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CAGED Chord Shapes

The five basic chord shapes are the open C, A, G, E, and D chords. Together they spell the word CAGED which helps us remember them.

What To Do

This is your very first step! If you do not know how to play these 5 basic chords then you should learn and memorize each chord pattern. Take your time to insure that you learn them and  are playing them correctly. Each pattern is accompanied a picture of the chord being played and an audio sample of what the chord sounds like when played properly.

About The Audio Samples

You’ll notice that in the audio samples that the chords are played one note at a time. This is so that you are able to listen to each individual note that makes up the chord so you are better able to insure that you are reproducing the chord correctly. Normally you would play all the notes in the chord simultaneously with a single stroke of your pick.

The C Major Chord

The C Major open chord really only involves one type of fingering, which is shown below.

The A Major Chord

The G Major Chord

The E Major Chord

The D Major Chord

Here’s a video that may help:

You cannot play every Major chord in the guitar’s open position.

By now the questions start flying. What about F and B chords? The two remaining major chords are those of B major and F major. These are commonly played as barre chords, with the first finger used to press down multiple strings across the guitar fingerboard. How about an F# or Gb chord for that matter? You can’t do it without using a barre chord. A barre chord takes a basic chord pattern and “moves” it up the neck of the guitar to create different chords.

Next: Barre Chords: How We “Carry” Chords Up The Neck