Last issue I made a few suggestions: putting down your electric guitar and stepping away from your pedalboards and to try rotating to the acoustic guitar spot once in a while on the worship team to help find a balance in your gifts and deeper Worship. If you lead worship on the acoustic guitar or have the role of the acoustic guitarist on the team, you have a great spot in the body of the Worship team, and these Open Chord Voicings apply to you as well.

Now, many modern Praise and Worship bands have at least 2 guitarists, one acoustic and at least one electric guitarist. This gives an overall balance to the sound and structure for the style your band is playing. The modern Worship electric guitarist is using an array of effects to create sonic landscapes along with powerful distortion for their parts, while the acoustic guitarist is covering everything from full out open chorded rhythm to light fingerstyle parts. In the lesson I have put together we will look at some open chord voicings that will work primarily on acoustic guitar, but also play well on the electric.

The basis of most of these chord voicings are triads, with the high E and B strings left open to ring out. In some of the chords the low E and A strings will be left open, along with the open high E and or B strings. I’m keeping the chords in simple root position names so as to not complicate things here.

Ex.1 – This chord progression is a familiar ascending line. The chord shapes we are using are open E Major shapes and a minor shape. As the chords move up the neck, leave the high E and B strings open along with the low E so they ring out as you play each chord, starting with a down stroke followed with all up strokes back across 4 strings.

Ex.2 – In this chord progression the chord forms run with the root on the “A” string, leave the high E string open and letting it ring. When not fretting the B string let it ring out as well. You will hear this open chord concept in songs from Hillsong United and other top Worship groups.

Ex. 3 – Here is a set of three note chords known as Major triads, (Root, Third, Fifth). The root of each chord is found on the “D” string and uses a simple fingering, low to high “3 2 1”. To add some flavor, leave the high E string and the A string open as a type of drone as you move up the neck.

Open chord voicings play well and can be heard in all types of modern music. Let these chords reverberate under your fingers and in your ears to create some beautiful noise. Keep a lookout for part two. We will be adding some moving bass lines and a few Major 7th into the mix.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this post! It would seem that this would work well in E, A, and B shapes. Do you have anything for the key of D or Bb? What are your thoughts on capo-ing an electric guitar?

  2. I noted your second example is one I basically make a living with given my dominant key vocal. It usually fools lots of folks given they are just power chords with the exception of adding the minor on the C# (which I don’t do). But yes, it’s an incredibly fantastic dynamic, especially on my J200 doing a mix of open chording and finger work. As a worship leader I create the sounds relative to the song and rotate between acoustic and electric while the other acoustic stays rhythm. I would add in example 2 to thumb mute the sixth string on all but the E chord.

    God bless,
    Dan Long

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