The CAGED Method for Guitar

The CAGED method reveals root notes and chords repeating on the entire fretboard.

"CAGED" stands for the guitar chord forms, or shapes, used in this method.

C Major ChordC
A Major ChordA
G Major ChordG
E Major ChordE
D Major ChordD

The open chord shapes of the C, A, G, E, and D major guitar chords can be connected on the fretboard, in the same order you would spell the word “CAGED”

👉 The chord shapes are the only things that matter when using the CAGED method.

The "Open G" chord shape doesn't mean it will always be a G chord (unless you are using the CAGED method for G chords).

👉 By connecting these chord shapes you will be able to locate notes and chords based on the root note you're starting with.

The easiest example of how to use the CAGED method, is start out with the C major chord in the open position, and find the other C major chord locations on the neck of the guitar.

These C major chord options would look like this in guitar tabs:

The "G chord shape" can be broken down into triads

*All C Major Chords*
   (C)  (A)  (G)  (E)   (D)   
e|-------3----8----8-----9---|
B|--1----5----5----8-----10--|
G|--0----5----5----9-----9---|
D|--2----5----5----10----11--|
A|--3----3----7----10----12--|
E|------------8----8---------|

Letters in Parenthesis stand for
the CAGED Chord Shape Used

Using the CAGED Method with Other Root Notes and Chords

👉 This works with each root note starting with their open position chord, or their chord form closest to the open position.

Starting with the A major chord form in the open position, you can locate the other forms of the A major chord up the guitar's neck. Note how the CAGED patterns are moveable on the fretboard.

This diagram shows the A major chord and note patterns on the fretboard using the CAGED method.

*All A Major Chords*
   (A)  (G)  (E)  (D)   (C)   
e|--0----5----5----9-----12--|
B|--2----2----5----10----10--|
G|--2----2----6----9-----12--|
D|--2----2----7----7-----10--|
A|--0----4----7--------------|
E|-------5----5--------------|

Letters in Parenthesis stand for
the CAGED Chord Shape Used

From "A" and continuing with the other chord shapes in the method (G-E-D-C), more A major chord and note placements are revealed.

Notice the chord shape "spelling" will repeat back to the "C chord shape" following the "D chord shape".

"What about B and F chords?"

This is where the CAGED method can be confusing.

In the first two examples, the root notes and chords shown were part of the group of chords used in the "CAGED" method framework. The other notes/chords left out of this group still use the same CAGED chord shapes in the method.

To find chord forms for B major using the CAGED method:

Locate the lowest (closest to open position) chord form for B major.

The first B major chord shape, with the B note on the 5th string, is in the form of a major barre chord, the same shape used in the CAGED method as the "A chord shape".

This diagram shows the location of the notes used in the B major chord:

Locating the first B major chord form at the 2nd fret of the 5th string, and using the "A chord shape" from the CAGED method, the "G chord shape" (the next letter in CAGED) can be seen from the 4th fret to the 7th fret.

👉 REMEMBER: The chord shapes are the only things that matter when using the CAGED method.

The lowest chord form for F major with the F note on the first fret of the 6th string, is in the form of a major barre chord, the same shape used in the CAGED method as the "E chord shape".

Following the "E chord shape" used for the first F major chord, the next chord shape in the CAGED method is the "D chord shape".

For F major chords, the "D chord shape" of the CAGED method is located with the root on the 3rd fret of the 4th string, and with the notes on the 3rd to 1st strings. You can follow the chord shape patterns of the CAGED method to see more F major notes and chords up the neck of the guitar.

Now you can locate major triads, chords and arpeggio patterns for any root note using the CAGED method.