I thought this week we’d get a little technical and have a look at chords and how you can make them sound so much better with just a little effort and a fresh approach. Chords are the backbone of your playing and in fact many students tend to forget that they spend many, many hours working on single note playing (used to play solos) to the detriment of chords when in reality, most commercial song solos will last about 8 – 10 seconds then you will be needing those chords for the remaining 3 minutes and 10 seconds! So let’s take a little look at some simple things you can do to spice up your playing and sound like a pro.

Chord Voicing

A chord will sound like it does because of the way it is “voiced”. This means the arrangement of notes and their order to achieve a particular sound. Let’s take a basic “D major” shape that we’re all familiar with it looks like this:

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The notes in a D major chord are D – F# – A. The chord above is voiced from low to high as – open D – A – D – F# when played like this the chord has a certain ‘sound” one that we are all familiar with.

Knowing the names of the notes of the chord we can now ‘rearrange” the notes of this chord to get different voicing’s of D major like these:

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These are all just variations of a D major chord played in different positions on the fretboard. They are all still just the 3 notes of D (D F# A) just played in different places and in different orders. Give them a try and listen to the unique sound created by each voicing, then try to play them instead of your old faithful D shape. Good luck!