Fun With Creative Guitar Chords – 5 Ways To Make Any Chord Sound Great

by Tom Hess


 
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Ever notice how many guitarists prefer to play lead guitar licks instead of guitar chords?

Why does this happen?

Most say it’s because playing guitar chords feels boring.

I disagree.

The true reason is:

Most people never learn how to play creative guitar chords that sound great using basic shapes.

You can add this skill into your guitar playing today.

(Even if you are not an advanced in your guitar playing yet.)

You can use this skill to write better songs and have more fun being a musician.

And the best part?

The better you are at playing cool chord progressions, the better your lead guitar playing sounds too (you see how below).

Let's get into it!

Watch this video to see how cool your guitar playing sounds when you have fun with creative guitar chords:
 


Now that you heard a few examples of awesome-sounding & creative guitar chords, here are 5 proven ways to make simple chords sound better:
 

Play Cool Guitar Chords  

Idea #1. Play Creative Guitar Chords With Other Notes From The Scale. Here Is How:


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You know how there are 7 notes in the major scale?

You build major and minor guitar chords using only 3 of those notes. (Use notes 1 3 5 of the major scale to build major chords. And use notes 1 b3 and 5 for minor chords).

But what if you added notes 2, 4, 6 or 7 to the triad?

Then you play creative guitar chords that sound even more colorful. (And most of these extended chords are very easy to play.)

For example: C major - basic major chord with no notes added.

C Major Chord

Hear It

C major add 9 – this is a C major with an added D note (the 2nd note of the scale). The 2nd note is also called the 9th.

C Major add 9 Chord

Hear It

C major add 11 – this is a C major chord with an added F note (the 4th note of the scale). (The 4th note is also called the 11th).

C Major add 11 Chord

Hear It

C major add 6 – this is a C major chord with an added A note (the 6th note of the scale). The 6th is also called the 13th.

C Major add 6 Chord

Hear It

C major 7 – this is a C major chord with an added B note – the 7th note of the scale.

C Major 7 Chord

Hear It

Try this: Take any chord progression (group of guitar chords) you know well and add other notes from the scale to each chord.


Idea #2. Imply Modes Using Exotic Notes (It’s Easier Than You Think). Here Is How:

Adding other notes from the scale makes creative guitar chords that sound great…

… but what about adding notes from outside the scale to spice up your lead guitar playing ideas?

No problem!

This is how you break out of standard major & minor keys and imply different modes with just 1 chord.

Here are some examples:

Example 1: Bb “Lydian chord”.

Sounds complicated, right?

It’s just a Bb major chord with an added E note (the #4 note of the Bb major scale). Watch the first video on the page (from 3:49) to see how to play this chord.

If you play this chord by itself, you are in the key of Bb Lydian. You can play a Bb Lydian (F major) scale over it.

Example 2: G major add 9 add b6 – this is a G major chord with added notes A and Eb. Watch the first video on this page (from 1:22) to see and hear how to play this chord.

(It implies the 5th mode of melodic minor.)

Example 3: A minor major 7th chord – this is an A minor chord with an added G# note (the raised 7th of the A minor scale).

A Minor Major 7 Chord
 

Question: “Tom Hess, can I also add more than 1 note at the same time?”

Answer: Of course. Watch the video at the top of this page to see and hear several examples of extending chords with several notes.

If you struggle with finding the notes on your guitar neck, watch this guitar playing video to change this:
 


Tip: Soloing over creative guitar chords with added notes is a lot of fun. It’s even more fun when you know how to squeeze maximum emotion from every note. Download this free lead guitar playing and soloing eGuide to discover easy ways to express yourself with only a few notes.
 

Idea #3. Imply The 5th Mode Of Harmonic Minor With A Single Major Chord. Here Is How:

Want to know the secret to making simple major guitar chords sound great? Here it is:

Function.

This means: you can treat the major chord as the first chord in a major key. Or you can treat it like the 5th chord in a harmonic minor key.

Here is how to add creative guitar chords into your guitar playing aresenal:
 


 

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Idea #4. Connect Guitar Chords In A Smooth Way. Here Is How:

Most guitarists think of guitar chords as isolated chunks of notes.

Few pay attention to how the notes in one chord move to the notes of another chord.

But believe it or not:

… chords were originally created out of melodies.

This means:

You can think of each note in a chord as a note in a melody. And when you play guitar chords, think of multiple melodies being played at the same time.

This musical technique is called voice leading.

Playing creative guitar chords with good voice leading makes your guitar playing sound very advanced (even though the idea is simple to play). It also gives your guitar playing a classical sound.

Creative guitar chords with great voice leading stand out in a sea of repetitive block chords.

Watch this rhythm guitar playing video to see how to awesome good voice leading sounds:
 

 

Idea #5. Play Creative Guitar Chords Using Unusual Note Spacing. Here Is How:

You know how most guitar chords have the lowest notes on the wound strings and the highest notes on the thin strings?

What if you broke this pattern?

Check out these chords:

Unusually Spaced Guitar Chords

Hear It

Notice how the high E string is NOT the highest sounding note in any of these chords. The highest note in these chords is often played on the B string.

This type of playing is very common on piano (but is less common on guitar).

That said:

It is a very simple way to effortlessly use creative guitar chords in your playing.

You now know how to play creative guitar chords. The next step is to make your lead guitar playing sound awesome when you solo. Download this free guitar soloing guide and discover easy ways to play guitar solos you’ll feel proud of.


Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

Ready to use creative guitar chords in music? Become musically expressive using breakthrough guitar lessons online.

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