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Mixing chords up a little

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Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 339
Topic starter  

Howdy all. I've been attempting to write some original pieces and have been running into some problems. I haven't had much trouble with doing lead/scalar/melody type stuff, but I find that I have a tough time comming up with interesting chords, and don't really know any good examples of substitutions. My chords usually come out as basic open patterns, or standard progressions that sound just that...standard. So, I suppose my question is, what kind of substitions and elaborations can you make on standard chord progressions based around say the major or pentatonic scales? I'm sure this is a personal experience kind of thing to some extent, but any help is appreciated. :D

Edit: Don't be afraid to toss some theory at me, I've got a pretty solid understanding of a lot of it. :D

Guitarin' isn't a job, so don't make it one.

Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1157

What about stuff like hammering and pulling off one of your fingers on say the G chord or add your pinkie to the third fret on an Am or leave your ring finger off the D chord. Mix up some stuff like that.

Oh yeah! They're called embellishments I think :oops:

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Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

One of the my favorite substitutions is using a 7(b5) chord a flat 5th up from a 7th chord.

For example, if you have a C7 in your progression, you can instead go up a flat 5th from C to Gb and use Gb7(b5).

This works very nicely in places where your the original 7th chord is the V chord in a progression and you're moving to the 1. For example, if the original progression is going C7-F (V-I), changing to Gb7(b5) gives a very nice half-step motion in the base.

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Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 525

this well maybe your answer,go to your search engine and put [the ultimate guitar chord chart by phillip j facoline] this will give you sheets of alternatives/variations in tab....i use this a lot when trying to add that something else to songs i write [sorry make up] cant write music....hopes its what you need.....smoke