Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key
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Caged Across – I IV and V The 3 principle chords in a major key. Main chords By: Frank Markovich. Preliminary Instructions. Before doing this the student should be solid with the E and A forms of the major chords in the CAGED system. The other 3 forms should at least be able to be fingered.

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Caged Across – I IV and V The 3 principle chords in a major key

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Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Caged Across – I IV and VThe 3 principle chords in a major key

Main chords

By: Frank Markovich


Preliminary instructions

Preliminary Instructions

  • Before doing this the student should be solid with the E and A forms of the major chords in the CAGED system.

  • The other 3 forms should at least be able to be fingered.

  • This takes some time. I don’t expect you to get this all in one or even a few weeks.

  • Once the Major chords are learned then we will move onto the minor and the dominant 7th. Everything else is just built off of those chords. You will find the minor and 7h go very fast by comparison to the major chords.


More than just chords

More than just chords

  • These chord forms are also the basis for scales, arpeggios and licks.

  • While you will start with the chords realize that it goes well beyond this.

  • I first heard about CAGED from the great jazz guitarist Joe Pass.

  • I learned this the hard way by trial and error and then come to understand this method that is much easier than how I learned it.

  • While there are 5 basic forms, everything else is built from that.


Working across rather than up the neck

Working across rather than up the neck

  • Will start in the key of G major.

  • The 3 principle chords in any key are the I, IV and V Chords.

  • Scale in the key of G major is: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, and G.

  • The Chord build off of I is G major, chord build off the IV (4th note of the scale) is C Major and the chord build off of the V (D note) is a D7 or for this we will just use a D.

  • In each of these examples the to move from one chord to the next you don’t have to move more than 1 fret up or down the neck.

  • While the examples are in the key of G major, it is important to eventually try them in every key!!!


A bit about chord theory

A bit about chord theory

  • Chords are usually built off of the major diatonic scale. For example in the key of G major the notes are and chords are as below – Large M = Major, small m = minor:

    GABCDEF#

    GMAmBmCMDMEmF#mb5

    IIIIIIIVVVIVII

    Top line is note, middle is chord, bottom is scale degree!


Notes in the chords starting with just triads

Notes in the chords – starting with just triads

  • G major (I chord) = G, B, D

  • C major (IV chord) = C, E, G

  • D major (V chord) = D, F#, A

  • Triads are 3 note chords – there are no 7ths and were the first real chords used in music. 7th’s were added a bit later. To understand the theory and how chords developed in music it is best to start with triads.

  • Notice that with these 3 chords all of the notes in G major are represented: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G.

  • Also note that the IV chord contains a G same as the I chord and the V chord contains a D also in the I chord. There are no common tones in the IV and V chord (there will be when the 7th is added to the V chord ‘C’ will be common).


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

First place to start.

This is 3 of the 5 forms! Most of you can do the E and A forms without difficulty!

G (E Form – I Chord)

C (A Form – IV chord)

D (C form – V chord)

1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 1

2

1

3

2

4

3 4

3 3 3

D F# A D F#

R 3 5 R 3

X X

C G C E

1 5 1 3

G D G B D G

R 5 R 3 5 R

See how this is the E form to the A form to the C form. You hand does not move more than 1 fret to make any of the changes!! Very key to this. Also the F# on the 1st string 2nd fret on the D chord will lead right up to the G on the G chord when you play a V chord to a I chord.

Try this to the following: 4/4||: G | C | G | C : ||


Let s talk a bit about voice leading

Let’s talk a bit about voice leading

  • This is most important in the melody of a song or from one chord to the other in the highest voice.

  • For example, in the previous chords the D chord has an F# as the highest note. That is the 3rd of the D major chord (or even the D7 chord). The 3rd of a V chord wants to resolve to the 1st of the I chord so the F# in D wants to resolve to the G in the G chord.

  • Also in this progression the B in the G chord (3rd of the I chord) moves very smoothly to the C in the C chord (1st of the IV chord), (notes on the 3rd string). And then when the C chord or IV chord goes back to the I chord this is just reversed.

  • Notice in this that in all cases from one chord to the next the notes (other than the bass notes) move very smoothly.

  • This will always sound good in any music. This is referred to as good voice leading.

  • It pays off to know the names of the notes in the chord and the relationship to the chord.


