Hey I’m Nate Savage and in this intermediate
guitar lesson where we’re going to cover a very important and almost magical method
for navigating the fretboard called the CAGED system. Now this is going to be great for
your rhythm guitar playing and lead guitar playing. And it doesn’t matter what style
of music you’re into, it’s going to open up a whole new world of fretboard coverage
for you. If you’re a rock guitar player who’s been
using the three note per string system to navigate the fretboard this is going to be
a great lesson for you because it’s just going to supplement that and open up some
new doors for you and help you see the fretboard in a different light. It’s going to be great
for your playing. Now, at the end of this lesson I have a jam track for you that’s
going to give you something fun to practice the CAGED system with, so be looking forward
to that. The CAGED system is a simple way to connect
a series of chords shapes up the fretboard to play all of the different shapes for one
specific chord. Now, this may seem confusing to you, but the more you go through this lesson
by the end of it you’ll start to see what I’m talking about. The first step to understanding the CAGED
system, or the CAGED sequence, is to just know your open chords C A G E D. So I won’t
go into to much detail with this right now because if you are an intermediate guitar
player I’m sure you already know this. But let’s just go through these open chords
real quick. C A G E and D for the last one. The next step you need to get down to understand
the CAGED sequence is just to realize that all those chords, open chords we just went
over, are moveable, and the best way to explain this to you is by something that you probably
already know and that’s just your regular bar chords. Now if you’ve been playing for
any amount of time you probably know that you can use this E shape this open E shape
as a bar chord right. So if I want to play a C bar chord using the E shape I would come
up and bar the eighth fret right. It’s a C chord using that E shape. Now you can do the same thing with your A
chord too. And a lot of guitar players, if you know your bar chords, know this one too.
If you wanted to play a C bar chord using the A shape you would just use your index
finger across the third fret and make the rest of the shape right. Probably nothing
new for you. Now you can apply that exact same concept
of chord movability to your C, G, and D chords as well. So for example if you have your open
C you can make that into a bar chord just like you did with your E and A chords. Just
move it up two frets and put your bar down on your second fret, and you would end up
with a D chord using the C shape. Same thing with your G chord. If you had just
your open G shape and you moved it up two frets and then put your bar down on the second
fret you would have an A chord using the G shape. And then finally the same thing with
your D chord. If you have an open D what you could do is apply that exact same concept.
Just move it up two frets and then come back here and your index finger would be like an
open string now. If you com play the second fret of the D string that would be an E chord
using the D shape. So what you need to do is get used to moving
these shapes around like bar chords with this G, C and D shape. Now let me tell you, these
shapes are pretty impractical. You rarely ever see anybody playing this shape. A lot
of people omit the bottom two notes and just play just the top four strings. But it’s
important that you can visualize that shape and where it comes from. Same thing for the
C shape. A lot of people don’t even bother with that lowest root note and just play the
top four strings. And then for the D shape a lot of people omit that root and just play
the top three and just move that around. The heart of the CAGED sequence is this. You
can use different chord voicings or shapes to play the same chord all the way up the
fretboard using the CAGED sequence of chords. Let me show you what I mean. Start with an
open C chord, and we’re going to kind of be in the key of C for the rest of this lesson.
We’re using a C chord right, that’s no problem. Now what’s the next chord in the
CAGED sequence? C A. So you are going to use an A shape to play a C chord. And the way
you find that is to take the root note that’s highest up the fretboard and use that root
note as your root notes that’s farthest down the fretboard as a base for your next
shape. So that root note is the farthest up the fretboard and it will become the lowest
down the fretboard for your A shape. And the key here is to visualize that C and then visualize
the A shaped C chord. And it kind of all hinges on that root note right there. So what’s the next chord in the sequence?
C A G. That means you are going to use a G shape to play a C chord. And the same little
rule applies. Take the root note that’s farthest up the fretboard and use that as
your lowest root note in the next shape. So you have a G shape and you’re playing a
C chord. And again it’s really important to visualize the next chord before you move
to it and be really aware of where all your root notes are at the same time too. The next letter in the sequence is C A G E.
So you are going to use an E chord shape to play a C chord, and that is the exact same
concept right. If you left off on this G you are going to use the root note that’s highest
up the fretboard as your lowest root note for the next shape up. So this is just a regular
C bar chord using the E shape. Again visualize and hop between those two. And we are only
using C chords right now but this works with every chord so it’s really powerful. Alright there is only one letter left in our
sequence. C A G E D. And the exact same thing applies again. You’re going to want to be
able to visualize the highest root note up the fretboard in this E shape and use that
as the lowest or root note that’s farthest down the fretboard for your D shape. And that’s
this right here first finger tenth fret of the D string. And then again you’re going
to want to visualize that before you move to it. So that’s pretty much it for the CAGED sequence.
And you may be thinking “Well that’s great, but how does it apply to playing the guitar?”.
Let me tell you right now, it applies to rhythm guitar as far as working your chords up the
fretboard. It applies to lead guitar, pentatonic scales, modal scales, arpeggios… all that
stuff. This is really just the tip of the iceberg. So let’s just go through this CAGED sequence
again in the key of C or with a C chord right. There is your open C, the A shape, G shape,
E shape, D shape, and then you get back to your same C shape right here. And the cool
thing about this is. Instead of being stuck with just an open C chord or an E shaped bar
chord or an A shaped bar chord you now have tones of places you can play the same chord
on the guitar. To help you grasp this CAGED sequence even
further let’s go over another chord real quick. Let’s choose a D chord and I’m
just going to start with an open D, and that’s a D shape right. So you would start on that
shape in the sequence, C A G E D. So actually we’re starting at the end of the sequence.
The next shape you would want is the C. Go back around to the beginning and use the C
shape. And you took the highest root note right here and made it the lowest root note
of that C shape. Next in the sequence is an A, so you are going to use an A shape to play
a D chord right. Next in the sequence is a G, so you are going to use a G shape to play
a D chord. Again you don’t have to use all the strings just the top four if you want.
Next in the sequence is an E, so an E shaped bar chord there to play a D. And finally we’re
back where we started using the D shape to play a D chord. To help you get a handle on this CAGED sequence
I have a jam track for you. It’s basically just a groove over a C major chord. And what
you’re gonna want to do is work on shifting through these chord shapes all the way up
and down the fretboard and really visualizing them before you move to them. Now let me say
this. This is a lot of information. If you don’t quite understand this yet that’s
totally fine. Go back and watch this lesson as many times as you need to for it to start
clicking. Here is how you can use this jam track to work on the CAGED sequence with the
C chord. This is really just the tip of the iceberg
as far as what you can do with the CAGED sequence. You can use this for you chord positions all
the way up and down the fretboard, your pentatonic scales, modal scales, arpeggios, just tons
of stuff. The important things are that you learn to visualize the chords shapes on the
fretboard before you move to them and drill different chords in different keys all the
time. You know pick one chord a day or one chord a week and just really work on getting
that one down. The Guitar System contains an entire section
on fretboard navigation and the CAGED system and everything you can do with it is included
there. So if you are interested in this you might want to check that out. Thanks for watching.
If you liked this lesson just like the video or leave a comment below to let me know. I
just launched a brand new guitar lesson series that you can get right now for free. Just
go to GuitarLessons.com/free-series and I’ll see you there.