If you've been through the first three parts of this basic guitar
series, you'll have learned quite a large library of chords to play
around with. We know the major and minor open shapes, plus
open 7th chords that add some
depth to those basic chords.
In this lesson
we'll explore yet more interesting variations on those basic
major/minor chord forms.
By adding and changing notes in chords you can make
them sound more colourful. It gives your chord
a touch of
experimentation and individuality.
First, a short introduction to the chords we're about to learn...
Modifying the basic major and minor open chords
There are many chords you can create using the
basic E, A, D, C, G forms (major and minor) as the foundation.
creating your own music, instead of just playing a straight E
major chord (for example), you'll
think about variations that might sound more interesting, such as E7
or Eadd6 (more
on "add" chords in a moment).
Just to be clear though, don't feel like you MUST use a more elaborate
chord through every chord change in your song. Sometimes those
basic open chords are the perfect chord to use.
It's ultimately about opening up
your creative ideas and choices. I'm just giving you a wider
range of those choices!
Open major add chords
go into too much heavy theory right
now, "add" chords (also known as added
are basically major and minor chords with notes added to them (yeh that
was pretty obvious!).
So all we're
doing is adding notes
to the basic major and minor chords we learned in
the first two parts of this series. Let's take a look at some
examples, but don't worry about what the numbers after the "add" mean
right now. Just learn to associate the name of the chord with the shape
it creates on the fretboard and its sound.
Start with the basic 7th chord (e.g. A7, Amaj7)
notes/strings as we did with the chords above. You'll have
to work out the
fingerings you find most comfortable as you'll be
using all 4 fingers in most cases!
Open minor add chords
Notice how it's exactly the same notes we're
adding, the only difference being we're adding them to the basic
minor chords (from part 1)!
You can also try adding the same notes to the minor 7th
chords we learned in
Suspended open guitar chords
Again, I don't want you to get
caught up in what "suspended" means right now, but these chords have a
particular sound you should get to know. Don't forget you can also
apply the "sus" to dominant 7th chords from part 3 and, where
possible, the "add" chords from above. Experiment!
Suspended 4th (sus4) chords
I find the Gsus4 chord sounds cleaner without
the A string included. This means you have to block the A
string using your
Simply angle your 2nd finger so that it just touches the A string and
Suspended 2nd (sus2) chords
If you've followed this course closely and
really made an effort to
KNOW these chords and experiment with their variations, you
will now have a
huge library of chords to use in your own songwriting.
Enjoy and use
the knowledge you now have, because many guitarists get stuck
same old chords over and over again which ultimately limits
their creativity. That won't be you!