Posted by: worshipguitarguy | October 8, 2008

Worship Guitar Chords Exposed!: The Key of E Pt. 2

On to Part 2!

Since a guitar is naturally tuned around notes common to the E scale, there are many other E chord options all over the neck for you to explore.  The ones listed below are common ones I use regularly in my playing to give things a bit of variety.  You can also play some of these alternate positions as a second guitar, playing over someone else who’s strumming root position chords.  The awesome thing about this is you each will be doing something slightly different, adding a fuller sound to the song you’re playing.

E major: 

   This E5 is an absolute favorite of mine.  It’s located one octave above the root position E chord and is played with your index finger on the A string, seventh fret, and your ring and pinky fingers on the D and G strings at the ninth fret.  This chord is great for playing over another guitarist who’s playing the root position E chord.  Because of the higher notes it fills out the overall sound when adding a second guitar.  Below are some alternate chords for the A, B, and C# minor that are adjacent to this form.  E5 Octave MP3
   Here’s a second E5 that shares some notes with the root position E major chord.  It can be a bit of a trick to play at first, due to your finger positions.  The easiest way for me to play it is to place my index and middle fingers on the A and D strings at the second fret, then place my pinky on the G string at the fourth fret.  If you’re familiar with the cut capo, you’ll notice this is the exact same chord you play for an E major if your capo’s on the guitar.  E5 at the 2nd Fret MP3

 A chords:

  The two A chords shown here are very useful for creating variety in your sound.  Fingering this Aadd9 involves placing your ring finger on the D string at the seventh fret and your middle finger on the G string at the sixth fret. Aadd9 MP3

This chord’s either an A2 or an E5/A.  Fingering it is extremely easy, it’s just your ring finger and your pinky on the D and G strings on the ninth fret.  Make sure to mute the low E string as the A is your bass note. E5 over A MP3

An interesting variation is to take your middle finger and put it on the G string, eighth fret, and remove your pinky.  This chord has a very dark, dramatic sound to it that fits well if you want a very “haunting” variation.  A chord variation.mp3

 B chord

  This chord is a substitute for the Bsus4 when you’re playing the E5 chord above on the seventh and ninth frets.  To switch to this chord, all you do is move your index finger up one string to the low E at the seventh fret, then mute the A string.  E5 over B MP3

  C#m chord

  The E5/C# is a substitute chord for a C# minor.  You fret it by placing your pinky and ring fingers on the D and G strings at the ninth fret, and your middle finger on the low E string at the ninth fret.  Make sure the A string is muted in the process.  E5 over Csharp MP3

 B/D# Chord

  Remember in part 1 where I said there was a way to play a B over D# without tuning down?  Well here it is.  You fret your index finger on the sixth fret, A string, your ring finger on the eighth fret G string, and your pinky on the ninth fret D string, while muting the low E string.  B over D# MP3

Empty Me Chord Progression MP3
This chord progression is much like the one in the song “Empty Me” as recorded by Jeremy Camp on Carried Me, The Worship Project.  The progression is an E5 @ the 7th fret > E5/B > E5/C# > E5/A.  It’s a great example of how the 7th octave E chords sound.

E > D# > C# to A Walkdown.
Here’s another chord pattern that’s found it’s way into many worship songs.  Start by playing (for one measure each) the E5 at the seventh octave, the B/D#, the C# minor at the fourth fret, (check Part 1), then the A2 on the second fret.  This type of progression fits well on songs like Matt Redman’s “Let Everything that Hath Breath”, or David Crowder’s “Our Love is Loud.”

Another fun thing to do in the key of E is to play octave chords on the A and G strings (while muting the D string).  Your root position starts on the seventh and ninth fret, (it’s essentially the E5 on the seventh fret above without the D string) and you can move up and down the scale to create interesting melodic lead and rhythm patterns.  I’ll try to post more on this idea later.



  1. Worship Guitar Guy,

    This is so great! I just started Paul Baloche’s Acoustic Guitar Worship DVD last night. But, because I’m visually Impaired, I was having some problems with some of the more esoteric chords he was demonstrating. But, after finding your helpful content on the web, I’m away & sailing. I’m going through the material & creating notes on the chords that I can then download on to my braille PDA & then, truly, have @ my fingertips. Between your ministry & Paul’s DVD, it’s already opened some exciting doors for me. I can hardly wait for the next worship service @ my church!

    Thanks so very much!


  2. That’s awesome CJ, keep working on things and you’ll be surprised by how quickly things come!!!


  3. Great stuff, man! Thank you very much! Way to serve.

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