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Creative strumming/Chord progressions

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Joined: 19 years ago
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Morning all...

ive recently started writing my own songs and as a consequence have been exploring various chord progressions. Having a lot of fun with it but im kind of stuck in a rut with what im producing ie. 4 chord verse, 4 chord chorus repeat...fade (all the songs ive penned so far follow this pattern so my first change in direction is to write something that follows a differenet structure...btw im a lyrics first chords later person!). However for the handful of songs that do follow this structure i was wanting to spice them up a bit and add some variation to each one. The ideas ive been messing around with are muted chords as in "Jimmy Jazz" by the Clash, quick UDUD strokes as in "Thats Entertainment" by the Jam and arpeggios.

Are there any other tricks to turn a basic chord progression into something a bit different?? Any ideas would be much appreciated!


stop...i have found a genius...stop...

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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 320

Try giving yourself some formal restraints--try doing a song with only two chords; try doing a song with only one chord! Try a song with only 7th chords, or with only minor chords.

Also check out interesting rhythms like John Lennon's rhythm playing on "All My Loving", or try playing chord inversions higher up the neck. Try some simple fingerpicking or try playing with a capo--that often gives a different feel and new inspiration.

Good luck!


Isaac Priestley: World Racketeering Squad

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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 259

Look into using the relative minor chord for some variation (Am instead of C or Em instead of G) or vice versa, this is more likely to be useful for spicing up the songs you have already.

Beyond that try playing the chords using bass strum or alternating bass strum or instead of using a pick go finger style. I know how you feel about coming up with the same progressions all the time.

Go with a different time signature like 3/4 or maybe even just come up with a crazy exercise to practice, something like playing a chord for 1 beat followed by a different chord for 2 beats, another for 3 or go 3/2/3/4/3/2/3... I might have to do that now that I've come up with it, it's bound to produce something interesting or at least different from the same old strumming I tend to do.