How to choose the right guitar chords for your sound

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There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating luscious, colourful chords. With so many choices, it can be hard to know where to start. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! 

We’ve grouped some of our favourite chords together by mood. We’ll also show you how to use extended chords to make potentially boring progressions more interesting.

Although we’ve suggested some places these chords are most commonly used, they can be used in all styles - there are no hard and fast rules.

Tense, bluesy sound

These chords are super-popular in all kinds of blues. The 9th and 13th can be heard in many modern blues players’ repertoires. The dominant 9th is a well-used chord in funk too.

Mellow sound

These chilled-out extended chords work really well as replacements for ‘regular’ major chords and are great for adding a jazzy tinge to your progressions.

Melancholy sound

These dark, broody chords are great for adding extra drama to minor chords. The madd9 is a metal ballad classic.

Mysterious sound

These enigmatic chords are great for adding an air of mystery to a progression. instrumental legend Joe Satriani is a big fan of the maj7#11.

Uplifting sound

These chords use the open first and second strings to provide a lift to some simple major chords. Hear them on early Coldplay recordings and tracks by Foo Fighters and Alice In Chains.

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