Guitar Chords from Good to Spectacular

Have you ever tried taking a group of basic chord voicings further? By adding more notes, and getting them to sound richer? You'll often hear David Gilmour do this technique with chords, and so will Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page and many others. This lesson, my goal will be to break down how basic sounding chords can have other notes added or even have certain notes replaced all together to take the sound of your chords from "Good" to "Spectacular."


Good Sounding Progressions: Chord progressions are (more often than not) generally performed using basic open or using common barre chord patterns. And, while this is all well and good, the progressions will tend to come off as sounding fairly generic. 

While that could often be just what the song ordered, sometimes the chord changes within a piece can be greatly enhanced. In getting things started, here's a group of common 6th and 5th string Barre chords using just major and minor triads.

click the image above to enlarge full-screen

Let's break down all of the triad chords that I applied as barre-chord fingering patterns in the above progression. Study the patterns below, starting with the first chord of "B Minor," in the seventh fret-board position.

Spectacular Progressions - STEP ONE:
After you develop the skills for performing basic major and minor Barre Chords, you'll have the ability to perform chord progressions all across the neck in all of the musical keys. 

But, you can enhance the sound of your chord progressions even further by doing some really basic chord swaps. The first is simply stretching basic triad harmony out to seventh chord harmony. Let's do that with the progression that we've just learned. Here's the progression again, but using 7th-chords.

Just like we did in our example progression, let's break down all of these 7th quality chords - starting with the first chord of, "B Minor 7."

Spectacular Progressions - STEP TWO :
Once you've expanded the triad progressions out to seventh chord harmony, you can begin stretching your chords even further yet, by adding extensions like; 9th's, 11's and 13th intervals. 

You can also experiment with "add chord types" and suspended chords, inversions, as well as altered chords. Let's take this key of "B Minor" progression I've been jamming on and expand it out even further yet by adding even more new and unique chord concepts.

Just like we did in our last examples, let's break down all of these new chords - starting with the first chord of "B Minor 9." 

Take note that the "Dsus4" chord is inverted with the "A" tone in the bass.

Learning how the evolution of guitar harmony operates is the objective of this lesson.

Step #1). simple intervals
Step #2). beginners open guitar chords
Step #3). barre chords, (for chord mobility all across the neck).
Step #4). seventh-chord harmony
Step #5). extended, inverted, suspended, 'add' chords
Step #6). altered chords

Once developed they all come together to form an amazing evolution of sound.

Once you learn how to create and control all of these unique chord qualities, (as guitar fingering patterns - on the neck), you'll be able to apply the type of chord you want, when you want it. You'll be able to make each chord fit with the way you hear music operating in your own compositions.

This is a critical factor to controlling sound on your instrument, because you'll learn how to play what you want, as you hear it happening in your mind. And, it's one of the most important skills to composing music. 

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Thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn Next on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at

My step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses will cover what you need to know, along with how to be able to move forward and become the best player that you can be. I've worked on these courses since 1992 and I feel that all together they're the best guitar program you'll ever find.

The courses will help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to the next level of guitar playing, in a very organized way, that makes sense. So, I look forward to helping you further at ...Until next time - take care and we'll catch up again on the next lesson. Bye for now!



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