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Guitar Theory:
Understanding the C.A.G.E.D. System


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This concept is used widely by many guitar teachers. Although it does relate the chords to octave shapes, the system is rarely taught by advanced instructors since the octave shapes are the true focus. The system is not used at major colleges or universities.

On the plus-side, intermediate students who already know and understand their basic first position chords, can begin to notice how those chords can shift out onto the neck. The prerequisite however is a solid knowledge of those chords. Without that, the system makes little to no sense.



On the minus side, the CAGED system has many flaws. Introductory students have no idea what benefit can result from the system. They don't even have a handle on the prerequisite chords, so there can be no association to the CAGED system.

More advanced beginners are often confused about the relationship of the chord names and how they alter along the neck. This is the primary flaw of the CAGED system. It relates to chord names. Whereas, the octave systems used at colleges and universities relate to numeric patterns of the octave geometry. Thus, making the patterns universal to any note.