How to apply consecutive scale tones in your playing with cluster chords

Steve Hackett
Steve Hackett often used cluster chords with Genesis in the early 70s (Image credit: Michael Putland / Getty)

A cluster is the name of a chord that contains at least three consecutive scale tones, and these may well be dissonant – a semitone apart, for example. 

As you may expect, there are many ways to approach this concept and they involve a systematic approach to harmonized three-note triads. This is great on piano, but on a non-linear instrument such as the guitar, these methods of study – useful though they are – can leave you wondering how to apply the concepts in a ‘real world’ scenario.

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Richard Barrett

As well as a longtime contributor to Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, Richard is Tony Hadley’s longstanding guitarist, and has worked with everyone from Roger Daltrey to Ronan Keating.