IN THE WOODSHED

Ex­pand your ma­jor chord knowl­edge across the fret­board and im­prove fin­ger flu­ency with the CAGED sys­tem, with Char­lie Grif­fiths.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Char­lie Grif­fiths un­masks the fre­quently mis­un­der­stood CAGED sys­tem, un­lock­ing the fret­board for both rhythm and lead.

First make sure you are fa­mil­iar with the five open chord shapes as this is the foun­da­tion upon which all of the fol­low­ing chords are built. If you al­ready know the shapes then spend some time look­ing a bit deeper at them. Each of the open chords con­tains a col­lec­tion of roots, 3rds and 5ths. The open C chord for ex­am­ple has a root, 3rd, 5th, root, 3rd from low to high. Be­ing able to name all of the in­ter­vals and notes in a chord shape is very use­ful as this will al­low you to adapt and add to the shapes.

Ex­am­ple 2 fo­cuses on mov­ing up and down the neck us­ing all five of the CAGED shapes. The gen­eral rule here is to fin­ger the open chord shapes us­ing the sec­ond, third and fourth fingers then use your first fin­ger to fret what would have been an open string. This ex­am­ple shows the C chord in six dif­fer­ent places, but of course this method can be ap­plied to any ma­jor chord from A to G#. Pick a chord, any chord, and see if you can play it as close to the nut as pos­si­ble, then move up the neck one po­si­tion at a time. Re­mem­ber that the low­est po­si­tion won’t al­ways be a C shape; the sys­tem can start with any shape.

Ex­am­ple 3 shows the real ef­fi­ciency of the CAGED sys­tem. The idea is that you should be able to find any chord pro­gres­sion at any po­si­tion on the fret­board. Here we have shown a C-F-G pro­gres­sion in five dif­fer­ent places. Each one of them uses three of the five dif­fer­ent shapes to change chords ef­fi­ciently. You might no­tice that we have adapted the D and G shaped chords and made them slash chords. This es­sen­tially means that the 3rd in­ter­val is the low­est note and not the root note. This makes them more playable and helps them blend with the other chords son­i­cally.

Ex­am­ples 4 and 5 have an ex­tra note added to the tri­ads. For the maj7 chords we add a ma­j7th in­ter­val (1-3-5-7) and for the Dom­i­nant 7 chords we add a mi­nor 7th

(1-3-5-b7). in­ter­val For these ex­am­ples the root notes move in a pre­de­ter­mined man­ner. We have cho­sen 4ths and 5ths, which are quite com­mon ways chords move around. You can try any other in­ter­val jumps such as 3rds or 6ths to test your chord change chops. This chal­lenges your mind and your fingers in equal mea­sure, and with prac­tice you will be­come quicker at vis­ually nav­i­gat­ing the fret­board as well as the phys­i­cal as­pect of get­ting your fingers around the in­evitably awk­ward ma­noeu­vres. NeXT MONTH Char­lie con­tin­ues ex­plor­ing the CAGED sys­tem, this time in mi­nor form

Fret­board flu­ency is avail­able via the caged sys­tem

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