Get Your Guitar Chords Rolling in the Deep

This song’s chords are easy to play and don’t require pretzel-like fingerings to play them smoothly. Many of JT’s chord changes use notes beyond the basic triad that add color and power to his progressions without becoming overcrowded or complicated.

Notice how the verse and pre-chorus chords use a palm-muting technique on the right hand to produce a deep percussive sound – perfect for accentuating vocal melodies as well as providing instrumental breaks between sections of a song!


A riff is a short sequence of notes that becomes the signature sound or style of a song, whether through chord progressions or single guitar notes, such as Jimi Hendrix’s classic tune “Purple Haze”.

Riffs and chord progressions may seem similar at first glance, but generally speaking riffs repeat chords more consistently than bass lines would. For example, U2’s song “With or Without You” contains a simple D-A-Bm-G progression which repeats throughout its song.

Some riffs can be complex, as with those played by guitarist Joe Satriani in his song “Enter Sandman.” For beginner guitarists, replicating complex riffs like these may prove challenging as they require advanced skills such as changing chords quickly and playing beyond a basic triad. Nonetheless, it is crucial for beginning guitarists to attempt replicating these impressive riffs because when done right they can be truly impressive!


An instrumental break can add variety and interest to a song by providing some much-needed variety, or simply as a palate cleanser between verse/chorus tradeoffs.

Lifeson often adds his own inventive linking shapes to traditional power chord voicings, such as Ex. 2a showing an F#7add4 chord with open G and high E strings shifted up as shown, or using Ex. 3a’s Dadd4/2 shape for creating chromatic descent across two frets’ distance (in Ex. 3a).

To add extra dimension, try placing the heel of your right hand on the bridge of your guitar and resting it slightly muting the strings; this technique known as palm-muting is often employed in rock music to produce deep percussive sounds associated with this genre, such as heard in “Hey Jude” by The Beatles.


A song’s chorus is where catchy hooks, melodies and rhythm come to life – whether by repeated phrases or just repeating an appealing hook or melody. Choruses don’t need to be wordy to capture an audience’s interest!

Beginners should start off their musical education by learning basic chord progressions. These chord progressions can be found across many genres and allow you to build up a repertoire quickly.

Advanced players will start to use more complex chords, like 7ths. These chords use extensions (flattened or sharpened intervals) that add new dimensions to an original chord’s sound; mastering it takes practice! Chords like major 7, dominant 7 and diminished 7 can often be found in jazz, rock and blues music, with musical modes also having an influence; Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian Lydian Mixolydian etc all having unique feel to them.