5 Important Chords - CAGED System Explained
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A goldmine of information lies within the CAGED system! It's by no means the perfect solution for everyone, but it has aided many a guitarist in making sense of how notes repeat on the guitar and by using shapes, change the information to any key.

This blog title is your standard clickbait, however, in this case it really is true! The CAGED system stands for the 5 open major chord shapes and the order in which they link. Trying to not confuse things, but although the system works by relating to the open chords C-A-G-E-D, the system is best to learn using closed (fretted) chords so the knowledge is transposable (can change the key).


To start, our reference is based around the shape of the open C chord, however, to gain the benefit we're aiming for, we'll be using a closed D chord as open strings won't allow us to move the shape into any key. Using the diagrams, the chord shape is the first thing to get down, this is your main reference that points to the particular shapes' key tones (root, major third and 5th) and around that, the tablature will show the major pentatonic (five note scale) that fits around each chord. The principal for the all of the shapes is that we are staying in the key of D major, but using these 5 shapes, in their order, we generate a system of how we can repeat notes diatonically across the whole fretboard.

Even this first step will take some time, you're learning the system from scratch but the more you use it and learn how it works, everything else will start to come quicker. What the aim would be after you've sat with the major shapes and scale is to repeat the process but turning everything minor. Not to go too in depth, but if you nail the major and minor pentatonic version of the CAGED system, when it comes to learning modes (the other scales that are diatonic to a key), you will only have to add in certain notes to get the flavour of other scales, rather than having to replace notes from full 7 note scales, which is more confusing in the short term, and far more work in the long run!

The premise that these are the 5 most important chords you need, is bold but comes down to the fact that everything else you learn within this system, is building off these initial 5 major shapes. It will take some time but if this method of learning works for you, no matter the chord or scale, you will eventually know how to find the information anywhere on the guitar, ad know how it will repeat by keeping the CAGED system as your reference.

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