5 easy ways to create complex sounds from simple chords

Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny has used this technique in a variety of ways in his band and solo albums – check out the One Quiet Night record for some sublime chordwork (Image credit: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

Originally a term derived from the low notes of an organ played with a pedal, the name ‘pedal tone’ is now more commonly used to describe a static bass note played under changing chords. In fact, I’m going a bit further than that here: my example chords feature static notes at the top, too. 

These chords are really a series of descending intervals played in harmony on the third and fourth strings. Combined with the open fifth string (A) and the open first and second strings (B and E), the result is a shifting harmony, tied together with all those common notes. 

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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.