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. 

____________________ ____________________

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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ACOUSTIC GUITAR 016: Acoustic Fingerstyle Jazz

Acoustic Guitar 016: 

Acoustic Fingerstyle Jazz...

If you spend time listening to acoustic jazz guitar players like, "Chet Atkins" or, "Earl Klugh," one of the things you'll notice right away is their smooth style and their amazing control over both chords and melody simultaneously. 

Acoustic finger-style jazz has a flowing interchange between how the harmony blends with the melody. It blends elements of; jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues influences. The blend creates its own particular brand of contemporary guitar music. 

In this episode of Acoustic Guitar we're going to explore finger-style jazz in; Swing, Free-Time and Straight-Time Feel, we'll study how to add melodic lines around chords using arpeggios as well as, altered harmony. When we're done, you'll have a number of ideas to start building your own brand of Acoustic Finger-style Jazz Guitar...

Daily Deal:

This lesson studies the core concepts that are used to perform guitar techniques and musical ideas in the style of acoustic jazz guitar...

Watch the Video:

Example one, demonstrates how backing chord harmonies can support short single note lines in a swing feel. A chord progression based in "Bb Major" is used to help integrate short melodic phrases diatonic to the key of "Bb Major." A jazz-swing feel compliments each chord along with the swung melodic statements.

Example two, shifts the feel of these integrated chord and harmony statements into the straight time feel. This example introduces a funky groove using slightly syncopated sixteenth-notes around chords from the key of "C Minor." The slightly off-time groove of the progression uses follow-up lines around chord punches of the key

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PART TWOThe exercise in example three applies combinations of several different feels, techniques and duration. The phrases are both smooth and melodic and they bring together a jazzy blend of associated melody and harmony in the swing feel. The progression is based in the key of "C Major" and applies chord and melody using swung rhythms, alongside eighth-note triplets. The highlight of the example comes in the final measure with quarter-note chord punches.

Example four, includes one of the most popular techniques applied to acoustic fingerstyle jazz, the "free-time feel." Since many players in this style perform alone on-stage, this rhythmic technique (sometimes called "free-style rhythm"), is used abundantly in acoustic fingerstyle jazz. The lack of having any band members allows the solo guitarist to adjust the ebb and flow of time to suit personal taste and song interpretation.

In example four, the key of "F Minor" progression uses a blend of free-time along with straight-time eighth, triplets and sixteenth-notes to form a jazzy harmony and melody. The elements all come together to create an interesting array of rhythmic content.

Additionally, example four also introduces some altered harmony with the appearance of chords which include augmented and diminished fifths. These chord types are based upon both Dominant 7th and Minor 7th chord qualities. If some of these chord voicings are unfamiliar to you, learn the chord fingerings prior to attempting to integrate the associated melodic phrases.

Related Videos:

 Acoustic Fingerstyle Jazz... 

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 015: Percussive Guitar Technique

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 014: Gypsy Jazz Chords and Rhythm

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 013: Bossa /Samba Latin Guitar Style



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Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes

How to Play the Most Popular Blues Progressions [8, 12, 16]

Learning to play Blues progressions is one of the most popular ways that guitar players will begin learning how to improvise... The common place sound of a blues jam, (combined with how quickly most guitarists will learn how to phrase lines with the Blues and Minor Pentatonic scales), will go a long way toward helping to speed up the time it takes to learn how to solo... 

This is why guitar players need to know the most popular forms of Blues Progressions. These forms include the "8-bar, 12-bar, and 16-bar" Blues jams. And, that's why, this episode of the "Guitar Blog Insider," will cover "How to Play the Most Popular Blues Progressions."


The examples in this lesson plan will all be from the key of "Bb Blues." Each chord will be of the Dominant 7th quality. Learn the chord fingering of the "I," "IV," "V" chord types shown below. These chords will include; "Bb7," "Eb7," and "F7."

8-Bar Blues: The first Blues progression we'll take a run through will be the popular 8-Bar format. Just like the name implies, this group of chord changes functions across 8-bars of music. The chord changes all operate using the common Dominant seventh chord types following the "I-IV-V" harmony (used as the bed-rock of the Blues Music Style). So, let's break down the chords and their order & sequence across the "8-bar" Blues progression...

 click on the above chart image to enlarge full-screen

8-Bar Blues Examples; "Worried Life Blues" (one of the most recorded blues songs of all time), Nina Simone's, "Trouble in Mind," and Buddy Guy's "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Plus, the song, "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis is also a early-rock variation on the 8-bar Blues format.

12-Bar Blues: Next, let's jump into the most popular group of Blues changes on planet Earth, the 12-Bar Blues. This is by far the most commonly applied group of Blues chord changes. This progression is used in thousands and thousands of songs and is an absolute "Must Learn" chord progression.

  click on the above chart image to enlarge full-screen

16-Bar Blues: Our final "important" Blues Progression is a progression that may not get a ton of prominent use like the famous "12-bar" Blues progression, but, it will be one of those Blues Progressions that are very important to learn about, it's the 16-bar Blues. Study the example below and the way that a typical 16-bar Blues progression moves across all of the measures with our; I-IV-V set of Dominant 7th chords.

  click on the above chart image to enlarge full-screen

16-Bar Blues Examples;  The Beatles song - "The Ballad Of John And Yoko," also the Louis Armstrong piece -"Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." And, from the 1920's Classic Blues era, there's the 16-bar piece (by Edward Thompson) called, "West Virginia Blues"

These three examples of Blues progressions are important for all Guitarist's to become familiar with. Not only do they help guitar players better memorize the sounds of one of the most common styles of chord progression harmony (out there in music), but these Blues - chord progressions are an accepted group of arrangements that most other players you meet will also know.

