What do you think of the CAGED chords?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ASATKat, Dec 5, 2018.

What do you think of the CAGED chords?

This poll will close on Oct 1, 2019 at 5:47 PM.
  1. Yes I use them?

    55 vote(s)
  2. No I do not use them?

    10 vote(s)
  3. What are you talking about?

    24 vote(s)
  1. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I'm really confused. You can't "not" use it. AS @klasaine and others note, it just "is".
    stinkey, ASATKat, 41144 and 1 other person like this.
  2. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I also think the question doesn't make sense. CAGED is a teaching tool, a way to help people learn the fretboard, specifically the relationships between scales and movable chord shapes. I find / found it to be a great learning tool, but there is no such thing as a CAGED chord, unless you just mean movable chord shapes in general. In which case, ah, yes I use them...
    moosie and maxvintage like this.
  3. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 4, 2014
    Arivaca AZ
    I've been playing music for 61 years, but not sure what caged chords means. It's probably a different name for something.

    Kind of like the fact that my grand kids have math terms that I don't know despite having an engineering degree!
    awasson, Rustbucket and Jim622 like this.
  4. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    do CAGED based instructional materials do adequate justice to how the guitar’s octaves are laid out?
    klasaine likes this.
  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    CAGED is to the fretboard what PEDMAS is to a chalkboard :D
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    Blue Bill likes this.
  6. rocking rooster

    rocking rooster Tele-Meister

    Oct 13, 2011
    Somerset UK
    I got my first guitar in 1965 (I think) and have been playing ever since. I had never heard the term CAGED until a few months back and I still have no clue what it's all about. I think I'll pass.
    DonM likes this.
  7. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    This topic comes up every now and then. It's a memory device, as BDLH noted, like Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally for math operations, or All Cows Eat Grass, etc. There's not much to think of CAGED chords, they're not somehow different. It's a handy way to remember the order the chord shapes appear, going up the neck.
  8. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Dec 21, 2017
    York PA
    i like that word..extrapolate.. going to use in my next dispatch to my tech on call, hope he doesn't hurt someone
    dkmw and klasaine like this.
  9. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    And here I thought "extrapolate" was a fancy way of saying you removed the strap from your guitar...
    awasson, Fiesta Red, moosie and 4 others like this.
  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    CAGED is just extending cowboy chord shapes up the fretboard

    it’s just an initial step, because it tells you nothing but to think in terms of shapes, not notes, or where those notes are (or are repeated!) in the guitar’s usable octaves

    I get more mileage out teaching my kid triad inversions in three-string groups
    moosie, maxvintage and matrix like this.
  11. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Dec 21, 2017
    York PA
    done..new official term for removing a guitar strap
    klasaine and RLee77 like this.
  12. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

    Apr 13, 2016
    Vancouver, BC
    Triads in three-string groups is much more useful than CAGED, in my humble opinion. It is connected to a very musical underlying logic that makes sense on the guitar or on the piano (ie, here is a root position G triad, here is the first inversion, second inversion).

    Then you get to the minors by flattening the third, or the relative minor by moving your 5th up to the sixth (also functions as your major 6 chord...). The relationships are endless, and before you know it you have multiple scales that you can fit over major or minor chords (and modify on the fly), making "playing the changes" much easier.

    CAGED can function for sure, and is another path to the same knowledge, but it always seems like tying yourself in knots to apply the grips that people happen to use first. Better off to just bite the bullet and learn triads.
    stinkey, Marc Morfei, moosie and 6 others like this.
  13. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    Yes and in fact the CAGED system is just a way to see the octave pairs on all strings ... which is also really the most musically usable thing about "caged".
    dkmw, MilwMark and Blue Bill like this.
  14. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Meister

    Sep 26, 2010
    I play in our church band, and we do songs in all sorts of odd keys. I hate using capos, so rely quite heavily on the caged system. Also, chords in different positions have different voicings, which adds variety.
    Sounds Good likes this.
  15. fmmlp

    fmmlp TDPRI Member

    Jul 19, 2017
    Buenos Aires
    Can you point to some material on this, please? Thank you
    matrix and MilwMark like this.
  16. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I never really understood guitar until I found one teacher who showed me the triad inversions all over the neck, the octave pairs on all strings, and in connection with that memorizing all the notes on the fretboard.

    I’m not much for theory but the practical application of three - what are they - tools? viewpoints? structures? - has been immense. Went very quickly from barely able to play cowboy chords to playing, singing and being the “spice/lead guitar in three bands and haven’t looked back.

    I do think CAGED (to the extent I understand it) is less musically applicable and useful as 5-6 note voicinga get cluttery in a band, unless used judiciously and for particular effect, IMO.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    klasaine and ndcaster like this.
  17. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    the colors below indicate the notes of C major in the fretboard's 5 octaves fretboard-octaves-C-ranges-blank.jpg
    the circles above indicate locations of the note C, in those different octaves

    notice how you can play the same C in different locations, sometimes in as many as five positions

    why is that useful? because some positions give your hand greater access to upper and lower octaves than others, making phrases that span multiple octaves easier to play. plus, if you listen closely, the *sound* of those different C's is different -- some are more muted, less zingy, than others

    here are all the triad inversions of C major on strings 4, 3, 2 fretboard-C-triads-345.jpg from left to right, notice how there are only three basic shapes

    notice how the first triad (far left) is repeated further along up the fretboard (find it)

    that second repetition is located one octave above the first

  18. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Afflicted

    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    I'm just thinking out loud here. I never heard of CAGED chords until I joined this forum. When I started playing country, especially playing finger style, I found that transitions, solos, and improvisations were all worked off of the shapes of the chords in the songs. That meant I had to learn the chord shapes up and down the neck and how they move between strings. Knowing where the scale notes are in relation to the chords and where notes like the minor 3rd, flat 7th, and flat 5th are located and when they fit and when they don't is essential. I'm using a single guitar, usually electric, to accompany myself on vocals. Making a song sound good requires chords, transitions, solos off chords and a simple bass line played seamlessly together. Even a well constructed single note solo in the middle of a song sounds empty and awful. Cowboy chords like I played when playing folk music in the 60's just isn't enough. I'm probably using at least parts of the CAGED system in what I play but I have trouble reconciling how I play with what I read about CAGED chords. I'm also not sure that it's important to put a name on what I'm doing, even if it is CAGED.

    EDIT: ndcaster's diagram just above this post is immensely helpful. It looks somewhat simpler than what I'm using because I use three and four note forms on any fret all the way across the neck as needed. I also use a capo at times. I've had to learn that an F chord played with the capo behind the third fret is an F chord, not a D. It was difficult to train my brain to recognize that, but my soloing is much better when I ignore that a capo is there except to recognize what open string notes are available. This is cool stuff and much more useful than a discussion of which pickups are best.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    trancedental likes this.
  19. brbadg

    brbadg Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 11, 2008
    Oh boy...:(
    RyCo1983 likes this.
  20. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

    Nov 16, 2018
    next to the burn zone
    CAGED chords is a thing, let's be clear on at least that much.
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