Voicings

Voicings is secondary versions of chords, chords that are arranged differently concerning note order and position on the guitar fretboard. The guitar is an instrument that allow tons of different versions for the most chords.

This is a guide that explains and give examples of voicings for both major and minor chords.

C major voicings

The most standard way to play the C version in most genres are shown in the diagram below:

C chord diagram

You probably know this version, but it can be of interest to widen the possibilities for the same chord (the indications "C (I)" and so no official name, they are used here to separate the actual voicings):

C chord voicings

C (I) - the G note is doubled, making the chord involve two 5th and one 3rd instead of the opposite.
C (II) - the 4th string is muted and this voicing are most suitable in fingerpicking contexts.
C (III) - utilizing the C note on the 6 strings as bass note.

D major and minor voicings

The majority of voicings for D major are played higher up the fretboard since the possibilities are relative few in open position since only four strings are involved:

D chord voicings

D (I) - one of the movable major shapes on the three highest strings together with open D string.
D (II) - another movable major shape on the three highest strings together with open D string.
D (III) - the regular shape but with a A doubling and without F#, which sometimes is written D(omit3), resulting in more treble.

Dm chord voicings

Dm (I) - one of the movable minor shapes on the three highest strings together with open D string.
Dm (II) - another movable minor shape on the three highest strings together with open D string.
Dm (III) - a voicing with F in the bass, which sometimes is written Dm/F.


Concerning Dm/F and other possibilities such Dm/A and Dm/B are to be accurate referred to as slash chords. A stricter definition of voicings is that the root of the chord remains the same while the other notes shifting order.

E major and minor voicings

Due to the open low and high E-strings there are lots of possibilities for alternative versions for both major and minor chords with E as root:

E chord voicings

E (I) - partly as the standard shape in open position but with the lowest strings muted.
E (II) - using the 5th string for the bass note instead of the 6th. 076400 is possible though.
E (III) - an option primarily for fingerpicking that combine a movable three-finger shape with the low E-string.

Em chord voicings

Em (I) - one of many possible Em voicings that include both the open 6th string and the E note on the 5th string, 7th fret in combination with open high strings.
Em (II) - partly similar with "Em (I)", but a using three fingers and a stretch.
Em (III) - the C shape with open low E-string generate a rich sound with open strings and high treble notes.

G major voicings

G chords are often played in open position, which the standard tuning serves well for. It can of course be played all over the neck:

G chord voicings

G (I) - using the 4th string for the bass note.
G (II) - another option with the bass note on 4th string by using an F shape.
G (III) - an option primarily for fingerpicking which utilize the fact that these three strings form an G chord.

A major and minor voicings

Due to the 5th, open low A, string many possibilities arrives. The open high E-string can also be played open since it is one of notes in both A major and minor:

A chord voicings

A (I) - using an F major shape together with an open A string.
A (II) - almost the same as the previous, but with the open high E-string included.
A (III) - a movable three-fingers shape combined with open strings.

Am chord voicings

Am (I) - a movable three-fingers shape combined with open strings.
Am (II) - another movable three-fingers shape combined with open strings.
Am (III) - partly as the standard shape in open position but with the lowest strings muted.

Additional three-finger voicings:

A6(no5): XXX222

 

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