In this lesson I’m going to show you some cool guitar chords that are all based on a basic open position E shape. A lot of times you can get some interesting chord sounds by taking one chord shape with some open strings, and moving it up and down the neck. The open strings will have a different relationship to the notes that you are fretting, depending on what fret you are on.
(Video Guitar Lesson)
Guitar Shape vs. Guitar Chord Sound
The idea of shape and sound are 2 different animals. You are using the E chord shape for all of these chords, but these don’t sound like an E chord other than at the 1st fret and the 13th fret (1 octave higher).
You really don’t need to know the actual names of these chords make use of them. Use your ear, move the E chord shape to the different frets indicated.
Anything that you see other that a letter (ex add 9, maj7, add #11) is because of how the open first string (E) and open second string (B) relate to the major chord shape on the 5th, 4th and 3rd strings.
When you are playing these chords, the bass note for all of them is an E (the open 6th string). This’s why you see a “/E” after every chord symbol. Cmaj7/E for instance is pronounced “C major 7 slash E”.
Cool Guitar Chord Charts
What About the “Bad” Sounding Frets?
You may be wondering, “why did you leave out the chords at the 5th, 7th, 10th, and 12th frets?” Play them and see what you think. All of the chords that are indicated sound good by themselves. They can sound very tense, and may seem like they need to move somewhere, but it’s a good tension. The chords at the frets not indicated (5,7,10,12) can be used as passing chords (a quick chord used to connect to other chords) but if you just play them by themselves, they just sound like you are playing some wrong notes.
Cool Chord Progressions
Here are a few examples to give you some ideas of the sounds that you might get using this technique. Be sure to experiment on your own and come up with your own chord progressions.
Note that the actual names of the chords are not used, because some of them are just too darn long. The numbers next to the E (E2, E4 etc.) is the fret that you want your first finger on.
Guitar Lesson Downloads
Below is a PDF with the tablature and chord charts for this guitar lesson.
(Right Click the links below and choose “Save As” or “Save Target As” or “Download Linked Files As”)
PDF Music Stand Printout
Have fun with you new set of cool sounding guitar chords.