I was showing someone how to play the intro to "More Than A Feeling", and as we were working through the chord pattern it dawned on me how many times I've played the same voicing for the Dmaj (C,B on top) - The Doors, The Stones,Rush, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin et al have, over the years given us first position chord voicing/patterns that have become standard simply because they've been copied so many hundreds of times in other songs - What are some examples (in tabs).

  • "have become standard simply because they've been copied so many hundreds of times". Perhaps they've been copied because people like the sound of those chords. In particular, open A, D, G and E are very powerful chords, which work well with acoustic, clean and distorted electric guitars. C, which is easily played, never sounds as nice distorted to me. Dunno why.
    – Anonymous
    Feb 6 '11 at 20:11
  • 2
    @Tin Man: My guess as to why you don't like the distorted C chord, which is voiced 1-3-5-1-3, is because of that first 3. A low third in between the root and the fifth muddies the sound, especially when distorted, and detracts from its power. Take that low 3 out and the C chord basically becomes a power chord with a third on top---exactly like the E, A, and D chords. Feb 6 '11 at 20:28
  • That's awesome Alex. I never knew why I didn't like the sound of an open distorted C. light bulb moment
    – Jduv
    Feb 6 '11 at 20:50
  • "The Ocean"; "My kind of Lover"; "Stone in Love" - the open C sounds great, it just helps to play it on a Les Paul :>)
    – Anonymous
    Feb 12 '11 at 21:47
  • I think this question is too broad, an interesting but not really useful itemized list. As DRL said "I think the answer to this could easily be any rock song using chord progressions in open positions" ... awfully broad.
    – user28
    May 30 '11 at 0:38

The only "rock" (as opposed to every other style of music) chord pattern I can think of is the so-called "Texas G" chord:


This is typically played using the thumb on the low-E string and the middle finger playing both the B- and high-E strings. Note that this isn't a typical G chord, which includes the B on the A-string. Instead it intentionally leaves that B out, so it's made up purely of roots and fifths. It's popular both because it's easy and because it doesn't have a third in it, so it's neither major nor minor---in that sense, it's like a power chord.

If instead you're asking about popular first-position chords in general, of course this would require a much longer example. Perhaps you can give examples of songs that use the chords you're looking for?

  • Great first answer!! Any Way You Want It.... Skynard...- great rock chord!! thanks for getting the ball roll'n!
    – Anonymous
    Feb 6 '11 at 20:12
  • @AttilaNYC: You can play that B, of course, but then it's not a "Texas G" chord, and it doesn't have that non-major/minor flexibility and power that comes from a chord made up only of roots and fifths. Feb 6 '11 at 20:38
  • I absolutely love open chords in rock. Barre's definitely have their place, but higher order harmonics just sing on a gained out tube amp playing the Texas G.
    – Jduv
    Feb 6 '11 at 20:52
  • I was really hoping for a little more, but, oh well.... Like the beginning of "More Than a Feeling"; "Tush";"Crossroads" "Cat Scratch Fever - bridge; "Love me two times"- bridge... and so on - they all use first position chords that have made their way into the lexicon of Classic Rock.....
    – Anonymous
    Feb 14 '11 at 13:58

I think the answer to this could easily be any rock song using chord progressions in open positions; there are literally thousands of possible examples; though a favourite of mine is 'Sympathy for the Devil' by the 'Rolling Stones' (check out the rest of their catalogue for more examples).

Led Zeppelin's work has a lot of open chords, one of the most well known being Stairway to Heaven; in which the chords are 99% open.

More modern examples might be the music's of - Radiohead(Karma Police is an excellent example), Oasis, Coldplay, David Gray.

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