Putting it all together.

If you’ve been following the lessons so far then you would have gained some valuable insight on the basics of the CAGED guitar system but might still be left wondering how you can go about using it to your advantage and really spice up your guitar solos. Well it’s not quite so simple as just saying right, here you go, get on with it. This is probably the hardest part of guitar playing because some things just don’t make sense until, well … they just make sense!

What I have given you so far is pretty much all you need to know to make the most of the CAGED guitar system. The reality is however that many of you won’t do with it what you’re supposed to. Not because you’re lazy or don’t get it but if you’re like most of us then you just won’t see how this can make so much difference to your guitar playing and won’t give it the required effort.

So what is the required effort, what is the goal? The goal is to learn the chord forms, learn the note locations within those chord forms and practice it everyday for as long as it takes until you can view, think and find all this information in all it’s permutations anywhere on the neck almost instantaneously. By the time you have done that you would have reached the point where you suddenly realise everything about the way you play guitar has changed drastically.

Everything I print here from now on will be in the form of simple exercises and jamming ideas with some hints for what you should be watching out for. Follow this and add to it whatever you can, use your imagination and just keep at it until it clicks. Trust me, it will!





  1. A really good way can be working just through 4-5 frets and spreding all the chords you can imagine…in effect as the chromatic scale belongs to 4frets in two octaves and more tones, you can play everything from a scale to a sweep arpeggio in 4frets.
    just try to play a little progression appliede to this method and soloing through triads and pentatonics from the root of the chord……amazing!

  2. Do you have a book or CD that shows the caged chord progressions in all keys,
    I’m having trouble keeping them in close like 5 frets

  3. Question: If a song is in A, in what fret do I start the figure of the C position….if it is en E?, and so on….are there any resources to find this out? I know that there’s theory behind this, but for begginers like me, it would be awesome to have a table to know that for each of the CAGED fiigures,,,thanks

  4. I’ve got a book called Chords And Scales For Guitarists By Dave Mead which shows how the CAGED system works.

  5. trainwreck_joe says

    I’m a big fan of the CAGED system, but students have to remember to apply the correct *scale* pattern to the chord form. This is especially true with minor chords, where the chord can act as either a ii chord (dorian mode) or a vi chord (aeolian mode). It depends on how the chord is being used. If you’re playing a minor blues, the minor is acting as a vi chord–here you’d want to use a D *scale* shape over the E minor chord shape. You’ll be playing what’s called “aeolian blues” (“Summertime” or “Since I’ve Been Loving You”); but if you’re soloing over, say, an Am – D7 vamp (“Badge” and many funk tunes), the minor is acting as a ii chord–in this case you’d want to use the dorian mode for soloing. That would require playing a G *scale* pattern over your Em chord form. If you compare both the D and G scale patterns you’ll see that the Em *chord* shape is present within both. So it all depends on context. You can, of course, always just use pentatonic scales to get around all this complexity and keep the scale pattern in sync with the chord form (Em chord = Em pentatonic scale form), but at some point you’ll probably want to explore some of those other very cool sounding scale notes (called “extensions”) to make your solos more “spicy” and interesting.

  6. Fretboard Logic SE by Bill Edwards is a great resource.

  7. Thanks for the info on this website..very clear, very useful. I came across the CAGED system a while ago and have been using it successfully particularly as I play rhythm guitar. Being able to play chord positions over the neck while the lead ‘twiddles’ adds lots of colour. However I would like to be able to join in now and again and your info adds another layer. The really encouraging for me is that absolutely everyone can do this….it just takes practice! Thanks again.

  8. Admin,where are the practice lessons? have you abandoned this now?

  9. Sorry for the lack of replies to all your questions, i’ve had such a big spam problem that a lot of the comments have passed me by. I haven’t abandoned the site but have been very busy, I’ll try to update the practice lessons as soon as I get a spare few hours.

  10. this is a very good way to learn the scale’s but get a book on the subject to cover it more in depth.Just one book of bill Edwards Fretboard Logic SE will be good enough don’t get the
    DVD or other book he sell’s until later it’s not necessary in the beginning this will be all you need.Then you will understand what’s on the internet better.

  11. I have Bill Edwards Fretboard Logic SE book and it is fantastic. However, he never provides a practical example. I guess I need step by step with logic explaining why. Then when I get it, I can do so on my own.

