10 Gorgeous "Color Chords" That Can Inspire Your Playing

Standard major, minor and 7th chords are fine for when you’re just starting out learning guitar, but after a while most players want to expand their palette of tonal colors. If that sounds like a good goal, then this lesson in 10 color chords is just what you need.

Color chords are those that exist beyond standard major, minor and 7th triads, and include sus2 and sus4 chords, extended chords such as add9 and add11, and many others. In this video lesson, Darrell Braun demonstrates 10 of his favorite color chords, complete with block diagrams.

“Having color chords to play in your progressions can really make the difference between a hum-drum chord progression and an exceptional one that really makes people feel something,” Darrell notes. “Each one of those voices makes the listener feel something slightly different. That’s why adding color can really make your chord progressions pop.”

If you like this lesson and want to learn even more color chords, check out Darrell’s Color Chord Essentials sheet, available at Etsy.

And be sure to visit his Darrell Braun Guitar channel at YouTube.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.