Want to play guitar chords creatively so that they sound musically expressive without using a ton of effort to learn complex music theory concepts?
Learn how to use guitar voice leading ideas to make simple chords sound amazing.
No, voice leading isn't as complicated as you might think...
...and it's not just for advanced musicians either.
Find out how to easily use voice leading to make your guitar chords sound great by watching this video:
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Now that you have watched the video, learn more ways to make your guitar playing more creative and expressive by reading these tips:
Guitar Voice Leading Creativity Tip #1: Get Better By Training Your Aural Skills
When you use chords on guitar, it’s very helpful to already know how each note in your song transitions into the next one. Most guitarists simply rely on randomly playing through notes, hoping something cool will happen. However, there is a better approach that will make your guitar voice leading and overall guitar playing better in the long run.
Play a short phrase of 2-3 notes, the sing the next half of the phrase out loud. Don't worry if you aren't a great singer. Once, you've done this, play the next notes on guitar. Work on doing this until you are able to reliably sing the notes you want to play before you play them.
This helps you to build a mental vocabulary of how notes sound in your head before you even play them on guitar.
Practicing this over time makes it easier to lead notes from one to the next during your guitar chord progressions, solos and licks.
Guitar Voice Leading Creativity Tip #2: Use Expressive Vibrato
Vibrato is one of the most important tools you have available when it comes to playing guitar with emotional expression. This technique can be used to enhance your chords and chord progressions too.
As you saw in the video, vibrato can be applied using your fretting hand on the notes of a chord or by using your fist to depress and release a floating bridge so that every note has vibrato applied evenly.
For additional creative expression while using your fretting hand, pay attention to the notes you apply vibrato to. For example, try only applying vibrato to the bass note in each chord or only to the strings above it. Use different kinds of vibrato and experiment to give your chord progressions more variety.
Question: “What is a way to write guitar chord progressions that sound cool?”
Answer: There are many ways to do this, so here is one approach you can use right now:
Look for ways to use the open high E or high B strings in every chord of your progression. This creates a pedal point that makes each chord flow smoothly into the next one, and it sounds great.
Try these using chords at first (in any inversion, starting on any string), then think of your own chords:
C Major - D Major - E Minor
C Major 7 - D7 - E Minor 7
Question: “How often should I use vibrato in my guitar playing?”
Answer: Make sure not too over use it to the point that it becomes too predictable, but not so little that your notes sound hollow or lifeless.
Work on developing the expressive quality of your guitar chords by simply looking for ways to make a single chord sound unique and emotional with many types of vibrato (on its own - separate from other chords). Play a chord for several minutes while looking for ways to make it sound different with vibrato each time your play it. Then add another chord and repeat.
Guitar Voice Leading Creativity Tip #3: Learn From A Good Guitar Teacher
Are you constantly looking for new guitar licks, chords, techniques or lessons online?
Most other guitar players do this too.
However, making tons of progress to become a great guitarist requires more than this. Taking lessons with a guitar teacher makes learning and improving infinitely easier than trying to piece everything together on your own.
Your guitar playing develops quickly when you take lessons from an expert guitar teacher who has already helped many others do everything you want to do and more.
It's a fact:
Guitar players who learn with a teacher improve their weaknesses much faster than they would learning on their own. This means you are no longer held back from playing the cool solos, licks, techniques and patterns that are currently frustrating you. Great guitar teachers are experts at helping you fix problems in your playing that you may have never realized existed while helping you achieve your musical goals much more quickly!
Don't hesitate to get started taking your guitar playing to the highest level.
The faster you get started taking guitar lessons, the faster you begin playing guitar just like you always wanted to.
Here is what my students have to say about their experience with taking guitar lessons:
“I found Tom Hess on the net through articles, and I read quite a few of those before I went to Tom’s website. Even though I’m not a metal player at all, and Tom is obviously a metal player, I could still see that his ideas and way of teaching could really benefit me. So I pretty much signed up for online guitar lessons with Tom straight away once I’d gone through the website, and it’s just been a real eye opener with the way he teaches…”
... the integration of concepts that he’ll give you and having a really structured strategy… not just week to week lessons, but things that - you can see from one lesson to the next - really develop and continue to work on your technique and your theory and aural skills and those types of things. So I’d played a long time… 20 years before I really caught onto Tom, and I’d had a lot of lessons, and I’d taught and played but I can really see improvements in my technique, sweeping, and picking which weren’t strong parts of my playing.
