March 17, 2015


Hi there,

The CAGED system is a way of integrating all your scales, chords and arpeggios together in a way that’s holistic and organised.

In simple terms there are 5 key chord shapes, C, A, G, E and D.
These 5 shapes allow you to play any type of chord in 5 different positions on the neck.
This in turn will provide you with a wealth of options when playing and writing songs.
Let’s take Major chords as an example.

What you can do is take your common C,A,G,E and D major open chords and learn how to move them up the neck to create 60 chords in total.

C major has an open G (3rd) and an open High E (1st) string when you play it.

  • The correct way to finger the open chord is by using your 3rd, 2nd and 1st fingers.
  • Now, free up your first finger by playing it with your 4th,3rd and 2nd fingers
  • This means you can ‘barre’ the G and E strings with your first finger when you move the chord up the neck
  • -From the photo below you can see that the C major chord can be moved up 2 frets so that the root note is on the 5th fret A string. This is one of your common ‘barre chords’
  • As you can see from the picture you can play C major in 5 different shapes across the neck, all with different tonal qualities for different uses.

  • Have a look at the other picture showing how to play F#major in the CAGED shapes
  • There are 12 keys in music so 5×12 is 60 chords!

This can then be applied to all your other types of chords , Minor, Major 7, Minor7, Dominant 7 etc.
Thanks for reading


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