Friday Top: 13 Greatest Guitar Chords

As voted by UG community.

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Ultimate Guitar
Friday Top: 13 Greatest Guitar Chords
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This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the people of UG community discussing the matter of greatest guitar chords ever. Based on your votes and more than 200 comments, we summed this one up to a Top 13 rundown. Dig in!

13. A suspended 2 / A sus 2

Kicking things off, it's Asus2, the chord you can find in the chorus of The Who classic "Behind Blue Eyes."

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12. Dadd4

Up next, you folks voted for Dadd4.

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11. Bbmaj7

This week's No. 11 is Bbmaj7.

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10. The opening chord to "A Hard Day's Night"

Up next on the list of all-time greats is the chord that opens "A Hard Day's Night." George Martin said about this one: "We knew it would open both the film and the soundtrack LP, so we wanted a particularly strong and effective beginning. The strident guitar chord was the perfect launch."

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9. E

The "epically huge" E is up next at No. 9. 

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8. 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond' chord

Up next, the "mysterious and beautiful" chord of Pink Floyd classic "Shine on You Crazy Diamond."

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7. B major played with the B and high E string open

As GGAllinsPizza explained, "Got hooked to that chord after hearing 'No Excuses' by AIC. Especially the last B major chord that rings out at the very end," with Boomer904 chiming in: "I agree, basically any chord in the E minor scale with the open e and b sounds incredible. QOTSA's 'The Sky Is Falling' uses most of them in the bridge."

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6. Standard G Chord

The "powerful, yet elegant" G is up next, with Spinnerweb pointing out: "I don't have a favourite chord, but the reason I love the G is that it's so compliant. It can be beautiful, ugly, happy, sad, whatever you need it to be."

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5. The power chord

Plain and simple - the power chord.

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4. D in drop D

Tomwebbsayshi: "Very powerful, use with caution."

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3. The Alex Lifeson Chord

When John Petrucci was asked on what his favorite chord is, he replied: "It's the opening chord for 'Hemispheres' by Rush - the F# major with an added 4th and the flat 7. That should really be named 'The Alex Lifeson Chord,' 'cause he invented that." You can also refer to it as the "Rooster" chord, it's this thing right here:

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2. Cadd9

Basically a modified G chord with the middle finger on the A string and the index finger on the D string on the 2nd fret. It's one of the key components or Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)."

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1. E7#9 - the Hendrix chord

At the throne of UG this week, it's the almighty Hendrix Chord!

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That's all folks! Feel free to post your personal favorite chord in the comment section below. And we hope you enjoyed the top, stay tuned until next week for another WQ!

