Now we have learned all five basic bar chord shapesSo now it is time to talk about the CAGED system. The CAGED system is just a particular pattern that exists on a guitar fretboard, and it has absolutely nothing to do with a cage. It is a mere coincidence that the two words are alike, because in any other language it would also be called CAGED. I will show you why. I explain the system in the video, along with clear diagrams and text below.





Pattern... understand the pattern!

The CAGED system simply shows the repetition of all major bar chord shapes and their corresponding scale patterns on the guitar fretboard. To understand this it is easiest to look at the C major scale:


C D E F G A B (C)


Get it? Haha... well just looking at it like that won't really help. Right. Let's look at where all those notes are on the fretboard:


C major scale (root note, C, in green)



Well. Nice. But you may still not see the pattern. Let's look at the triads of the C major chord spelled out for us.

C major scale triads (C, E and G) in green


Nicer... Maybe now you can see the bar chord shapes hidden inside. But just in case you don't get it yet, look at this:



C major scale triads pattern, root note C marked with red circle

CAGED C Scale Chords With Root Shown Guitarguitar

 Click on picture to enlarge.

 Note that I simplified it slightly by not adding certain intervals, just to make the pattern clearer.

Boom! Mind blown?

Did I just blow your mind? I hope so! What you can see on the diagram is that the bar chord shapes that you have learnt (shown now only for major, below) are repeating after each other on the fretboard. if you would elongate the fretboard they would repeat indefinately like C A G E D C A G E D C A G E ... etc.


C shape
A shape
G shape


E shape
D shape








The point of this is that you can figure out at least 5 different ways to fret any chord you want, based on these five shapes. So if you want to take a D chord, you have 4 additional opportunities to fret it in addition to the open form. This is really going to "open up" the fretboard for you, and this knowledge is an essential knowledge for all guitarists who want to be able to play good rhytm guitar.

To get you started, let's think about the D major chord. If we want to play it in the next shape all you need to think is "C A G E D C". The next shape will be the C shape, so  you will have the root on your pinky finger on the fifth fret (where there is a D), and then you just fret the C shape - voilá, a D major chord =). After that you have the C A G E D = A shape. An so on.


Sometimes only parts of the shape is enough

As I mentioned before, sometimes you only need to play parts of a shape, and it will still sound good. You sould try to experiment alittl ebit.


The next lesson - more chords!

In the next lesson we are going to build on out bar chord repertoir additionally by learning 7, m7 and M7 bar chords. That will be the last lesson of the beginner guitar course, as we are now scraping on intermediate level guitar playing. Click here to get to the next lesson