Guitar jam track lesson with chords: psychedelic rock

Pink Floyd
(Image credit: Adam Ritchie/Redferns)

Guitar skills (opens in new tab): In the late 60s, icons like The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd (opens in new tab) and Jimi Hendrix (opens in new tab) 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.

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Easy guitar theory: Phrygian mode (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) ideas.

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


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

Jam track cheat sheet 

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