This is the first of a new series of Basics Lessons to help anyone build or fill in the gaps of their fundamental guitar chord knowledge. To start things off, I decided to cover some aspects of the CAGED system.
The CAGED System is a way of learning the guitar fretboard in standard EADGBE tuning. The chord shapes that form the basis of this system are C, A, G, E, and D, hence spelling CAGED. By learning these shapes in open position, we will be able to learn the entire fretboard since same shapes reappear as barre chords.
This first lesson introduces the fives shapes in the four common triad chord qualities: Major, Minor, Diminished and Augmented. There are many ways of fingering these chords but this lesson will give a few to start with.
Lesson Audio Intro:
Example 1 begins with a very common C Major open position voicing. For C minor and C diminished, I included two examples each, one directly derived from the first voicing and a second one that is perhaps easier to play. The C Augmented voicing may be played with or without the open first string.
In Example 2, the A Major and A minor voicing are standard followed by the less seen A diminished voicing. The A Augmented voicing here is a common and practical voicing.
In Example 3, only the G Major shape is very common. The other triad voicings are used less but still very useful to know.
Example 4 features popular E Major and E minor voicings follow by a less common E diminished voicing and an E Augmented voicing which is the shape at the C Augmented shape we looked at earlier but with the addition of the open 6th string.
In Example 5, the four D shape voicings are all practical and relatively easy to play.
And that concludes our lesson! For practice suggestions, listen to my spoken lesson outro:
Related Resources: (links to external sites)
- My 2006 blog post on CAGED Major Scale fingerings!
- Jordan Klemons on The CAGED System Part 1 (with diagrams on how the shapes connect)
Till next time,
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