Spicing The Chords. Part 3

In this article I will present several unorthodox ways to perform chords in A minor key.

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In this article I will present several unorthodox ways to perform chords in A minor key. Let's immediately start by transposing the octave and it's minor third to 3rd and 4th string. Let's also leave E and B strings open, for beginning. This way we got an Amadd9 chord. Later on, we'll look at it as the first chord of our new Am chord progression, but for now, lets recall how does standard Am chord progression look like. It's Am, B dim, C, Dm, Em, F and G. Take only unisons and thirds of those chords.
Unisons: A, B, C, D, E, F, G
Thirds:  C, D, E, F, G, A, B
And if we put it on guitar: And add those open strings: Try playing both options, with and without open A string. It isn't so dissonant. So now, instead of regular Am, B dim, C, Dm, Em, F and G chords, we've got those thirds with open first 2 strings. They hold a bit more of personality. Let's try playing some chord progressions with those chords instead of regular ones. I prefer using clean channel, or acoustic guitar for these exercises. Use whatever strumming pattern or fingerpicking you like. Example 1 Am Am Em D Let's replace the chords: Note that I changed 1st melody line on second round. You can change whatever melody line you like. Actually, I advise you to do that right now! Take that exact same chord progressions, and change each melody line in each direction that seems melodic to you!!! Example 2 Am C Bm (this should be Bdim, but Bm just sounds better) D Let's replace the chords: Now that we explored those options, let's see how the idea looks on whole neck! First chord is original, and the second is from our 'new progression'. Take a look only at those chords and work them out. Another thing that you can do is to 'invert' the fingering: Now you get a whole set of new chords! Let's go back to those examples now, and implement those chords instead! Example 3 Am Am Em D You will often need to change additional melody lines to make the chord progressions more melodic, since in basis, you play only Perfect Unison, and Perfect Fifth, which both are neutral degrees, and may sound... boring, all by themselves. Of course, you can try playing Sixth instead of Fifth degree, and see what comes up then. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this article, and take as much benefit as you can from it. And of course, learn which chords you got with this approach! Official Josip Pesut site Enjoy playing Josip's 'Licks of the month'! Subscribe to newsletter to get free guitar lessons, notices about new videos and many other bonuses! Thanks For Your Support!

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    beelzybub
    whoops, i am dumb, I thought it was a major. duuur. well yes it is diminished then, but you can go out of the key, there's no rule against that.
    penguinsRULE
    DeusExMachina90 : beelzybub wrote: Dude just trust me, I am a first year guitar student at a jazz school. Search 'scale tone triads' on google or something, start there and learn the inversions as well on every string set and understand how they work, start in the key of 'c' (major) it goes (c,d,e,f,g,a,b,(c)) which would be (in order) Major, minor, minor, Major, Major, minor, diminished, and then the octave, so it repeats here. I hope that helps. That's for the major scale, dude. Diatonically speaking, there is no Bmin in A minor.
    Dude, just trust him. He's a first year student at a jazz school.
    DeusExMachina90
    beelzybub wrote: Dude just trust me, I am a first year guitar student at a jazz school. Search 'scale tone triads' on google or something, start there and learn the inversions as well on every string set and understand how they work, start in the key of 'c' (major) it goes (c,d,e,f,g,a,b,(c)) which would be (in order) Major, minor, minor, Major, Major, minor, diminished, and then the octave, so it repeats here. I hope that helps.
    That's for the major scale, dude. Diatonically speaking, there is no Bmin in A minor.
    AcidikRayn
    This is a great lesson, I was kind of learning this slowly by myself, but it's nice to see an explanation. Good job!
    gbubguitar107
    Your articles have really opened my eyes in seeing how chords can be played. Thanks, as always... good article.
    ingames
    Although I've already experimented this way myself, this is a most informative article. Kudos to giving chords, arguably the most important thing in music, the attention they need. UG has too many sweep/tap articles. Well done!
    Wiegenlied
    Why are you playing a D major if you're in the key of A minor? Throughout the lesson you use an F#, so there isn't a possiblity it's a passing tone considering you never used an F in the first place. I'm thinking you're B minor chord that you used in the scond example is a substition for a Gmaj7 (contains three of the four notes), and it's in the key of G, considering it doesn't resolve very well... unless it's in Dorian. For you first example try extending the progression a bit more, it doesn't resolve very well as of now. I'd use something along these lines: Amadd9 / Amadd9 / Em/A / D Cmaj7 / Em / G / Gmaj7
    DunlopGuy
    beelzybub wrote: Dude just trust me, I am a first year guitar student at a jazz school. Search 'scale tone triads' on google or something, start there and learn the inversions as well on every string set and understand how they work, start in the key of 'c' (major) it goes (c,d,e,f,g,a,b,(c)) which would be (in order) Major, minor, minor, Major, Major, minor, diminished, and then the octave, so it repeats here. I hope that helps.
    that is true for major. But, in the a minor key, it goes: Minor, diminished, major, minor, major, major, diminished. So B is the second degree in the key of A minor, meaning it technically should be diminished.
    Halakar
    crazysam23_Atax wrote: Shame on you, sir! Never change out a Bdim for a Bmin! SHAME!!!
    Ever heard of modulation?
    beelzybub
    Dude just trust me, I am a first year guitar student at a jazz school. Search 'scale tone triads' on google or something, start there and learn the inversions as well on every string set and understand how they work, start in the key of 'c' (major) it goes (c,d,e,f,g,a,b,(c)) which would be (in order) Major, minor, minor, Major, Major, minor, diminished, and then the octave, so it repeats here. I hope that helps.
    ReynboLightning
    You teach chords in the EXACT same way I learnt them on my own over the years.Sweet stuff happy holidays
    beelzybub
    "The Horror! : crazysam23_Atax wrote: Shame on you, sir! Never change out a Bdim for a Bmin! SHAME!!! Bm isn't in the key of Am, Bdim is..." Haha, B min is in the key of A min. If we are talking scale tone chords, which we are, then the first 3 chords would be A min, B min, and C Maj.
    josippesut
    LaminatedPig, I agree. But try also playing this progression: Am C G/B D. It will sound more natural than both of those options.
    LaminatedPig
    Great article with some really interesting ideas, this series is really helping me with extended chords. And does it really matter what key Bmin is in? In the end, it's about how it sounds...
    josippesut
    I wrote: Am C Bm (this should be Bdim, but Bm just sounds better) D. I think I made it clear that Bdim should be in key of Am, since it's 5th is diminished which makes it be F instead of F#, which appears in Bm chord.
    The Horror!
    crazysam23_Atax wrote: Shame on you, sir! Never change out a Bdim for a Bmin! SHAME!!!
    Bm isn't in the key of Am, Bdim is...
    imaginary.frnd
    crazysam23_Atax : Shame on you, sir! Never change out a Bdim for a Bmin! SHAME!!!
    You can change it, it's just not in the key of A minor.. Really liked the article tbh, i think it's going to help a lot to a bunch of people.
    g0dd4rd
    Interesting articles (all 3 of them). I'd just add that if you simply transpose some of the "open" chords like Am, C, E, D and their variants, you can get intersting melodies (and it's even easier). You can decorate (extend) chords "on the fly" by reaching out your pinky on the g, b e strings. It's also nice to slide from one chord to another in chord progression using techniques described here. Throw in some scales and that's it