This time around in Guitar A2Z we are going to take a look at developing your chord voicings around the neck of the guitar by using common chord shapes and substituting them with their triad inversions. In most bands and modern worship teams there are two or more guitar players, usually an acoustic rhythm player, an electric rhythm, and a lead guitar player. Each guitarist has a part to play and a frequency within the spectrum of sound being created. If all three guitarists, along with a keyboard player and a bass guitarist, are playing in the same tonal register with similar chord voicings it can sound rather monotone and bass heavy, not to mention lifeless. One of the ways to avoid this in your musical ensemble is to use inversions and other chord voicings on the guitar.

Let’s look at a chord progression that is used in a typical modern song in the key of “G”, [ G / D / Em / C ]. Or, as known using the Nashville number system, a [ 1 / 5 / 6 / 4 ]  progression. The advantage to using the Nashville number system is the ability to play the same song or chord progression in different keys more easily than having to transpose in your head on the fly.

In Example #1 we have the open chord voicings usually covered by the acoustic guitar. In Example #2 we can develop chord voicings that can be covered by the electric rhythm guitar. Instead of playing full bar chords, play the upper register of the bar chord shape along with open chord triads. In Example #3 we move up to a higher register position on the neck that is covered by the lead guitarist. These chord voicing add the shimmer of their higher pitch and sound great arpeggiated or strummed with a nice delay and reverb effect. Moving into Example #4 is a practice routine that covers four different chord voicings for the same chords. Play them one after another up the neck of your guitar.

This will open up the neck of the guitar, along with your eyes and ears, to help develop the chord voicing that will work best for you and the parts you are covering. Be sure to play this exercise progression in other keys and chord shapes. The [ 1 / 5 / 6 / 4 ] progression in “A” will read [ A / E / F#m / D ]. You can also incorporate these chord voicings into your lead playing over the chord changes by picking out single note lines and riffs.

‘Till next time, keep developing your gifts. <><

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Freelance guitarist, indie artist, clinician +Jesus guy based in Hendersonville TN. Author of the Guitar from A2Z column. Like Roger Zimish Guitarist on facebook.

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