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Berklee College of Music

Guitar Chord Voicings: Playing Up The Neck

Berklee College of Music via Coursera


Whether you’re just picking up the guitar for the first time or you’ve been playing the guitar for years and want to take your playing to the next level, Guitar Chords 101 will help you develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of chords. Guitar Chords 101 presents Berklee’s approach to constructing chords, a method that focuses less on the shape of an individual chord, and more on the notes that the chord is based around. You will learn to construct and play triads, basic 7th chords, inversions, and different chord voicings—the basic foundations guitarists use to write or perform in any number of different styles.
You will gain more freedom and a greater feel for your instrument by learning how to visualize chord structures anywhere on the neck of the guitar. By the end of the course you will be able to add more dynamics and expression to your playing and gain an extensive chord vocabulary, which will prove invaluable in pursuing any style of music.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

- Look at a lead sheet and play chord voicings
- Construct triads, 7th chords, and inversions
- Play and know the voicings of various chord qualities such as a major triad, minor triad, dominant 7, and gospel chords
- Play triads over bass notes


  • Welcome to Guitar Chord Voicings: Playing Up The Neck!
    • Welcome to the course! Here we will cover all the details about the course and what you'll need to know to get the most out of your experience.
  • Triad Inversions
    • In this lesson, we'll learn how to rearrange the notes in a triad to create inversions. Inversions can be difficult to conceptualize on the guitar since the same pitch can be found on different frets and different strings. We'll work to make this concept as easy as possible by inverting triads from the high strings to low and from the lower range of the neck up to the higher frets. The more you know about chords on the guitar, the larger the number of options for you to use!
  • Barre and Power Chords
    • Power chords and barre chords represent a huge amount of the vocabulary used by guitarists in rock and pop music. Although they may be a bit tough on your fretting fingers at first, the many applications of these shapes make the effort worthwhile. In this lesson, we'll cover various exercises that will give you greater facility and command of these chords.
  • Seventh Chords: Drop-2
    • There are several ways to learn new voicing shapes on the guitar. Drop-2 is a term used at Berklee to describe a configuration of chord tones, pleasing to the ear, and, more importantly to guitarists, relatively easy to execute on the fretboard. It's the best way to play seventh chords on four consecutive strings. This lesson is going to give you plenty of practice in creating new voicing shapes on the fretboard and will help you develop the ability to play various seventh chords in all keys.
  • Chord Substitutions, Diatonic Chords, and Gospel Chords
    • We've learned many guitar voicings for triads and seventh chords. This lesson will help you to solidify your grasp of Drop-2 Seventh chords. We'll also explore some new ways of using what we've already learned. Finally, we'll look at how to substitute chords using a standard lead sheet.

Taught by

Rick Peckham

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