chords : unconventional

Discussion in 'Music Talk' started by bjr, May 27, 2007.

  1. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    The reason why I've made this thread in the Music Talk section and not in the beginners lounge is because there is an element of discussion of musical ideas here and I'm hoping that people read and share their own ideas here. I request you not to shift this thread for some time at least.

    In this thread, I'm trying to get people to share some chordal ideas that they've picked up from different songs. I'd appreciate it if the references were given my way. My section basically comprises of unconventional open chords.

    The first concept that I wan't to discuss is that of dissonance.

    You know how sometimes we hear a John McLaughlin play and we think to ourselves "What chords!". I know I did when he came to Calcutta.

    One common way of making the listener sit up and listen is creating dissonance in your chords. You create dissonance by playing two notes close to each other in the same octave. This automatically builds up tension which can then be resolved to beautiful effect.

    One way of creating dissonance is using open strings to good effect. That way you don't have to stretch fingers a whole lot like you would otherwise have to in order to play 2 notes close together on different strings.

    This lesson is going to be more of a list of unconventional open chords derived from the standard shapes. I'll give you a few chords, the references to songs they've been used in (or how I came accross them) and a general idea as to how they can be used.


    The most popular chord I can think of right now is the aadat chord [xx6640] which is a C#madd9. Alternately, you can just think of it as a C#sus chord with an open string. The Eb and E note together have a nice ring together.

    Now for examples from songs-

    I took this idea one step further and merged ideas from both versions of this song.

    I use the add9th chord for each one of them and play the first two strings open to get some unconventional chords which sound really pretty.

    Using this concept for the chords C#m, A and B, I get these shapes



    Same chord but a slightly different tonality (did I use this term correctly?). This is a difficult chord to hold and a great stretching excercise.



    I'm not sure but I think this was used in some Jal song (Bikhra Hun?).



    Just sliding the Aadd9 shape two frets down. I've heard from some people that Himesh uses a lot of C#m in his songs. You might try substituting those chords with these and see what sort of effect you get. You can replace most major/minor chords with these kind of derivations.

    Using the same idea (Dragging the C major shape up and down the fret board), I found a lovely chord shape where you can drag the chord down to the 10th fret.



    Another chord that works in the key of C major but I have, so far, been unable to use properly is when you drag the shape down to the 8th fret making it an Fmaj9.



    You'll notice that while the names of these chords are a little intimidating, most of these shapes are really easy to hold and stem from very simple ideas. They also make people sit up and take notice when you're playing because it's a change from the usual.

    I think you get the basic idea and a crapload of open chord shapes that you can use. You just have to know when to use them....too much pretty isn't really pretty.

    I'd appreciate more contributions in this thread.
    paranoid13rohan likes this.
  2. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    I'd also appreciate corrections. I'm in bombay right now and don't have a guitar with me as I write this. It's sometimes difficult imagining the shape and naming without a guitar...Some of the names I've used are probably debatable and critiques are welcome.
  3. zing

    zing Machine Head

    well there's a couple i know

    this is a typical "hendrix" chord

    n this is basically an Em with open strings that sounds "different"
    paranoid13rohan likes this.
  4. paranoid13rohan

    paranoid13rohan .: iNDiaN iDioT 3.0 :.

    nice topic bjr. :rock:

    some of the unconventional chords which i've come across till now (excluding the onces already mentioned by bjr and zing) are ~

    G#msus(#5) -> ( x x 6 6 0 0 )

    C#m -> ( x x 11 9 0 0)

    Badd4 -> ( x x 9 8 0 0 )

    A(add9) -> ( x x 7 6 0 0 )

    Emsus4 -> ( 0 0 2 0 0 x )

    Bsus -> ( x x 9 9 7 x )

    all these chords are usually played on arpeegos rather than strumming.
  5. abhijitnath

    abhijitnath Fighting GAS frantically

    Nice thread.
    Rush do this all the time...most of their riffs have that open string drone on the higher strings against standard major or minor chords on the lower ones. Another reason these chords sound interesting is the fact that open notes by their very nature sound fundamentally different from fretted ones. Ifyou played the same chord fretted, it would sound very different.
    McLaughlin also does a lot of this, mostly when he improvs over a sustained note or a drone (Remember Shakti or the Guitar Trio gigs).
  6. anshphenomenon

    anshphenomenon Rape me :boff:

    even foo fighters do the same while playing their song "breakout"
    do the same.
    the chords for that song are B E C# C...
    but they leave the first strings open.
  7. thehundredthone

    thehundredthone New Member

    I tend to do this quite often. I still haven't learnt chord construction/naming completely :eek::

    So some I use

    xx0230 -> Dsus2 conventional?

    xxx330 -> A#dim5 (any other name?)

    xxx130 -> Asus2dim5 (??)

    xx3200 -> Fmaj7dim5

    xx1200 -> Emaj7sus (explain, does the 4 make it suspended?)

    x46600 -> C#m7

    x35500 -> Cmaj7

    x13300 -> contains A# b2 b5 5

    x13301 -> contains A# b2 5

    244000 -> contains F# b2 4 5 b7 (sounds really nice upstroke)

    xx0565 -> Dm7 or F6 (if x80565)

    x8578x -> Contains F 2 6

    xx4302 -> Contains F# 3 4

    xx4420 -> F#7sus (so it's the 4?)

    xx2440 -> E 5 7 (Need's a 3/b3 to be named Emaj7/Em#7)

    x03450 -> Fmaj7dim5

    Just point out which ones are not actually unconventional :p:
  8. Ibanezed

    Ibanezed New Member

    try out
    gives a good feel.

Share This Page