The Secret to Unlocking the Entire Fretboard: “CAGED”

An introduction to the Guitar CAGED method

If you’ve ever studied scales before on a guitar more than likely your fingers have stayed within the same 4-5 frets.┬áIt’s a comfortable spot for most guitarists but if you really want to speed up your learning, there is one simple key to unlocking the rest of the fretboard: CAGED.

CAGED is a guitar method that has been around for quite some time and if you’ve never heard of it before prepare to be blown away!

The video below is about 9 minutes in length but it’s well worth the time! It reveals a simple yet incredibly important concept that will revolutionize your playing.

Following the video I will do a quick summary of the CAGED method for those that prefer to read.

A Quick Overview of CAGED

The CAGED method is a simple way in which you can see the entire fretboard in terms of a series of well-known chords.

So for instance, in the key of C we can see in the diagram below that moving up along the fretboard are the following chords: C, then A, then G, then E then D. At the very end it starts all over again with C.

Seeing the fretboard with the CAGED method

Of course, when starting with other chords in CAGED it’s better to just think of the system as a circle instead of a linear word. Something like this:

The circle CAGED method explained

But what if you’re going to be playing in a key other than these 5? The key is to think of the fretboard as extending endlessly in both directions. By moving the fretboard forward or backward one half-step at a time we are able to produce every single possible key variation.

Final Thoughts

As with everything when learning the guitar, even the “secrets” can take quite a while to master! Don’t get discouraged.

But hopefully at this point the fretboard doesn’t look so daunting to you – and when somebody says to you “Hey, let’s jam!” you now have a foundation upon which you can now begin to improvise.

Additional Resources

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