How to master CAGED guitar chords and unlock the fretboard

TGR380 CAGED chords lesson
(Image credit: Future)

A great all-round rhythm player needs really good chord knowledge. There are two ways to develop this part of your playing. The first is simply to learn some new chords – and this is fun, a journey of discovery with new sounds and moods. 

The other method is to learn how chords link together when played in various positions on the fretboard. It’s known as the CAGED system, because you’ll be looking at C, A, G, E and, yep, you guessed it, D chord shapes. 

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Chris Bird

Chris has been the Editor of Total Guitar magazine since 2020. Prior to that, he was at the helm of Total Guitar's world-class tab and tuition section for 12 years. He's a former guitar teacher with 35 years playing experience and he holds a degree in Philosophy & Popular Music. Chris has interviewed Brian May three times, Jimmy Page once, and Mark Knopfler zero times – something he desperately hopes to rectify as soon as possible.