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Kirk Lorange

CAGED lesson

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It takes quite a long time for us guitarists to see chords for what they really are: a batch of specific notes chosen from the scale. We tend to see chords as compact groupings of notes in familiar patterns but that's not really the full picture. Because chords are just a selection of notes, and notes repeat themselves all over the fretboard, then it follows that chords also repeat themselves all over the fretboard. They do that in a very specific way, and that's what this lesson is all about.

Lets look at a C major chord. C is always a good example because the key of C uses all natural notes, so there are no pesky # or b signs to muddle the brain.

The C chord is the result of selecting the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the C scale. The scale is C D E F G A B, so those three notes are C, E and G. Play them together, and you've played a C major chord.

If you mark all the C, E and G notes on a guitar fretboard, this is what you get:

CGEblue.gif<br>... which looks like this as dots.

caged1blue.gif<br><br> This is the pattern made by all the chord tones of C. This pattern is referred to as the CAGED pattern because it consists of all the open chord shapes -- the C shape, the A shape, the G shape, the E shape and the D shape -- strung end to end. Here they are below. I used the word "form" instead of shape. Same thing, in this case. You should be able to see each of these as open chords moved up the fretboard and barred. Even if you never use some of these AS chords, it's important that you know where those moveable shapes are for whatever chord.<br><br>cchordsblue.gif<br><br>They then start repeating past the 12th fret, one octave above:<br>ccblue.gif<br><br>Here they are again:<br /><br />cagedblue.gif<br /><br />From left to right, you can see the green square contains a good old C chord; the lilac square contains the barred A shaped version; the blue square is the G shaped C chord, not one you'd use very often; the orange square contains the barred E form version of C major; the red box contains the D shaped version, and then we're back to a C shape and octave up. Notice how the boxes overlap, how all the shapes share notes.

THAT's a C chord. That whole fretboard, as depicted above is a C major chord, or I guess I should say a 'potential' C chord. It's also potential melody and harmony, since both use the same notes as the chord.

And how is this helpful, you may ask? Well, if you want to have complete freedom on the guitar, you have to be able to use every part of the fretboard; there should be no grey areas, no off-limit places, no scary bits. When I started playing, anything past the first 4 or 5 frets was no-go-zone. Way too scary to venture up there ... I marvelled at anyone who could go playing way up there without a net below. What I didn't realize was that they were not measuring everything from the nut up, as I was. For me, way back then, the nut was my zero mark ... my point of reference. I was counting up from there to keep track of what I was playing, to remember where notes were. It was when I decided to let music herself show me the way, not that physical place where the strings ended, that all of a sudden I began to see the light.

The movie shows me playing through all those CAGED pattern notes. These are all 1-3-5's of a C chord, and it sounds like an opera singer warming up. If you want to practice this (which would be a GREAT thing to practice), just play all the notes in the graphics above.

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There've been a few questions about CAGED ... I forgot that I did a lesson called 'The Anatomy of a C Chord' quite a while ago that goes into it all. It's an old lesson, so the movie is quite blurred.

http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=292

It should shed some more light on the subject.

Kirk--

I know this is an old post. But I wanted to bump this thread up and help keep CAGED alive! It's a really great tool for understanding the neck of the guitar for guitarist of any level. Thanks for your contributions. :guitardude:

Steve

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This is a neat lesson. I'm impressed that Kirk does this lesson on the CAGED system, recognizing that there are a lot of people who are interested in it, and never even puts in a plug for his system "PlaneTalk" which I think is much easier to understand. Very cool.:thumbup1:

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Excellent lesson! I've been practicing just finding chord tones for one chord, and find

I can do it for 20 minutes and not get tired of looking for more notes. There seems to

be no end to the possibilities.

