Easy Chord Strumming Embellishments...

Spice up your rhythm playing with these easy chord strumming embellishments...

Playing chords and strumming different types of rhythm patterns makes up the largest part of what the rhythm guitarist does within a song. And, if the rhythm guitarist plays the same chord shapes and strum patterns every time, things will tend to get quite boring.

That's why it is so important to learn how to add colorful embellishments to your chords. This  will make your rhythm playing more interesting to listen to and it will often be what separates you from other rhythm players. It can also be exactly what a song needs to give the piece just the right kind of little extra that it needs to really connect with the audience.

Although it’s fun to experiment with embellishments, the long term goal is to try to use them only when it’s appropriate. Instead of using them all over the place all the time, only use embellishments here and there to add that little bit of lift to your music.

The two examples below demonstrate how to use and apply embellishments using a basic strumming pattern.

It is good to know the common open chords of;
C, D, E, F, G, A, Am, Em, Dm.

To begin adding chord embellishments it is also good to know the chords of;
sus2, sus4, add4, 6sus4, sus2, sus4, dom7, maj7

TIP: Techniques such as; finger slides, with hammer-on and pull-off articulation devices are important additional tools for how guitar players will add in all of the various embellishments to the chords within their progressions.

Let's begin by adding some really easy embellishments. We'll apply some "major 7" at the first measure by lifting off out 1st finger from a basic open "C" style chord. The sound of a "Suspended 2nd" will come in at measure two by lifting off our 2nd finger from the "C" chord. In measure four, we'll create the suspended 4th off of a "G Major" chord by including a second string "C" tone into the layout of a "G major" chord.


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The example one progression (above) adds "Major 7," "Suspended 4" and "Suspended 2" embellishments to the chord changes.



Our next example will  carry on with more suspended ideas, but it will also add in an altered tone along with a "major 6th" chord quality.

Another important embellishment will also be added. This one applies hammer-on and pull-offs to help integrate the flow of each chord transition. The patterns used to perform almost any chord progression can be embellished further through the use of techniques like these. The effects created by adding phrasing devices will make a big impact on the sound of the lines.


(click on above image for full-screen display)

In example two, above, we added a "suspended 2nd" on the "C major" chord in measure one and then followed it up using an embellished line with notes of the "C Major Scale." Measure two adds a suspended 4th with a short phrase taking us into the "IV-chord" of "F Major." In measure three the IV-chord applies the sound of the "suspended 2nd" with another short phrase taking us into the last measure. The final measure includes a unique sound of the diminished 5th interval onto the "F" chord. the last beat moves into the sound of "major 6th" with a "D" tone being added to the "F Major" chord, thus creating a "F Major 6th" chord.

Embellishments like these are quite easy to add into any chord progression. If you spend some time raising and lowering your fretted fingers, you'll discover all types of interesting sounds can be added onto chord changes.

The effects become even more interesting when short scale runs are added to the chord changes. By experimenting with all of your standard open chords, you'll eventually stumble across some very cool sounding embellishments, with little to no effort.



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