Open chords (CAGED explained)

First of all, let’s figure out what CAGED actually is. C-A-G-E-D are the chords that can be played open in standard tuning. B and F cannot be played as open chords in this tuning, so once your done here, check our lesson on barre chords! keep in mind that we have done a major and minor example of each open chord, however G minor is demonstrated as a barre chord since it cannot be played efficiently as an open chord in standard tuning.


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It is extremely important for all guitarists to be completely familiar with these chord shapes! once you can switch between these quickly and effectively, you will be able to transpose these chords into different keys. to do this, simply move the shape up however many semi-tones required and use your index finger to bar the notes that would originally be played as open. This is how barre chords are formed, allowing you to move up the fret board and give you a greater sense of freedom with your chords!

Below is an Image of the notes C-E-G across the fretboard. Remembering it’s our I-iii-V progression, we can move these chord shapes to change keys and help us memorize the fretboard notes.

when your ready, click here to move on to our barre chords lesson!