The CAGED Chord system, all roads lead to Dollywood

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Clifford-D, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    How do you use the concept of the CAGED Chord system in your life?

    How did you come to understand it?

    How have you "stretched" the concept into new ways to think it?

    How have you simplified the concept?

    How many here have simplified it down to two shapes, not five?

    How many here have created six unique fingerings?

    How many people here look at it as one "map" type picture?


    How many here have their own stories about the CAGED chord system to share?
     
  2. H_V_C

    H_V_C Supporting Member

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    I'm just about to start a flick with the lady. I'm saving this space, I'll be back!
     
  3. smj

    smj Member

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    Honestly, I must be dense, I still don't even know what the CAGED system is. I actually did try to watch lessons on YT as to what it was, how it was used...etc... but I didn't get it... nor how it would help me..

    :dunno

    Sean Meredith-Jones
    www.seanmeredithjones.com
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I use it as a basis for teaching major scale positions and finding common chord voicings on the guitar neck. From there, I teach the student to identify any interval relative to the root. Then we start altering tones to create whatever scale, chord, or arpeggio they need.

    I do want to point out that before we get to CAGED the student can play (and improvise with) the major scale along a string. I'm "allergic" to position playing and try to help people avoid getting stuck in boxes. I think by starting with moving along the string first, then introducing the CAGED boxes, that it helps the student play what they want to hear, not what their fingers want to play.

    Ultimately, CAGED is a useful way to view the guitar neck.
     
  5. Silver

    Silver Member

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    I'd never heard of it until I came here to be honest. I'm assuming it's; Open C chord shape, open A chord shape, G chord shape, etc... Up or down the neck with the same root as a way of learning to navigate or map out the fretboard. I think if you were to be shown your first few chords and maybe one scale box shape and then left completely alone with it for a while, it's a fairly natural way to learn the fretboard. Was for me anyway. Wouldn't say I use it as such, it's just kind of there.
     
  6. cubistguitar

    cubistguitar Supporting Member

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    I guess I have seen the material, but never really read it. I understood already that a scale has multiple ways of being fingered across the fretboard and just kinda gradually figured out where stuff was. I suppose this can accelerate ones knowledge of where some patterns line up on the neck. Relating chord shapes to scale positions is positive I suppose. I often work chords a while before I get into my scales-- makes me look at them differently. Less a finger workout -more an interval thing.
     
  7. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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    I've never actually studied the CAGED system. I kind of understand the concept though. I think I am aware of its existance when playing but usually just because I stumbled across it.

    I use chord tones for the bulk of my soloing and because of this I end up looking for triads and chord shapes wherever I can find them. So, if I am in fact using CAGED, (which would be subconsciously since I really haven't studied it) I suppose I'm using it to move around the fret board and keep myself from playing in one position, and keep it melodic rather than scalar playing.
     
  8. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Maybe I can help.

    The CAGED Chords System is simple

    1. It starts with the five "cowboy" chords. The E A G D and C chords. Rearrange them so they spell the word CAGED.

    2. Now, if you can, think of these five chords as five physical shapes on the fretboard, let's look at the E shape, one of the most important shapes.

    - The E shape, and how the shape can move up and down the neck and gets renamed

    .E......F.......G. etc...
    -0-----1-----3
    -0-----1-----3
    -1-----2-----4
    -2-----3-----5
    -2-----3-----5
    -0-----1-----3-etc...

    Most of us are aware of this E shape and how the shape goes up and down the neck. This is true for all five shapes, up and down, names change, same shape,,


    The next important feature of the CAGED chords is NOT BY DESIGN, just a freak of nature.

