Learn 4 Pete Townshend guitar chords from classic Who songs

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Guitar skills: 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. 

1. Bsus4

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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).


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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).


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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).


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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.

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