MEAT & POTATOES: IONIAN MODE

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C major-minor arpeggio box shapes

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In BLOGoZON No.100 the box shapes for the C major blues scale were demonstrated but as with all scales there is an underlying triad (3 note chord) which defines that scale's overall tonality. Usually this is either a major or minor chord (depending on the type of third present in the particular scale being analysed), however blues scales are special in this regard as they have an underlying 4-note chord. In the case of the C major blues scale the underlying 4-note chord is the major-minor which is the summation of both a major (1, 3, 5) and a minor (1, 3, 5) triad (with the 1 and the 5 being common to both chords).

The easiest example of the MAJOR-MINOR ARPEGGIO is rooted on C natural, hence the CAGED octaves sequence is shown for C natural in the diagram that follows:-

CAGED octaves C natural

GuitarPro6 C natural octaves

The diagram that follows shows all of the C major-minor arpeggio notes plotted over the 6-string guitar's fretboard in the CAGED octaves styles:-

CAGED octaves C major-minor arpeggio notes

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-minor arpeggio are detailed below in the CAGED octaves manner:-

CAGED octaves C major-minor arpeggio intervals

The table and tabbed panel below details all five box shapes for the C major-minor arpeggio for the 6-string guitar in the CAGED octaves style.


CAGED octaves C major-minor arpeggio box shapes

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5Cm2 pdf
5Am3 pdf
6Gm3Gm1 pdf
6Em4Em1 pdf
4Dm2 pdf
5Cm2 at 12 pdf

  • 5Cm2
  • 5Am3
  • 6Gm3mG1
  • 6Em4Em1
  • 4Dm2
  • 5Cm2 at 12


  • 5Cm2
  • 5Am3
  • 6Gm3Gm1
  • 6Em4Em1
  • 4Dm2
  • 5Cm2 at 12

5Cm2 box

5Am3 box

6Gm3Gm1 box

6Em4Em1 box

4Dm2 box

5Cm2 box at 12



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-minor arpeggio box shapes TAB


The box shapes for the previous exercise follow:-

C major-minor arpeggio box shapes

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C major-minor arpeggio box shapes

C major-minor arpeggio box shapes TAB


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