Magazine article Guitar Player

Ez Street: Jangle Chords

Magazine article Guitar Player

Ez Street: Jangle Chords

Article excerpt

WHAT DO MANY SONGS BY GREEN DAY, JAMES Taylor, U2, AC/DC, Tom Petty, and countless other guitar acts all have in common? Open strings--specifically, open strings ringing gloriously within chords. Whether they're strummed on acoustic or electric, or played clean or distorted, chords containing open strings have unmatched resonance and sustain. For instance, what makes this standard E chord [Ex. 1] sound so powerful? (Hint: It ain't the fretted notes.) One reason beginning guitarists are so frustrated by barre chords is that for all the muscle and dexterity that is required to fret them, these strenuous grips don't ring nearly as vibrantly as their open-position counterparts.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

There is, however, one group of moveable fingerings that, in many ways, brings the portability of barre chords together with the pleasing sparkle of open strings--chords based on an open-position E grip that I like to refer to as jangle chords. To begin your jangle odyssey, re-finger Ex. 1's E using your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers [Ex. 2]. Now, when we move the fingering up the neck, the 1st finger can conveniently drop down onto the sixth string and hold the new root, as in Ex. 3's Fmaj7#11--our first jangle chord. The lowest four notes of this grip (F-C-F-A) spell a simple F chord. Acting like two upper pedal tones, the open first and second strings add the major 7 (E) and #11 (B), respectively. More important, though, these open pitches not only give the chord its pleasing jangle, their magical drone works in many other jangle voicings that use the same fingering at different positions on the neck. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.