Guthrie Trapp shows how small guitar chords can offer big potential

Guthrie Trapp
(Image credit: Guthrie Trapp / YouTube)

These are halcyon days for guitarists – let's ignore the ever-gushing streams of bile that the internet has helped to unleash upon the world and focus on all the excellent players who are sharing their knowledge out there via YouTube. One is Guthrie Trapp, who is already pretty busy moving from session to session in Music City but still finds the time to teach, and demonstrate his staggeringly comprehensive musical vocabulary in a helpful way. And he's got some chord inspiration for us here.

We've talked about triads before, and we will again. Why? They are key to untold happiness and inspiration on the fretboards. Three-note chords with maximum flexibility that allow you to integrate little melodic runs in your playing if you wish. John Mayer loves them and so does Ariel Posen.  Guthrie uses them to integrate Cuban and African styles into his playing.

"A lot of it is taking these big chords and just breaking them down," he explains just after the 9-minute market in the video above with a great demonstration that shows how much fluidity triads offer.  The voicings are all close together, allowing for easier transitions between the triads for chordal melodies. 

Guthrie Trapp also offers private lessons, as well as contributing a country guitar course on Artistworks. Find out more at

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.