Jamming & Improvising Archives - Riff Ninja

Category Archives for "Jamming & Improvising"

Cool Basic Chord Substitutions (For 2 Guitars)

This is a lesson on substitutions. There are a lot of variations on this, and you can really use it to spice up a song.

Both guitars are working off the same chord progression here: A, D, E. Colin was playing the open chords. Jonathan was creating the power chord variation of the chords Colin was playing.

Let’s start with the A chord. The first note of the power chord is the open fifth string, which plays the root note: A. The second note of the power chord is played with the index finger on the second fret, fourth string: E. This is the open version of the A power chord.

The fun part comes in when you play the major 6. You play the 1 and 5 with the power chord, and adding the 6 walks you up the scale a bit.

One thing that always confuses students is that the A is always the root note – it matches every note in that chord. Continuing to play that A root note when you move between the 5th and 6th notes of the scale maintains that drone sound.

So start off by getting that A power chord down. Then add your third finger on the fourth fret, fourth string to get the major 6. You would use your third finger for this because it’s always good to line up one finger per fret. Remember you are just playing two strings.

Now shift everything you are doing in that pattern to another root note. The next root note in this lesson is for the D chord. The root of the D chord is on the fourth string. So that would also be your root when you create the power chord. The A is the 5th note of your scale, and this completes the power chord. From there you add the major sixth.

You can shift that progression anywhere on your fretboard, so don’t limit yourself! Switch positions for different verses if you want variety – using different octaves will change the sound of the song. This also gets you thinking about what you’re playing.

Your last chord in this progression is the E chord, and the root is the open sixth string. To get the 5th note, which is a B, place your second finger on the second fret of the fifth string. Then add in the major sixth pattern!

This progression is a 12 – bar progression:

A x 4 bars

D x 2 bars

A x 2 bars

E x 2 bars

A x 2 bars

For the person playing the power chords, it is important to remember to never end on the major 6 note – always end on the 5.

Now try it an octave higher! See how that changes the sound!

If you play with two guitars fairly often and are always looking for different things to do so you both aren’t doing the same thing, head over to riffninja.com, where there is a free 3-day trial available!

Watch on Youtube

Using Guitar Triads for Rhythm

Here’s another lesson in our series of lessons featuring both Colin Daniel and Jonathan Boettcher, this one showing how to use guitar triads to add a very cool complementary part to a song.

If you’re playing with a friend, please don’t both play exactly the same thing!

The point with this mini-series is to try to give you a few ideas to help you think outside of the box a little bit. You’ll find that playing something different than your friend actually sounds much cooler than playing the same thing, and once you get started on this, you might find it kind of addictive trying to find new sounds where both guitars complement each other!

Anyways, in this lesson we’ll take a look specifically at how you can use three note guitar triads to produce a cool sound.

Video problems? Watch it on YouTube.

Capo Secrets With Two Guitars

We’ve had a few questions lately around the topic of what to do when you’ve got more than one guitar in a jam… just play the same thing? It seems people intuitively know there should be more, but they’re uncertain how to get there…

Well, our unequivocal answer to that is NO! don’t play the same thing – except in specific instances like everyone hitting a specific riff at a certain place in the song for instance. There are many different things you can do to split up those two guitar parts and make them complement each other, which adds depth and variety and color to the music that would not be there with just one guitar.

In this particular lesson, Colin and Jonathan will take the question head on, and take a look at a few things you can do that specifically involve using a capo. Of course, there are many things you can play that provide separation and do not require a capo, but there’s only so much you can cover in a short lesson! We’ll touch on some other strategies in future lessons.

Riff Ninja Academy members can access a much more in depth version of this lesson, inside the Riff Ninja Academy.

For now, grab your capo if you have one, and your guitar, and checkout the lesson!

Don’t miss the short blooper at the end of the clip!