I was filming some short videos for social media yesterday.

One video that I enjoyed filming, in particular, was taking the C Major chord and playing lots of variations of it.


What I was doing was simply strumming each chord once and letting the chord ring out.

The video will be titled “What’s your favourite?”

The idea behind it is that those watching can decide on their favourite chord and leave a comment.

I’ve sent the video off to my editor to sort.

I no longer edit my own videos. I should have stopped doing that years ago, but never really found anyone good enough to do this until about 6 months ago – but that’s a story for another day!


Anyway, have you ever tried doing the same sort of thing?

I.e. choosing one chord and playing through all the variations of that chord.

For instance, in the video, I played:

C – C Major 7 – Cadd 9

C7 – Csus2 – Csus4

C9 – C13

…And I followed it up with a big tough Cadd9 variation that I love the sound of (that one is hard though).


It probably depends on how long you have played in terms of how many variations of each chord you can play.

You might only know one or two variations or none at all yet.

If so, that is fine.

Just remember a lot of the time, you can simply add or remove a finger to a chord and that’s all you need to do to get a variation like the above.

Granted, some of the above shapes I played required barre chords or partial barre chords.

…But I thought I’d mention this today because personally, I enjoy running through chords like this in a logical sequence.

…Going from easier to harder.


It’s good for my knowledge and understanding.

It’s good for my technique.

And it’s good for my aural skill as you have to really listen to each chord to hear its flavour.

It’s a fun little occasional exercise that will solidify a lot of chord knowledge you already have.


A word of warning though – when doing anything like this, you can be tempted to learn lots more chord shapes and variations.

…But that can be a waste of time if you never use the chords.

So I’d say, do this on one chord to begin with (e.g. C).

Then play the variations you already know or have tried before.

If you get as tempted as me when I’m near the snack cupboard to learn more shapes, then try to only learn one or two more.

I say that because of my big rule I have with chords which is:

It’s not the number of chords you can play that matters, but what you do with them that counts.


Talking of which, if you want more help playing stunning music with the chords you very likely already know and can play, then check this out below…

The Travis Picking Tom Dooley Mini Masterclass

Have a great day!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. If you do try some of the above chord shapes or any other variations, be careful and focus on good technique. Some chords have very tough stretches!


P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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