got a new book on chords, but its making me very frustrated and feeling like destroying my guitar... i know how to play but by ear and tabs, never actually bothered to learn scales, name of chords, etc.

for example the g chord shape in c, so i understand that for a g shape in c, the c note would be at the 5th fret on your d string, but then why is it supposed to be barred all the way down to the b string? instead of just the d string on the 5th, its also the g string and the b string. shouldn't it be just the d string alone on the 5th fret?

picture of the g shape in c chord,

also, is there always supposed to be 1 fret between the note (C) and the chord that you're doing? for example in c, all the chord shapes are one fret after the note of c.
and how do you know which root it is? there's a couple c notes on the fretboard, so which one are you supposed to use?
Need to phrase the question better, I'm afraid ... the link shows a load of chord shapes, so don't know which is confusing you. The 5th fret on the d string is G, not C. But I suspect you mean something different?

But I'm certain you are misunderstanding CAGED based on your last couple of paragraphs.

You need to realise that a chord shape is simply a bunch of pitches that are located at various "distances" from the strongest pitch of the chord (the "root" that stands out the most to your ear). For example, just using one string (so you have to play the pitches one at a time), then the pattern (0, 4, 7) defines how to locate the pitches of a major triad .

So, suppose you choose the 1st fret (C) on the 2nd string (B string) as your root. Then the pitches for C major triad are found at frets (1+0, 1+4, 1+7). By octave they can be found in many other places as well. Similar logic applies to all chord types.

The pattern for a minor triad is (0, 3, 7). So, E minor triad pitches can be found on bass E string at frets 0 (open), 3 and 7. It is the combination of pitches at various distances apart that creates the sound flavour for the chord.

When you slide a chord along the neck, so long as the shape is kept unmodified, these distances are maintained, and the chord type (sound flavour) is maintained.

So, a chord book that shows 12 shapes for a major triad, rooted on the bass string (E,F,F#, G etc), is a waste of paper. They could just show it once, and say "use same shape, but the name of the chord changes depending where you locate the root."

By the way, the nut is a fret in its own right ... imagine your first finger was barring there. So, the usual E major triad shape is (0 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 0- 0) from bass to treble string. To make F major, this shape moves up one fret, to (1+0, 1+2, 1+2, 1+1, 1+0, 1+0) ... and now you do need to barre across the first fret.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 8, 2016,