Monday, September 1, 2008

some useful chords for worship

I've been looking for some new chord voicings lately. There are certain songs that I want to help drive the chorus by using chords (as opposed to lead lines or U2 style intervals in the higher register). Power chords aren't the right thing, open chords often overlap with the acoustic player, and standard barre chords based on the E and A form (355433 or x35553) can sound muddy in the low end and all around bland because they've been played so much. I was looking for some chords that would sound interesting, were low enough that they can add some punch (but aren't so low that they're mud), and won't make me jump all over the neck to play them. I played at two churches this weekend so I had lots of songs to experiment on, here's what I came up with:

(click to enlarge)

If you haven't looked at many chord charts, that will need some explanation: The row lists the number of the scale (C, D, E, F, G would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) in roman numerals so they can be upper and lower-case. Upper means they're major, lower means they're minor. I put a chord name in parenthesis so help. The (5) means that's the fifth fret and the dots are where you put your fingers. Below the chords I wrote what interval of the chord each finger is playing. I didn't differentiate between normal 3 and flat 3 because I figured you'd know minor chords have flat 3's; if that's news to you or you have no idea what I'm talking about, just ignore those numbers all together :) Also, I didn't make up a chord for diminished, in this case it would be F# dim because honestly I've never seen a diminished chord in worship. The 7th chord always becomes a five chord inverted (D/F# in G, B/D# in E, etc)

I found these chords worked great when you want something in the middle register to add some drive. They might sound a little funky if you play them on your own because they don't always start on the root note. Trust me though, when you have a bass playing the root notes they make more sense. These chords work best in the keys of G, A, and B. F and E might be getting low and C and D might be getting high. For A just slide these up two frets and for B slide up four. Try using these on the chorus of Might to Save or Marvelous Light!


Phillip said...

These are good, but I usually play even more simplified versions of these. It like to strip chords down to 2 or three notes (usually on the B and G strings). It allows you to get som really ambiguous sounds going on - what might be the root/5th of the I chord becomes the 3rd/7th of the vii chord, etc.

Brad Vose said...

thanks for this. These are the kinds of things I am looking for. I would love to see the same sort of chart on playing some of the "U2" style chords up high.

Mike said...

Brad- that's a good idea, the next post will be on that subject