67 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Iceman10129
    I hope next week is "Coolest Chord Progression".  Kashmir all day!
    Eifler121
    That would seriously be a great question. I don't think listing songs would be that interesting, but the actual chord formula, with songs attached would be great.
    GR84
    Now this is a Ultimate-Guitar article! I liked this one, i know these, but its fun to take some of these chords now, and build off them in some practice! Keep em coming!
    GR84
    Technically not a article, but you know what i mean 
    tomaxandxamot
    The Hendrix chord is a solid winner.  There is no mistaking it when you play it - it's Jimmy H - (Also found in White Zombie's Thunderkiss 65') 
    eatfresh1736
    I love the open Am chord. There's so much you can do with it. Hammer ons/pull-offs on the C note with the index and the D with the pinky. Can also add an F and G with the index and pinky on the 1st string. The main verses in Tribute by Tenacious D is basically just an open Am, with embellishments, but it sounds really melodic.
    MaXiMuse
    10. That's a G7sus4 8. Comes down to a Gm6 7. Badd11 6. Should be notated vertically flipped 5. A chord is actually (commonly regarded as) three notes, while two notes are an harmonic interval. But an exception can be made for power-chords in guitar music I suppose 3. F#7add11  
    deadmanwalkin00
    Someone should make a song that has all of those chords listed.
    GR84
    Its funny, that was my first thought as well! haha, if someone could use all the "coolest" chords together in one song, would it be the coolest guitar song ever, haha
    d.floresumana
    I couldn't nominate my favorite because I don't know its name 2 3 0 2 2 0 The one from Pink Floyd - Dogs
    DaliLama
    Em9
    lordfatwallet
    Dm9,on Dogs the guitars and bass are tuned down a full step.(to match the song key of Dm).The Shine On chord is a Gm13.
    MaXiMuse
    Shine On isn't a Gm13. A Gm13 would also have a 9 and 11, so it's and Gm7add13. (Actually more a Gm7add6 in this case but that 'jazz notation' is more common)
    Guytarist38
    I dont think so. There's also a 7th in this chord
    Taraalcar
    The 7th is implied. If there was no 7th it would be Emadd9.
    Panasonic3
    So if it says "add" there is no 7th, but if there is no "add" there is a 7th every single time? What about Fm6? Is there a 7th in there too? I've never heard this rule before.
    Taraalcar
    It applies to everything above a 7th. Most commonly you'll see it used for 9 chords. Fm6 is 1, b3, 5, 6, so no 7th. But Fm9, for example, would be 1, b3, 5, b7, 9. Fmadd9 is 1, b3, 5, 9.
    magarez
    7. B major played with the B and high E string open - last cup of sorrow by faith no more
    hak_hap
    Cadd9 is NOT a modified G chord, not even "basically". It is literally and obviously a slightly modified C chord. I get it, the human hand happens to somewhat slightly form the chord like the G major chord, but I think how we form a chord visually doesn't affect what chord it is musically and technically.
    logicbdj
    I was playing these upside down and thought... "wow, nice sounding chords," lol
    Northernmight
    In Denmark, a diminished chord with a small seventh is called an Ø chord - do that in D, and you have a DØ chord, DØ is the danish word for die. I'm planning on getting a guitar to tune to Drop Die, and only make br00tal metal on it. Cause i'm a punny kind of guy.
    Anjohl
    The "Alex Lifeson" chord is just a Barre chord with two open strings. I wish people would stop trying to make Rush a thing.
    the_bi99man
    Those two open strings add intervals that aren't there in the standard F# Major, which changes the chord, and gives it a whole different harmony. And it's extremely distinctive, and used quite regularly be Alex Lifeson. If you can call the Hendrix Chord the Hendrix Chord, than this can be called the Lifeson Chord. Also, nobody's trying to "make Rush a thing". Rush has been a thing for over 40 years. Whether you like them or not, doesn't make them any less influential or iconic. Because your needlessly contrarian opinions don't mean shit. TLDR: Never go full Anjohl.
    fastkillerbaumi
    3 3 0 0 2 3 Which is basically a G-Major, but I prefer to play it with the D on the B string since it sounds, in a certain way, happier (sounds really good (as an example) in Techno Fan by the Wombats if you play it in it's standard key on an acoustic guitar) There is an acoustic guitar pro version of it if you want to listen to it 0 8 0 x 7 0 which is an E-Minor but with the high pitched G it sounds even sadder
    Cherry Vulpine
    Gotta say my fave has to be essentially the same as the Lifeson chord but played as an F# minor rahter than major (add the same intervals). Has a real "indecisicve" quality to how it sounds, creating tension yet suitable as a finishing chord.
    Cherry Vulpine
    Would be even better if it weren't so hard to play. D,:
    the_bi99man
    Yeah, that one's a bitch, because it's very hard to use your pointer finger to bar down to the minor 3rd on the G string, while also leaving the high B and E strings open. As a major, you got the middle finger on the G string, and the pointer doesn't have to bar at all, just hold that low F#. 
    mind_desire
    My favorite chord is a Dm7(9), and also with a slight variation playing #9 and the open e string. Love the sound.
    jotlennon2467
    play this  Am - C - D - F - Am - E - Am - E i found the most bluesy chords progress ever
    acglee
    Am-Bm-C-Dm-F-G-Em-Am-Dm-Dm7-G-G7 I found the most Phil Collins chord progression
    hak_hap
    this G major chords sound a gazillion times better... e|-3-| B|-3-| G|-0-| D|-0-| A|-2-| E|-3-|
    TeamReHab
    Agree, that one is nice. I like to call that the "country G" chord, and refer to this one as the "rock G". x 3 0 0 x 3 ...so basic, but sounds great cranked up with a bit of dist.
    the_bi99man
    That's because that's just a G5. A power chord.
    hak_hap
    acglee
    Yes it is. There are only 4 strings being played: 2 G notes and 2 D notes
    hak_hap
    not a power chord in any sense, way or by any mean. just not. that's not even worth a discussion or controversial in any way. the amount of strings also does not determine if a chord is a power chord and also not how many different notes there are. you are WAAAAY off. read the definition. I won't argue facts. that's silly.
    acglee
    It's down to the number of different intervals. A 3x003x has a root (G on E string) then a muted A string then a 5th (open D) then another root (octave higher open G) then another 5th (D on B string) then a muted top E string. So root, 5th, root 5th. G5. No other intervals involved. a 5th chord is a power chord because it has only roots and 5ths. That's a fact.
    TeamReHab
    Oh, is that why?  Gee, thanks for that bit of info.  L. Anyhoo... to me, it usually just sounds better than 5 5 3