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I have looked at quite alot of guitar books and videos in my years of playing, and this is, by far, the most simplified and easy to understand breakdown of the CAGED system. You kept it short and sweet, just like it should be. If only I would have been shown this the first day I picked up a guitar, they should give a copy of this system to everyone when they first get a guitar. I read so much and yet didnt come across the CAGED system til I heard about it through a friend and looked into it myself. It seems to be a guitarist secret, no one ever tells you these things. I am very glad to see it is posted. Kirk is great. :rockon::smilinguitar:

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Woo hoo! (Pardon the Homer-ism) Thanks soooo much for posting this! I've only seen writing about the CAGED syatem once before and it was a confusing mess... I ended up thinking it was a special system for slide guitar. I played with it on my overnight shift and already see a ton of possibilities. Now I see what you mean by recognizing chord structure as a lead tool!!! My Xmas present to myself will certainly be your PlaneTalk. Seems like everybody gets so serious about scales and notation they hesitate to talk about shortcuts. My opinion is view the most tools you can and use what works for you(!!!)

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Ok ...

I am getting lost here ...Does Kirk only play the C notes in his video ?

I'm looking and his hands are moving up and down the fret board ..

I'm only a beginner and I might need a little of explaining on the exactly Kirk is doing ..

I understand all the dots and the what is there as far as where the C G etc are ...

But is Kirk only playing the C as listed ???

Trev..:)

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No, he's playing in the key of C Trev. In the first part of the video he's playing just notes from a C major chord. In the last part he's still playing in C but adding in notes not in that key for extra effect.

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It feels like its all coming together here... one things confusing me though and thats how to move the patterns around for different keys.

If I play the A position in the first 5 frets (standard A major chord), then I'm playing a key of "A" - so the pattern is AGEDC? I think I've got that wrong. I'm might be having a stupid day :)

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I think you've got it, Tina. In A, it's as if you use an open A chord, then moving up the neck, a bar at the second fret with a G shape, a bar at the 5th fret with an E shape, a bar at the 7th fret with a D shape and a bar at the 9th fret with a C shape. Then a bar at the 12th fret with an A shape and you are repeating the sequence. These are all A chords in different positions.

Don't try to play all these AS chords unless you have big hands, but you can use the notes in the shapes.

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Yes, tina ... the acronym CAGED really refers to the order in which the chord shapes come. You need to think of the letters in a circle.

CAGEDclock.gif

Also, CAGED has nothing to do with keys, just chords, and the pattern is for one (major) chord only.

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Hey - it works as well, I tried it out. I like this, not too many notes but I can add others in as I get used to it. Thanks!

:clap::guitardude:

If I flatten the 3rd's in the pattern - that should give me the minor notes?

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Hey - it works as well, I tried it out. I like this, not too many notes but I can add others in as I get used to it. Thanks!

:clap::guitardude:

If I flatten the 3rd's in the pattern - that should give me the minor notes?

That's right Tina.

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Wow - I like this. I've even found a backing track or 2. I've been avoiding improv for 6 months.... now seems like a good time to hit it full on :)

:guitarguy:

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I always play loud :)

I've got 2 or 3 positions of this just about nailed.... and some. I know the chord patterns, its easy to move around and (this might be a bit weird) I can work the pentatonic patterns in. Seems the chords give the pentatonic positions an identity so, all of a sudden, I can move them around.

I said it was weird!!

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Nothing weird about it, tina_ ... it's just the logic of it all becoming clear. Once you know what it is and why it is the notes you twang sound the way they do, the real meaning of the phrase 'to play the guitar' also becomes clear. :winkthumb:

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I always play loud :)

I've got 2 or 3 positions of this just about nailed.... and some. I know the chord patterns, its easy to move around and (this might be a bit weird) I can work the pentatonic patterns in. Seems the chords give the pentatonic positions an identity so, all of a sudden, I can move them around.

I said it was weird!!

Nothing weird about that. :)

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Great thread guys lots of good info here!

If any of you get the chance try to get the February 2008 issue of Acoustic Guitar and read the private lesson article by Nina Gerber. She's an acclaimed accompanist and talks about the CAGED system with examples. If you follow the notes around the chords it starts to make a lot of sense. She's pretty good at improv and playing on the fly.

John

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good cripes, this is great! I usually learn other people's songs rote and have been getting tired of it, but after half an hour of this I feel like a guitarist again!

Thx v much :)

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I'm having trouble with the Caged Minor , I know the shapes im just not sure of the positions I can't cant anywhere on the Internet that has a diagram of the placement. Does it work the same as the Major Caged?

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