When The Wrong Chord Sounds Better

Can the 'wrong' chords sound better than the 'right' chord?

And what about if you play both the 'wrong' chord and the 'right' chord at the same time?

(You may notice that I put 'right' and 'wrong' in quotes, as I don't think that one can give a convincing definition of right or wrong chords... but you guys know what I mean right?)

Now, I'm not trying to sell you to super-atonal, free-jazz, avant-garde sounds that will get you booed off stage when you play with your rock cover band. though if you play in a free jazz band, that's cool too.

Neither I'm trying to give you some out-of-this-world, let's-play-outside-the-chord sounds. Though again, I love playing outside the chord. It's just not something you can do at all gigs.

No, today I want to show you some solid sounds that you can use even if you play top 40 pop and even a casual listener can understand and appreciate. And yes, you get these sounds by playing the 'wrong' chord.

Of course, lots of words do nothing to help you understand what I'm talking about. You need to hear the sound to see if you like it or not. So here's the deal.
In the video below you find a played example at 5:30. Listen to it, and if you like it - only if you like it - feel free to watch the rest of the video where we can learn together how to do it.

The video above is aimed mostly at the ones of us who play rhythm. Yes, yes, all guitar players should play rhythm, I agree. It teaches you a lot and you even become a better soloist by doing it.

If you are more of a lead player, the video below will show you a similar trick that you can use for single-note lines:


Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.

Tommaso Zillio