Movable Open Guitar Chords - Fresh Voicings Up The Neck
Your chord playing needn't be restricted to the same old open and barre
chord forms you learn during the beginner-intermediate stage.
You should also have the confidence and method to search out fresh
chords for your own music, without always relying on chord charts.
This lesson combines the convenience of moving a familiar, three string
formation up the neck with the rich vibrancy of open position
voicings. Watch the video below for the jist and then scroll down for
some "cheat sheets"...
Movable Open Chord Charts
In the video, I gave you several examples of how positioning different
shapes up the neck can harmonise nicely with an open root
string (5th or 6th string) and open 1st string.
While I would strongly encourage independent exploration of this
concept, you may find the below charts useful for getting started.
Below the charts I've placed a tab of some good sounding positions for
each shape using both A and E string roots.
Feel free to modify these shapes however you wish and even try fretting
the 1st string in the shape for a four-finger voicing.
Preliminary Tip: how I mute the 5th string when using the 6th
string as the bass
When strumming, blocking out the 5th (A) string avoids muddying up
chords that use a 6th string (E) bass. That is of course unless you
find a way to incorporate the 5th string into your movable shape. But
let's keep things simple.
Here's how I mute the 5th string. Since we're using three finger
shapes, we'll always have one available finger to lightly touch (not enough to
fret) the 5th string and effectively mute it.
Take a look
at me muting the 5th string using my middle finger (left) and pinky
Easy, right? Although it might take some time to get your muting finger
down fast enough. Like with anything, just keep practicing. Ok, now on
to the charts. Note that in some positions I've left the 2nd (B) string
open as well, for a richer voicing. This is something you need to
experiment with. Some beautiful chords to be discovered through very
Making the most of these chord shapes
While these chords might sound pretty enough on their own, you'll
obviously want to try incorporating them into your songwriting and
create meaningful movements/changes out of them. Experimentation is the
Here are some tips:
As we're using an A or E string root, try replacing
instances of chords that use these roots with the chords above.
Try changing between regular chords you know and the open
Try creating movements over a "drone bass", for example,
try different A string chords in the same sequence. Chord changes don't
have to involve changing the root note.
Try alternating between A and E string bass through your
chord changes (you can hear an example of this in the video).
Try something similar using a D string bass and forming
chords on the top three strings (G, B, e).
Use finger picking, flat picking, strumming or a mixture of
Try tuning the low E string down to a D for a different
bass note and try these same shapes.
So there's plenty to play around with using this method. I hope you can
use it to find some inspiration for your songwriting and/or jam
Please don't hesitate to send me your creations (or post them
in the comments form below by uploading an image of a tab - I recommend
Tab Creator) - I'd be interested to see what you can come up