In­tro

Justin San­der­coe of justin­gui­tar.com lends GT his in­sight as one of the world’s most suc­cess­ful gui­tar teach­ers. This month: Beauty in dis­so­nance (pt 2).

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - Get more info and links to re­lated lessons on all Justin’s GT ar­ti­cles at www.justin­gui­tar.com/gt­mag

Justin, In­stru­men­tal In­qui­si­tion, Mitch, Jam Tracks, Phil’s One-Minute Lick and more.

In the pre­vi­ous in­stal­ment of Food For Thought we looked at the con­cept of adding the mi­nor 9th de­gree to a mi­nor chord to get a semi­tone ‘clash’ b3rd be­tween 2nd and scale de­grees (2nd and 9th are the same note, and while the 9 sug­gests it’s an oc­tave higher, in prac­tice this may not al­ways be the case). Any­way, I hope you had some fun ex­plor­ing other mi­nor shapes and how you can use this dis­so­nance to cre­ate beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing chords.

The in­ter­val of a tone (ma­jor 2nd) is also quite dis­so­nant and can give a sim­i­lar ef­fect to ma­jor chords - when we add the 9th it has a tone dis­tance be­tween the root and the ma­jor 3rd so it’s pos­si­ble (though the fin­ger­ings can be tricky) to have a tone clash ‘ei­ther side’ of the 9th.

If you start by play­ing a B note, on the 4th fret, third string and the note C# on the 2nd fret, sec­ond string, you will hear the sound of that ma­jor 2nd clash.

Maj 2 in­ter­val Now let’s add that into a com­mon open A ma­jor chord which is a re­ally pleas­ing sound – note that the first string is op­tional and if you don’t play it you can barre the notes on the 2nd fret with your first fin­ger.

Aadd9 An­other re­ally nice way of play­ing this chord is to play an E shape barre chord and leave the top two strings open. You might like to ex­plore this chord shape on other parts of the neck too.

Aadd9 v2 Go­ing back to the first shape, it’s lovely to play as an open G shape as well. I sug­gest us­ing the sec­ond fin­ger and mut­ing the fifth string (that low B of­ten just makes the chord sound muddy).

Gadd9 And one more com­mon add9 shape is the one from an E shape which can be played as an open chord...

E add9 ...or as a barre chord form – but it’s quite a stretch. This is ‘that’ chord from the Po­lice hit Ev­ery Breath You Take, just lift off the sec­ond fin­ger for the mi­nor vari­a­tion. An­other lovely sound.

Aadd9 One more tasty and com­mon open shape is the Cadd9 for which we just add the fourth fin­ger at the 3rd fret, sec­ond string which is adding the note D and gives us a tone clash with the open first string. It’s a re­ally nice chord you can use al­most any time you have a reg­u­lar C chord in a song.

Cadd9 In this ar­ti­cle, I’ve just ex­plored the 9th, but you can also get tone clashes by adding the 6th b7 (a tone from the 5th) or the (a tone from the root) so there is plenty more to ex­plore.

Be­gin­ner to in­ter­me­di­ate play­ers should re­ally try and put this stuff into prac­tice and cre­ate a new pool of chords that you can use in most cir­cum­stances – add9 shapes (both ma­jor and mi­nor) are usu­ally easy to sub­sti­tute for a reg­u­lar chord but do use your ears and if it sounds bad, it is!

We are just scratch­ing the sur­face here but those with de­cent har­monic un­der­stand­ing should be able to take this con­cept and run far with it. For those that like the blues I would rec­om­mend ex­plor­ing the idea us­ing the Mixoly­dian mode notes for ma­jor chords (which will give you dom­i­nant shapes) and Do­rian for mi­nors (as cov­ered in the pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cle).

You might also ex­plore the idea us­ing di­a­tonic chords and the par­ent Ma­jor scale, then adding any note from the scale to any of the chords in the key… it’s a deep ad­ven­ture and you’ll find many amaz­ing chords there. Do it with bass notes to cre­ate chords with a dif­fer­ent bot­tom note than their own root (slash chords).

Hope you en­joyed this fur­ther jour­ney into dis­so­nance land.

Happy trails!

be­gin­ner to in­ter­me­di­ate play­ers should put this stuff into prac­tice to cre­ate a new pool of chords

Justin look­ing any­thing but dis­so­nant!

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