Make Cool Sounding Chord Progressions Even Cooler

After some time gets invested in chord studies (and after we've learned a lot of chord types and practiced getting good at playing chord changes), the standard chord voicings can get a little boring...

Watch the Video:

If you've been wondering how to expand basic chord types, stay tuned because this video is going to demonstrate, "An Easy Way to Make Progressions Sound More Interesting."


In this session we're going to break down a chord progression in the key of "E Minor" that moves from the tonic chord (Em) to a diatonic V-chord, (Bm) and then takes an interesting twist through to the Tri-tone Sub of the Tonic, (Bb). The final chord is the IV-chord of the key, but the chord quality has been changed to major, (A major). This is a "Modal Interchange" effect from Dorian mode.

Now, even though this "Pink-Floyd-ish" sounding jam is already pretty cool sounding, we're going to use some altered and extended concepts to make it EVEN COOLER yet! Check it out...

Let me begin by playing through this fairly basic group of chord changes from the key of "E Minor."

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Now those chords are all just generic barre chords played around the mid-point of the neck, but I'm going to expand on their sound by extending them out to sevenths and also adding in some altered 5th's. 

  click the image to enlarge full-screen

I'll take the first chord of "Em" in measure one, and add a minor 7th, along with a "#5."

In measure two, I'll do the same thing - extending that "Bm" voicing to the 7th and adding a "#5" as well... Now, in measure three, I'll convert the "Bb" major triad to a dominant 7th, but this time I'll add a "b5." (also known as a diminished 5th) Finally, in the last measure, I'll convert the "A major" triad over to an, "A dom.7 chord" with an "add11."

Although adding the seventh and altered tones, (plus extended intervals) is a more complex approach that will require a wider scope to your chord knowledge, the effect it has on the chord progression is really interesting.

All we're doing is creating shapes for the fingers to study and memorize. This means after some time, your hands will get used to these chords and you'll be able to control their application.

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I hope to see you on the website soon. Bye for now.



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