A Major Study

A Major

In music theory the A Major Scale is spelled with these notes only:

A – B – C#- D – E – F# – G# – A

At left, every instance of eaxch of these scale tones is labeled. By playing the animation the basic logic of and principle behind the Five position CAGED System emerges. The positions each covering 4 or 5 frets, are simply there to accomodate your fretting hand. Allowing the hand stay and play in position increases your comfort level, pitch accuracy, and ability to find and play notes you hear.

To Internalize the positions and be able to peel them off, in tempo is your next and new challange. First, as you watch the animation at left practice playing the A ROOT NOTES along with 2 or 3 other scale tones in the position, doing your best to improvise music with these 2 or 3 other scale tones. As you work with the fretted root notes (String 6, fret V and String 5, fret XII) be aware of the finger you use to start the improvisation. In our version of the Five Position System, the fingers you’ll use to play the root notes of scales are

  • Finger 1
  • Finger 2
  • Finger 4
Position Playing, is a tremendous advantage in all areas of guitar playing especially,

  • reading music
  • learning instrumental songs and solos
  • improvising

Position Playing is a system of logical thinking, playing, ear training and neck management.

A Type Fingering Pattern…..

The Five Position System based on moveable scales. The open position A Major Scale becomes a highly useful moveable scale and integral part of the Five Position System with a little modification. From the standpoint of playing on the fly, categorize the A TYPE of scale as follows:

  • Root On String 5,
  • Begin With Finger 2.

G Type Fingering Pattern…..

The G TYPE of fingering pattern transposes neatly, cleany and unchanged all the way up the neck. A very powerful and useful scale shape in all styles of music, many Rock, Pop and Blues players often neglect the pattern.

  • Root On String 6,
  • Begin With Finger 4.

E Type Fingering Pattern…..

The E TYPE of Scale is one of the most well known and widely used major scale patterns. although tins is only one of 5 scale shapes, many people view this as the major scale fingering pattern.

  • Root On String 6,
  • Begin With Of Finger 2.
E Type fingering pattern, all notes in position IV

D Type Fingering Pattern…..

The C TYPE of scale pattern contains coverss one complete octave and has both an upper and lower extention. The play along ear training exercise below features the stepwise sound of these extentions. In the Five Position System organize the C TYPE of scale pattern around twio critical facts.

  • Root On String 6,
  • Begin With A Stretch Of Finger 1.
D Type fingering pattern, all notes in position VI

C Type Fingering Pattern…..

The C TYPE is of course common among Country and Traditional players but is also suprisingly a perennial favorite among Jazz and Rhythm and Blues musicians.

  • Root On String 5.
  • Begin With Finger 4.
C Type fingering pattern, all notes in position IX

file1Link to animated visualization exercises concerning the Five Position System and its application to the key of A Major.


Here we’ve focused our Five CAGED Position System on the key of A. As you study and practice this lesson be aware of our four cornerstones of thinking and functioning within the Five Position System:

  • Visualizing The Fingering Patterns.
  • Playing The Scales And Scale Passages As Play Along Ear Training Exercises.
  • Knowing The Root Notes Of The Scale Located On Strings Six And Five.
  • The Finger Used To Begin The Pattern.

Playing and improvising in the key of A ideally involves shifting freely between the 5 scale patterns, moving up and down the neck as your musical demands. To that end, we suggest using the animated visualization and improvisation exercise as part of an extended daily warmup.


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