CAGED Chords Introduction

CAGED Chords Introduction

Today, I will show you how to create thousands of chords all over the fretboard from 5 familiar shapes. Not only will you be able to develop these chords in any key, but you will also be able to connect them.

The CAGED Chords

You are probably already familiar with the five chords that make up the CAGED system. They are the open position chords of C Major, A Major, G Major, E Major, and D Major, which spell out the word CAGED.

Open Position

C Major A Major G Major E Major D Major

From the open position chords, we can then create a movable version of each chord. To convert the chords, all we have to do is fret the notes that are normally played on the open strings. Which creates chord shapes that look like this:

Movable Shapes

C Shape A Shape G Shape E Shape D Shape

Some of these forms may be challenging to play, but you do not necessarily have to play the complete chord form. All you really need to make a major chord is a triad consisting of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th scale degrees. In fact, one of the best parts of the CAGED chords is you can play smaller versions of the chords and discover handy ways to play chords of the fretboard.

Once you have memorized the shapes, you must learn where the root note is in each shape and how they are connected to unlock the CAGED system's full power.

The chord shapes are always in the same order as CAGED. Regardless of what shape you start on, you would continue to the next letter. After D, it repeats back to C, then to A, etc.

For example, let's say you wanted to play an F major chord. You most likely already know the E Shape with the root note on the 1st Fret of the 6th string. You could then play the D shape with the root on the 4th string, starting on the 3 Fret and so on through the rest of the letters, eventually ending back at the E shape.

Try this exercise for creating the 5 shapes for a B Major chord.

While there is a lot more that can be covered on the CAGED chords, this introduction's goal was to show you how the chords are created, how to connect them, and how to identify the root notes.