Colorful Chords for E Major Scale in Guitar

What’s up! Today I am gonna share some chords of E Major Scale in Guitar. In my personal preference, this is my favorite key in acoustic guitar. Almost all of the basic chords included in the key of E are barre chords but when I discovered the chords voicings below, I fell in love with this key. It sounds pleasing to the ears especially in an acoustic guitar.

A guitar player doing an E Chord on an acoustic guitar

So if you are avoiding this key because of the barre chords, I have good news for you. You won’t need those barre chords anymore. If you like that, then let’s get right into it now.

The chords of the E Major Scale

Just like the other keys, there are 7 different chords included in this key and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you familiarize, if not memorize, yourself with all of these chords.

E – F#m – G#m – A – B – C#m – D#dim

You won’t need to spend time dealing with the Diminished chord because you won’t need it right now if you are not a jazz player. I suggest that before knowing the chord variations that I’m going to share, you must know the basic position of these chords.

If you know these chords, you’ll notice that all of these, except E and A, are barre chords. But like I said above, you won’t need to do those barre chords WHEN IN THE KEY OF E. Pretty cool right? I, too, was astounded when I discovered these chords.

The importance of the 1st note and 5th note

The 1st note dictates the key you are in and the 5th note is the dominant note. These two notes are very important in the key and most often used to establish the key you want to use. That’s why most songs start and end with the 1st note and the 5th note always resolve to the 1st note.

1st note = E
5th note = B

In the chord variations I am going to show you, these two notes will always be present. How? If you are thinking carefully right now, you’ll notice that the 1st and 2nd string have the notes E and B respectively. So every chord in the key of E will not fret any note on the 1st and 2nd string, leaving it as an open string. Let me show you!

Different chord voicings for the E Major Scale in Guitar

Take note: These chords are not for other keys. These are specifically designed to sound good in the key of E because of the open string of the 1st and 2nd string. So before doing these chords, make sure you are in the key of E

E Major Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of E major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

E Major Chord

How to do it?

  1. Place your index finger on the 7th Fret of the 5th string.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 9th Fret of the 4th string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 9th Fret of the 3rd string.
  4. 1st and 2nd string should be open string.

This chord voicing is usually done to connect with the E/Eb chord which I am going to show below. It is easier to change than coming from the basic position which is very far from the 7th Fret.

This chord sounds open. Not too muddy and not too bright. If you are an observer, this is actually a barre chord, you just didn’t flat your pointing finger in the fretboard. Instead, you fret one note to have an open string below.

When the chord progression is mostly done in the 1st fret, then I do a normal E chord. But when I need to go farther the neck, then I do this chord voicing. Either chord sounds good.

E/Eb Chord (E over Eb or E slash Eb)

A hand showing a different voicing of Eb diminished Chord played in an acoustic guitar

E/Eb Chord

How to do it?

  1. Place your index finger on the 6th Fret of the 5th string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 8th Fret of the 3rd string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 9th Fret of the 4th string.
  4. 1st and 2nd string should be open string.

This is the chord voicing I also do when I encounter the B/Eb chord which is more popular than the E/Eb. When going from E to E/Eb, I do the E chord above then this. Chord change is much easier. It will be a little tricky to do this at first because your fingers are stretching 3 frets wide which is typically 2 frets only

Just like the E chord, this chord sounds open. You’ll definitely hear the percussive element of an acoustic guitar when you do these chords which is more helpful when playing in a band.

C#m7 Chord (1st variation)

A hand showing a different voicing of C# minor Chord played in an acoustic guitar

C#m7 Chord (1st Variation)

How to do it?

  1. Do the E chord above on the 7th Fret.
  2. Move your hand to the 4th Fret.
  3. Make sure the 1st and 2nd string are open.

I encounter this chord progression a lot: E – B/Eb – C#m. And these 3 chord voicings are what I use. Chord change from E to B/Eb and to C#m is easy because the chord shape are almost the same.

Normal C#m is also a barre chord but by making the 1st and 2nd string open strings, you’ll gonna have this chord which is beautiful and easy to do.

C#m7 Chord (2nd Variation)

A hand showing a different voicing of C# minor Chord played in an acoustic guitar

C#m7 Chord (2nd Variation)

How to do it?

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd Fret of the 4th string
  2. Place your ring finger on the 4th Fret of the 5th string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 4th Fret of the 3rd string.
  4. 1st and 2nd string should be open string.

