Chords – how many do you Know?

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If you think you know a lot of chords, watch this:

When I was living and playing in Toronto in the 70's I met Ed Bickert and had the pleasure of seeing him play often. He played regularly at a couple of places in town and if you elbowed your way between a few other guitar players, you could usually get a seat close enough to see his hands.

Ed was a real innovator with his chord voicings. He had nice solos and good time, but was really knocked me out was his knowledge of harmony and chords. His ability to come up with chords that most of us had never heard or seen was always a treat. And Ed was probably responsible for selling more Telecasters to up and coming players than anyone else around. Everybody wanted to sound like Ed Bickert.

Don't be intimidated by new chords

You don't have to be a jazz player to appreciate Ed's guitar work. His warm, open chords can be valued and enjoyed by anyone who plays the instrument. If you're not using a lot of extensions and substitutions in your playing, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the expertise of a player of Ed's caliber. The main thing to come away with is a knowledge of potential harmonic horizons available to guitarists. Whatever style or level you play at, exposure to something like this is inspiring and motivating for all of us.

A mainstay for any music collection is Pure Desmond, a classic recording of Paul Desmond with Ed Bickert, Ron Carter and Connie Kay. The record is brilliantly recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, who engineered some of the most important recordings in the history American music. Pure Desmond is one of best recorded and well-played examples of guitar  accompaniment ever made. Give it a listen and go out and learn some new chords!

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