I wanted to talk about creativity because as a guitar teacher I met people at Jam sessions that asked me how they learn something new. Most had played for years and had struggled to move from the level they were at.
I have found that creativity is an attitude and a desire to be better every time you pick up your instrument.
As a guitarist I can give you some ideas.
So, every guitar book will give “the chords” that everyone starts with but they don’t tell you anymore.
This might blow your mind but this has been a lifetime for me so take your time.
Below is the standard C Major chord found in every beginner guitar book.
So what can we do with C Major?
- C Major has 3 notes in it – C, E and G.
The way the guitar is tuned you can play these notes on adjacent strings.
With 6 strings you have the following sets of adjacent strings:-
1,2,3. 2,3,4. 3,4,5. 4,5,6.
So you can play C Major on 4 sets of strings giving you 4 versions of the chord.
- You can also change the order of the notes – E, G and C and then find them on adjacent strings and this will give you 4 more versions.
- Again you can also change the order of the notes – G, C and E and then find them on adjacent strings and this will give you 4 more versions.
This will give a total of 12 versions of the C Major chord found all over the guitar. Some are unplayable but for the sake of discussion we will keep them all.
- Next we have intervals. These are 2 notes played together. You can play C and E notes as an interval and this will infer the C major chord. You can also do the same with the C and the G notes.
Because we only need a pair of strings for these they can be played on strings:-
1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4, 4 and 5, and lastly 5 and 6. This gives us 5 variations.
So 5 variations for C and E and also 5 variations for C and G give us another 10 variations.
5) As with the 3 note chords we can have the intervals in different orders as well. So this gives us E and C and also G and C. These will give us another 10 variations.
As a disclaimer we can’t have E and G because they would represent another chord.
So far we have a total of 32 variations around the C Major chord and because of the different octaves of the strings they all sound slightly different.
There are other variations but we will stick with what we have.
The beginner books get you to strum the chord given 4 times and hey that is music.
But everyone plays it and then goes that doesn’t sound like my favourite recording.
How about combining some of your variations in the 4 beats. How about this – you could play a different variation on every beat.
Beat 1 you have 32 variations.
Beat 2 you have 32 variations.
Beat 3 you have 32 variations.
Beat 4 you have 32 variations.
So in one bar (4 beats) you can have a total 32 x 32 x 32 x 32 = 1,048,576 variations.
1 bar gives you over 1 million choices for 1 chord.
That’s creativity. Enjoy.