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Learning To Play The Caged Chords On The Guitar? Your First Online Guitar Lesson

Updated on May 10, 2014

Guitar Caged Chords

The Guitar CAGED chords - C,A,G,E,D
The Guitar CAGED chords - C,A,G,E,D

Start Learning The Guitar With The CAGED Chords

So you have bought a guitar, or a thinking of buying a guitar but you don't know where to start. Well, have you ever heard anyone talk about the CAGED chords on the guitar, may be you have but have no idea what they are - or maybe this is a completely new concept to you!!!

The CAGED chord system is an acronym of the chords that it uses. It is called the CAGED chord system because it uses the following guitar chords - C(major), A(major),G(major),E(Major),D(major). These chords are an excellent place to start when beginning to learn the guitar. These chords give you a variety of positions from very close together to completely stretched out over several frets. They also stand you in good stead for learning songs, I would guess that you can play over 50% of the songs that you would like to play using these chords - I myself have been playing the guitar for nearly 20 years and still use these in most new songs that I learn! Elvis Presley is a great example of this, he made a whole career off of using these chords, Bob Dylan is another example, you can probably play 75% of Dylans songs with these chords. For more recent music you can look at artists like Damien Rice or Mumford and Sons who use a very basic guitar riff structure. Playing the guitar does not have to be complicated, it is better to play these six chords perfectly than learn twenty chords 'not so well'.

Playing the guitar to a decent standard can be accomplished very easily in under six months if you just stick to these chords. Remember - you don't want to be a 'Jack of All Trades' you want to be a 'Master of One'. Master these six chords.

I have successfully been able to tutor 7 & 8 year olds to play these chords within a few months and play them well. They were then playing Elvis songs for their dads and were getting so much enjoyment out of their instrument. Playing and learning the guitar at this age is going to be harder than learning as an adult remember - they have smaller hands and smaller attention spans so if they can do it so can you!

Suitable Guitar Chord Books


Simple guitar chords for the beginner


Where Do I Learn To Play The Guitar?

You are probably thinking to yourself "where do I learn"? There are various options you have when it comes to learning the guitar the best methods in my opinion (in order) are:

  1. Online Guitar Lessons. Online Guitar Lessons can come in two formats, you can either look through You Tube and find various companies advertising their lessons there or you can go with a reputable online guitar lesson company such as Guitar Tricks or Jamorama. I have also written an article on why I believe you should learn the guitar online.
  2. Local Guitar Lessons: Local guitar lessons are great to have, but can be very costly over the course of the year. They are very beneficial however because a professional tutor will iron out any bad habits early on whereas a book can't do this. Learning from a professional guitar tutor will enable you to play the guitar quicker than if you decided to teach yourself the guitar. I have been giving local guitar lessons in Bedfordshire for ten years now and have lost count the amount of times students have approached me or other tutors in my area because they aren't seeing the results they wanted when teaching themselves. Teaching yourself isn't for everyone, it is certainly cheaper but it may not be as effective. Consider local guitar lessons, at least once a month to be pointed in the right direction.
  3. Teach yourself to play guitar from a book: It is always worth buying a GOOD book on learning to play the guitar but the problem is that there are so many rubbish books out there - believe me, I have read more rubbish books than quality ones!! As far as learning the CAGED chords goes a simple chord book will do you absolutely fine. Don't waste your money on books promising to teach you the guitar from beginning to end - it never works, everyone learns differently! I have included 3 suitable guitar chord books, all are very cheap. The first book is a simple book which is ideal for the first 6 months of learning. The second book covers all the chords that you will need for several years. The third is an electronic ebook, this can be downloaded to any device so you can carry it anywhere. I recommend any of them for both quality and value.
  4. Learn the Guitar From a DVD: DVD guitar lessons have a little problem I think. You don't get the interaction that you do with Online Guitar Lessons and they generally are no cheaper than a book or a subscription to Guitar Tricks or Jamorama. Yes I agree they are cheaper than going privately but they are no better than the points listed above. They are very good however to aid your learning. Guitar Lover on hub pages has published a great hub providing you with 4 Beginner Guitar Tips For New Guitarists which I strongly encourage you to check out.
  5. Have a friend teach you the guitar: Learning the guitar from a friend is like junk food - "its great but don't make a habit of it!". I still learn from friends and fellow guitarists, I always have and I always will but I have never relied on this method as my primary method of learning. If they have bad habits, you will too. Learning the guitar from a friend is best done for songs, not techniques.

Amazon supply very good cheap books, they even provide you with second hand books. If you are in two minds over learning the guitar and the cost is putting you off then I would buy a cheap guitar chord book from Amazon and then maybe a couple of videos on You Tube. Once you are at a suitable stage with your CAGED chords then I would choose the Online Guitar Lessons Method. If at any point you realise that the guitar is not for you, or you don't have the time just yet, then your spending was kept to a minimum. You can even resell the book Amazon or ebay and get your money back!

If you are thinking of going straight into learning the guitar online then Guitar Tricks is a great supplier of lessons along with Jamorama. For more information on Guitar Tricks I have written a full Guitar Tricks review which is worth a read.

Guitar Player Basics Video

The Caged Chords Guitar Lesson

Your Starting Point For Teaching Yourself The Guitar

So you have your guitar (or maybe you are still thinking about it). You can now sit down in full confidence, knowing the first steps that you should take to Teach Yourself Guitar.

The trick is to learn two chords at once (E & A for example) and practice changing between them while strumming. This method is a basic introduction to how you would learn to play the guitar. Don't try to do anything too quickly and just master these two chords, once you feel confident then move onto another of the caged chords.

Remember this won't be accomplished overnight, it won't sound brilliant after a week. The plan is to just get these chords out of the way and then look into learning with Guitar Tricks or Jamorama.

I have included an example video of the caged chords for you to look at or help. Alternatively you can look at You Tube and search for any videos on the caged chords.

Playing the Acoustic Guitar

Learning to play acoustic guitar can be a very cost effective way of learning to play guitar
Learning to play acoustic guitar can be a very cost effective way of learning to play guitar

Learn To Play The Guitar Properly From The Start

The best bit of advise that I can give is to ask that you learn to play the guitar properly from the start, don't get any bad habits now. I have played with so many self taught guitarists over the years who have hampered their progress by teaching themselves badly when they first started out.

For example, I have a friend of many years who taught himself to play, he is a stubborn person and would never take advise off of anyone when it came to learning the guitar - he wanted to do it his way! His guitar playing sounded fine but after a couple of years he wanted to progess and begin learning lead guitar but really struggled because his hand position was set up correctly. He had to take a step backward and reteach himself a lot of what he already knew and he found this very difficult. In the end he just gave up and settled for the level he was at - which is fine if you are happy to do that but I don't believe he ever was.



The CAGED chords system is an ideal introduction when learning the guitar. These chords are the basis of everything that you need to learn to play the guitar. No matter type of music you want to learn, whether it be heavy rock, jazz, country, blues or folk - you will need to learn these chords and you will need to be able to play them well, it is better to be able to play these six chords brilliantly than twenty chords not so well. With these chords alone there are hundreds upon hundreds of songs that you can learn and play, so don't ever feel limited with just these chords.

Learning the CAGED chords can be done before taking up your lessons if you wish or you can just begin straight away. If you genuinely would like private lessons then go ahead but look at the option of online guitar lessons, at least ake up the free guitar lessons on offer at Guitar Tricks. I am a big believer in learning the guitar online and I personally can't see what a private tutor can offer that an online guitar tutor can't. Take a look at my Hub on Why You Should Learn The Guitar Online.


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