How to Create Ambient Chord Voicings

In this short lesson I show you how you can make regular barre chord shapes sound more atmospheric, ambient and cool. It’s a great way to build riffs and create more intricate sounding chord sequences using this idea.

All you need is a basic understanding of how chords are built from a scale. So in case you don’t know, here is the basic outline on how to construct chords.

Building a Chord from a Scale

Chords are built from a scale by taking 3 notes (a triad) and harmonising to make a chord. In the example below you can see that three notes are taken from the 1st (root), 3rd and 5th degree of the scale to form a major triad.


The easiest way to learn how to make other chord types (major, minor etc.) is to learn the different chord formulas (e.g R – 3 – 5).  Once you know these you can then play them anywhere on the guitar to create different chord voicings. It also helps you map out the guitar neck and visualise where these scale intervals are.

Some example triads are:

R35 = Major chord
Rb35 = Minor chord (has a flattened 3rd)
Rb3b5 = Diminshed chord (has a flattened or diminished 5th)
R3#5 = Augmented chord (has a sharpened or augmented 5th)

R25 = Sus 2 chord (the 2nd note of the scale is ‘suspended’ in place of the 3rd note)
R45 = Sus 4 chord (the 4th note of the scale is ‘suspended’ in place of the 3rd note)

So all you need to do is use the different triads and map them out on the fretboard.

Examples:

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