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CAGED System of Chords - Basics

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A chord is formed by, anywhere from 3 to 6 notes on a guitar. Three, because, any lesser makes it an interval, ans six, as there are six strings on a standard guitar and six identically tuned pairs on a 12-string guitar. Now, each string has upto 22 frets (or more). One can probably stretch his/her fingers and hold frets on different strings that are 4-5 frets apart, giving us at (4x6=) 24 to (5x6=) 30 individual frets that can be played at once. The permutations and combinations using 3 to 6 notes and accounting for all positions produces a huge number of chords that the guitar can play.

Of course, only some of these are played, still, the number is quite daunting. Unless there is a simpler way to remember all these chords - a system to remember these by - a simple Aide-mémoire, it will be rather difficult to play a guitar! Now imagine a chord chard depicting all such chords - it will run into a hundred pages! Enter - the CAGED system.

The CAGED system is a method of learning how and where to play any chord utilizing some standard chord shapes. The shapes, as will be evident, overlap each other and are located such that they conform to the layout of the notes on "a standard 12-TET, six string guitar, tuned to standard tuning."

The basic chord shapes chosen are of those that can be played as open string chords (in root position), viz:

C major, A major, G major, E major and D major. And hence the name: an acronym for these chords taken in the above order – C-A-G-E-D. These are also the most basic chords taught to a beginner. Continue...

The CAGED System on a Guitar:

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Tune your guitar before you start playing.^Top^

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