OK, let's get down to business. You know your basic C, A, G, E, and D major chords because you took my A Guide for Beginners - Major Chords
lesson, right? Of course, you do. So let's look at some of these chords and think about how we can add notes here and there to spice them up without changing the essential harmony of the chord. I'll try to keep the theory to a minimum, but it may rear it's ugly head from time to time. For this, I apologize in advance.
Here's some variations for your common C Major chord:
So what's going on here? Well, there are two variations embedded in these chords:
The first variation is to add the high G on the 1st string, which occurs in Chords 2 and 4. Since this note (g) is part of a C major chord (the notes C, E, and G arranged in some fashion), our harmony is pretty much the same. Use your pinky to finger this note.
The second variation is to replace the C that we normally play with our 1st finger on the 2nd string, with a D at the 3rd fret on the 2nd string. When we do this, we create an "Add9" chord. can everyone say that..? "Add9..." Add9 chords have a really great sound that works well in Acoustic music. For more on the Add9 chord, check out my Using the C add9 chord
By mixing and matching these variations, we obtain Chords 2-4 shown above, which are variants of Chord 1 (our standard open string C major chord).
Listen to the example below to hear how each of these sound in context.