Learning about these blues progressions will help you communicate better as a guitar player in many different musical situations. Study each progression. Do extra research of your own to learn some different chord combinations and above all else, learn songs that will use these progressions.

Next time you jam with a new group of musicians, there's a really good chance that they'll be more than happy to riff-out on a few, of these common 8-12- or 16 bar Blues progressions.

Well, I'd like to end the discussion by saying, thanks for joining me... If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership... When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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QwikRiffs #017: Linear Diatonic Harmony Riffs in "D Minor"

NEW: QwikRiffs Series - Video (017)

The latest QwikRiffs video, Linear Diatonic Harmony Riffs in "D Minor" is available in the members area. Includes PDF handout!

QwikRiffs are available to members at Creative Guitar Lessons in the QwikRiffs Series run through collections of rhythm guitar riffs covering all types of playing styles. I cover different 'famous artist' playing approaches and I will demonstrate ideas based on rhythm guitar techniques... 

Daily Deal:

Episode #017 covers three "Linear Diatonic" Riffs.

Riff one is organized around the use of 6th intervals following typical harmony movements within key centers. The riff in our first example tracks 6th intervals across the "D Minor" keys harmony between string 4 and 2.

Riff two applies the popular third interval in a harmonized riff tracked off of the 4th string. The riff is based on a palm muted concept established around a solid eighth-note 'light-rock' /'pop-rock' style groove.

Riff three is based upon the diatonic pattern of triad harmony. A sequence using linear triad chord patterns between 4th to 3rd strings offers up a riff with a smooth punchy sound. The groove pushes off of the up-beat across the measures.

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Sign into the website (or create your free members account) to join the members site. Sign up for the Basic Monthly or Premium (annual) membership to download the PDF handout for this lesson and study all of the other classes available on the website. 

Become a FREE member of the website, sign up today!



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How to Play a Solo on a Single Guitar String

Have you ever wondered about how playing a solo on only a single string might work? How does the scale get laid out. How do you view the scales root note? What's the process for playing lead like this? Well, in this lesson I want to help you understand how a guitar solo would function if it were performed on just one string... 

In this lesson, we'll break down how to understand the key of your solo (when played across one string). We'll discuss how to pin-point the tonic of the scale, (so the root of the key is clear to you). Plus, we'll study how to think more horizontally when you're composing or improvising your lead guitar parts...


Step #1). The first step when getting together your ideas for performing a one-string guitar solo will begin with determining your key signature. This means you'll need to be able to analyze the chord changes and determine the Tonic note, (along with the major or minor tonality) of the chord progression you'll build the solo over. In many cases this turns out to be the first chord you'll hear. Such as in this chord progression...

Sometimes the chord progressions will operate in reverse. In those cases, the key centers Tonic chord will show up at the end of the chord progression. I've composed an example like this using the same key as our last progression. In this jam the chords to flow into the root chord of the key, rather than away from it. See the example below...

Step #2). Once you've analyzed and established what the key signature of your progression is, and you know the tonality of the progression, (i.e., whether the progression is Major or Minor), the next step is that of determining "where" on the neck the tonic note is going to sit for your key and how the scale will be laid out along the string.

For example, if your progression was in the key of "D Minor," you'll want to understand where the root of "D" is sitting along the string, and how the scale would be laid out. For our example, we'll use the third guitar string, and build the "D Minor" scale along it.

Within the key of "D Minor" the "Tonic Note" of "D" is located on the 3rd-string, seventh fret. You'll be best off practicing how the layout of notes for the key can be developed through a practice routine for the "along one string" scale pattern. Make a study of the practice routine I've suggested below...

The goal is to memorize the scale along the entire string, so that in the long run you can compose or improvise melodies using single-string scale.

Step #3). This is the fun part. Now that you've sorted out your progression, and you've established the proper key, along with learning the scale layout along one string, you can start making up melodies.

When it comes to the creation of melody lines, you'll want to start the fun by recording the jam. I've already got the progression I'm going to use recorded into my looper pedal. The chord progression is in "D Minor" and sounds like this...

I've also composed a melody for you to try learning, (just something to help get you started with practicing this along one string soloing concept)... make a study of my example melody...

As you practice learning your scales, you'll find that almost every book and diagram method will focus on laying out the scale in vertical fret-board positions. And, that's good, there's nothing wrong with that.

That's how I learned my scales, and that's how I show all of my own students their scales on guitar. However, I do need to stress the value behind spending time performing scales along one guitar string. And, the value in forcing yourself out of the common in position box shapes, to develop guitar solos and melodies played along the neck. Plus, it's phenomenal for learning the scales notes, the key signatures and new ways of phrasing melodic ideas.

It helps your hands learn the neck better, and it helps your ear comprehend the sound of the scales structure so you can play all kinds of unique phrases that you're hearing in your head...

_______________________ _______________________

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.

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!



Join Now