar site, I see there's much more useful stuff as well. Thanks for the link.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013

  7. Delta Blues

    Delta Blues Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 22, 2011
    This is gonna be one of those good threads.....

  8. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Holic

    Feb 2, 2010
    Houston, TX
    One of the things you can do to start making the changes at a very basic level is add the 3rd of whatever chord you are playing to the pentatonic scale you are using.

    So let's say you have a simple blues in G with just the I IV and V. That means that you can play G minor pentatonic over the whole thing (G, Bb, C, D, F) but then try to add a B over the G7, an E over the C7 and an F# over the D7.

    Once you get comfortable using just the thirds, try adding in the rest of the notes from the arpeggios and go from there! That is an example for a blues progression, but it is certainly aplicable to Country or Rockabilly as well.
    saulitude likes this.

  9. guitar dan

    guitar dan Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 19, 2011

    Learning the CAGED system isn't going to give you licks. It's more likely to show how those licks and chords can be played in different positions on the neck.

  10. twangbender

    twangbender TDPRI Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Indeed thats what i need to know.. Where i can play licks in diffrent chord shapes. For example i need to play in the key of C i need to know all the C triads along the neck so im able to play licks in diffrent positions. This is the hardest part of playing guitar wich i encountered.. Pfew !

  11. PapaH

    PapaH Tele-Meister

    Jan 13, 2013
    Detroit, MI
    I'm working on the same stuff, thanks to D7's recent "Magic Chord Shapes" lessons.

    Here's a couple 3-string major and minor chord inversion charts that I found on infosnacks - these show the inversions for C.

    C Major 3-string inversion chart

    C Minor 3-string inversion chart

    Note that on these charts, the "Root Position" is R-3-5, "1st Inversion" is 3-5-R, and "2nd Inversion" is 5-R-3.

    Good luck!

  12. twangbender

    twangbender TDPRI Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    So to come back on this topic ive learned allot already and i know every triad on the lowest 3 strings but still dont get how to use them in a solo does someone have a good country or rockabilly song wich i can learn where the player is using diffrent triads in his solo? Maybe i can figure out how hes importing the triads in his playing :) stil cant figure out how to mix the penta scale with your triads and such..

  13. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    Folsom Prison Blues, from Live at Folsom Prison

    Luther plays the A in the cowboy position (A shape), then at the fifth fret (E shape), then at the (what is that 8th fret? the D shape), then drops down to the E major at the cowboy position (E shape) and runs the lick out back to the next verse.

    Rockabilly/Country as you can get right there! :)

  14. Michael T

    Michael T TDPRI Member

    May 30, 2007
    Fredericton, NB Canada
    While you should know the triad shapes on all string sets, it's the top four strings (D G B E) that are more important for I'd concentrate on those shapes first.

    Not sure why you'd have trouble mixing the triads and the pentatonic scale since the same notes are in both(!). You need to put in the time and draw things out on graph paper or a neck diagram. Here's an example; C major triads contain the notes C-E-G. The C major pentatonic scale has the notes C-D-E-G-A. So map out the pentatonic scale in one are of the neck at a time and superimpose the triad shape on top. So now you know what notes & shapes you're dealing with, so try to come up with licks/phrases based on the triad inversions over a C chord....and then try to add in the other notes from the scale.

    Good luck! Takes time but if you put in the work and analyze your favourite rockabilly solos, it will come together.

  15. ' burn 08

    ' burn 08 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 26, 2011
    Decatur, AL
    The more familiar you are with the frettboard, the easier it is going to be to know where your root notes are. The rest of the notes of the scale are going to be right there around it. You can go up a string to find the 4th, down a string for the 5th, ect... The more you practice it, the more you are going to be able to do it without thinking. One of the things I practiced deliberately was trying to play the same riff in as many different places as possible. Then I'd practice it in different keys. Then I'd practice using the riff in a progression. First I'd play out of the same position, changing scales with the chords, then I'd try using a different position for each scale, ect... I just practiced doing it different ways. I might start out with a 2-3 note riff, then expand on it. When expanding on the riff, I would add both diatonic notes and chromatic notes. Basically, I would start with something easy, and then work up to something more complex. It's not magic secret. It's just a lot of practice and repetition. And it can be boring if you let it. But you'll wake up one day and it will be mostly 2nd nature to you. So, I'd just carve out some dedicated practice time to working on some basic stuff like that.