Talk a bit about soloing

Talk a bit about soloing

  • This is for the more advanced students. Others can try it but it does take some time to master this.

  • Solo to a I IV V progression can be as simple as just playing the notes in the scale. In this case a G major scale.

  • It can be more interesting and more melodic if you use the guide tones – for example for G to C use the melody notes in the scale of B to C and then going from the chords C to G use C to B.

  • When going from D to G use the F# to a G to make a very strong melodic statement.

  • Anyway, the key is to develop a melody.

  • Another approach is to play Major Pentatonic scales to each chord. So for a G major play the G major pentatonic, C major play the C major pentatonic, and for D major play the D major pentatonic. If you do that find common tones between the scales to hang on and tie it all together.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

First place to start.

G (E Form – I Chord)

C (A Form – IV chord)

D (C form – V chord)

Note 1

1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 1

2

1

3

2

4

3 4

3 3 3

D F# A D F#

R 3 5 R 3

X X

C G C E

R 5 R 3

G D G B D G

R 5 R 3 5 R

Note #1. Notice how the F# in the D chord resolves to the G in the G chord. The chord degrees are written below to help you with this. Along with the letter names of the notes in the chords.

Note #2. Notice the B in the G chord moving to the C in the C chord!

4/4||: G | C | G | C : ||


Try other combinations

Try other combinations

4/4 ||: C | D | C | D : ||

4/4 ||:G | C | G | C : ||

4/4 ||: G | D | G | D : ||

This gives you each of the combinations. You should try this in every single one of the examples going forward.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Above is with the notes and tablature. With this see how some of the notes move.

You will be making some melodies when you do this. Next step is to add some rhythmic interest but you must first master this step.

Another topic is endings. In G an authentic ending would be a D to a G (or D7 to G) which is a V to a I.

A plagal ending is like the ‘amen’ in church and is a IV to a I or in the key of G and C to a G. For 50’s type tunes it is common to do a IV to a IVm to a I.


Move this to other keys

Move this to other keys

  • Do the same pattern and you will have the I IV and V chord up the neck.

  • For example, at the 4th fret it is Ab Major, 5th fret is A major, 6th fret is Bb major, 7th fret is B major etc. Think of the I – IV and V at each fret. Write out the names of the chords in each key so that you really learn them!


Now apply to songs

Now apply to songs

  • Apply to as many songs as you can.

  • The more songs that you apply this to the more relaxed that you will become at this until it is just 2nd nature to you. Songs will be chosen out of the book and handouts.

  • Try in other keys also. Do the blues in the key of A – such as Jump, Jive, and Wail etc.

  • Also try songs such as Wonderful Tonight – Play the Em at the 7th fret in the Am form or in 1st position for now.

  • Try in other keys such as C major. Then move the songs to other keys. After just a little time you should be able to play this in many keys.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

D Major

D Major

Both F#

1

2

1

2

3

3

X 0 0

0 X

The 1st and the 6th string are the same notes just 2 octaves apart. So to do the moveable D form the best way is to start by moving the note on the first string D (which happens to be F#) to the 6th string. Some of you know this chord as a D/F# (D major with an F# in the bass). The F# is the 3rd of the chord. When the 3rd is in the bass it is called a first inversion. Root inversion is with the root in the bass which is what many of you stick to in your playing. A good movement though could be root position to first inversion. In going from a D to a G this would sound great: Try it!!

4/4 ||: D | D/F# | G | : ||


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

See how this form works below. I personally like this form quite a bit and like to go from the E form to this when going to a IV chord (G to C for example). This will be used for the next example!

D Form (E Major)

D Major

One thing that I really like about this particular voicing is how open it sounds.

The longer I play the more I appreciate open sounding chords. The large interval between the bass note and the rest of the chord really sets this off. This voicing is used quite a bit in Freddy Green Style playing (Think of Count Basie!)

1

2

1

3

2

3

4

X X

0 0

A D A D F#

5 1 5 1 3

G# E B E

3 1 5 1

Note you can more the F# on the 1st string 2nd fret to

The 6th string 2nd fret (both strings are the same letter

Name – it works out better for most cases. As you can see with this form you don’t have to barre. Now you can learn it as a barre based entirely off of the first position D and I would recommend that you try that once this is mastered.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Now to do the same progression but in 5th position. Lots of things to notice here.

