Guitar skills (opens in new tab): Where better to mine for chord inspiration than the work of one of the most iconic rhythm guitarists in rock history? Even the way Pete Townshend plays a chord with his famed 'windmill' arm movement has become influential. So here's four gems from his back catalogue to fire up your own playing.
This is arguably Pete Townshend’s most iconic chord, the opening one on Pinball Wizard. Play the bottom note with your thumb and follow it with a straight B major (simply drop the third string by a fret).
As we’re talking about using interesting substitute chords, we can’t ignore the Who song with the same name! Substitute starts with this nice, bright D major shape (followed by the standard open D major shape).
Here’s another chord taken from the same song, where all the chords in the riff have an open D pedal note at the bottom. This one is A/D, and you can use it to create the next chord (G/D, two frets lower).
Just like pedal notes, suspended chords are an important feature of Townshend’s chord style. Here’s the open Esus4 shape used (in arpeggio form) at the start of Behind Blue Eyes.