If you want to be known for playing guitar at parties, knowing some chords that will bring any song alive is essential.
Chords are an essential element of music. Most genres feature melodies and harmony (using chords). Mastering basic open chord shapes will take you far.
Utilizing major chords is essential when building song progressions. According to Musician Training Center, chords built from major scale tend to produce happier tone than minor scale ones; their placement can alter how a song feels depending on whether its notes alleviate tension or create more.
Beginner guitar players often struggle with chord shapes requiring awkward finger positions, like D minor. To make this chord simpler, try strumming only five strings while leaving out the sixth string (low E).
Close your eyes and try placing your fingers into their positions without looking. Once this becomes second nature, practicing strumming chords without looking will strengthen muscle memory.
Minor chords produce a dark and melancholy sound that can evoke powerful feelings – sadness, hopelessness, depression, melancholy and fear being some of them – unlike major chords which usually produce pleasant associations between notes.
There are six minor family chords you can utilize to give your songs an unique sound, but three that offer comfortable open chord fingering are A minor, E minor and G minor chords.
Minor chords are closely related to major chords, with their differences coming in the shape of a flattened third note. You can play this progression: i-VII-III-VI minor to add an unsettling feel to any song – popular examples being Adele, Green Day and Drake who all utilize this progression!
Sus chords, also known as suspended chords, provide a simple yet effective way of adding movement and tension to your chord progressions. A variation on traditional major and minor chords, these suspensions replace either the third interval with either second or fourth in their scale instead.
People generally expect the second or fourth interval of a chord to resolve into either a major or minor chord, creating anticipation and tension that makes a song feel more engaging or dramatic.
Once you understand the techniques, adding your pinky finger to fret the fourth string of a G chord creates a Dsus4. Once this technique becomes second nature, you can apply it for any D-based chord to add character and spice up chord progressions. This technique has long been one of my go-to tricks when trying out new tunes.
Sus chords take regular chords and replace its third degree with either the 2nd or 4th scale degree, creating elegant cadences in your music. The note from which it derives carries over and resolves up or down toward the chord tone of the next chord, creating beautifully expressive cadences.
These chords are commonly employed as passing chords in jazz music, adding a smooth quality to progressions. But you can also use them to highlight specific lyrics; Gnarls Barkley used one in Crazy to emphasize the word “space.”
Subtly manipulating expectations through dropping a third creates dissonance that draws your audience in and creates the basis of great guitar music.
Addition of a 9th to the basic V7 sus chord (Csus2, Csus9 or 1-5-9 etc) creates an open sound which can accentuate lyrical spaces within songs as well as providing an interesting alternative for regular power chord voicing – guitar player Andy Summers uses four suspended second chords as part of The Police’s hit tracks Every Breath You Take and Message in a Bottle as examples of such technique.
Suspended chords differ from dominant ones in that they do not resolve to any major or minor chord. Instead, suspended chords continue without resolution, creating the sense of perpetual motion reminiscent of an ocean liner moving along its course slowly across the sea. Jazz musicians frequently employ this technique; Rickie Lee Jones amplified it in her song We Belong Together by using repeated suspended chord riffs before finally resolving into normal chords.