MEAT & POTATOES: IONIAN MODE

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C major scale box shapes

In BLOGoZON No.24 the individual box shapes for the C MAJOR SCALE - also known as the IONIAN MODE - were presented using the CAGED octaves methodology.

CAGED octaves logo

In this weeks BLOGoZON the box shapes are revisited individually but they are also brought together in one exercise that covers every single shape chain-linked together to cover the length of the neck.

The CAGED octaves sequence is shown for C natural in the diagram that follows:-

C natural CAGED octaves

GuitarPro6 C natural octaves

The diagrams that follow shows all of the C major scale (Ionian mode) notes plotted over the 6-string guitar's

fretboard in both the Guitar Pro and CAGED octaves styles:-

GuitarPro6 fingerboard

C ionian note names

A more long term solution to fretboard navigation is to see scales/modes/arpeggios as INTERVAL shapes rather than note names - as these are universal to all scales, modes, arpeggios and chords rather than specific to one particular root note - with this in mind the intervals for the C major scale (Ionian mode)
are detailed below in the CAGED octaves manner:-

C ionian intervals

All scales (and modes for that matter) have an underlying triad - 3 note chord - that defines their tonality.

In the case of the C major scale this is the C major arpeggio - hence the notes for an C major triad are shown the CAGED octaves style in the next diagram.

C arpeggio notes

Similarly the intervals forming a C major arpeggio are shown next:-

C arpeggio intervals

The C major arpeggio box shapes are explored in detail in BLOGoZON No.28.

The table and tabbed panel below detail all five box shapes for the C major scale (ionian mode) in the CAGED octaves style.


CAGED octaves - C major scale box shapes

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5C2 pdf
5A3 pdf
6G3G1 pdf
6E4E1 pdf
4D2 pdf
5C2 at 12 pdf

  • 5C2
  • 5A3
  • 6G3G1
  • 6E4E1
  • 4D2
  • 5C2 at 12


  • 5C2
  • 5A3
  • 6G3G1
  • 6E4E1
  • 4D2
  • 5C2 at 12

5C2 box

5A3 box

6G3G1 box

6E4E1 box

4D2 box

5C2 at 12 box



Once the individual box shapes have been assimilated all five shapes should be linked together and played in one continuous exercise (with the first shape - 5C2 - being repeated at the 12th fret).

The video shown to the right demonstrates the CAGED octaves chain-linked sequence for the C major scale box shapes.


The complete TAB for the previous exercise follows:-

C major scale box shape TAB


The box shapes for the previous exercise follow:-

C major scale box shapes

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C major scale box shapes pdf

C major scale box shapes TAB pdf


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