For the Church Guitarist: Chord Voicings

Orlando guitarist church musician - intro to voicings  

OK, another intro here, but this idea is so important.

This might not sound glamorous initially, but I think of chords as the foundation for my playing. We often think of them in terms of rhythm playing in a certain spot on the neck, but chord voicings* are your vocabulary for musical creativity and almost anything you play. Beyond basic rhythm, they can be melodic, the basis for solos and lines, and are guides for blazing a pathway up and down the neck. We can (and will!) talk about loads of other things, but a strong grasp of chords will be a powerful foundation for you and really inject fresh creativity into your playing.

You might feel pretty confident in knowing your way around the guitar, but who among us has not felt stuck in a rut at some point? You get tired of playing the same of things you've been going to forever. And, even if you do know some stuff, a good musician never stops learning. Ever. That's beautiful thing. So, here goes:

Acoustic players, in this style, we're typically strumming (with the occasional solo). That usually means open chords, folksy strumming, capos, the "christian E" chord (a post on the defense of the "christian E" coming soon . . .), etc.. This can sometimes get a bad rap as being too simple or unsophisticated but, man, there is such beautiful depth to open chords if you know how to reach in a grab it. We're going to take a look at how to really own and expand the chords you usually play, how to spice them up, develop tricks, choosing the right chord for the right time and, among other things, why capos (even multiple capos!) are not for dummies.

Electric playersa lot of the above will apply to you too (open chords can be great on electric!) but I'll also focus on smaller shapes and sounds as well as moving around the neck more as the instrument tends to allow us to do that more easily. As an electric player you need to be able to move around, sometimes filling things in with the big low chords, sometimes getting out of the way by going up high. Among other things, we'll talk about triads, power chords (I can almost guarantee there's more for you to learn here!), chords subs (substitutions), REALLY knowing your way around the neck, tying your lines to your chords and making good parts (playing the right chord at the right time does not necessarily make good "part"!)

Developing a good chord vocabulary will give you the goods to be much more creative and confident in your playing. As a bonus, since we are dealing with pop styles, this will apply to lots of other genres as well. Whether you have a ton of time to work on this or just a little, keep moving forward and I know you'll get good things out of it. Also, I'll work on acoustic and electric posts at the same time so everyone will have something to work on.

Tons more to say on this but until then, thanks again for serving in your local churches. I hope you had a great weekend!





Orlando guitarist church musician - question mark (small)

*Just wanted to define what a "voicing" is in case anyone didn't know. It basically means different ways of playing the same chord. Like a bar chord G or and open G (and on and on). Same chord. Slightly different sound. One is a different "voicing" than the other one. Kind of like the idea of a synonym, i.e. different words or ways  of saying the same thing. So, voicings. Its a useful term. You'll hear it a lot.