16 December, 2009

HOW TO play special / split / slash chords

In this post, I will be writing about how to play special / split  / slash chords on the guitar. First of all, I need to qualify what I mean when I use the term "special". For a lack of a better word, the chords that I am actually referring to are those where you see a "/". For example, I'm sure you would have come across chords such as D/F#, D/B, C/E, A/C# etc. (thanks to Bob for letting me know that these are called split chords)

Alright, let's get things started. I used to think that the "/" meant that you could either play the chord before the "/" or the chord after the "/". But I was wrong. It's okay if you thought that as well because I thought that too. Anyway, simply put, the chord after the "/" just means that you have to play that bass note. So, if you see a D/F#, it means you play a D root note, and a F# bass note.

How does this translate to playing the chord? Well, here's how it looks graphically:

For myself, I personally like to use the D2/F# or Dsus/F# chord. But if you have watched my videos over youtube, I just generally call them D/F# because I don't want to get too technical with the names.

Ok, here are some other "special" chords that I have used before (I'll just use the general names as well because I don't want to get too specific on what their correct names should be):

There are many more "special" chords out there. So don't get scared of you happen to see an unfamiliar one while reading a music sheet or learning a song using some online tabs. All you have to do is take a deep breath, look at the chord before the "/", play that chord, then look at the chord after the "/", and play that bass note.

With that being said, this is also why you need to know your fretboard well. Where is the B bass note on your guitar? Where is the C# bass note on your guitar? If you know your fretboard well enough, playing these special chords will be a walk in the park.

I hope this post has been useful and informative. Continue to practice hard, and remember, I am even learning new things about the guitar everyday.


TroyBrian said...

Daniel, these are more commonly called "split chords" everywhere I've been. Thanks for the great post! Very good information to have!

yukihira said...

My teacher called that "Broken Chords", i dont why.. hahaha.. i learn a lot.. thanks men..^_^

Anonymous said...

Very helpful and very personable..thanks so much!

eric jason dlc said...

thanks for this tip bro! you really are talented and patient enough to share what you know to other guitar players. god bless! more power!

Anonymous said...

i am sooooo glad 2 finally have that explaned 2me! thaks heaps:)

simon george said...

I appreciate the lessons. Stuff like this really helps players to keep learning. I think music is all about its endless possibilities. Great post keep up the hard work. Check these out IStillGotMyGuitar.

Cardin said...

Thank you for your explanation! I always did just play the first part of the chord before the /, but now I know better. :)