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How to make your chord playing sound better

Article Written By Jake Willmot

A lot of people want to play their favourite songs or may even want to write their own songs using chords. Often when people play their guitar playing doesn’t sound great or musical like a lot of guitarists who play chords. Very often when people find this to be the case they try and find even more chords to use. What happens as a result of that, well they have more choice of chords to use but their playing still doesn’t really sound good.

Don’t be discouraged if your playing doesn’t sound good, because the solution to fix this is very simple. Most people can’t play any songs without having muted strings, because they accidentally mute the strings they are wanting to play. So how do you solve this?


Have the first knuckles of your fingers fully curled

What happens when you play a chord, chances are 1 or more of your fingers are straight or your first knuckles are half curled. This causes strings to be muted and when you want a nice clean sound and you accidentally mute the strings you want to ring out, it ruins your playing.

Have you ever wondered why you always struggled with chords when you were a beginner and you may still struggle with them now? It is because of this. If this one little thing is changed, than your chord playing will sound much better even if you do not learn any more new chords.


Learn inversions of the chords you know

Before learning more types of chords don’t forget inversions. Most people learn the root positions of the chords, but often they get bored with using chords and the reason is, is because they only ever use the root position. It is like getting stuck on using the first minor pentatonic scale pattern, this limits your options for creating ideas. So before learning new types of chords you must do this with the basic chords you have down.

For example if you know the root position of the E minor chord which contains the notes E, G and B with E as the bass note, change the bass note to either G or B. This will make the chord sound different even though it is the same chord. You can change some of the chords in a progression to a different inversion which will change the sound and feel of the progression. This in combination to clean sounding chords will improve your chord playing creativity.


Learn different voicings of the chords you learnt

Do you think that there is only one way to play a chord. Nope! You can use different strings, different numbers of strings, you can even play certain chord inversions using skipped strings. Different ways of playing the same chord will create a different feel of the progression.


Transform your chords into arpeggios

Okay this isn’t strictly chords, but this is using chords in a different way. If you are always using chords and you are doing the other steps outlined in this articles, this can add a bit of interest to your ideas.

There are many ways to be creative with arpeggios which is beyond the scope of this article but these ideas should help make your chord playing creativity improve.


About the author: Jake Willmot is a guitarist and guitar teacher who is in a metal covers band. If you want to play guitar and you want Guitar lessons in Devon, Exmouth then Jake Willmot is the guy to talk to!

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