What’s going on everyone!? Welcome to another installment of Axe of Creation here at the wonderful Gear Snobs. This month, we will be looking at some chord voicings you’re probably unfamiliar with. That is, chords found on the first four strings.

Rise Above The Bar

Chords found on this string set tend to be foreign to us for a couple of reasons. For many, these chord voicings just aren’t used a lot in the music we aspire to play. Also, when we’re beginners, Barre chords (both 6 and 5 string versions) tend to be an early mark of achievement. Personally, I find playing on this string set liberating. From ambient clean tones to crafting a melody, incorporating new voicings is always inspiring.

As we start to explore some G Major chord voicings, I just want to point out that something that I like to do. That is, find a moveable melody note within a chord. This creates new harmonic textures by adding in specific chord tones. Let’s look at a quick example of this. As you ca see, we start with a G chord and by changing specific notes, we create new chords and moving lines that can be exploited.


   Now, let’s add some more chords to our “G Chord” repertoire. We have a couple of similar voicings based around the 5th position (fret). Notice though that some of them, the root, will be played with your 1st finger and the others will have to be played with the ring finger. Just like scale patterns, you can play “in front” of the chord or “behind” the chord. We also add some really tasty voicing in first inversion.


Related by 4ths

Pro Tip: When playing a chord, move or play that chord a 4th higher and it will sound good and you just wrote your first or thousandth progression. With this thought in mind, let’s take all of the previous chords and move them down a 4th to D Major. Why down, Axe? Didn’t you just say Up? Yes Ghost of Christmas Past, I did! Notice the C# on that last G chord. Well, that’s a Lydian chord which allows us to pretend that all those G chord is the IV chord, making D Major the parent key!


Interchange at Will

Now, let’s combine all these chords together. There are lots of ways to experiment with doing this. Here is a simple example of how you can string them togther to create movement.


That wraps up part one of our July lessons. I hope you dig these chord voicings. In part two, we’ll look at some dominant chord harmonies and create single line ideas.


Gregory Arthur is Axe of Creation, a Gear Snob, and a Father of Two. He challenges you to become uncomfortable with yourself in attempts to gain a new perspective. Never give your energy away to what you’re not. Focus on what resonates within you and bring forth in creation. 

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