Lesson Preview
Acoustic Guitar
Lesson Preview
Enjoy a short preview of this lesson
To continue watching, please sign in or subscribe

15: Advanced: Chord Shapes Part 1

Brian Johnson

17:22 · Acoustic Guitar

This week Brian teaches some tasteful, yet unusual chord shapes that you can use to help aid in creating a sonic space that is off the path a bit from traditional sounds as well as using the chords to add to existing worship sound-scapes that add texture and depth.

15: Advanced: Chord Shapes Part 1

Brian Johnson

  • Brian likes certain G chords over others because they give a tighter sound. Sometimes he only plays two strings of the chord because he wants to expand to the full chord for the chorus.

  • He often plays his acoustic in the same way he would if there wasn’t a band playing behind him, because when the soundman mixes the acoustic right, it’s actually a crucial part of the band, and adds a lot of dynamic.

  • Brian personally likes to play the C major 7 – e.g. One thing remains, Love Came Down. Sometimes that dark sound really helps the song sound anointed.

  • Brian shows how he moves his hand around the fret board to get the best sounding chords.

  • D2 chords sound better to Brian as the D chord often sounds out of tune to him.

  • Brian demonstrates the E minor chord he likes, because it transitions well to what he wants to play next. It also allows his pinkie to move around.

  • A minor 7 – Brian prefers this to a straight A minor when he’s playing in the key of G. He demonstrates playing A minor with a capo in a G form.

  • Brian likes the G form chords because no matter where he is on the neck he can keep the same shapes, and he knows the G form really well.

  • Brian shows how he transitions e.g. from worship into Pastor Bill coming up to pray. You have to be in really good tune for it to sound good. You can just feel what happens in the atmosphere – listen to the difference between two E minors.

  • David had history on his instrument, he had spent time becoming excellent, so when Saul was demonized he knew just what to play.

  • Playing up high can create a soundscape in the room and make it quite intense.

  • Changing up the chord shape adds a new dimension, a new sound, it keeps it interesting and builds.

  • Brian also uses the D form a lot. Typically a D2 chord, D with an F sharp base, a lot of slash chords.

  • He likes to leave some fingers off so he can add hammer-ons or different things to make it interesting.

Brian demonstrates some chords he likes:

D, walking down to C sharp base (A shape), B minor, A, D with an F sharp base, G