This week’s guitar lesson is a follow-up to the previous CAGED lesson that I did a few weeks ago (EP273), here’s a link to that guitar lesson. That lesson was so popular that I thought it was necessary to create a 2nd part and show how to play the minor chords in various positions using the same methodology. We will be using the A minor, E minor and D minor shapes that you learn in first position to play all over the neck. Like the previous CAGED lesson, this one comes with a composition that you can play to practice these chord shapes.
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Michael Allen says
Thanks for continuing the tutorial on the CAGED System.
Andrew T says
I join in appreciating the CAGED lessons. Really valuable. I just signed up for my second year.
Hi, many questions about that after EP273… and today, answers ! Bravo !
Fabian S says
Fabulous Brian fantastic lesson and much appreciated
Ian C says
Excellent lesson. I have been playing many years and used these chord shapes at various times over the neck in songs without thoroughly thinking them through, and this lesson forces us to do this, and understand , in a very constructive way.
What does really fox me at times is the Dm shape, say at fret 3, is also G6 and, I think, A9, forgive me if I called those wrong (I’m not holding my guitar !) in fact Brian often uses this shape say sliding from A6 to A9. This shape identity crisis can be a block to picking the shape intuitively over the neck. Can you offer any ideas for visualising and resolving this in all its names in context.
With your index finger at fret 3 you have named those chords correctly and they all do have the same shape. I think the only way to rationalize them is to know where the root note is and where the other intervals are that make each of those chords. In your example, the implied A9 actually has no root note in the chord (and even no major 3rd). There is only a flat 7 (twice), the 9th (or major 2), and the 5th. It would sound like like A9 if the A was covered by the bass or in the context of having just heard the A6.
In fact, the G6 in your example eliminates the 5th (commonly done on the guitar), containing only the root (twice), the major 3rd and the major 6th. It’s only by eliminating some of the requisite intervals from the G6 and the A9 that they can come to have the same shape as the true D minor shape.
Ian C says
Thanks Charjo., you certainly know what you are talking about. Its a great technical answer.
Raymond P says
Great add-on to the CAGE system lesson. Very cool.
Aussie Rick says
Fantastic follow-up to the first lesson on CAGED. And the standalone composition for practicing is an absolute gem. Thanks for another knock-out lesson Brian.
Mark O says
There are lessons Brian does that just plain sound cool and that alone makes them worthwhile.
Then there are lessons like this that not only sound cool but provide so many awesome learning concepts that they are priceless. IMHO this is one of those. Probably one of Brian’s best lessons ever. Gonna be digesting this one for some time…
Michael R says
Great combination of theory and TOON. The latter makes the whole deal swing. That Ford/Clapton riff – got me tricked.
Robert P says
Brilliant lesson Brian … Once i get my head round it… well done !
San Luis Rey says
Absolutely marvelous! Thanks Brian
Very cool! I was going over EP273 yesterday, and started messing around with trying to move the minor chords around the neck, and – voila! – here today is a lesson on that very thing.
Very cool! I’m going to watch ,listen always worth listening to your intros than go into the cool composition!
Cliff R says
Hi Brain! THIS is a PRIME example of how very good you are at relaying such a boatload of solid, very usable information, and packaging it in a very interesting and fun way to really get a good firm grip on all the new tools you have just presented everybody with. I can’t thank you enough! THIS is what I have been looking for, for such a LONG time!
There’s something I have been interested in for quite a while, and even researched fairly extensively. But unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any usable and/or understandable information that I could really put to use. I was thinking it might make for an intersting lesson, and with your teaching skills and talent I would just love to see your take on this. I’m talking about chord modulations for changing keys within a given tune and then moving back to the original key. Are there a few basic rules, or guidlines for doing this to make a smooth and harmonically interesting change?
Thank you SO MUCH for EVERYTHING!!!!
