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CHORDS THEORY - Lesson 31 - How to use advanced chords

Andrei Moraru

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2019
So you mean these things actually get played in songs?
  1. Topics of discussion
  2. Using advanced chords
  3. Take care of your voicings
1. Topics of discussion

In this tutorial, we will be discussing where the advanced chords we have learned best fit. So, let's have some fun.

2. Using advanced chords

During the last few lessons, we talked about a bunch of different chords. And I think it's about time we discuss what genres are the best fit for these chords. So, let's get into them one by one
  • 6th chords - as I've already mentioned, 6th chords can be used to add flavor to a song by substituting a regular chord from a scale; while you may not encounter them in heavy metal songs, rock ballads, jazz, and Latino music are very good places in which you can use them; realistically, they can be used any time you are playing an acoustic or clean guitar
  • added tone chords - much like the previous ones, they too can be used to substitute a regular chord in a chord progression; they can be found in some soft-rock and pop songs
  • 9th, 11th, and 13th chords - very much used in jazz music and some of them might also give you a sort of funk music vibe; don't expect to see them in too many metal songs though, mostly because the sheer number of notes required to play them would make it impossible to figure out what notes are being played on the rhythm guitar, especially with metal music having a tendency to use really low tunings on their guitars
One might ask if one wants to write a progression in a certain key, let's say C...how do I know how to substitute my chords?

The answer is very simple. You have to look at the quality of the chord you are substituting. For example, if your chord is a major chord, then you should substitute it with its major equivalent (major sixth, added tone, major 9th, major 11th or major 13th). The same goes if your chord is minor, dominant or diminished (dim chords have a corresponding m7(♭5) chord so there is that).

3. Take care of your voicings

Before we wrap up, I wanted to remind you all something very important. The order in which you play the notes in your chord is very important. Because it may be the difference between D6 and Bm7. Don't believe me? Let's analyze for a bit.

D6 consists of the D F♯ A B notes. The first inversion of this chord would be D6/F♯, which has the same notes, but in a different order: F♯ A B D. The second inversion would be D6/A, which consists of the same notes, in this order: A B D F♯. And as you may see, this isn't really a D6 chord anymore. Mostly because B D F♯ is a Bm triad and thus, the feel of the chord is less D6 and more Bm7. Not to mention that if we do another inversion, we actually get a Bm7 chord in its basic form: B D F♯ A.

The same rules apply to all other chord types. Of course, you can still use inversions and whatever placement you want. Just make sure that the end result is still the same chord that you intended to play in the first place.

And that about covers it for this tutorial. This is sort of the last tutorial in the chords series. Next time, we'll probably revisit some scales or some more theory. I'll see how I feel :LOL: