#1
Greetings all,

I'm student guitarist and I have been trying to search or explore ways to spice up basic major or minor chords. For acoustic playing, it just seems open strings help to add more sustain and a bright quality to the tone - so then I assume that not all key centers can lend itself that easily to using open-style chords on the guitar. I know in particular, a lot of guitarists like to:

Add a 9 to a triad
Alter to a sus2 chord
Add dissonance by including a 4th to a complete major triad

These are what I generally do from time to time, but I have been trying to explore or find more cool ways to add a little more character to basic major or minor triads. If you have any suggestions, I'll be glad to hear any tips or advice!


Thanks a lot!
#2
adding 6ths often sounds cool. 7ths if you want a bluesy/jazzy sound, anything else pretty much is strictly for jazz imo
#5
Figure out notes in in the extended chord and play around with positions.

For example, D major can be played x x O 2 3 2

You can play x 5 4 2 3 2

You have D F# A C# E G B to play with.

Consider x 5 4 O 7 7

or x O 4 2 5 2

or x x O 7 7 7

or x x O 7 7 10

or x O O 6 7 5

Try 2 x 0 2 3 O or x O 4 7 7 O or X O 7 6 7 5

Once you spot D and F# on the neck, you can always drop the 5th or add notes from the DMaj13 chord. And this works (more or less) for ay major or minor chord on the neck ... some combination or permutation of the root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th will sound cool.

If you add the flat 7 of D , C natural, with F# present -- that is a whole other family of chords -- dominant -- which are more jazz/blues sounding and get into a whole other family of altered sounds. But notes from the Maj13 or min13 of a chord should give you lots of ideas.

Cheers!
#6
Turning a triad into an add9 can indeed be nice :P

As far as open chords go, there are a lot of nice ones based on G. My starting point would be a GmajAdd9 (3x020x). From there, lots of possibilities. Replacing the fifth, you could make it a plain Gmaj9 (3x420x). Moving down the 7th, you could make it a G9 (3x320x).

Over all of these, you could also let the open E ring out to add a 6 or 13.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Apr 15, 2012,
#7
More or less, Zen gets it. I can tell instantly that he knows what he's talking about, and it's more or less what I would say to you, (although you might not catch the whole Major 13ths and what he means), because it assumes that you can build the notes correctly of every chord, and, Zen can. I can as well, and many here on MT can.

(Most people, in my observation...cannot.)

That said, the Major 13th is basically all the notes of a D Major scale played at once like a chord. That brings us full circle...chords are from scales and scales are from chords....that awareness is groundbreaking stuff when many finally realize that they are dealing with the same question and that is the power of notes against a tonal center. Nothing else matters, until you realize that's all that's happening.

But let's look deeper into this. Instead of what notes can you play, to spice up triads, define "spice". What is "spice". It's a personal thing, I believe. But in teaching as long as I have been, the thing that I find is "spice" is when the right combination of tension and resolution is employed in music.

How do you do that? Well, understand, or better yet take these notes and determine if they feel relaxed or resolved, or they feel "unfinished" or tense. How does one painter know just what color to use and how much? It's the same at asking questions of this nature.

Use your ears, get a better understanding of the power of notes and their functions. (For example a Minor 6th could sound terrible if that 6th isn't in the melody line, and as such generally is not recommended as a tonic chord.)

But really, there's no shortcut or slide rule. There's just knowledge, application, experience, and your ears. All of these ultimately can answer your question.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Apr 15, 2012,
#8
Quote by RockSmurf
Greetings all,

I'm student guitarist and I have been trying to search or explore ways to spice up basic major or minor chords. For acoustic playing, it just seems open strings help to add more sustain and a bright quality to the tone - so then I assume that not all key centers can lend itself that easily to using open-style chords on the guitar. I know in particular, a lot of guitarists like to:

Add a 9 to a triad
Alter to a sus2 chord
Add dissonance by including a 4th to a complete major triad

These are what I generally do from time to time, but I have been trying to explore or find more cool ways to add a little more character to basic major or minor triads. If you have any suggestions, I'll be glad to hear any tips or advice!


Thanks a lot!

You can add a lot of depth to triads without adding any extra notes. Study closed and open voicing's, and octave displacement of voices. The possibilities with just the basic triad is immense.

If you want to add other notes, the 9th and 6th add some nice flavour, and you can still maintain a 3 note chord by replacing the root and 5th respectively.

Why the root and 5th? In real situation, the bass or piano player will often be playing the roots, and the 5th is so consonant, that it's often heard as an extension of the root anyway.

Always maintain 3rds in your voicing's though. They define the tonality and character of the chord.