Skip to main content

Learn John Mayer three-note chords in this quick guitar lesson

(Image credit: Scott Dudelson / Getty)

Guitar lessons: I’ve always liked that sound, especially the fourth [pickup position on a Strat]. When I was a kid, that was my favourite sound on the guitar; it’s even, it’s smooth, it has chimeyness but it still has bass. It’s the most colourful selection on the Strat." So said John Mayer to us back in 2010, and that leads us to what he considers to be the perfect accompaniment for that kind of go-to tone.

“Sort of in the centre of the fretboard… the one, the two and the five. I think that’s sort of my signature," he says of the three-note inversions that form a key part of some of his most popular songs.  

(Image credit: Future)

These three-note chords above are the kind of approach Mayer is talking about. And there is a slight ambiguity to them at times; a sus2 is neither major nor minor and an Emaj7 could be seen as a C#m9 if played over a C# root.

Whatever mood you're hearing, they'll sound great with a clean tone

Revisiting the John Mayer pentatonic guitar lesson with new notation

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.

Subscribe: http://bit.ly/totalguitar