In Part 1 of this lesson series we looked at the CAGED System using Major chords. Now we will look at the system using minor chord shapes.
the word CAGED is taken from the 5 open chords C, A, G, E, & D that you will have learned to play as a beginner. These for the template that we will use to play the chord shapes across the fret board. It is the building block for guitars in standard tuning. The CAGED system is an essential method in learning the entire fret board.
Previously we looked at the Major chord triad of C the notes being C E G which are the Root, Major 3rd and the 5th. To build a minor chord triad we must use the Root, minor 3rd, and the 5th so the notes for a Cm triad are C Eb G.
Let’s start by looking at the key "C" root note position on the fretboard that we will use to play the five chord shapes. In the diagram below we can see the first "C" note closest to the open strings is the C on the A string. This same note can next be found as we move up the fretboard on the 8th fret of the Low E string. We then also have the next Octave of the "C" note on the 10th fret of the D string.
It is important that we learn the distances between these notes and the correct order in which they appear on the fretboard.
Now we will build chord shapes from these root notes position using the C minor triad. Let's have a look first at Cm built from the C root note on the A string.
I am sure that you see that this shape is not as easy to play as its Major chord equivalent. The shape isn’t to bad using the open string but if you have to move this shape up and down the fretboard you will soon realize that this is not an easy shape to play. Some player plays the chord as an inversion by not playing the C root on the A string but add the G note on the 3rd fret of the hi E string.
The good news is that the A position is a lot friendlier to play. Let's have a look at this shape which I am sure you will recognize.
This probably a very common bar chord shape for most guitarist starting to use bar chords. Note that this chords shape and the previous one both share the same root note.
Now let's look at the G minor shape
I am sure that you will agree that this is certainly not an ideal shape of a chord to play, so most guitar players will just play a shape that includes the notes of the triad like below.
Now we have a much more manageable chord to play.
Next up we will look at the Em shape which again takes the form of a very familiar chord to most guitar players.
Very common shape to play that most players have used when they first venture into the realms of bar chords. Very similar to the Major chord all the players need to do is raise their second finger of the G string from the fretboard.
Finally, we have the Dm shape.
The D minor is a relatively easy chord shape to play unlike the Cm & Gm shapes. Just note that the root note is found on the D string.
Now we have both the Major & minor chord shapes covered. Now you should practice using these chord shapes over very simple and easy to play progressions.
You have Five possible solutions to each chord so look at the progression and select the shapes that offer the least movement across the fretboard. In future lessons we will look at various solution and how to select the best options.
Please do remember there isn't really a wrong answer when you select a chord shape as long as it’s the correct chord.