To start notice that the C form is now the V chord.

G (D form) 5th fret!

I Chord

C (G Form) 5th fret

IV Chord

D(A form) 5th fret

V Chord

5th

Fret

5th

fret.

1

1 1 1

1

5th

fret

2

3

3

4

3 3 3

X X

X X

X X

D A D F#

1 5 1 3

B G D G

3 1 5 1

E G C E

3 5 1 3

4/4||: G | C | G | C : ||

Apply to the same progression.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Again look at the F# in the D chord moving to the G in the G chord.

Of the examples this is likely the most difficult of the bunch. Knowing that for you should help you move ahead. Once this is down you will have worked with all 5 forms!!!


Move this to other keys just like before

Move this to other keys just like before

  • Do the same pattern and you will have the I IV and V chord up the neck.

  • For example, at the 4th fret it is Ab Major, 5th fret is A major, 6th fret is Bb major, 7th fret is B major etc. Think of the I – IV and V at each fret. Write out the names of the chords in each key so that you really learn them!


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Now to do the same progression but in 7th position. Lots of things to notice here.

To start notice that the C form is now the V chord.

C (E form – IV chord)

8th fret.

G (C form – 1 chord)

7th fret

D (G Form) 7th fret

IV Chord

7th

fret

1 1 1

1 1 1

7th

fret

8th

fret

2

1 1 1 1 1 1

3

2

3

4

3 4

G B D G B

R 3 5 R 3

X X

C G G E G C

R 5 R 3 5 R

F# A D F#

3 5 1 3

4/4||: G | C | G | C : ||

Apply to the same progression.

Note how you have already done these forms earlier. So it is just learning where to play them and how they relate to each other. We did the G above in the C form as a D (2nd position) and the C as a G 3rd position and the D in the G form as a C.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Many times in this position the advanced players may do a G/D bass as shown below!

C (E form – IV chord)

8th fret.

G (C form – 1 chord)

7th fret

D (G Form) 7th fret

IV Chord

7th

fret

1 1 1

1 1 1

7th

fret

8th

fret

2

1 1 1 1 1 1

3

2

3

4

3 4

5 3 5 R 3

R 5 R 3 5 R

X X

4/4||: G | C | G | C : ||


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Here are the 2 ways shown in the previous slides. In this one some players

do not play the first string on the G chord so that the F# can move on the

D chord up to the G in the G chord. Do notice how he B in the G chord moves

up to the C in the C chord and then back down to a B in the G chord.


At this point the chords go high up on the neck

At this point the chords go high up on the neck

  • I will continue in G but realize that on a classical or even a steel string acoustic that this is difficult to impossible. But you can apply it to other keys.

  • Next page gives it in G major first and then in C major. You should be able to play the one’s in C.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

G Major

C(A form) 3rd fret

I Chord

F (D form) 3rd fret!

IV Chord

G (E form –V chord)

3rd fret.

3h

Fret

1

3rd

fret

1

1 1 1 1 1 1

3rd

fret

2

3

2

4

3 3 3

3 4

X X

X X

R 5 R 3 5 R

G(A form) 10th fret

I Chord

C (D form) 10th fret!

IV Chord

D (E form –V chord)

10th fret.

10th

Fret

1

10th

fret

1

1 1 1 1 1 1

10th

fret

2

3

2

4

3 3 3

3 4

X X

X X

R 5 R 3 5 R

C Major


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Here it is in notes and tab in the 10th position. Note that the F# in the D chord is in an inner voice but resolves on that string to a G. Also the B in the G chord moves to the C in the C chord and back again for the G chord. Below is the same thing in the key of C – easier to play.


Last set

Last set!!

  • Again same as previous one – G is tough at the 12th fret but could also be done in 1st position.

  • As an exercise write the names of the notes from the previous 2 slide. Also going forward. At this point you can figure them out yourself.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

In G

G (G Form) 12th fret

1 Chord

C (C form – IV chord)

12th fret

D (D form) 12th fret!

V Chord

12th

fret

12th

Fret

12th

fret.

1 1 1

1 1 1

1

2

3

3

2

3

4

4

R 3 5 R 3

X X

X X

In C

C (G Form) 5th fret

1 Chord

F (C form – IV chord)

5th fret

G (D form) 5th fret!

