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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / C A G E D.......not really

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Mar 4th, 2018 08:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine a few days ago and he went on and on about the C A G E D system and how it relates to conventional major chord fingerings and shapes. He was convinced the CAGED system was the bare minimum for chord shapes whether it be barred or open. I disagreed.

IMO there are only three basic shapes. Relating these to open, cowboy chord, positions they are C, A, and E. The "D" shape is just an inverted "C" position. The "G" shape is just an inverted "A" position. The "E" position, pretty much, stands on it's own. That goes for barre chord shapes as well.

When expanding these base chord positions into scales this would seem to simplify things considerably since there wouldn't be as much to memorize.

I suppose that it depends upon one's experience level. I used to be a believer in the CAGED system as well and I learned a lot from it's implementation but, I made a realization decades ago that it wasn't that complicated.

What say you?

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Mar 7th, 2018 10:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

I basically agree with you.

Here's my way of thinking about it: Pick a fretted string well up on the fretboard. The resulting note can be the root, the third, or the fifth of a major chord, and if you build up a close position (most tightly spaced) chord for each of those three cases, you will have your three basic chord shapes for a guitar in standard tuning.

Example: say we pick the note G -- 4th string, 5th fret. Then the three chords are:

E A D G B e

3 5 5 4 3 3 -- G note is root, G major chord, E shape
6 6 5 3 4 3 -- G note is third, Eb major chord, C shape
3 3 5 5 5 3 -- G note is fifth, C major chord, A shape

Note that the fifth fret on the D string is constant throughout.

CAGED has some redundancy because it gives different names to shapes with open strings.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 04:51 PM, Mar 7th, 2018)

Contributing Member

South Florida

Mar 7th, 2018 05:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think there is merit to the argument. The CAGED system is the essential entry to fretboard logic. I tell new players to learn those chords in every other shape and they will always know where to go.

But over time I have simplified things. I stick to triad partial chord shapes and inversions and I can do just about anything that comes to mind.

I think of low-middle-high positions. So where is E in the Cowboy position and then around the 7th fret and finally at the 12th fret.

Then all i have to do is find the connecting notes and I"m good to go.

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / C A G E D.......not really

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