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Basic Guitar Chords

Basic Guitar Chords. How to play

“Learn all you can about music. There are no short cuts or quick fixes”. John Scofield

Basic Guitar Chords

Here at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne I offer a selection of guitar courses and masterclasses geared towards the achievement of your personal goals as a musician or artist.

At the beginning stage you will learn the basics of open and movable chord shapes of major triads, minor triads and 7th chords working with such in different time signatures, tempos, styles and in different positions of the guitar. We will then further learn to hear the chord, hear  individual notes, understand why they are there and how to make use of them in a creative manner. You will soon be able to see, hear and use the same chords with different inversions and timbres on various parts of the neck. Your creativity will be enhanced by this knowledge opening a up a broad range of harmonic possibilities in your playing .

Chord Course Content

1 -Triads

  • Major, minor and sus: Triads in root position.
  • Inversions of triads: Up the fretboard.
  • Inversions of triads: Across the fretboard.
  • Augmented and diminished triads.

2 – Barred Chords, triads and 7th

  • Power chords triads, barred chords triads and 7th chords all over the guitar neck.

You will learn to hear and use the bass notes of the chords creating groovy bass lines .We will learn to hear and use the melody notes of the chords creating harmonised melodic lines. Right hand techniques will be implemented to further explore chordal expression and melodies that can be derived from the use of them.Getting the most out of playing chords.

3 – Chord Construction

You will learn to hear and understand the theory behind chord construction in open or closed position.

4 – Tensions

You will learn barred chords with tensions 9, sus 4, 13 and possible alterations as: b5, b13, #9, b9, #11.

5 – Diminished Chords

6 – Chord substitution will be introduced giving the student tools to further enhance their musical expression.

Basic Guitar Chords

Advanced Guitar Chords

Building on the foundation of previous courses we will continue to focus on the individual notes that make up a chord rather than on the chord shape. In advanced guitar chords you will  further develop the understanding of the relationship between the notes of the chord,  the actual song, and the harmonics of the chord. This course will further provide essential technical training that will improve your style, intonation, technique, time, feel, and tone.

What will you learn?

In advanced guitar chords you will start off by learning how to create open triads, seventh chord structures and inversions of complex chord forms on the guitar. You will then learn to break up chords creating melodies with existing tones. Your studies will take you through a variety of genres and focus in on a number of legendary artists and guitarists including Steve Ray Vaughn, Joe Pass, Eric Clapton, Bill Frisell, etc.

By the end of the advanced guitar chords course you will be able to read a lead sheet and play chord voicings, create harmonised melodies using seventh chords, open triadic shapes and inversions in several musical styles. Finger style techniques, latin, flamenco and brazilian rhythms will also be introduced as course material.

 Advanced Guitar Chords: Course Content

  • Inversions of seventh chords in drop 2 and drop 3 with dominant and major 7th chords.
  • Open major and minor triads.
  • Harmonising all scale notes with triads.
  • Open diminished shapes.
  • Open augmented shapes.
  • Inversions of seventh chords: minor 7 and minor 7b5.
  • Working with diatonic inversions of drop 2 chords.
  • Harmonic minor voicings.
  • Melodic minor diatonic chords.
  • Advanced chord substitutions.
  • Melodic minor harmonies
  • Modal voicings
  • Inversions of Maj7/Maj6/Min6/Dim7/Min7b5.
  • Harmonising melodies with quartal harmonies.
  • Harmonic major harmonies.
  • Voice leading through chord scales.
  • Voicings from symmetrical diminished and augmented scales.

Advanced guitar exercises | Creating Chordal Movement

As guitarists we can use chords to help reinforce the melodic value of a composition by defining it ?s accompaniment. For example: Vocals singing the lyrics and the guitarist playing the chords.We may also play the same composition without vocals where we define the melody and chords at the same time. An example would be that of a guitarist playing Tears in Heaven with no vocals nor band.We may also play the composition where the guitarist defines melodically or harmonically the background of the composition. An example would be what the guitar in a band as U2 would play.

I am sure we are all aware of guitarists in these three categories that we just love listening to and that keep our constant attention. They stand out from the crowd.

Why do the stand out?

One of the main reasons they stand out from the crowd is because they are not static in their accompaniments.Imagine we have a song with two chords and each chord lasts 4 bars. 

How would you play those chords? 

How would Hendrix play the same chords? 

What would Hendrix be looking for?

We play chords to define and create movement within specific targeted harmonic areas of tension

After analysing all my favourite guitarists and exploring my own personal needs of expression I have reached the conclusion that we play chords to define and create movement within specific targeted harmonic areas of tension.If we just strum a chord for four bars the tension is constant and the song loses excitement. If we strum a chord for 4 bars and we are conscious about how to create variations in intensity and therefore do so, the song will flow more and the music will sound much more exciting.

basic-guitar-chordsHow to create excitement

In my advanced guitar exercises we learn how to move chords, how to create excitement by:

  • Creating bass lines with chord inversions of similar harmonic tension.
  • Creating bass lines with chords and inversions of opposite harmonic tension.
  • Adding harmonic tensions in the lead and resolving such to chordal tones.
  • Creating chromatic movements on weak beats towards targeted tonal notes.
  • Reharmonising with secondary dominants.
  • Reharmonising targeted weak beats either in lead or in the bass lines with chords creating harmonic contrast.
  • Creating bass lines with chord inversions of similar harmonic tension.

Students at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne learn to experiment with advanced guitar exercises and with chordal inversions altering bass lines and creating new colours.

For example:

  1. Next time you see a C chord play it with an E note in the bass.
  2. If this chord is followed by a G chord, play the G with a D note in the bass.
  3. If the G chord is followed by an F chord, play this F with the C note in the bass.
  4. You may also play these three chords but adding a pedal tone in the low register.

For example :

  1. Play a C note in the bass and play all the above chords in order
  2. You may do the same but with a pedal tone in the high register.

For example:

  • Play an E note on the first string and play all the above chords in order.

The possibility of variations are endless and as we experiment with them we will soon start hearing colours that we may identify with Bach, Country, Flamenco, Funk and other styles.

I invite you to explore the beauty of harmony and the soothing feeling we create when we bring the chords in our playing to life.

Give me a call if you would like to know more on 0448348701. I am currently taking students that wish to enjoy themselves on the guitar for the next year.

Take a peek at my guitar creative side on my artistic site.




Thomas Lorenzo

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