In 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.
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.