Hey all, Here are a few more ideas about how actually do the stuff we talked about in the guitar sessions of Worship God 2013 (East and West*). For your convenience, here is a link to all of the sessions from WG2013 East and WG2013 West.
I'll be going into much more detail in upcoming posts but for now:
CAGED - Open chords
-As mentioned before, the CAGED system represents the voicings that you can use up and down the neck, but also, and very simply, it represents the keys you will play in all the time (and the "keys" or shapes you play in when using a capo). So, it is really, really useful to get to know the "families" of chords in the keys of C, A, G, E, and D. You might think, "Ya, I already know my chords," but I guarantee you this can get pretty deep and you'll be thankful you spent time looking for new voicings (i.e. chord shapes). Think of it like building your vocabulary. Here are categories I think in:
Basic - your simple, maybe "go to" versions of chords you know
Common tone - these have notes that stay the same (therefore "common tone") on the higher strings while the base notes change from chord to chord. Nice and clean sounding. They blend well with the rest of the band.
Big - Chord voicings I use when I want to play loudly! They usually cover most, if not all of the strings and you can really dig into them.
Color - these are chords the have "color" (for the theory people: extensions) added. Notes added or taken away that give it a beautiful, tense, longing, whatever sound that is different from your normal version. I tend to use them for more intimate song settings, fingerpicking and, generally, not strumming.
Drones - These are shapes are big, often open chord shapes that really ring. I often use them on acoustic when the song is really big and the acoustic becomes more of a texture. Also use them all the time in Irish music. More on that later.
There is lots of overlap between all these categories, but thinking this way helps you choose the right version of the chord for the right moment in the music. Lots of examples are included in the open chord packet.
Practice different ways of going through parts of the song: a big chorus with strumming, a stripped down chorus with light strumming or picking, etc.. Try using new chords that you've learned on a song. Force yourself to check out new voicings. New things are always hard. Keep at it. What chords garb your ear? Which ones are interesting to you? Which ones don't you like? What new chords do you really like from the key of C? G? E? D? A? Some voicings of a chord are very specific to the key. Keep those in mind. Each of the CAGED keys will have their own personality and interesting/useful things about it.
Again, there is a lot of depth here. We'll follow up in more detail but for now, force your self to move forward, learn new chords, new tricks. Its all part of developing a creative chord vocabulary.
Check it out and let me know if you have questions!
*There is some overlap but I did talk about different guitar related issues in the West and East conferences. It interested, it would be worth checking out the recordings for both.