Hey Cliff, I’ve made a note of this and have had another request or 2 on this topic so you’re probably onto something. Let me think of a good way to relay it and I’ll do a lesson on it.
Cliff R says
Hey Brian, YES!!! I am very anxious to see what you come up with! I am just LOVING that last lesson on CAGED! And already have so many “Favorites” I don’t know where to start!!! This is kind of like…Christmas, New Years and my Birthday….EVERY DAY!!! THANKS AGAIN!!!
John R says
Thanks and Question:
Loved the major pentatonic lesson and loved this continuation of it!!! Thanks!!!
This lesson made go back and review the “position lessons” from the blues lead guitar class.
As I was going over the shapes, I was wondering why some of the shapes are only “partially used” ?
I realize that we are free to use the whole shape if want… but I want to better understand why you gravitated to those partial shapes?
You blew my mind with this one. Love the sound and the lesson. Well done my friend.
Really nice piece Brian, both simple and complex at the same time.
John A Rowe says
As always, another great lesson filled with wonderful and valuable information… you are definitely the best teacher on the internet but, and this has never happened to me before and I can hardly believe what I am about to write… but I wish the lessons were 2 or 3 weeks apart instead of just 1 week! What am I saying??? You’re giving me too much for my money… there, I’ve said it, I must be crazy! Each week, I just about reach the halfway point of the latest lesson and everything is going so well, when another new lesson arrives and I just cannot help myself and I have to take a look, and… before I know it I have moved on to the latest, leaving a trail of half-finished lessons that, in spite of good intentions, I will never be able to catch up on. I know that we are free to pick and choose what interests us the most, maybe even learning only just one run from an entire lesson, but it never seems that simple and I’m definitely feeling a bit frustrated that I am unable to absorb an entire lesson before moving on to the next. I’m an old codger now, 69, so it probably takes me longer to learn things, and I know that it would be too time-consuming and difficult to set up, but I wish you had an older players’ section with nice, slow blues and jazz solos and give us a longer gap between lessons… okay, I’ve said my bit, now back to the lesson…
Ps: I’ve just noticed a John R here, I’m also a John R… small world!
Michael M says
Hi John, love your comment! Hilarious! So true. It’s a tidal wave of great study and we haven’t the time to process it all!! I find myself skipping around to prior lessons and filling in gaps as my brain wants to fill them. I leave alone what my brain doesn’t seem ready for or what my fingers can’t do yet. Just try to move at my own pace, and wherever it leads is the best we can do. Funny how sometimes I come back to a lesson that blew my mind the first time but the second time it all makes sense.
Wesley W says
Great addition to your last lesson. I get it now…Thank you. Your lessons offer, by far, the best bang for my entertainment dollars…
Iman A says
Hi Brian Many many thanks for CAGE teaching agin.All your lessons are excellent but this one is As among all of teachings.
Because most of guitar learners have much problem for filling between chords and I just try to copy of experienced guitarist and really fed up for that but today i have learned how to fill between two chords and how i should select riff or lick between them i hope if you have time kindly please inform us regarding this gap for playing better.
Again i appreciate for the time you consider for teaching and apologize of your wife and children for the time you consider for us around of the world
Rodney W says
How on earth do you keep coming up with such great compositions Brian?
I think that you must “have the music in you” and it is just waiting to gush out!
Definitely a great talent!
Jack B says
Your explanation of the D shape with the root under the pinky was an “Aha” moment. I hadn’t put that together yet and it really helped with moving around the fret board. This is a really cool jam with lots of takeaway licks. Great job, you are a great teacher.
Michael M says
I’mnew to AM and glad to be part of this. Hello, Pickers!
These last two lessons created a breakthrough moment for me. I’d learned CAGED chords and scale patterns differently and it wasn’t leading to PLAYING MUSIC any time soon. Refreshingly, Brian’s approach to everything is always leading towards PLAYING MUSIC! Namely that he uses triads, not full 6string chord shapes, which is much more practical. So I have been sort of trying to convert to this approach. These last two lessons on CAGED really showed me how the chords and patterns all fit together, in major and minor and how this knowledge can be used to PLAY MUSIC.
