Beginner Chords tutorials
8. The CAGED system for major chords
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So what you're saying is that when you are annoyed with a chord, you put it in a cage?

  1. Topics of discussion
  2. The CAGED system for major chords

1. Topics of discussion

In this tutorial, we will be learning how to play major chords all over the guitar by making use of the CAGED system. So, let's have some fun.

2. The CAGED system for major chords

The CAGED system is a vrey useful tool which helps you play chords all around the fretboard. Its name comes from the 5 different chord forms we use to play chords. We've played around with these forms a little bit until now.

The name of each form is based on the chord you can play on a guitar without using a barre. The C form looks like this and is basically a C chord:

E|---0---|
B|---1---|
G|---0---|
D|---2---|
A|---3---|
E|-------|

The A form looks something like this:

E|---0---|
B|---2---|
G|---2---|
D|---2---|
A|---0---|
E|-------|

The G form looks something like this:

E|---3---|
B|---0---|
G|---0---|
D|---0---|
A|---2---|
E|---3---|

The E form looks something like this:

E|---0---|
B|---0---|
G|---1---|
D|---2---|
A|---2---|
E|---0---|

And finally, the D form looks something like this:

E|---2---|
B|---3---|
G|---2---|
D|---0---|
A|-------|
E|-------|

Now that we have the forms defined, it's time to figure out what in music's name should we do with them. Well, it's like this. What if we take a form, say the C form, and move it a tone (or step) higher? We get a D chord with the following form:

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D chord

Here is the chord played back:

The idea behind the CAGED system is to use these forms to play what is known as different chord voicings (or variations) of a chord in order to add a little bit of variety to your playing.

In order to be able to figure out which chord goes where, we need to remind ourselves of the notes you can find on a guitar:

By combining this with figuring out where the root note of each chord form is, we will be able to figure out which chord is where based on the form we are using.

The C form has the root note located on the A and B strings, the A form has the root note located on the A and D strings, the G form has the root note located on the thick E, G and thin E strings, the E form has the root note located on the thick E, D and thin E strings and the D form has the root note located on the D and B strings.

Let's take the C chord and play it using every one of the forms above. First off, the C form, which we are already familiar with:

EADGBE123X
C chord

Here it is played back:

Let's move on to the A form:

EADGBE14321X
C chord

Here it is played back:

Let's move on to the G form (which you will probably hate):

5EADGBE411123
C chord

Here it is played back:

I'm thinking you're still here, so let's move on to the E form:

8EADGBE112431
C chord

Here it is played back

And finally, let's move on to the D form:

10EADGBE3421XX
C chord

Here it is played back:

That about covers it for this tutorial. In the next one, we will be taking a look at the CAGED system for minor chords, as there are a few differences. See you then.

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