The goal of this article is to teach you how you can expand your chords vocabulary. I want to show you how you can fill your guitar fretboard with many different chords, so when the situation calls for it, you are ready to go.
To keep things simple, we are going to work on blues in E, since most guitar players are familiar with it, but you can use this system when working on any style or tune.
My intention is to show you a framework that you can use anytime you need to expand your knowledge of chords. This is not the only system that’s out there, but this one works very well for me so I thought I would share it with you. Hopefully you will give it a try and find it helpful.
Many guitar players get stuck in certain positions of fretboard, not knowing that there is a whole bunch of other chords that would make their playing much more interesting and exciting. Not only that, their songwriting skills would massively improve as well.
Knowing all the different shapes and inversions of chords will also help you when soloing. Outlining chord changes is much easier once you see the chords on the fretboard.
What we are going to do is to look at those same three chords (E7, A7, B7) from different angles. Exploring these chords from different perspectives is very good because it helps our brain to build many associations between the information – in this case different shapes and inversions of chords. Don’t get surprised when some of the shapes will repeat in different exercises – the goal is to build a strong foundation, repetition won’t hurt you.
If you are not into blues, just take the system and apply it to any style that you are working on. There is no style of music where rich knowledge of chords would be counterproductive.
Some of the shapes and inversion may be useful only in certain musical situation but that’s ok. Maybe you’ll find out that you cannot use triads in your rhythm playing since they lack volume, but you may want to apply them to thicken your lead lines.
Right at the start I want to say that you don’t need to go through all of this chords and exercises in one sitting. That would be a little too much to ask. I want you to choose just one type of chords that you are not familiar with and work on that. Don’t get overwhelmed and frustrated. I want to show you possibilities but you don’t need to learn them all in one week. Rather, try to explore different ways how you can play the same chords in different positions on the neck.
Be playful and make music.
Here’s what we will cover in this study:
- E, A and B chords in five positions
- E7, A7 and B7 chords in five positions
- E6, A6 and B6 chords in five positions
- Inversions of E7, A7 and B7 on set of four strings
- 9th chords (I am leaving 11th and 13th chords since they are more typical for jazz than blues)
First I am going to show you all the different chords, shapes and inversion, then I will show you how to practice them. As I said before, just pick one type of chords and work on that until you can freely use it in your playing.
Here’s a little example of how it may look like once you are done:
I have also created four types of backing tracks that you can download at the end of this article. If anything is unclear or if you have any suggestions for improvement, shoot me an email.
Enjoy and have fun! Continue Reading →