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Home > Chords > Open Chord Variation

Open Chord Variations

In the basic guitar chords series, we were introduced to some essential open guitar chords and their most common variations.

This lesson is all about discovering more interesting, uncommon open chord variations, built around those same positions - E A D C and G.

You'll be surprised at the vast library of chords you'll have under your fingers just from playing around with these positions.

The beauty of open chords is, because they use open strings, they sound especially vibrant - great for those big strumming songs.

The idea is that you build up your chord voicing options and experiment with each in your songwriting. Open chords shouldn't replace other chord forms you learn, but just having the option gives you that creative freedom.


numbered fret hand fingersOpen E chord variations

Major open E chords

Notice how the key elements of the basic major chord (the root E string, the 3rd on 1st fret G string and 5th on A string 2nd fret) are kept intact. All we're doing is adding tones to these basic chords to give them more color and depth.

Eadd6/9
E13
Emaj13
Eaug
Eaug7

Minor open E chords

Again, key elements of the basic minor triad are still there (root E string, open G string minor 3rd and 5th on A string 2nd fret). We're just adding tones around it to spice things up. They won't sound right in every context, but they're there when you need them!

Emadd6/9
Em9
Em9 alt
Em13


Open A chord variations

Major open A chords

A13
Amaj13
Amaj7sus2
Aaug
Aaug7

Minor open A chords

Am13
Amadd6
AmMaj7

Suspended open A chords

 Asus13
 

Open D chord variations

Major open D chords

Daug
Daug7
D7add6

Minor open D chords

Dmadd6
DmMaj7

Suspended open D chords

Dmaj7sus2
Dsus2b5
Dsus4add6


Open C chord variations

Major open C chords

Cadd9b5
Cadd9/6
C9


Open G chord variations

Major open G chords

Gmaj9
G13

Minor open G chords

Gm11
Gmadd6

Suspended open G chords

Gsus9
Gsus13

Use the open chord variations you've learned in this lesson as inspiration for trying your own ideas. Add/remove fingers/notes to the chord forms you know and hear how it changes their sound.



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