Are You Doing This? - Guitar "Chord Chops"

Ever heard of the Chord Chop? It's a heavy handed way of hitting at the guitar strings where individual sections of a chord are struck. The technique allows for highlighting specific segments of string groups offering greater dynamics and strength to rhythm parts. If you’ve never experimented with this technique, you’re long overdue.

The chord chop technique is a way of playing rhythm where you hit a chord forcefully on either the back-beat, (it can also be muted and marked rhythmically on the off-beats, or also upbeats).

Rhythm players need to learn this technique, because it’s a way to split apart the tones of a chord allowing us to add other intervals around the rhythm that will work nicely to highlight different parts of the groove.

Chord chop technique is also often played using select ghost hits, (a chord hit that’s played muted by lifting up the fretting-hand fingers immediately after strumming the chord). 

The ghosted chord chop along with the normal chord chop gives us a percussive sound that works great in styles like: R and B, Motown, Blues, Soul Music, Hip-Hop and Smooth Jazz.



Riff #1).
Here’s a Chord Chop idea with accents on the up-beat of the count of the beat of, “3”

Riff #2).
Here’s another Chord Chop riff that accents on the ‘up-beat of 3’ (in measure one), and on the ‘up-beat of 2’ (in measure two)

Riff #3).
Here’s a chord chop guitar part that’s playing the “ghost” technique on each measure at the “up-beats of 2.”

As you can tell, the "chord chop" can occur in several ways, but it usually consists of a downward strum on the up-beat notes. And, (as you noticed in our examples), alternatively there can be bass-notes played and allowed to ring-out underneath.

There can even be chords that are chopped on the up-beat. The thing is that this technique is most commonly used in a rhythmically simple manner, as simple as just chopping on every beat, or on down beats and ghosting on the up beats.

Guitarists like; Freddie Green, Steve Cropper and Django Reinhardt are a few of the players that are well known for applying this technique throughout their rhythm playing.

The secret to playing great sounding guitar-chop rhythm parts has a lot to do with paying attention to the rhythmic flow of the music.

Most songs will consist of fairly simple melodies and only a limited collection of chords, so the groove has to be strong and that’s where chord chops can really come in handy.

It’s important to also understand that the role of most rhythm guitar players is to work with the drums and bass to keep the song grooving. 

You'll have an easier time nailing the songs feel when you learn to break apart the chords using this Guitar Chop technique. Just focus on locking down on the groove with your strum-hand, and keep targeting notes through the chord patterns.

It’s a little different than the strumming style that’s done in Folk or Campfire songs, but once you practice this a little while, you’ll train your pick-hand to have a lot more accuracy and skill for the, “Chord Chop” approach. 

Be sure to carry on and look into all of the exceptional online guitar courses I have over on my website at

I’ve got step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses that work alongside of in-depth elective programs to form the best guitar courses available.

My courses work fantastic to help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to that next level of guitar playing, in a very organized step-by-step way, that totally makes sense.

I look forward to helping you further at my website;

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Until next time, take care and we'll catch up again on the next lesson. Bye for now!



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