  12. SpawnofHastur says

    I’m planning on using a combination of the CAGED method of learning the fretboard with Pat Martino’s ‘Sacred Geometry’ chord thing. The CAGED system is very interesting, and I’m guessing that if I’m going to be playing rhythm in rock or anything else (but jazz) it’ll be very useful. However, utilizing Martino’s method opens you up to a lot of possible chord voicings that CAGED users might miss due to reliance on ‘grip chords’.

  13. StringTweaker says

    Luis Says :
    January 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm
    Question: If a song is in A, in what fret do I start the figure of the C position….if it is en E?, and so on….are there any resources to find this out? I know that there’s theory behind this, but for begginers like me, it would be awesome to have a table to know that for each of the CAGED fiigures,,,thanks

    That information is all presented on this website.

    First you must understand that the root of the chord is the note name of the chord. “C” is the root of a C chord. “A” is the root of an A chord or an Am chord or any chord name that begins with the letter “A”.

    When you play the “C” chord form, the root lies in two locations. One is on the 2nd string, the other is an octave lower on the 5th string.

    Secondly, you have to know the locations of the note names up and down the fretboard in order to correctly locate the chord form you want to play. Where are the “A” notes located for the “C” chord form you want to play? You already know they are going to be on the 5th and 2nd strings, because that’s where the roots are for the C chord form. When you can answer that, the fret location and fingering become self-evident.

    There are no shortcuts or tricks or magic formulas to understanding this system. The CAGED System is already a shortcut. The theoretical knowledge you need for being able to locate note names on the fretboard is as difficult to understand at first as would be the process of straight memorization. Ultimately, understanding major scale intervals would be far more useful to you.

    It sounds to me like you could spend a little more time analyzing the CAGED chord forms in the open position before you begin wandering up and down the neck with them. You might also investigate the use of a capo, which allows you to play CAGED chord forms with their open (standard) fingerings very comfortably up to about the 9th fret.

    Okay, so the short answer to your question is, the C chord form is played in the 9th position to render an A chord. The Roots are 2nd string 10th fret and 5th string 12th fret.

    Since you are a beginner and show an interest in fretboard logic and music theory, I suggest acquiring a book called “Chord Chemistry” by Ted Greene. You will be absolutely SICK with chord knowledge by the time you are done with that book. The cure for that illness would be his follow-up book called “Modern Chord Progressions”, which will render you certifiably insane with musical knowledge and crippled from attempting impossible chord fingerings.

  14. hi guys, i’m so thankful the web owner shared his/ her genuine knowledge on CAGED model / form/ ruler.

    I’m a beginner guitar player,might hav grade 3 of keybrd, n studied grade 5 music theory.
    i used 2 days, just yesterday n today, i’ve unlocked this model.
    And i can try playing the 7 modes, pentatonics, blues , minor scales , very easy to get visualised.
    the methodology is alike that on pop kybrd playing with chord accompaniment on the left hand, n i can play scales n licks or whatever improvised 1 or 2 octaves higher along the scale.

    I think the most easiest way to do so is to simplify the 5 shapes .
    Try , just play the 1-3-5 on each shape, and think the shape is alike a constellation, or a character,
    remember that as an image, sing or say 1 as you play the root, say 3 as you play the third, say 5 as you play the fifth.
    I recommend to do it start on fret 5 , string 6.

    draw it down as a chord diagram on a pc of paper.
    those 5 shapes will be the most core thing we need to remember.
    And those 5 shapes is like 5 different skeletons. No matter what scale you are trying to play , u need them.

    Then you need to fill it with flesh.
    Scales are flesh. you can fill no matter major, minor, blues or chromatic on the skeletons.
    Remembering the CAGED in simplified form is like remembering 5 constellations. It’s much easier to recite notes that are sparse n not correlated closely.

    Now, I’m trying to figure out how to apply this CAGED model on ukulele.
    Wish that’ll do.

    If you really wish to have a copy of my shapes drawn, u can send email to:

    Good Day to you all!

  15. (amendment)… It’s much easier to remember images than recite notes that are sparse n not co- related well. …

  16. caged is the best method but in terms of chord tone soloing mastery i suggest KIRK LORANGE is the best improviser

  17. Patrick Di Simone says

    luis the c shape is a fifth string root note position meaning you find the root note on the fifth string so because your looking for A that would be the 12th fret on the fifth (A) string.

    A shape root is on the 5th string as well

    G and E both use the 6 string and d shape uses the 4rth sting