Guitar jam track lesson with chords: psychedelic rock

Pink Floyd
(Image credit: Adam Ritchie/Redferns)

Guitar skills: In the late 60s, icons like The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix pioneered the drug-fuelled style of music known as psychedelic rock. There was a resurgence in the 90s when bands like Blind Melon and Kula Shaker drew heavily from 60s roots, and acts like The Black Angels and My Morning Jacket continue to fly the flag. These musicians use a combination of long reverbs, delays and modulation effects, like phasers and choruses to create a spacey, ‘far out’ sound.

Learn more


(Image credit: Future)

Easy guitar theory: Phrygian mode

Eastern influences are often heard in psychedelia – particularly the early era – and the pre-chorus section of our track gives you the chance to play over a typical progression. We’ve shown the Phrygian mode below. It has a distinctive sound that complements this style but take care not to overuse it. Try instead to mix in some Phrygian lines with more commonplace natural minor and blues scale ideas.

For the chords, aim to combine strumming, picking, stabs and even short lead phrases for an authentic vibe.


(Image credit: Future)

All three sections of this month’s jam tracks are in E minor so the E natural minor scale (E F# G A B C D) and E blues scale (E G A Bb B D) will work throughout. The E Phrygian mode (E F G A B C D) sounds great during the pre-chorus, particularly when you reach the unusual Em/F chord.


(Image credit: Future)

The first four chords are simple barre chords. You’ll need a strong first finger to form the barre – make sure your thumb is roughly opposite your first or second finger for maximum strength. The ‘slash’ chords (Em/F, Em/B etc) are essentially the same – just change the note on the fourth string.

Jam track lick to learn 

(Image credit: Future)

Jam track: Grateful To Be Alive [click arrow on right of Soundcloud player to download backing track] 

Jam track cheat sheet 

(Image credit: Future)
Total Guitar

Total Guitar is Europe's best-selling guitar magazine.

Every month we feature interviews with the biggest names and hottest new acts in guitar land, plus Guest Lessons from the stars.

Finally, our Rocked & Rated section is the place to go for reviews, round-ups and help setting up your guitars and gear.