CAGED Minor Chords

Most teaching on the CAGED system focuses on major chords and scales. It’s pointless going to all that trouble learning a system and then only using a small percentage of it’s versatility. The whole point of making the most of a method like this is to get you learning the fretboard and visualising the notes in an efficient, usable manner, one that avoids the all too common method of thinking only in shapes and scale patterns. CAGED is just a term. As we progress through these lessons we want to start thinking less and less about C-A-G-E-D patterns and just start thinking about chords and chord tones.

Minor chords based on the open positions are less popular than their major counterparts because they are hard to use and require a more finger stretches, the worst being the G minor and C minor chord forms. Sure, it’s great if you can do them but it’s not that important for lead guitar. What’s more important is knowing where the notes are and being able to visualise the chord patterns. A lot of guitarists when learning stuff like this ten to think of a chord as needing to be played on all five or six strings. The thing to realise is all non seventh major and minor chords are Triads that just contain three notes. Getting used to these triad shapes is possibly more useful than thinking about chords that use all six strings.

The diagrams below show the minor chords in the CAGED system. Learn them and play around with them over jam tracks. The ones that are difficult, just break them up into smaller string groups.


In the next lesson we will learn how seventh chords are applied to the CAGED system and then we can move onto breaking these chord patterns down into smaller parts. Remember, creating creative and interesting solos relies on a command of the fretboard, the more options you have the better you are going to be. Once we have learnt all these patterns, all we need to do is understand how they are formed and then we can begin putting them to real world use by combining them with scales and starting to think about the notes in a solo instead of relying on scale patterns which lead to predictable guitar playing.

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