Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Basic Chord Substitutions

While tinkering in the guitar laboratory, we have come to the concept of chord substitution.

Musicians tinker with chord substitution all the time, trying to find cool sounding alternative chords for the the tired combinations played over and over again.

The first stop on this journey will be the substitution of relative Major or minor chords.

Every chord has a relative. For every Major chord there is a relative minor (and vice versa) that shares it's key signature.

Here are relative Majors and minors in list form:
C - am
G - em
D - bm
A - f#m
E - c#m
B - g#m
G# - e#m
C# - a#m
F - dm
Bb - gm
Eb - cm
Ab - fm
Db - bbm
Gb - ebm
Cb - abm

Try swapping out a substitute Major or minor chord next time you are playing your favorite song. Your ear will be the final judge as to whether it works or not, but it can sometime produce interesting results.

Another interesting sounding substitution is swapping a Major chord with the minor chord that is the 3rd of the Major key.

Here is a list of those combinations:
C - em
G - bm
D - f#m
A - c#m
E - g#m
B - d#m
G# - b#m
C# - e#m
F - am
Bb - dm
Eb - gm
Ab - cm
Db - fm
Gb - bbm
Cb - ebm

Try swapping a substitute 3 chord next time you are playing a familiar chord progression.
Listen to the results.

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