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Best chords evar

December 26, 2007

So My buddy Andy asked me what I thought the best three chords on the guitar are. I have been considering what I might do to get back into a little writing on this here blog, so I thought this general list concept might work for awhile.

Although I have been having discussions recently about the folly of top ten lists and such, i think it does seem easy enough to get started. Andy asked for the 5 best chords, but I only feel like writing about three.

1st is what i think of as the hendrix chord – i think it is the Eaug9, but I am horrible at math. What I do know is that is that this chord is so killer and awesome that I do not currently play it in any of my bands ever — I have played it tons, and at some point I hope to use it again, but only when I can build it a home worthy of it’s awesomeness.

        E  A  D  G  B  E 
        NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN 
        O  ~  ~  ~  ~  O
5thfret ----------------
              1
        ----------------
           2     3
        ----------------
                    4

This chord is the basis for Hendrix’s first song ever (as I recollect) Stone Free, as well as Purple Have and Voodoo Chile. Move it down to C# and you have Spanish Castle Magic laid out before you. There are other ways of playing this chord, but this is the classic voicing IMHO.

Why does it rule?

Well, it creates the maximum amount of musical ambiguity. From this here chord there is enough tension to safely resolve anywhere. (again horrible at math, but i recall once figuring out that there are stacked tritones in this chord – 1 tritone is good for dischord, why not use two.) Also, if you can get any sort of groove hovering around it you will guarantee that everything will be nice and funky.

photo.jpg

2nd is the i want you/she’s so heavy chord. I think it is a flat 9th, but it is that work of beauty that stitches i want you into she’s so heavy. I use this in the lick lick song rolling pin, and as a hinge for a fair amount of purely improvisational sections. It moves up and down the neck well and creates a very down tension.

        E  A  D  G  B  E
        NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
        O  ~  ~  ~  ~  O
5thfret ----------------
              1  1  1
        ----------------
           2     3
        ----------------

Finally is the almighty G with no third up high.

        E  A  D  G  B  E
        NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
        ~  ~  O  O  ~  ~
1stfret ----------------

        ----------------
           1
        ----------------
        2           3  4

Always good. Try this: move your first and 2nd fingers anywhere else and strum. Then move your first and second fingers anywhere else and strum. Then go back to the original G and repeat. See what you did there? You just wrote a passable Wilco song.

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One comment

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