    1. Play a C chord (cowboy style).
    - Now let's find the other four C chords by moving up the neck,,

    2. The next C chord up the neck will use the A SHAPE.

    .C using C shape........C using A shape
    ----------------------------------------------
    -1-----------------------5-------------------
    -0-----------------------5-------------------
    -2-----------------------5-------------------
    -3-----------------------3-------------------
    ----------------------------------------------

    The C chord moves up the neck and uses all five shapes, and that SPELLS the word CAGED, just a strange coincidence,,,

    The C chord moving up the neck using all five shapes
    C shape.....A shape.....G shape.......E shape.......D shape
    ----------------------8----------8---------12
    -1----------5---------5----------8---------13
    -0----------5---------5----------9---------12
    -2----------5---------5---------10---------!0
    -3----------5---------7---------10-----------
    ----------------------8----------8-----------

    That is the basic concept, simplified,,,,done

    So
    Please raise your hand if you are confused, I kept this post short on words on purpose, so others can chime in and fill the holes.

    More advanced stuff to come, I hope I did a decent job at keeping this much of the CAGED chords simple to understand.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  9. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Supporting Member

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    I never really learned "the system" per say, I just kind of stumbled upon the concept by noticing patterns around the neck... and learning lots of chord and interval shapes.
     
  10. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    i just learned all the possible major chord inversions and practiced them in each key. before the"CAGED" system was a "thing". then, wait for it.......did it with minor chords.......
     
  11. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    So, what is a C chord?

    start with the C major scale
    C D E F G A B - C

    Next, put those notes in an order of 3rds,,
    C E G B D F A

    This new "3rds" order of C E G B D F A is how every chord in the C scale is made.

    CEG = C chord
    DFA = Dm chord
    EGB = Em chord
    FAC = F chord
    GBD = G chord
    ACE = Am chord
    BDF = B diminished chord

    Those are the basic triads you can get from the C major scale.

    All these chords and chord types like minor, diminished, major,, they are all candidates for the CAGED chords.
    Am can be found in each fretboard area for each of the five chord shape (CAGED shapes)

    But my example above only focused on the C chord and how it flows through all shapes.
    - Just get the hang of the simple C chord first, work with it.
    - try the same thing with the other four shapes (AGED), up and down the neck, they all move up and down the neck passing throw all five chord shapes. ie;

    Here is an Am chord up and down the neck.

    Am using all five shapes
    ..A.......G..........E...........D............C <<< shapes that make Am
    -------5------5-------8--------
    -1-----1------5------10-------10
    -2-----2------5-------9--------9
    -2-----2------7-------7-------10
    -0-----3------7---------------12
    -------5------5----------------

    You can see some of these chords are impossible to play all of it, like G.
    In more advanced playing we just grab two or three of the notes available.
    Advanced players simplify all the time, we look at beginners playing way too many notes in their chords, and the buzz from the hard bars,,,,,

    Here's what I might play for that Am, using all the shapes, I'll pick and chose.

    Am edited
    .A.............G...........E...........D...........C << shape
    ------------------------------------
    -1----------------5------10-------13
    -2--------2-------5-------9--------9
    -2--------2-------7-----------------
    ----------3-----------------------12
    --------------------------8---------

    I don't have to use all the notes just because they're there, edit out the difficulty. That's something an advanced player does without thinking, it's automatic.
     
  12. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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    Haha, this is what I find strange about the CAGED system. As I said, I never learned it, I did what buddyboy did. I learned chords...

    Not knocking CAGED, just didn't learn this way. I do see these shapes occur in my playing though, simply because they are unavoidable really. If I'm between the 4th and 7th fret and need an E chord I'm probably using the C fingering with the root on the A string, 7th fret, or at least part of that shape. Maybe something like this (which I think of as E in first inversion or E/G#):

    e|-4-|
    B|-5-|
    G|-4-|
    D|-6-|
    A|---|
    E|---|

    This is just the C shape without the root. But to a CAGED enthusiast, this might look like a blend of the C and D shapes, right? See it? Take that G# on the D string and drop it to an E (2nd fret) and there's the D shape.

    I'm not sure how things like this are accounted for in the CAGED system and I've truly never seen anyone explain how to learn minor chords very well with it. The fingerings become a bit awkward in my opinion.

