Guitar Chords Variations

Guitar chords can be extremely versatile, allowing you to produce various sounds by altering their fretboard shape. In this article we will look at ways of altering common chords.

Add an eighth note to a major chord for Led Zeppelin-like voicings like Cadd9 in FIGURE 1. Play this chord percussively by strumming with finger one and using your thumb to muted strings for percussive strumming!

Major Triad

Triads are an easy and enjoyable way to learn chords; they’re simple to remember and can be played from virtually any position on the fretboard. Plus, they sound fantastic – take “Brown Eyed Girl” (Van Morrison) or “So Far Away” (Dire Straights) as examples!

A major triad is an elegant chord that features three notes. To construct one, take any scale degree on the left hand side and add third and fifth notes respectively.

Once you have these triad shapes mastered, experiment with playing some chord variations. An inverted triad can be performed simply by shifting its root note up an octave.

Add inverted triads to some of your favorite chord progressions and see what happens! Inverting the order of notes changes how the chord sounds – give it a try today and see what results!

Minor Triad

Triads provide an ideal starting point when learning chord progressions. These three-note chords form the fundamental building blocks of music and can be utilized across various musical genres and styles.

An open A minor triad, composed of notes A, C and E, can be constructed in various ways by shifting its pattern up and down the fretboard – each shift producing a different minor triad; additionally, shifting its fifth note produces different minor chords.

Minor seventh chords offer another variation on a minor triad. To create one, simply add major sixth interval to the minor triad to make this expectant chord which works particularly well when followed up with another minor seventh chord.

These triads can also be used to play simple arpeggios on the guitar, and have long been used by guitarists as part of jazz chord progressions.

Sus4 Triad

Sus4 chords (and their variant, 7sus4) are variations on major and minor triads in which a fourth replaces the third to allow greater degrees of movement within the chord while still giving it that characteristic “triad feel”. A great example can be heard in Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”.

Sus4 chords resemble major and minor triads in that they require resolution; therefore they make great melodic elements. In this lick’s first bar begins with an A minor pentatonic run that quickly transitions into a four-note Csus4 arpeggio at beat two of each bar.

To expand the use of these chords, consider mastering both horizontal and vertical triad sets. Figure 3 displays these shapes on the 4-3-2 string set while Figure 4 illustrates fingerings used to play them – ensure these become part of visual, aural and muscle memory!

Major Barre

Bar chord shapes use the 1st finger as a barre across strings 1 through 5. Again, this shape can be moved up or down the fret board to achieve various chords based on where your 1st finger lands on each string; its name will depend on where it rests (usually G shaped chords use G as its lowest note).

Keep this in mind when practicing these shapes, as your non-barre fingers should also play their notes correctly. This means maintaining the appropriate angle between finger and fretboard so that strings do not get caught between creases in your fingers and fretboard, and also make sure your fingers do not shift up or down during chord changes; this could result in a muffled sound and hinder improvisation. Getting all this perfect may take practice but once accomplished it will become much simpler to move up and down the neck when switching chords.