Someone said:

"When you're doing more than one person who does the rhythm part, do your chord in another register, maybe higher or maybe lower."

What's really the definition of the "register" on "chord register" and what makes the rhythm part become different/more complex?

  • It's part of the general rule - don't double up on what someone else is doing. Keep out of the other guy's way. No-one said "chord register", so don't waste time trying to analyse it! – Laurence Payne Jun 6 '15 at 13:13

A register in the context in music is very close to and can be thought of as a different way of talking about the range of an instrument, group of notes, ect. The definition of it is as follows:

In music, a register is the relative "height" or range of a note, set of pitches or pitch classes, melody, part, instrument, or group of instruments. A higher register indicates higher pitch. - Wikipieda

In the context of guitar and play chords it makes sense if you had two guitarist playing different voicings/shapes of the same chord to fill out the sound for a thicker texture. For example, if one guitarist is playing an open chord which would be in the lower register for a guitar the other guitarist can play up the voicing/shape up the neck to play in a higher register.

Let's look at a practical example. If someone instructed you to play an E chord, there are many ways to do it and just considering the 5 basic chord shapes we could play an E chord the following ways:


As you can see these are all E chords, but the are all a different set of notes and are all in a slightly different register. Have two guitarist play two different chord shapes produces a much fuller sound than the two playing the exact same notes.


There is little point in two guitarists playing exactly the same chord shape,unless the rhythm or tones are different. It's to do with the VOICING of chords. If, for example, one player uses an open C( at the head end of the guitar), then it increases the sound for another to play a barre C at the 8th fret. This means that some same notes are played by both, albeit with perhaps a different tone, but extra notes are included. They're all, E and G, but in different octaves, adding a bigger sonic dimension.

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