I often hear from students how they want to learn to embellish chords, so that’s what we’ll talk about in this video…

I was inspired by “The Weight,” by The Band, and the little intro that is played at the top of it.

I originally played it in an ‘E’ shape, but later saw Robbie Robertson play it in a ‘C’ shape and thought that might make a cool lesson.

So grab your guitar, I hope you enjoy it.


    31 replies to "C Chord Variations And Fills"

    • Gerry

      Sorry Griff, didn’t mean to call you Erich, lot going on. Anyway, is the “positions” the same as “Boxes”

      Thanks, Gerry

    • Gerry

      I like your playing and would love every little lick or move you do. However, when these come out, there are no TABS which cause additionial anxiety. I don’t care if it’s just a little dilly, love to be able to learn it.
      Thanks Erich, again, love your playing. When I grow up I want to be able to play just like you. ((I’m 65)) LOL

    • Terry Province

      Very well done. Could you do a video on Doug Blair and the instrumental “The Open Door” off the Horizon’s album? This would be very educational.

    • Mark

      Definitely food for thought! Let’s me understand that my short arthritic fingers need more reach and exercise to do this technique up and down the fretboard. I can work on this a bit to get better intonation.

    • Alan B.

      Good lesson. I actually had an “aha” moment while watching. Thanks!

    • Raul Moralez

      That was great…

    • Chris G

      Great little lesson Griff. It’s amazing how much music we can get out of a couple of little hammer-ons and pull-offs. All the guitarists from the 1960’s folk boom were into this stuff.
      Robbie Robertson – YAY!! What a fantastic player. His pinch-harmonics are just about the best ever. I saw Robbie in Sydney, backing Dylan in ’66. Later, Clapton wanted to join Robbie’s band – ’nuff said.
      Chris G from Australia. Lucky I live on an island, social distancing is easier when you’re surrounded by a moat 😉

      • Chris G

        I want to apologise to everyone for making that remark about an island above. Stupid, insensitive and completely inappropriate.
        Chris G.

        • Ed D

          Dude, it’s a generational level tragedy, but if we can’t laugh at it from time to time, we won’t make it. You’re fine.
          Oh, and great lesson, Griff! lol

    • Tarquin Ralph

      As always this was a great lesson – such a simple idea but it explains so much. Hope everyone is well there. Tough times.

    • Jim Cavanaugh

      Excellent lesson. Thanks. First time I connected an inverted chord to the G shape. Light-bulb moment.

    • Keith Kuepfer

      I have to agree with Chris on this one. My daily routine is to journal for about a half hour followed by checking out Griff’s latest video. I’ve been “playing at” guitar since the late sixties, but it wasn’t until I found Griff’s four note solo course online I actually started understanding, and learning, what I was doing! Since then my playing has improved dramatically and I now feel confide joining jam sessions around town.

    • Anthony Ingoglia

      I was getting confused for awhile on how you were designating boxes. I THINK when you played in the first position you called it box 4 but you were play C MAJOR. Actually it was box 4 but of the MINOR pentatonic scandalle and you started from the C. Playing major pentatonic from minor pentatonic boxes got me mixed up, although I know A minor and C major are related. Shouldn’t you have told us what box number it was as it relates to the major pentatonic, which I guess would be box 5 Another teacher chooses to label the boxes by letters which corresponnded to CAGED letters. He called the one you call 4 (minor) the C box. The one you went to down the neck (you called 1, 1 minor) he called the G box which I think I heard you refer to it as.

      • Anthony Ingoglia

        scale not scandalle

        • Griff Hamlin

          A common misconception is that the box numbers change based on whether they are major or minor – they don’t. I was in box 4, in C major, which is the same as box 4 in A minor. I believe that I did mention the box number at the beginning of the video.

          I’m sure that not all teachers label the patterns as I do, I’ve seen a LOT of variety out there. But the way I use is the way I’ve seen the most, so that is what I’ve adopted.

          For reference – G Major is box 1, E major is box 2, D major is box 3, C major is box 4, A major is box 5.

    • Jim

      That’s such a great sound! Thanks for the insight. I really want to go through your Little Wing course (and revisit your CAGED course). The idea of viewing the boxes through the CAGED chords seems like another useful tool. Thanks!

    • Tom

      Great synchronicity. I was watching The Weight around the world last night and felt emotionally flooded by all the memories of The Weight as sound track for me and a generation. I decided to put it on my learn again list and bingo! Wake up to your email. Thank you for the timy inspiration!

    • Chris J CLEMANS

      Great lesson Griff and I like the guitar

    • David Leet

      Great stuff Griff. Thank you very much for all the info.
      Its like we’re in the same room playing.
      Really great stuff. Keep them coming!
      Thanks, Dave

    • tony

      Hey man I have been playing The weight for a very long time and never thought to add a bit of embellishment to the tune for the intro. I was the back up guitar and the original lead guitar guy did that. I play it A- C#minor- D. So this lesson is very interesting . Using C major the second cord as part of the intro. I think it is a interesting way of showing how to mix major and minor sounds. If I am right of course . I really do not like that guitar. Finding a person that can set a guitar up well is hard to find. Fact is it is not that hard to do. It is nice to have the strings close to the frets so it plays like butter but the extra noise just sucks . Sorry it is just my opinion . Your new fender sounds a whole lot better

      • Bill

        Yup. It was recorded by The Band in A.

    • Dave M Lawrence

      This is a great adjunct to an earlier video on “Oklahoma Sweetheart” as done by George Thorogood. Really expands on the use of C shape chords.

    • Pat Wittek

      Thanks so much Griff ! I am just getting thru your CAGED Unleashed course and going thru it again . This video was right on time for me to ideas how to use CAGED.
      You made my day Griff !!!

    • Mike

      I love these little lessons. I’ve always used this shape to play Casey Jones in C but have no idea if that’s how The Dead played it. It wasn’t until your Little Wing lesson that I realized it was so similar. I’ve always just barred the top 3 strings and never thought of barring the D or A strings too. Excellent!
      I do on the A shaped chords, however. Funny how we have don’t see the trees for the forrest sometimes. Thanks Griff.

    • Chris Tygesen

      A day that starts with Griff goodness and a nod to Neil Schon goes in my “win” column!

    • Patrick ONeill

      Great stuff Griff! Easy to follow along with you and can’t wait to play around with it!
      Thanks!

    • Marko W Self

      Hope you are staying safe and healthy from this crisis we are all experiencing now worldwide. While we are trying to follow guidelines set forth from the health officials, we find ourselves more in the home with time to watch videos, movies etc. It’s an opportunity to educate ourselves with lessons from folks like you especially if a person’s hobbies include music and playing guitar. I really enjoy the tips and lessons from you in improving my skills on guitar. I learn from you and consider you to be an excellent teacher with an easygoing likeable personality. I would definitely recommend you to others whether one is beginning or advanced in their abilities to play an instrument such as the guitar. I’m interested in more than just “blues” playing and the lesson today touched on other “licks” and chordal shapes. Excellent Griff 😊

      • Patrick ONeill

        I couldn’t have said it better😛

    • Bob Eisenberg

      Very cool video. Doesn’t fit neatly inside the “blues” box (pun intended) but lots of fun to be had with this concept. Thanks!

    • claude ainsworth

      Very clever and easy to apply in playing. Excellent.

    • GT Sipe

      Great lesson Griff. that also simplifies not having to barre all six strings. I’d pretty much given up on G-barre chords until now. Thanks. GT Sipe

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