The Attraction of Harmonic Beauty...



The sound of uncommon chord voicings with shimmery open strings is one of the coolest effects we can perform on guitar. This post is a great introduction to developing this ability on acoustic or electric guitar...

This effect of beautiful open strings with interesting fretted chord shapes is easy enough to do by simply fretting a few select tones while allowing other strings to remain open. The result is a celestial-sounding guitar effect that will always catch your listeners attention.

We'll start our coverage of these dazzling harmonic chord ideas by way of isolating a couple of specific open strings against fretted tones. Our first example will take a basic chord progression and then enhance the sound.



We will do this by employing an open second and third string as the common thread between each chord.

TIP: Remember to hold the chord shapes in place and allow all of the notes to ring out as you're learning each idea below.

Example #1a). This is the first of a two-part process in where the outline of the tones we'll use will be established here in example 1a, and then we'll explore the idea of expanding upon this sound further yet by adding in more open ringing strings.

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Example #1b). From the chord outlines in example 1a, we can go forward with this sound and add more color by way of shimmery open strings. The open strings work to stretch the color of the chord effect even further. The process of adding the open string sound is a simple one, since all we're doing is adding the open 1st and 2nd guitar strings to the upper section of the chord voicings.

click the above TAB image for full-screen resolution




Example #2). This technique is so simple to implement that you could even do it by adding one string alongside of a few power chords and open chords. In example two, the patterns I've outlined operate out of the lower region of the neck. These patterns are being combined with versions of the "C" and "A" open chords to create a celestial-sounding guitar effect.


click the above TAB image for full-screen resolution


Example #3). If the shapes we've covered so far feel like they are a little too challenging for your hands, then the idea presented here in example three should be right up your alley. This idea that we're working with in example three operates using a similar shape built off of the 5th, 4th and 3rd strings (from out of a Major Barre chord).

This pattern is then played across various other locations to create a series of chords that maintain a constant shape yet produce a flow-through harmony. The upper guitar strings (2nd and 1st) are ringing out on top to produce a shimmery open string sound.


click the above TAB image for full-screen resolution


You can carry forward with this idea by learning new and interesting ways to enhance any of the chords that you already know. If building chords on the neck seems foreign to you, keep stretching yourself. there are right or wrong sounds. Only the sounds that you enjoy hearing and then decide to take in and use.

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