What is the ‘CAGED’ system?

The 'CAGED' system is a way of visualising the guitar that gives you a point of reference for chords and scales in any position.

The system  breaks the guitar down into 5 positions built on the basic (cowboy) chord shapes C, A, G, E and D. It connects the chords in that order as you move up the neck hence the name 'CAGED'.

'CAGED' is not style specific, jazz master Joe Pass talks about organising the guitar around these shapes as do many of the rock, country, bluegrass and acoustic legends.

In my playing and teaching I have found this to be the most efficient method to set up core structures which allow for a solid, musical approach. I can move out from 'CAGED' but it is always home base.

As the guitar in standard tuning is really built to accommodate these shapes it only makes sense to use them as your point of reference when you want or need to move up the neck.

The system is fairly simple to understand but like all things guitar it takes a bit of work to get comfortable with. The way I use and teach the 'CAGED' system a lot of the trouble people have understanding modes is no longer a problem. It's all about the music.

The basic scale system is shown in my book 'Scale Shapes', which is available as a free download from the store on this site. Of course this is only the raw material and you will need some help to apply it and use it as a part of your guitar playing.

If you want to understand how best to apply 'CAGED' to your playing give me a call or drop me an email and let's see if we can set up a time to get together.

Cheers, Ross

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