Michael M says
Hi All, Here is my private notetaking summary of CAGED system and how I have processed it. I post to be helpful to some and also to welcome feedback of how we should think about it all…
E major chord = pattern 2
D major chord = pattern 3
C major chord = pattern 4
A major chord = pattern 5
G major chord = pattern 1 root fret
E minor chord = pattern 1 Root fret
D minor chord = pattern 2
C minor chord = pattern 3
A minor chord = pattern 4
G minor chord = pattern 5
Pattern 1 is the same scale pattern, major or minor. Pattern 1 is Pattern 1! It is just that the CHORD/ROOT that comes off that scale pattern is different from major to minor, ie the resolve is different. For instance, the minor root off pattern 1 is E an shape chord but the major root off pattern 1 is a G shape chord.
If I am playing in A minor with an E shape chord (5th fret root) and I want to switch to A MAJOR, I drop down 3 frets and play that same pattern. It will be G shaped chord root and sound major.
Think: vice versa. If I’m playing C major 1st position, that open C shape chord has pattern 4 scale. Now If I play a C minor chord rooted on 5th string, its an A shape chord and up 3 frets from pattern 4 major shape. that is pattern 4 in C also, but now I’m in minor mode.
Michael M. Well put.
What I don’t understand is why guitarist refer to the pentatonic scale patterns with numbers, e.g. Brian uses Pattern 1 for the G-shape pattern of the CAGED system. (It might be noted Pattern 1 is not standard. For instance Justin Guitar refers to the E shape as ‘Pattern 1’.)
Why not call it the G-shape pentatonic. By sticking to CAGED nomenclature one can naturally track the patterns roots, major scale (remove 2 notes and voila the major pentatonic), and the CAGED named major chord (G). Then, with a little more insight the relative minors (Em), in which case the relative minor scale, relative minor pentatonic, and minor chord all also overlay the G-shape of the CAGED nomenclature.
Greg R says
As always – wonderful practical lesson.
In your previous CAGED lesson with Major chords, you encouraged us to think of using the Triads that make up some of the chords rather than always trying to use the full 6 string bar chord.
Do you ever use the same approach with minor chord shapes? It seems like that would work in a pinch, although there might be some memorization required.
Specifically, it seems like it might be easier sometimes to just bar the last 3 strings ( G, B, E) and achieve a minor chord by using the lower part of the Eminor Shape.
So, if I bar those strings on the 5th fret, wouldn’t that just be an easy way to play Am ( Root on E string)?
7th fret = Bm
8th fret = Cm…. etc.
If you mentioned this in the lesson, please accept my apologies- I missed it.
Thanks again for all of your lessons. Exactly what I have needed to take my playing to the next level of understanding.
Hey Greg, yes I use minor triads a lot as well – I just forgot to mention that in the video. Excellent point.
yikes, glug, glug, glug. that’s me drowning. I need to cut this into little pieces. all the position switching for lead playing has my head spinning….
Simon C says
Brilliant stuff Brian. Can you please complete the set with a Dominant 7 lesson in CAGED? Many Thanks Simon
I second this request for completing the set with the Dominant 7 CAGED lesson!
Tys R says
Great lesson as always.
Just to get my head straight, when you pointed at the first three frets you referred to the form 4 pentatonic in the key of C. But wouldn’t that be form 3 though?
Not to be a smartass here, just trying to make sense of this.
It’s on about 20 minutes into the video.
Annie V says
Hands down the best teacher on the net, Brian you teach things so clearly , I love the fact that I don’t have to spend time trying to work out what your playing , so thanks for your talent!
