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Eric Johnson shows y ou how to expand your

chordal v ocabul ary wi th open-voiced tri ads.

Wild Stringdom with Eric Johnson: Expand
Your Chordal Vocabulary with Open-Voiced
Posted05/02/2014 at3:05pm | byEric Johnson
I often get asked about my chord work,
particularly about the voicings I use.
My chord style initially developed as a result of
my dissatisfaction with the way traditional guitar
voicings, particularly triads, sounded.
As most of you probably know, I'ma stickler for
tone. And when I was starting out, I quickly
realized that the garden-variety triad voicings
sounded pretty gnarly when played with
distortion-they were muddy and lacked clarity.
To remedy the problem, I would try to figure out ways to voice themwhere they would sound good
even when played using a crunch tone. I quickly realized that open-voiced triads-ones in which the
individual notes, or voices, are spread out-lent themselves best to distortion.
The whole trick to creating open-voiced triads is to take the middle note of a close-voiced triad
(named so because the intervals are stacked as close together as possible) and play it an octave
higher or lower.
Let's apply this concept to a root position (where the root is the lowest-
sounding note) G chord. Take the third (B) and move it an octave higher, to
the E string, and you get the rich-sounding voicing illustrated in FIGURE 1.
You can apply this principle to inversions of both major and minor triads.
As shown in FIGURE 2. I use almost all of these voicings regularly-I really
love the way they sound. I often do to spice up my solos using arpeggiate open-voiced triads, that
is, play the notes of each chord in succession. The beauty of these chords is that when
arpeggiated, they sound even better!
Play FIGURES 3 and 4, which depict the harmonized C and G major scales respectively, and you'll
her what I mean.
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Eric Johnson, Wild
Stri ngdom, Blogs, News, Lessons, Magazi ne
Wild Stringdom with
John Petrucci:
Combining Triad
Arpeggios to Form
Polytonal Chordal
Wild Stringdom with
John Petrucci: Using
Triad Arpeggios to Imply
More Complex Chord
Lick of the Day:
Open-Voiced Arpeggio
Etude by Steve Morse
Guitar Strength:
Slippery, Sliding,
Open-Voiced, String-
Skipping 7th Arpeggios
1 Comment +Add a Comment
Once you're comfortable with them, check out FIGURE 5, which is similar to a passage I play in the
intro solo to "Cliffs of Dover."
It seems that a lot of guitarists like to focus their energy on their single-note chops, and as a result,
they'll play voicings that are not nearly as sophisticated as their single-note lines. However, if you
spend as much time working on chords, as you do on single-note ideas, you can come up with not
only innovative rhythmparts, but great chordal-based soloing ideas as well.
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J uly 07, 2012 at 3:32am
Cool lesson! I think of this as a lesson in "Raise 2 Chords."
At a glance, these chords look like Drop 2 chords in reverse. That is, instead of taking the 2nd note
and dropping it down an octave to the lowest note in the chord voicing, Eric is raising the 2nd note an
octave higher to become the highest note in the new chord voicing.
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