V Chord

12th

fret

12th

Fret

12th

fret.

1 1 1

1 1 1

1

2

3

3

2

3

4

4

R 3 5 R 3

X X

X X


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

Again on this many players would not hit play the 1st string on the C chord. It makes a better voice leading from G to C.

Try to think of all of these as the I IV and V and not just the G, C and D chords as you play through this. It isn’t easy but once you have mastered these you are well over the main things that you will need to master the CAGED system as far as chords go. And the major chords lead directly into the scales.


Now you have done all 5 moves

Now you have done all 5 moves

  • Not that you will never mix them up but this is the easiest way to play the I IV and V chords.

  • Learn each one and try to the progression.

  • Try songs that have the I IV V only.

  • Learn in every key.

  • You will see that the forms also follow the CAGED format.

  • We started with G in the E form, then the next set was G in the D form, the next G in the C form, next G in the A form and lastly G in the G form.

  • It also follows the same for the IV and the V chords.


Now going up the neck in one key

Now going up the neck in one key.

  • Now we have 3 forms of the D chord moving up the neck.

  • The C form of D to the A form of D to the G form of D.

  • The G form always follows the A form. Look closely at that relationship! Along with the fact that the A form always follows the C form you are 3/5ths of the way there.

A Moveable Chord (D Major Chord)

G Form (D Major Chord)

Note the

common tone!

C Moveable Chord (D Major)

7th fret.

1 1 1

1

3

1 1 1

2

3

3 3 3

X X

4

X X


From the g form to the e form

From the G form to the E form.

The E form of the D major chord.

G Form (D Major Chord)

1 1 1 1 1 1

10th fret

2

7th fret.

1 1 1

3 4

1 5 1 3 5 1

2

(4)

Really notice how the change in order of notes means a difference in the texture of the chord! Again listen. You can also practice singing the chord from bottom note to top or top to bottom.

X X

1 3 5 1 3


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

See how this form works below. I personally like this form quite a bit and like to go from the E form to this when going to a IV chord (G to C for example).

D Form (E Major)

D Major

1

2

1

3

2

3

4

X X

0 0

Note you can more the F# on the 1st string 2nd fret to

The 6th string 2nd fret (both strings are the same letter

Name – it works out better for most cases. As you can see with this form you don’t have to barre. Now you can learn it as a barre based entirely off of the first position D and I would recommend that you try that once this is mastered.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

A Moveable Chord (D Major Chord)

2

3

4

G Form (D Major Chord)

C Moveable Chord (D Major)

7th fret.

1 1 1

1

3

1 1 1

(4)

3 3 3

X X

X X

D Form (D Major)

The E form of the D major chord.

12th fret, could have also done in 1st position.

1

1 1 1 1 1 1

10th fret

2

3

2

4

Arrows are pointing to where the roots are and move to.

3 4

X X


The g form

The G form

This form is usually played without playing the 1st and 6th strings. Below is an example of the concept with the 1st and 6th strings in the 3rd diagram muted.

Some bands such as the Doobie Brothers used this form as a basis for cool chord riffs.

At this point notice that the root moves around by which voicing you are playing.

Note that 1 = root. From here on 1 will refer to root rather than writing R.

I think of the root of this as being on the 3rd string or image the note that would be played on the 6th string.

G Form (A Major Chord)

G Major

G Form (A Major Chord)

2

1 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1

3

4

2

3

3

4

A C# E A C# A

1 3 5 1 3 1

X X

C# E A C#

3 5 1 3


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

E

A

1

7th fret

7t Fret

1

1

1

1 1

2

3

3

0 X

0 X

Chords for Listen To The Music. Note that on the E you will hammer on the 9th fret with the 3rd finger and on the A hammer the and and 3rd finger on. This is very cool and a good example of using these 2 forms.

4/4 ||: E | A : ||

Will do the whole song at a later date.


Caged across i iv and v the 3 principle chords in a major key

A Moveable Chord (Bb Major Chord)

G Form (Bb Major Chord)

1

3 3 3

1 1 1

3

X X

X X

So do Bb then move up to B – Next slide and continue.


Goal for this term

Goal for this term

  • Learn all the forms and how to find them up the neck in each position.

  • Make sure you can do the chords across like in this paper.

  • Start to visualize the guitar in the key of G major.


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