Chords are probably the very first thing guitar players learn when they start playing guitar.
Think of the hundreds of songs you can play with a handful of chords. If you use a guitar capo, things are even easier as you can transpose the chords in different positions of the guitar neck.
It sounds good, doesn't it?
The problem is that playing the same chords is the number one reason you get bored playing guitar.
All the songs sound the same, and after a while you find yourself thinking, "How can I learn new chords?" or "When can I learn intermediate chords?"
In this fingerstyle guitar lesson, I'll show you ninebeautiful chords on the guitar and how to actually play them.
Once I show you the chord I will demonstrate how to play it in a beautiful chord progression.
These are the beautiful chords we will learn:
- Dsus2 and Dsus4
About chords and extended chords
Before we start playing chords, you need to learn about extended chords.
The list of chords we are about to learn includes many advanced chords.An extended chord is a simple chord (or root chord) played with additional notes from the scale.
The difference between simple and extended chords is as follows:
- A root chord has only three notes, the root, the 3rd and the 5th note. The root gives the chord its name; the 3rd determines whether the chord is major or minor, and the 5th is the perfect, diminished, or augmented interval within the chord.
- Extended notes like 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th add beautiful colors to the root chords.
Enjoy these chords guys.
The Cadd9 chord is an extended chord that can be used in C major and G major, as well as relative minor keys like A minor or E minor.
It's a simple triad with the 9th augmented.
The notes of the Cadd9 chord are C E G D (root, major 3rd, perfect fifth, major 9th).
This is the Cadd9 chord chart:
The Cadd9 chord is a beautiful open chord that fits perfectly between chords like G or E minor. The additional note D creates a resonating cluster when the top E string is open.
The chord progression I'm about to show you is Cadd9 | G | bin | Fadd9|. The F chord is also played as an Add9 chord.
The Gsus4 is a very popular chord on guitar.
Also referred to as a "suspended" chord,The Sus4 is an extended chord played with the root, 4th and 5th.
Since this chord has no third, it cannot be major or minor. That explained the label "Blocked".
The notes of the Gsus4 chord are G C D (root, perfect 4th and perfect 5th).
This is the Gsus4 chord chart:
One of the things I really like about the Gsus4 chord is that it's easy to create simple voicings within the chords.
We can move the 4th back to the 3rd and use the voicing to create a simple melodic idea.
Check the example below.
3. Em9 chord
The Em9 chord, which I'm about to show you, is indeed one of the most popular chords on guitar.
The cluster between F# and G is pretty much why I love this chord so much.
The m9 is a chord with root, minor third, perfect fifth, minor 7th and major 9th. We add the minor seventh even though it doesn't appear in the chord name.
The notes of the Em9 chord are E G H D F#.
This is the Em9 chord chart:
Like I said, I love the cluster between the F# and G notes and between the D and E notes.
With this chord we can find a simple but beautiful chord progression like this: Em9 | Cadd9 | G | D |
Check the example below.
4. Am(add9) chord
The Am(add9) chord is another great chord that will take you from beginner to intermediate level.
This chord can be quite stretchy on the pinky, so I strongly recommend that you position your left hand correctly (more info in this article).
The add9 chord is a basic chord played with the major 9. The notes of the Am(add9) chord are A C E B (root, minor 3rd, perfect fifth and major 9).
This is the Am(add9) chord diagram:
I love the exotic sound of the Am(add9) chord. Once you get past the initial struggle, you'll find yourself playing that chord over and over again.
The chord progression is Am(add9) | Am(add9)/G | Fmaj7 | % |. Repeat the Fmaj7 for two bars.
There is one word that best describes the Amaj7 chord and that is "dreamy".
The maj7 is indeed one of the most satisfying chord families to explore, learn and put into practice.
The Amaj7 chord is a basic augmented seventh chord. The notes are A C# E G# (root, major 3rd, pure 5th and major 7th).
This is the Amaj7 chord chart:
It's easy to write a beautiful chord progression when you're working with such an amazing chord.
In this example we are playing Amaj7 | Dmaj7 | Amaj7 | Esus4 |.
6. Dsus2 and Dsus4
Let's examine more suspended chords in the key of D major.
You've already learned that the suspended chord is a chord played without the third.
The difference between the Sus2 and Sus4 chord is this
- With the Sus2 we lower the third of the chord to the second.
- With the Sus4 we raise the third of the chord to the fourth.
The notes for Dsus2 are D E A (root, major second and perfect fifth). The notes for the Dsus4 are D G A (root, perfect 4th, perfect 5th).
This is the chord diagram of both chords.
Using DSus2 and DSus4 in the same chord progression makes it easy to write awesome chord progressions. You can actually write a song using just those two chords.
Let me show you an example.
7. Bb13 Chord
Let's examine a jazzy chord progression using the Bb13 chord.
The 13th chords are extended chords played with root, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 13th. Just like the Em9 chord, the Bb13 will also have the 7.
For Bb13, the notes are Bb D F Ab G (root, major 3rd, perfect 4, minor 7th and major 13th).
This is the chord chart:
With a chord this jazzy, we can't help but play jazzy chord progressions.
In this example we play Ebm9 | Bb13 | dbmaj7 | DBmaj9 |. Some of these chords are stretchy, so go step by step.
Let me show you one of my favorite guitar chords, the C#m9.
This chord is insanely beautiful and can be played with both strumming and fingerpicking techniques. It is a basic chord with augmented seventh and seventh.
The notes of the C#m9 chord are C# E G# B D# (root, minor 3rd, perfect fifth, minor 7th and major 9th).
This is the chart of this beautiful chord:
This chord works beautifully with chords like A, E, F#m and B flat major. If we also add extensions to these chords, the result is guaranteed.
This is a chord progression using the C#m9 chord.
Last but not least, the Emaj7 chord made it onto this awesome list.
This chord is a basic augmented major 7th chord.
The notes are E G# B D# (root, major third, perfect fifth and major seventh).
This is the chart for the Emaj7 chord:
The Emaj7 chord is a beautiful, dreamy chord that can be played along with Amaj7, C#m9, or B major. In this example, we'll focus on a simple example using Emaj | Amaj|x2
Let's summarize that
I hope you have enjoyed learning these beautiful chords.
The aim of this lesson is to show you that you can quickly incorporate beautiful chords into your playing as long as you put them into practice.
Good luck with this lesson.
Next lesson: fingerstyle vs strumming