There are some chords you’ve known since you first started playing the guitar, and frankly, you might be getting sick of playing them.
That’s right–maybe you want something a bit more… slick sounding. It’s not that you don’t appreciate what those chords have done for you. After all, you’ve had so many great times together, and you might even decide to call on them again later. But for now, a little break is in order. I’m sorry, basic chords. It’s not you, it’s me.
Allow me to introduce you to a few friends of mine that will take your mind off your old relationship with basic chords. There are many applications for the chords in this video lesson, including using them as inspiration for songwriting. Some of the greatest songs ever written were devised from the sound of a single chord, such as "Unchained" by Van Halen or "American Girl" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
You also can substitute these chords in place of the more traditional chords you might be accustomed to playing, adding new flair to a given chord progression, which is a great way to find your own voice on the guitar.
The best part is, these chord shapes can be moved around the neck and still sound good, as opposed to open-position chords, which require you to linger around the lowest frets of your guitar. This video lesson will go in depth about how these slick chords are constructed by using music interval terminology, which if you’re not familiar with, you can learn more about by checking out my Guitar Super System (opens in new tab)(25 percent discount for Guitar World readers).
While these chords are best utilized by understanding whether the chord is appropriate to use based on a chord progression’s tonality, it’s not imperative you understand the music theory behind how these chords are built. All you need are the finger positions from this video lesson, and the rest can be up to your ear to make the magic happen. And don’t worry; the basic chords will always be willing to take you back, should the feeling arise.
Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win (opens in new tab). His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.