View the full lesson at CAGED Logic | JustinGuitar

I don’t understand this lesson

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What don’t you understand?

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What are you struggling with? Can you give us a little more info so we can help you?
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

Hi everyone,

I am struggling to understand how the F# note appears when we move the A chord down to form the D chord (I get moving the B string one fret up) in Justin’s logic. I would’ve thought all the notes ‘fall’ one string down, but that doesn’t explain why we fret the F# since in the A chord the note that ‘falls’ is an open string note so I would expect it to wrap around as an open string note?

Many thanks!

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Hi there,

The 3rd degree of the D major scale is F#, that’s why it needs to be present in the D chord.

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@xoSauce welcome to the forum.
The A chord is 2nd fret on the B G D strings so in the example when Justin moves it down to the D chord he’s moving all three fingers to the 2nd fret but the B need to move up one fret.

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I understand the need to move the B up one fret due to the tuning.

(For lack of better alternative I’ll introduce this notation: B1 → Fret1 of the B string, E0 → Unfretted E string, X mutted string)

So we have E0(B1G1D1)A0X → (E1B2G1)D0XE2 (to form the D chord), but it’s still not clear to me how the F#(E2) note pops up in this system. I know it’s present in the scale of D major, but I am not sure how it ties into the logic Justin presents in the video.

Many thanks and appologies if I am being thick :slight_smile:

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Justin is ensuring that the presentation of all chords spans all six strings - even for the chords that are ‘normally’ learned and played on five strings (C and A) or just four strings (D).
When creating the D chord, the dot that was at the second fret of the B string is seen as being pushed across one string to now sit on the second fret of the thin E string. That is the note F# as you know. Justin’s diagrams are showing all six strings remember. Up until this point ,the thin E string has only ever been viewed and needed as an open string, and so too has the thick E string. But now the thin E string is not open, it is fretted at fret 2. So, because they are an exact match for each other, the thick E string has to show the same note as the thin E string and so it too now has a fretted note at fret 2.
For all diagrams from this point on the thin and thick E strings will always be shown with a dot at the same fret.
Does that help?

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That makes sense! Thanks Richard! You’re right, I didn’t realize that all chords were constructed from all 6 strings. It makes sense that you would mirror the thinnest E!

Thanks everyone!


Not sure I understand your notation, but the open A chord has B, G and D strings fretted at fret 2 (not fret 1). This is commonly written x02220. The B string fretted at fret 2 becomes the thin E string fretted at fret 2, which is the F#. The D chord: xx0232.

Not sure how I found this lesson but have seen the word CAGED before. Anyway watched this one and I too don’t understand the lesson. Justin just seems to be moving fingers to make the chord shapes but why? Why is he going from E, D, A, G, C, F? Why not C, A, G, E, D, F?

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Its been a long time since I watched the CAGED lessons (you need to work through the whole module) but Justin used to base it on the Key of G, starting with the G major scale.

To be able to use a complete pattern shape using the CAGED system, in the lowest position on the neck, you would have to start with the note G on the 6th string 3rd fret. And to play the Major scale you would use the E shape pattern aka Pattern 1.

The CAGED system links all the scale patterns across the fretboard so you can move seamlessly staying in the same key from one to the next forward or backwards, in this case G. So the next scale pattern higher up the neck, would start with the note G on the 4th string 5th fret. To play the G Major scale from that root note you would have to use the D shaped pattern aka Pattern 2.

These root positions relate to where they fall in the Open Chords ie A D E C G
F is not an open chord per se.

Without spelling out each of the subsequent patterns, you start the next pattern on the root octave and repeat until you get back to Pattern 1 / E shape pattern.

So after patterns E & D you would then use pattern C then A and the G, at which point you start all over again, depending how many frets you have left !

So although it is called the CAGED system in reality you lean the patterns in the order E D C A G.

But I guess calling a system Ed Cag is not as catchy as plain CAGED.

I am sure this is fully explained in Justin’s module but hope this helps. Not sure where F comes in with your question.


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Hey Stuart,

Justin’s starting on E because , essentially, that’s the beginning. If you look at the circle of fifths, starting at E, and go anticlockwise, there are your 5 caged shaped names - EADGC - exactly as Justin reveals them. In the open position, they are also the chord names, but think shapes. They are moving in 4ths, just like the guitar tuning ( when we compensate for the B string). If he started anywhere else, say the C shape, he’d hit the F barre chord before the fretboard revealed the 5 basic shapes.
Once he loops through the strings once, and reveals the 5 shapes, bang, he hits that first barre chord, F, which, funnily enough, is the E shape again, this time with no open strings. If you keep cycling, you’ll continue to move backwards through the circle of fifths ( or really the circle of fourths when going anticlockwise), and the barre chords will go from F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb,B,E,A,D,G,C, F, Bb etc, etc, round and round the circle of fourths endlessly I believe, till you run out frets up the other end of the fretboard, and it loops around to start again. And there’s your major barre chords. And since chords are built from scales, there’s all your CAGED shaped major scales, as well as your triads, arpeggios etc. You can then derive all the minor versions etc from there, with the framework remaining the same.

This all reveals the CAGED sequence as you move up the fretboard. It will always be in this order. There’s no real starting point - its like an endless revolving conveyor belt. Start on the F barre chord ( E shape), and the next shaped F will be the D shape, then C shape, A shape, G shape etc… so its EDCAG. Same sequence, just a different starting point. For the C chord, its A shape… so AGEDC. Same with scales. From what I can tell, the first playable CAGED shape for any chord, scale etc, will always be the preceding letter, alphabetically, from the sequence.
Some people, myself included, see the CAGED system really as EDCAG, cause thats how the fretboard initially reveals it. But its an endless cycle, determined by the root note.

Cheers, Shane


Thanks for the explanation but this is way above my skill or knowledge level. Do we really need to know this stuff?

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The E-shape is, purely by convention, called pattern 1 of the 5 major scale patterns in the CAGED system.

CAGED is an actual word.
EDCAG is the order of learning major scale patterns along the neck, by convention.
They correlate / coincide / give rise to / are intrinsically linked to the chords E, D, C, A and G.

This particular lesson is pure logic and sequences and a successive series of pushing fretted notes laterally across strings, compensating for the different tuning of the B string, and recognising that new notes created by doing so on the thinner strings must be matches by their enharmonic equivalents back down on the thicker strings too. Hence open ‘thick strings’ become fretted thick strings beyond a certain point in the series.

I hope that helps.
Cheers :slight_smile:

It depends on your current level, but the concepts behind CAGED are important to understand eventually if you want to progress beyond a certain level.

Understanding CAGED is key (pun intended) to understanding how chords, scales, and arpeggios work together, and how they work across the fretboard.

Understanding this will “open up the fretboard” (using quotes here because it’s a bit of a cheesy and overused phrase).



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OK, but why does Module 9 start with the C major scale and not the E, if E is pattern 1?

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I’m beginning to get that!!

Farther along in higher grades Justin starts teaching the full set of major scales and CAGED.
He begins with the E shape.

Note … it is the E shape he uses, in the key of G,
so G major scale and not the E major scale.

In grade 2 he gives a little taste of learning the C major scale in what you might call ‘open position’ which just also happens to be the C shape pattern. But because that is far from the point, the shape and reference to CAGED is not made.
It is introduced with a view to consolidation of note names to fret 3, of alternate picking, and to give a fairly accessible intro to major scale playing and improv.

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