This chord variation of C#m is what I do when the chords are done mostly near the guitar nut. Doing either the chord variation of C#m will not really have much change in tone so just decide what you’ll use depending on the chord progression.

I use this both chords depending on my mood, if I want a little challenge in moving across the fretboard, I do the 1st variation. But during on-stage, what will make my chord changes easier, that is what I will do.

Bsus4 Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of B major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

Bsus4 Chord

How to do it?

  1. Do the C#m7 Chord (1st Variation) which is in the 4th Fret.
  2. Move your hand to the 2nd Fret.
  3. Make sure 1st and 2nd string are open string.

B Chord is also a barre chord which is a challenging chord even if you are not a beginner. My fingers do not fit anymore on the 4th fret. Fortunately, I came across this chord.

Just want to say that you should not use this chord variation in any key, except E, because it will not sound good. But using this in the key of E will be the perfect chord voicing for B.

A2 Chord (1st Variation)

A hand showing a different voicing of A major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

A2 Chord (1st Variation)

How to do it?

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd Fret of the 4th string.
  2. Place your pinky finger on the 4th Fret of the 3rd string.
  3. 1st and 2nd string should be open string.

This chord looks like the C#m7 Chord (2nd Variation). I use this chord when going from/to C#m. Again, this can a little tricky at first because you are stretching your fingers across the fretboard.

A2 Chord (2nd Variation)

A hand showing a different voicing of A major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

A2 Chord (2nd Variation)

How to do it?

  1. Place your ring finger on the 2nd Fret of the 4th string.
  2. Place your pinky finger on the 2nd Fret of the 3rd string.
  3. 1st and 2nd string should be open string.

Why use those fingers you might ask? I use the ring and pinky finger instead of the other two because chord change from the normal E or B is much easier. You’ll just move your fingers across the fretboard without changing the position of your fingers.

Tone changes is little between these two variations. So focus on the chord shape that will make chord transition easier.

G#m7add13 Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of G# minor Chord played in an acoustic guitar

G#m7add13 Chord

How to do it?

  1. Place your middle finger on the 4th Fret of the 6th string while muting the 5th string.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 4th Fret of the 4th string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 4th Fret of the 3rd string.
  4. 1st and 2nd string are open string.

The name might look challenging, but this is an easy chord compared to its barre chord. If you’ll notice the shape done by your ring and pinky finger, it is the same as the A2 Chord (2nd Variation)

The sound might not be good in your ears at first, I experience it a lot. But when I hear my record with the band, it sits perfectly in the mix. The percussive element is fantastic, not too muddy and bright.

F#m7add11

A hand showing a different voicing of F# minor Chord played in an acoustic guitar

F#m7add11 Chord

How to do it?

  1. Do the G#m7add13 I showed above which is in the 4th Fret.
  2. Move your hand on the 2nd Fret. Make sure the 5th string is muted by your middle finger.
  3. 1st and 2nd string are open string.

Again, this might not sound right in your ears at first, but trust me. I’ve used it countless times and everytime it sounds perfect.

E/G# Chord (E over G# or E slash G#)

A hand showing a different voicing of G# minor Chord played in an acoustic guitar

E/G# Chord

How to do it?

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd Fret of the 4th string.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 4th Fret of the 6th string while muting the 5th string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 4th Fret of the 3rd string.
  4. 1st and 2nd string are open string.

It looks like the C#m7 Chord (2nd Variation) which is I used when going from this chord. The shape done by your pointing and pinky fingers are exactly the A2 Chord (1st Variation).

You can use either variation of G#m. Experiment with it because there are times that using this slash chord will sound better than the G#m7add13

Some Popular Chord Progression:

I will not include the proper names. Just do the chord voicings I showed above and listen for yourself on how it drastically change the tone of the chords.

1. E – E/Eb – C#m – A

2. G#m – C#m – A – B

3. E – F#m – G#m – A

4. C#m – A – E – B

5. A – B – C#m – G#m – F#m – B

6. C#m – B/Eb – E – F#m – B

Conclusion

You won’t have to spend your time dealing with barre chords in the key of E if you are using an acoustic guitar.  You can just use this chord voicings that can add new flavors in your music. These chords are hard to do at first, but through continuous practice, you’ll master all of these chords and change how play the key of E

If you find this article helpful, please leave a comment and share it to your friends also.

>>Check the G Major Scale<<

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *