AP-013 What are your Favorite Exotic Chords?

Guitar Question about Guitar Chords


What are your personal favorite 3 “exotic” or less commonly known guitar chords that you recommend for intermediate/advanced guitarists?


Exotic chords usually require a special rule to use it well. I don’t recommend them often, so I’ll try to give use cases with my chords.

For blues, I always teach the dominant 9 chord rooted on the 5th string. You can replace it with just about any dominant chord in a blues progression. It is a fun one to slide into chords too.

For a Jazzier feel, I like to use dominant 13th chords in place of dominant 7th chords. Specifically, the following voicing: G13 3-X-3-4-5-X. This works very well in a ii-V-I progression.

To get sporty, I sometimes use a diminished seventh chord as a “pivot” to change keys mid-song. One way to do this is to substitute a dim7 chord for the V chord. You can select one rooted on the flatted-tonic, but I like to select it by the 3rd of the V chord (hint: it’s the same note). Then you resolve the dim7 chord to a maj7 chord that is rooted a half step higher than any note in the diminished chord.

Example: In the key of C, you’d normally play a G7 as the V chord. You can substitute Bdim7 (the 3rd of G7), which includes the notes (B, D, F, and Ab). Then you can any of the following that are rooted a half step higher than the dim7 chord tones: Cmaj7, D#maj7, F#maj7, or Amaj7. Cmaj7 is the current key, so there are three others to choose. For more information, I have a lesson on diminished chords: https://www.guitarlessonworld.com/lessons/diminished-chords/

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