The Magic and Power of Pedal Tones

There are many ways to make your chords sound richer, fuller...and like you are some kind of music theory wiz!

One great way is to “mess up” regular, ordinary chords by adding different tension/extension notes to them. One of the simplest ways to do this is with pedal tones.

Many times a straight forward chord progression can be made much more interesting and almost ethereal by adding pedal tones as ringing or repeated notes throughout the chord progression.

These notes chime and sound wonderful on any guitar whether acoustic or electric.

One simple way to add pedals to your progressions s to bring in some droning open strings.

Many fantastic and timeless guitar players like Alex Lifeson, John Petrucci, The Edge, Randy Rhoads and even Steve Ray Vaughn all used the power of pedal tones in many of their signature chord progressions.

Let’s look at a cool example, this is from “Free Will” by Rush.

Most of the shapes played are simple, plain-old root+five “rock” power chords, but when you put the ringing B and E over the top - the progression suddenly becomes alive and turns into something new entirely!

Suddenly 4s (which can also be called 11s), 9s and other tensions are added and a wonderful fullness fills the air - without you having to do any more work!

Add a bit of chorus or shimmering delay and suddenly you’re a rock GOD!

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