    Also, listen to a helluva lot of the genre you are interested in. You'll pick up some rhythmic and stylistic stuff just from listening to it. duh, I know, right.

  16. dmondo

    dmondo Tele-Meister

    Nov 13, 2009
    Western Australia
    Hey Twang - you're askin where should I start ? Everthing, everyone has said above is all what you're on a journey to discover but, if you're lazy like me, you'll want to start at the begining - learn the notes on the fretboard. That way you learn everything once and you build one brick at a time till you've got a wall. Save yourself time and effort - learn your notes; after that everything is building for you.

  17. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    I guess I have been using the CAGED system for years, but not realizing that's what it's called. It's actually the same thing Charlie Christian did- most of his solos follow chord shapes, with a couple accent notes added, instead of the flowing chromatic scales most "jazz" has become known for.

    It's funny how you could be playing something for years, then someone puts it down on paper in a "scholarly" fashion... and at first, you don't even recognize it... it's like missing the forest for the trees. Then it hits you and you say "OH!! THAT is what the CAGED system is??? Huh, I guess I knew it and never knew that I knew it!" :)

  18. twangbender

    twangbender TDPRI Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    it's been a while back since i last posted here but i played my ass off tried to get the CAGED system nailed but it just doesn't work out, i think im still missing some stuff that i didn't learned in the start.

    my teachers learned me the basic minor pentatonic scale only the second position of this


    they teached me songs and how to play those licks.
    i've learned chords and then they threw me in the caged system
    like theres no major scale and not any lesson about the notes on the fretboard. i learned the rest by myself and asking for help here but it's hard for people to know how far someone is by only see him typing here.

    my brain just doesn't tell me where to go and what to do for example:

    the solo starts and the song is in the key of C i start the solo in C on the C barre position cause i know i can play a pentatonic scale there and make some licks i know in the C position then the song moves to chord F now i go either to the first fret of the F barre or the 13th fret also an F and play a lick there i know, in combination with some open string stuff and 7th chord licks and fingerpicks and the new moved CAGED and the country scale from up and down from left to right along the fretboard and all the chords i come far !!
    but still something is limiting myself and i think thats the basic theory of the guitar and i don't know how to connect minor and major scales, arppegios, triads and chords all together.

    i think i don't understand allot of basic theory so i reroll and start learning the notes of the fretboard like dmondo wrote.
    i bought a book by "Fred sokolow" called "fretboard roadmaps" and start my journey to discover the fretboard and scales and i think that will help allot !
    what do you guys think :)

  19. Albertwang

    Albertwang Tele-Meister

    Oct 30, 2011
    CAGED is a good way to organise notes on the fretboard and is useful to create a relationship between chords shapes and melody/solo (and licks) while you are playing. What, in my opinion , many students don't really understand is that this method CAN'T help you to play the right notes while improvising if you don't know enough about MUSIC THEORY. Modes, How chords are formed, How to recognize a key...are all things that make the real different between musicians and lick players

  20. twangbender

    twangbender TDPRI Member

    Jan 5, 2013

    Albert, thanks for your reply.

    i know how chords are build, Major, Minor, Dim, Aug.
    but i lack the knowledge of the notes on the fretboard, but does that help ?? some say you don't have to know all the notes and others say you have to learn all the notes on the fretboard.. i never ever learned it in a guitar lesson i had and still have lessons for like 4 years and now playing 5 years.
    i think i skipped some basics in my first year of playing.
    like how important is knowing all the major and minor scale shapes all over your fretboard ?
    i'm trying to figure out what i skipped in my basic theory in the start of my journy on the guitar i tried diffrent teachers and no one could tell me. im playing licks like a madman but don't even know what im playing i know in what key i play but i don't know wich notes i play. it's 1 thing im missing and that makes a big wall in my progression.
    i have to figure it out and work on that...

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