Playing Chords in the Key of E Guitar

chords in the key of e guitar

The key of E guitar has a wealth of sounds to offer, from gritty blues riffs to timeless folk ballads. Additionally, it contains numerous iconic rock guitar riffs.

Making the most of your guitar playing requires understanding which chords you can use in composition, and how they fit together to form a harmonious sound. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at chords in key of e, their qualities, and how they interact with other chords on the scale.

Open E

Open E is a widely used tuning in many genres of music. It’s often employed on rock and blues guitar, as well as slide guitar.

Acoustic guitar players also utilize this tuning for playing various riffs and melodies. Popular songs featuring this tuning include “Jumpin Jack Flash,” “Gimme Shelter” and “She Talks to Angels.”

Open E is one of many chord shapes that can be played, including major, minor and seventh chords. But the most commonly played chord shape is an open E which is easy to learn and play.

If you want to start learning more chords in this tuning, there are numerous resources online that can help you do so quickly and effortlessly. Many of these sites even provide video lessons demonstrating how to play them.

Open E is an ideal tuning for those just starting out playing guitar. Not only is it user-friendly, but it allows you to play multiple major chords without changing strings – especially important if playing with a slide guitar!

Open G

Open G tuning offers you a vast array of chords to play. They’re straightforward to master and give off a distinct sound from standard guitar playing. Furthermore, Open G tunings are great for adding slides into your repertoire as well as experimenting with scales.

The key of G is a foundational element in many Western rock and folk genres, so learning to play in this tuning will allow you to broaden your horizons. Not only does it make for great beginner practice, but experienced guitarists may also use it as an additional layer of expression when performing.

Blues slide players such as Son House, Charley Patton and Mississippi John Hurt often employ this technique to add depth and texture to songs like Keith Mitchell’s “Little Green” or the Black Crowes’ “Nathan LaFraneer.”

Another reason for its popularity is that you can strum across all six strings without fretting any of them. This style of blues playing, commonly referred to as the “bottleneck style”, offers an excellent opportunity for developing your fingerpicking technique.

In addition to blues music, open tunings are popular in Hawaiian slack key and Russian folk music. This is because these tunings enable musicians to craft a wide range of melodic styles with slide-oriented riffs.

Open B

Open chords offer a great opportunity for experimentation and repertoire expansion. While they may take some practice before sounding right, once you get the hang of them, playing them can be both enjoyable and rewarding.

To start, open chords are played with all six strings. Strumming each string will ensure that it rings out clearly.

This is an invaluable skill to have, as many songs utilize open chords. Once you become familiar with them, switching between them and finding the chord that suits a song’s needs will become second nature.

When playing an open chord in B, there are various options to explore. Some are simple shapes that you can modify by adding or removing a finger from, while others involve altering the notes played on each string.

For instance, you can play a C7 chord with all three E strings open. This is an accessible and straightforward chord to learn that sounds fantastic on acoustic guitar.

Another popular chord in the key of B is the first inversion of the E major triad. This triad shape can be used to create all other major triads as well, and it lies within Box 1 of the major pentatonic scale – making it invaluable when crafting lead lines that use this chord structure.

Open C

Open C tuning on the guitar produces a full, rich tone that can be applied to many songs. Musicians from different genres often play this alternative tuning, offering you an opportunity to explore another side of your playing.

C is an accessible key, featuring three notes (C, E and G). Major chords are the most straightforward to play in C major tuning but you have other voicings to experiment with as well.

To begin, tune your low E string down two whole steps to C. Additionally, bring the A and D strings down one whole step each to G and C respectively; leave the G string unchanged.

Once all strings have been tuned, listen to a MP3 or the song on an audio player to verify its sound is correct.

One great acoustic song in the key of C is “Independence Day” by Elliott Smith from his 1998 album XO. This slow-burning number starts out with gentle guitar chords before an uptempo beat comes in.

The song is an outstanding demonstration of how open C can take a simple strumming pattern and turn it into something truly memorable. It also boasts some impressive slide playing and heavy distortion that showcase this tuning perfectly.

Open D

Open D tuning is an alternative guitar tuning that enables you to play a wide range of chords without fear of muted strings. With lower string tension, you have access to more notes which helps you learn about chords and improve your guitar playing accuracy.

The D Major scale is the most widely-used tuning for open D guitar tunings. As its base, it serves as a great starting point to learn all major scales.

Another popular scale in open D is the major pentatonic scale. This scale sounds similar to a normal major scale without including the fourth and seventh degrees, giving chords extra sonic richness.

This scale is ideal for learning to play in open D, as it offers a wider range of sounds to explore when practicing on your guitar. Furthermore, playing major chords becomes much simpler since there’s no fretting involved since all notes remain unchanged on the strings.

One of the best ways to master this tuning is by practicing songs from your favorite genres. Doing so will allow you to see how this tuning has influenced different musicians over time and how it can be applied to add new voicings to your repertoire of guitar songs.

Open A

The key of A is home to several chords useful for many genres. One popular option is open E minor, which serves as an excellent starting point when learning how to play guitar.

Another popular chord in the key of A is the E major seventh. This shape can be used to form chords such as Am7, Bm7b5, Cmaj7, Dmin7 and Emin7.

This shape is incredibly simple to play, as all that’s required is three strings and one finger. It’s an ideal starting point for chord songs as the complexity level is much lower than with more complex shapes.

You’ll also discover that it’s possible to use this shape as the starting point for creating some fascinating open string voicings, as demonstrated in Examples 4a and 4b.

In addition, you can utilize the triads from an E major chord to craft some captivating chord progressions. This is particularly useful if you’re going for a modern, pop sound.

As a general rule, avoid playing too many open chord shapes on an electric guitar as this can create a muted or “chaotic” tone. Instead, stick with power chords composed of just the top four strings and utilize palm muting and down picking when needing more percussive sounds. Doing so will give off more typical rock or metal sound when playing in that style.