2 The CAGED System

The CAGED System

This is a clever way of seeing the notes on a fretboard. Knowing this method will help you play all over the guitar neck and will completely open up your playing! The CAGED system takes the most important notes from a scale (that's the Root, Major 3rd, and the Perfect 5th) and puts them on every string. We then get a pattern that looks very similar to this:


Right now, it looks like a bunch or notes on a guitar, how could we remember that?

That's where the name comes in. CAGED is made up of the chords C, A, G, E, and (you guessed it) D. IF we look at the shapes in a little more detail, you may notice the pattern on the fretboard, with the chords starting at C, then going to A, and it carries on.

[picture of them broken down]

If we put all the notes in and highlight where the chords are, we will get a fretboard that looks a little bit like this, and we can see where the notes overlap and how the chords look together.

This is incredibly useful for memorising the fret board and is encouraged to do so for beginners. Not only will it help you remember the notes, but it will let you move up and down the fretboard without worrying what the next note will be, because you have the anchor notes in place that will always be in the same key as they are the main notes!

I'd suggest starting with the root notes first and once you know where they are, move on to the perfect 5ths. Once you have those 2 down you will get a better idea of where the 3rds go as they will be in-between the root and the 5th. Starting with this skeleton will help you build on it with time. You will start to see the shapes come together and be able to say which chord is which and what the next one would be too.

The beautiful thing about the CAGED system is that you can move it  up or down depending on the key, so you don't have to relearn everything all over again, you will just have to move the shapes up or down a few frets, so make sure you learn it in a few different positions!