At one point in your guitar journey there comes a time where you hear about the CAGED system. You hear how wondrous it can be at unlocking the fretboard, you hear about how much it can help with your overall understanding of the fretboard, and how it’s the secret to making sense of the fretboard.
But seldom is it discussed as to why you need to learn the CAGED system. So here are 5 reasons why the CAGED system will certainly benefit you and your understanding of the fretboard:
1.) The Capo – The CAGED system can inform you on where to put the capo to retain a song’s key but use different chord shapes. So often the capo is only seen as a key changing device… that is really only one aspect of it. With the CAGED system and the capo you can accomplish so much more than just changing keys.
2.) Transposition – The CAGED system because of it’s systematic nature, allows you to quickly and easily transpose a song to a different key without having to even reach for a capo.
3.) Alternate Chord Voicings – Different chord voicings sound hard, but with the CAGED system, they are very easy especially if you know how each chord shape in the CAGED system connects to the next.
4.) Adding Sonic Layers – If you are at a jam and want to add a little different sound to the music you can use the CAGED system to inform other ways to play a chord shape. This will allow you to add more sonic layers to a song being played at a jam and give the song more depth.
5.) Dividing the Fretboard Into Manageable Chunks – This is the most important reason you should learn CAGED. The CAGED system allows you to divide the fretboard into 5 distinct sections making it much more manageable to organize chord shapes. CAGED is not just for chord shapes though, it goes well beyond chord shapes into the realm of organizing scales, seeing how scales connect, and it lays a solid framework for improvisation.
When you first find information on CAGED it may seem a little bit disorienting, and that’s ok because I was disoriented too until I figured out the core elements of what makes CAGED so darn useful. See, with CAGED you need to know only two core things:
1.) The 5 Basic Chord Shapes C, A, G, E, and D – You need to know how to make them, and the most important part, the fact that they can become moveable by converting them to barre chords.
2.) Root Note Location – The Root note is the lowest bass note that defines the chord. Each of the 5 chord shapes has their root note located on a specific string. Knowing this makes the moveable shapes much more useful because now you can name them.
It would be hard to fully describe and start teaching CAGED right here due to limitations so I want you to check out video 2 of my FREE foundational five workshop series. In video 2 I go into detail on CAGED and show you how all of the things I just discussed are connected and most importantly, what you can do to apply them to the guitar immediately.