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The CAGED System 2 on the Basics of Playing Guitar

Things you wanted to know but were afraid to ask? Things you wanted to know but were afraid to ask? Things you wanted to know but were afraid to ask? Things you wanted to know but were afraid to ask? Things you wanted to know but were afraid to ask?


The next thing I have done is just removing all the other notes. Usually I would recommend that you start with a blank neck diagram (use my Chord Finding Method paper found in Resources) and just add the notes, but I hope that it is clearer for you to see it this way.

So now with all the excess notes removed we can clearly see all the notes that make up and F major triad.

Finding the shape

Now lets look more closely at the first group of notes, found at the top of the neck. I have made them green now and moved them onto a smaller neck diagram. But make sure you can see where they came from. :).


Now some of you might recognise it as a regular F Barre chord! It is the one, your old friend ;)

Notice that it is still only using the notes F A and C but they form a useful and common shape. Also notice that the 'root note' is on the thickest (6th) string.

Add a Barré

Now lets look at it more closely and I have put a barre over the first fret so you can clearly see the shape...


Imagine that the big black barre is the nut... Hopefully you recognise the chord as your very old friend the open E chord!

That is why this shape is often referred to as an "E shape barre chord". You know it is the chord F but the parent shape of the chord is from the common open E chord shape, hence it's name.

Position 1 vs E Shape

This shape is also referred to as Position 1. Mainly (I guess) because it is the first shape that many people learn.

Position 1 really means in practice that the root note of the chord is found on the 6th string (in this case the note F) and the majority of the notes are found further up (higher) than the root note (more on this later when we discuss the relationship of scales to CAGED).

So be sure to understand the "E shape" and "Position 1" mean the same things depending on who teaches them. I personally like E Shape, and I think of position as the fret I am playing in... (more on that later too...).

Remember too that every shape on the guitar that DOES NOT use open strings is moveable. Just think that the root note (in this case F) is on the thickest string. Know that you can move this shape up and down and it forms any other chord. For example - this same shape moved up to the 5th fret becomes the chord of A but still uses an "E Shape".

This shape is usually played like this:

E Shape barre

Because E is the first shape, and called Position 1, sometimes (although rarely) the CAGED system is called EDCAG...

Lets look at the other shapes in the next lesson - CAGED - More Shapes (D).

Lesson ID: TB-032