CAGED Guitar Sequence

Learn How To Play The CAGED Guitar Sequence!

Caged Guitar SequenceIn this guitar lesson I am going to share a concept with you that I was very excited about when I first learned it. It is called the CAGED chord sequence. The CAGED sequence is simply a sequence of chords that goes all the way up the fretboard. This concept really helped me to start connecting all of my scales and arpeggios shapes all the way up and down the fretboard. Before you dive into this lesson you should know your open C A G E and D chords. You should also be able to play each of these open chords in their bar chord forms. We will be in the key of C major for this lesson.

The CAGED sequence is basically sequence of chord shapes make a kind of road map for you to start understanding the layout of the fretboard better. Since we are in the key of C we will be playing all C chords throughout the sequence using the C A G E and D chord shapes.

Let’s start with the C chord shape since we are in the key of C. Make a regular open C chord. Pretty simple, right. The next chord in the CAGED sequence is an A. Play a C bar chord using the A shape. Do this by making a bar on the 3rd fret with your 1st finger across the top five strings. Finish the shape by placing your 3rd finger on the 5th fret of the 4th string, 2nd finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd string and 4th finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd string.

The next chord in the sequence is a G. Make a C bar chord using the G shape. Put a bar on the 5th fret with your 1st finger. Now put your 3rd finger on the 8th fret of the 6th string, 2nd finger on the 7th fret of the 5th string and 4th finger on the 8th fret of the 1st string. Play all six strings. This shape can be pretty tough if you have never played it before so take your time with it.

E is the next chord in the sequence. This one will probably be pretty easy for you. Just play a regular C bar chord using the E shape. Put your bar across the 8th fret.

Finish the shape by placing your 3rd finger on the 10th fret of the 5th string, 4th finger on the 10th fret of the 4th string and 2nd finger on the 9th fret of the 3rd string.

The final chord shape in the sequence is D. Play a C chord using the D shape by placing your 1st finger on the 10th fret of the 4th string, 2nd finger on the 12th fret of the 3rd string, 4th finger on the 13th fret of the 2nd string and 3rd finger on the 12th fret of the 1st string. Do you see the D shape in this C chord?

Check out the diagram of all five chord shapes laid out on the guitar fretboard. Try to work your way through the CAGED chord sequence all the way up and back down. It is very important that you try to visualize the next shape before you move from the shape that you are currently playing. Being able to visualize the layout of these chords is a very important skill for you to have as a guitar player. Having a good understanding of this CAGED chord sequence, and actually being able to play it, will help you when you are working through the other CAGED lessons on the site. Try to work through the sequence in every key that you can. Don’t get bogged down in this. Just take a key every week or two and work through the CAGED sequence. Once you have the CAGED chord sequence down you should check out some of the other CAGED lessons.

Caged Guitar Sequence Chords

This Lesson Has 13 Comments

  • Wally Lepore says:

    Great Lesson. Is there a mistake at the bottom where you display the chord shapes? The last chord with the bold letter is labeled “G” for the “D” Shaped C Major. Should it be labeled “D” instead?

    Thank you again


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    • Sri says:

      Hi Jonathan and Maggie. Interesting though it is ppreahs the simplest way to think of Tone Seperation is too for get t’s and S’s for the moment and think of a specific number as follows :-2212221 the intervals between tones. ie. between C D there are two(2) frets or tones, and it works oll the way. I guess woever restrung our guitars way back when really did know what he was doing, although I somtimes wonder;).all the best Patrick[]

  • robert says:

    Great help to me thanks I have fred sokolov,s fret board roadmaps and I didnt quite understand it all this lesson helped alot can you tell me where to look up other caged lessons you have Thanks robert

  • John says:

    Can you tell me why the D shaped major has an open frett(#11 frett) and the E shaped, for instance, does not have an open frett? thanks John

  • Rick says:

    Awesome! You are the best I have found on the web by FAR. I have to show my appreciation by buying your course. Thank you.

  • prince says:

    Nate. i tell what you are great and this lesson has taken the fear of being able to play the guitar in me.i will take time to practice the various shapes of C,A,G,D ETC and let the guitar know that if my Mentor Nate did it then i can also blast harder.From the depth of my heart i say THANKS NATE.Im enjoying myself

  • prince says:

    Nate ive observed that in the CAGED diagrame sequence above you ended with the G shape again.Is it a mistake or not.

  • Ross says:

    For those confused I can confirm the last shape is D it is an obvious typo, CAGED system last shape was the “D” shape, looks like D chord. I have found that this “system” has limited uses beyond visualization. Not many will ever play the G shape or C shape or full D shape, while the E shape and A shape are probably well known already. The best use I have found for this is for helping to find the root notes of the more used A shape and D shape barr chords without knowing the notes on the G and B strings. Most people learn the E shape barr chords first with their power chords and this “system” helps walk you down the fingerboard. If you know the notes on the G string you can easily find each A shape barr chord, and the B string notes will easily help you form the D shape chords I find it easer to just learn the notes on the G string and B string myself and keep this pattern as background knowledge.

  • Ross says:

    More on shapes. If you are playing Blues using dominant 7th chords the C shape is not hard to play as a C7 shape if you mute the 1st string as you go up the fret board. The D7 shape works too if playing only strings 1-2and3. You have to remember your root is still in the D shape however. Another way to do barr chords when playing blues with a 1 4 5 chord progression is to start on the Key I chord as a barr chord (any barr chord shape) and go up 5 frets for the IV chord and up 7 frets for the V chord. Keeps everything very simple you only need to remember what KEY you are in as the initial barr chord and go up 5 and up 7 all day long. I find this way more useful than the CAGED system. Not that there are not any uses for it.

  • Alex says:

    Nate is one of the best teachers in the business.

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