Annie from Western Australia 🎶😎💝
James B says
Hey Brian, great stuff. I am finally starting to get the CAGED concept. Please more lessons and specifically where the chords fall within the patterns and playing around those chord patterns in a Hendrix style? I have been told that if you can understand the CAGED concept and where the chords fall within the pent patterns then the fretboard really opens up for you. More lessons with this insight would be much appreciated. Thanks!
richard g says
Great lesson Brian – Thanks!!
hey brian- i dont no if u get these messages from old lessons but- I have been studying a blues player that I saw at a local club a while back..he s got vids on you tube-
his name is tab benoit pronounced ben-wah……..i ve been studying his stuff from videos and alot his ‘BAG Of TRICKS”- I recognize from your lessons.
.anyway I thought you maY WANT TO CHECK HIM OUT FOR a lesson ..”in the style of.”
.check out the song “lost in your lovin” and see if u recognize his licks..he is from louisiana- so am I….sorry for the caps–error…these caged lessons have helped me a bunch, by the way
Curtis J says
i’m trying to grasp this. im i missing something. What about the scale patterns that go with the caged system
Curtis J says
Wow great lesson, seems the more you know about guitar the more you realize you don’t know
Ken B says
Such a great lesson. I’ve been searching for something to connect chord shapes and scales in a musical way, and this is perfect. Brian – is there a chance that someday you could to the same for the major CAGED chords? Your lesson 273 on major CAGED is great, but adding in the more extensive connecting pentatonic licks as in this lesson (which I assume would be mostly major in that case) would add a lot.
An D says
love the CAGED lesson !!!
dale l says
Confused, you say min1, min2, maj5, key of G? Yet you play G maj , C&F min shapes. When playing over G , you use box 2 minor. ??
dale l says
1,4,5 not 1,2,5
dale l says
My bad key of C. C min. F min G maj
john p says
Hello! Brian as well of most of you already know this. But I had trouble streaming the main video with Google chrome. I switched to a different browser and it’s working fine. And I’m addicted to the C-A-G-E-D system and Brian’s Triad lessons. I thought I’d never be able to improvise. You’re so great Brian.
William T says
This is great, but so frustrating. As a fellow (non music) teacher I understand the impulse to shoot ahead, but if you could slow down and simplify and explain things fully it would be great. Especially for part one videos that people find on youtube. If I came across this video at an earlier stage I would just say to myself “what is he talking about” and click away.
For example, when you say “oh that’s just scale 4” why not play scale 4, before you teach the riff. And when it turns out that the riff (the first Am-shaped C chord) goes OUT of that scale box, explain why. And when in the midst of a lesson on minor scales you suddenly switch to G major, explain what you’re doing: you refer to a G bar chord on the third fret,. but it’s not obvious to me what that is.
Above all, when you go to that first Fm chord, don’t you need to say it’s the E minor shape, NOT the Am shape, and therefore (I would have thought) needs scale pattern 1, not 4.
I’m really excited about exploring these lessons, but it’s so frustrating when I feel I have to read between the lines and work with what you’re doing, not what you’re saying. It reminds me of the time I picked up an engineering textbook belonging to a friend of mine and pointed out that one sentence on the first page made no sense: his reply was that anyone taking the course would know what it meant. Sometimes I can figure out what you mean, but sometimes it’s really frustrating.
steve h says
Fantastic and informative lesson. Shows power of CAGED for quick orientation of fretboard and help with chord tone targeting – not to mention practical example of mixing major/minor scales over chords – up and down entire neck! Working hard to pull this all together – great exercise!
David H says
I have never understood the caged system. Thanks a lot Cool Breeze.
Steve S says
Great minor lead song. What are the rules if the song is in the Major key of C, Why can I play a Cm chord? I get playing the Cm penatonic scale. Is that just the way blues works?
Frank N says
I just signed up for premium and I have to say this is some of the best instruction I’ve ever had. Brian lays it out extremely well and easy to understand. Not only that he shows how to put it all into practical use.