Hacking the CAGED System: Book 1

Graham Tippett
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The Hacking the CAGED System series was inspired by my own,and other guitarist’s frustrations with the infamous CAGED System for learning guitar.

It all started back in Music College in the early 2000s, at the ACM in Guildford (UK) to be precise, where we were handed, by none other than Guthrie Govan, an inch-thick binder containing all manner of shapes and patterns for the CAGED system, including chords and arpeggios. I duly slaved over the book while burning the midnight oil for an entire semester and while my technique improved no end, I just couldn’t turn those patterns into music,or connect them to what I was learning in music theory class.Fast forward to 2016, and with the benefit of hindsight from more than 20 years of playing, I’ve been able to look at the CAGED system from a different perspective, and one that will hopefully make it a useful system for anyone wishing to learn it. The CAGED system has many flaws, but these can be hacked and rectified to turn it into a powerful system for understanding how the guitar fretboard works, leading to a versatile, and above all, functional knowledge of chords, arpeggios, scales and modes, and key signatures.

What’s in Book 1?

Book 1 teaches you the basic major scale forms, shows you where to find the basic diatonic chords as well as seventh chords.We then venture into intervals which are the key to making your solos sound like you know what you’re doing. Next we bring out the arpeggios,and finally the modes. Everything is tied together using key signatures as a framework to build up a practical knowledge of chords, scales,arpeggios and modes on the guitar.


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About the author

Graham Tippett (1977-) studied literature, music and languages in the UK before making a permanent move to Mexico in 2005. It was there he began to explore and research methods of improvisation on the guitar and published the '2 Position Scale System' series of instruction books in 2014, which are the fruit of that research. He is also well-known for his love of languages and music, drawing parallels between the two art forms as he continues to write and research on the subjects of language learning and improvisation. His relentless research into guitar improvisation has recently lead to the creation of the Hacking the CAGED System series of books, and Soloing Without Scales - an alternative look at how to improvise on guitar. Graham is also a graduate of the ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music) in Guildford, where he was taught by the likes of Guthrie Govan, Dave Kilminster, Eric Roche and many others. 

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Additional Information

Graham Tippett
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Published on
Oct 18, 2016
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Best For
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Music / Musical Instruments / Guitar
Music / Printed Music / Guitar & Fretted Instruments
Music / Printed Music / Piano-Vocal-Guitar
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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 If you are a fan of electronic games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, why don’t you try your hand at the real thing? The guitar is certainly one of the most popular instruments around the world as many have taken to picking up guitar skills along the years. This is because the guitar is portable, relatively inexpensive and a great way to relieve stress. A guitar can make a great feature in gatherings and camping trips as people form a circle around you to watch you strum and sing your heart out. Of course, it is undeniable that there is also a cool factor involved which draws people into learning guitars.

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