    Thanks for the explanation above though. This is pretty much what I understood about the theory at this point. Perhaps I'll find a use for it in my playing at some point. :idea

     
  13. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    I've never heard of this.....it's a new one on me.
     
  14. H_V_C

    H_V_C Supporting Member

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    Right. Everything you just said here is spot on, and I've have the same feelings as well. Over time that "C" shape between the 4th and 7th fret that can be used as an E Major chord looks less and less as a "C" Shape" and more and more like you're playing an a standard major chord voice R-3-5-R-3. The concept of it being a "cowboy chord" just sort of falls away in my experience.

    I feel like the CAGED is useful to show beginners how shapes (intervallic structures) will be reproduced and reused in many ways all over the neck, but once the concept is ingrained, it should sort of dissolve in to learning the actual note relationships (and of course move on Minor, or 7th, tensions, and the like)

    And yes, several of the minor versions of the CAGED shapes are crazy awkward.
     
  15. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    I played for 24 years before I heard of CAGED in a Guitar Player mag taught by Joe Pass.

    They are totally unavoidable unless you strive to not reference it. But try to not think of a pink Telecaster, pretty hard not to reference it.


    yep



    No, it's not a blend, think of the CAGED chord fretboard territory, the D shape for an E chord is between the 2nd and 5th frets, that is the D's turf.
    The C shape occupies the area between the 4th fret and the 7th fret.
    Yes there is an overlap, but what decides it is where your hand is. If you play the 5th fret 2nd string with your pinky, your in the D shape turf,, if you play the same note with your middle finger, you are in the C shape.

    The CAGED chord system is no more than marked off territory.

    You've been doing it all along and aware it's there, but why not get as much knowledge of cracking the fretboard secrets that are so abundant?

    For example, in my op I asked if anyone has reduced the CAGED chords down to just two intervallic shapes? Now I'm talking intervals, and that leads to chords, arps, pents, triads,, the whole thing.

    Miles paraphrased Bird and said "learn it and forget it" Miles reduced Birds 1000 word explanation (lol) but very wordy and heady.. Miles always saw the simple line, he was a master at removing the fat, and getting to the heart.
    Miles would say "learn the CAGED chords and then forget it", let it be on the back burner, not as the commander but as a trusty advisor. A silent guide that shines the flashlight so you don't trip. An automatic system in place.

    Thank you for posting too

    "It's all about community", SK
     
  16. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    I don't remember any more. At some point I saw the chord shapes on the neck and used them as a basis for finding intervals. I learned the 3 notes per string "shapes" and Jimmy Bruno's 5 shapes.

    I think that using mental chord "overlays" in my mind led me to understanding what actually were modes.

    The downside of self learning is you end up sort of backing into everything. But ultimately it worked for me when it comes to using different chord inversions and especially to be able to transpose a song on the fly.
     
  17. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Err ... it looks like the C shape without the root. In my mind, the E on the A string lights up and I see that it is an E chord in the C shape.

    I do agree that the C shape and the D shape are similar. For that reason, I usually stress the C A G and E shapes.
     
  18. H_V_C

    H_V_C Supporting Member

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    Although the G shape used as a bar chord can be tricky too. I usually will use just the top 4 strings of that shape, and let another instrument handle the bass.
     
  19. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Just to be clear, I don't focus on teaching these as barre chords. It is more about visualizing the root, being comfortable with the major chord voicing, finding the major scale within each of the shapes, and then bending it to your will.

    Need an Eminmaj7? No problem. Identify a possible root note, figure out what chord tones you need, and you're on your way.
     
  20. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Here are all the D triads in the CAGED system, nothing is missing.

    This also reveals all the inversions, all

    -----------2----------5----------10
    ---------3----------7----------10
    -------2----------7----------11
    -----4----------7----------12
    ---5----------9----------12
    -5---------10----------14
     

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