In continuation of our previous discussion regarding chord construction, we will cover a simplified approach to what is known as the "CAGED System" At this point, you should have practiced each of the chord fingerings and switching between them. If you can't yet switch seamlessly between each shape, you may still continue on, as this discussion will cover the vices and virtues of the CAGED system.
What is the CAGED system?:
If you google the term: "CAGED system," you'll find an overabundance of resources on the topic, each bearing a varying approach, making the topic especially confusing, for players who are just beginning their rock guitar journey. To clear up any confusion regarding the topic, the CAGED system's intended purpose is to provide players with a better overall working knowledge of the fretboard by showing how each of the five shapes can be applied to create the same chords, enabling you to better visualize where you can go on the fretboard.
The Five Shapes:
In a previous post, I had hinted at noticing the shapes of each of the open chords, which are pretty distinctive, and it is beneficial to memorize each shape, as this will get you used to memorizing shapes and noticing their differences. Really, in continuation of your guitar journey, you'll find a bulk of your time will be memorizing shapes of scales and chords. I know it seems pretty demanding at first, but the more you go over them, the easier it will become.
*Tip: start out practicing these very slowly, and apply your critical ear - be sure to allow all of the proper notes to ring out, and be sure to mute the low E string when playing the 5th string barre chords.
Creating CAGED chords with each shape:
Now all that this requires is applying each shape at certain points to create CAGED chords with each shape, and, subsequently, in different chord voicings. I recommend focusing on one shape at a time, playing C,A,G,E and D chords with each shape.
In the following examples, I've provided each of the chord shapes in the same CAGED order.
And voila! That's the CAGED system. By spending time practicing each of these shapes, you'll become more familiar with where you can play on the fretboard.
This has sort of a blues-y sound, and you've probably noticed that there are 5 chord shapes; if you look at the A minor pentatonic scale, you're actually playing CAGED notes (just in a different order). This method is especially popular because there are five varying shapes, making it more manageable to learn
However, in terms of its limitations, it lacks minor and diminished chord shapes, which can make it boring to play (and listen to), but if my buddy and CAGED system advocate, Rus G, can improvise like this, there must be something to it.