I feel like Tom has a good gauge of where you’re at as a guitar player and what you need, and there just seemed to be so much more stuff in the lessons week to week than what you’d ever get in an hour or so in a one on one lesson… way more. So yeah I think that and the forum. I think, I’d pay the money just for the forum. That alone would be fine… I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. So that alone is massive!
The price for the lessons, that’s nothing... nothing. You know, I think it’s, pretty cheap to be honest. I don’t mean that in a bad way, cheap. Cheap is not a good word, but I just think it’s great value… awesome value. I mean, you know, you could pay that for one-to-one lessons and you just don’t get the same results and support of the forum and the content and the strategies.
Other teachers I’ve had have been good players, and some have become good friends too. But when I’ve started lessons with Tom I’ve got something to compare that to and a lot of it is just sort of teaching songs from week to week… a lot of the lesson will be left up to you… you’ll go to your lesson and they’ll be like what do you want to do today? At the time I said, oh do this song or that song, but with Tom you start to realize that you know, there’s more to it… the goals and you know he’s sort of more in contact with what you want to be able to do as a player, because he’s asking you the questions and then setting up the strategies, so I find that really good.
Yeah I can see more results in 18 months in a lot of areas in my playing than you know 20 years. So it’s sort of, you know, would’ve been great 20 years ago to have met Tom.
Simon Candy, Melbourne, Australia
"When I came to Tom for online guitar lessons, I already had a decent overall level of technique and understood the basics of music theory pretty well. I had taken lessons with other teachers before, and went through several guitar method books that promised to teach me how to become a great lead guitar player. I learned all the materials in these books and courses and picked up some useful tips and knowledge along the way. Yet for some reason I still wasn't feeling like a musician. I struggled very much with writing my own songs, creating my own solos and pushing my guitar technique and speed to a higher level (especially sweep picking, alternate picking, and playing clean at high speeds).
When I started learning from Tom, the main thing that made him different from other teachers was that he was showing me how to excel in all aspects of my guitar playing by applying the skills that I already knew together with the new material that I was learning from him.
He made me aware of both strengths and weaknesses in my playing that I did not even know I had. From there he gave me the knowledge, tools and guidance to literally transform my guitar playing by enabling me to overcome things that were preventing me from becoming a truly creative and self-expressive guitar player. These were the kinds of things that none of my previous guitar teachers and books I studied were able to do for me.
After Tom made me aware of all the things I was missing in my guitar playing and provided me with the strategy and tools for solving them, I began to make very fast progress in all areas of my guitar playing.
I can now write my own music and can create lead guitar solos that I am happy and fulfilled with. I also have the technical skills to confidently and easily play anything that I want to express. I have overcome all of the lead guitar challenges that I struggled with before, and increased my guitar speed to virtuoso levels. More importantly, I have the knowledge and understanding of how to continually improve my guitar playing and musical skills to higher and higher levels to continue expressing myself with my music. Overall, I have definitely transformed in a huge way as a musician and as a person through my lessons with Tom Hess. I am grateful to him for guiding me towards becoming the guitarist I always wanted to be!"
Mike Philippov, Indiana, USA
“When I first heard about Tom Hess, I saw that he was a teacher that was very dedicated and serious about it, and that drew me in immediately. That this is a guy that has a plan, has a goal and really if you’re serious about learning guitar, this guy is equally as serious in a way. So it resonated with me straight away.”
I started out just learning by myself and as many others I got stuck. I had a few issues I wanted to get by, but when I met Tom and talked with him and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of possibilities of what guitar playing can be.
I feel very grateful that I found lessons from Tom since I then did what worked from the very beginning. Many guitarists I see that played way longer than I did, they have build up many bad habits. That from the very start, there was clear instruction of how to practice correctly. You build the ability for high speed and whatever you want from the very beginning and you don’t waste time doing inefficient things. So I’m very grateful that I did that, and now I really feel I am able to reach whatever level I want.
The reasons why I think I feel so motivated all the time is because I know that the thing I’m working on is relevant for me and it’s exactly the direct thing I need to get.
The forum just kicks ass. The people in the forum - it’s just like unconditional help all the time. They love to help out, and you also get very inspired by seeing someone just really getting speed really quick and then you say if he can do it, I can do it. It works on the mental side of being a guitarist and that of course that’s the most important thing. Just being around other musicians like that, is just you learn so much faster, is so much less frustration when you can see that all the people are having the same issues that you do, not anything special or anything. It’s just part of learning process, so it kicks ass.
Magnus Gautestad, Norway
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