If you’re trying to get more creative in your guitar chord playing, there are some simple things you can try out. Adding embellishments to open-position chords can be as easy as lifting or adding a finger. Yet, this trick can open a world of new, harmonic options for you.
In his course, Chord Moves & Grooves, Robbie Calvo lets you in on some straightforward, yet fruitful techniques that can transform the songs you are strumming into the nuanced compositions you hear in your favorite songs.
Here are 10 video acoustic guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Robbie Calvo’s Chord Moves & Grooves on TrueFire!
Guitar Lesson – A Major Groove 1: Moves & Grooves Performance
This is a really nice descending progression utilizing major, major 7th and dominant seventh chords. You may have heard this progression before in popular songs. Notice that I’m strumming the guitar part but a really nice approach would be to fingerpick the chords…that way you could really bring out the upper melody notes of the suspension and release each time it occurs.
Guitar Lesson – A Major Groove 1: Moves & Grooves Breakdown
I love this progression because it offers so much in terms of movement, dexterity and a great way to improvise using arpeggios. The chord moves themselves are a complete exercise and musical passage all on their own and would serve as a lovely verse, chorus or intro section to a song. Pay careful attention to the fingerings I’m using and try to adopt a way to play these chords with the least amount of movement. If you fancy improvising over the top you have two measures on each chord type to do so…
Guitar Lesson – D Major Groove 1: Moves & Grooves Performance
This is a really nice bluesy/rock vibe that is stepping down through the tones in the bass. Watch carefully how I articulate this chord move…I’m making sure that the note A is in all of the chords. We can play variations on this move that we’ll discuss in the breakdown.
Guitar Lesson – D Major Groove 1: Moves & Grooves Breakdown
Add a touch of drive, tremolo and reverb to your guitar and you have a cool swampy progression that will set the stage for some tasty D minor pentatonic licks or moody slide playing. The progression itself is stepping between major, dominant and minor. The top notes are staying still while we have a descending bass line. I’m sure most of you will find it easy enough to articulate the chord move until you get to playing the D/Bb…that first finger stretch while maintaining the chord she on top may prove to be a challenge if you want the notes to ring out nice and clean. Slow the idea down and then gradually bring it up to speed.
Guitar Lesson – G Major Groove 1: Moves & Grooves Performance
You’ll notice that I’m palm muting this rhythm guitar chord move. You could play this with an open sound, but I liked how it let the inner voicings remain subtle and less pronounced. Physically, this chord move may prove to be a challenge in the stretch department. The way to approach that is to capo at the 5th fret and play the move there first. As you get more comfortable with the stretch, lower the capo to fret 4 and refine the move in that position.
Guitar Lesson – G Major Groove 1: Moves & Grooves Breakdown
This chord move could be anything from simple pop acoustic to full on rock ‘n’ roll depending on the sound you create when playing it. You’ll notice the right hand muting and that I am predominantly playing downstrokes. This helps me attack those lower strings and the movement in the voices without sounding out the upper strings…which I don’t want to hear in this progression.
Guitar Lesson – A Minor Groove 2: Moves & Grooves Performance
The first thing you’ll notice is the combination of fingerpicking and those nice accents on the F major 7 and E chords. Watch carefully for the hammer on from B to C on the Ami chord and the Fma7 chords. If you aren’t a fingerpicker you could strum this progression as well. You won’t get those expressive upper voicings but that’s OK!
Guitar Lesson – A Minor Groove 2: Moves & Grooves Breakdown
This type of A minor progression and derivative versions have been used for so many songs. “My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison is a well known example. The tempo of 104 is going to challenge you to make those hammer-ons from open B to C cleanly, plus moving through the bass notes and chord accents on the Fma7 and E triad will give you a workout on the lower strings. If the tempo is too fast try using one of the slower chord moves grooves in this course until it becomes more comfortable.
Guitar Lesson – B Minor Groove: Moves & Grooves Performance
B minor is not really an open position chord, however, this voicing is, as I’m using the open G string as a drone tone throughout the progression. It may not be clear from the camera angles, but I have my first finger fretting the B note only, so I’m not barring across the 2nd fret as is normal for a B minor chord shape. Let’s check out the breakdown.
Guitar Lesson – B Minor Groove: Moves & Grooves Breakdown
Digging these free video acoustic guitar lessons? Check out Robbie Calvo’s Chord Moves & Grooves.