CAGED chord and scale system for guitar

This section will introduce you the CAGED chord and scale system for guitar. The CAGED system is a collection of chord forms that can be moved up and down the fretboard, allowing you to play any key with any form. The CAGED system chords are the C, A, G, E, and D forms of the chords and these shapes should be familiar to you if you have been playing guitar for any appreciable length of time. If you can play the open (nearest the nut) forms of these 5 chords you will have a preliminary understanding of this method.

You can play the basic C chord in the open (nearest the nut) position for a starting point. Now locate the root notes (C) of this chord form.

The example below shows the C chord form being moved up the neck to the position where a D chord and scale can be found. The notes from the C form in the original "C" position are slightly faded. The D chord, using the C form is found by simply - and, admittedly, this is not so simple - moving the chord form up the neck and barring the three high strings with your index finger (E, B, and G).

Moving the chord form up the neck with the assistance of the bar allows you to play a D chord with the D notes found on the 5th string, 5th fret and the 2nd string, 3rd fret. You want to be able to see the scale tones that lie within the chord form. Move the chord, move the scale.

You also should be able to see the various forms of the respective chord triads that lie within the chord form as well.

So take some time and give the CAGED form a try. We will cover each form as we build out this section.

You should discover familiar scale patterns but you should look closely at each pattern.

Remember, chord form, root note locations, triad forms and scale notes. All over the neck. Pretty cool.

Root note location
Chord form
Triad form(s)
Scale notes

Take the time to find them all.

CAGED system for guitar C Form