Slash chords actually have nothing to do with the ex Guns n Roses/Velvet Revolver lead guitarist! In this guitar lesson we will look at slash chords which are chords where the bass note is different to the chords root note. Of course though there are some Guns n Roses songs that use these chords. For example the end of the song Patience for example has a D/F# chord in it.
The D/F# Chord
One of the most commonly played examples is D/F#. This is a D major chord with F# in the bass. It can be played 2 ways, one is with the thumb placed over the top of the guitar neck to play the F# bass note while playing the regular D chord triangle and the other uses fingers 1 2 3 and 4 which uses different fingers to play the D triangle than the ones normally used.
Using The D/F# Chord
D/F# is often used as a passing chord between G major and E minor. Songs that do this include:
- All You Need Is Love by The Beatles
- Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen/Jeff Buckley (capo 5)
- Mr President by Pink
- Wonderwall by Oasis (capo2 under the lyrics “like to say to you”)
These songs could just play the chords G D and E minor however the additional bass note F# creates a bass line stepping down with the notes G F# and E. Check out how the D?F# chord is used in the intro for All You Need Is Love by The Beatles.
Listen to the audio of All You Need Is Love.
Another common slash chord on guitar is G/B. Which is G major with B in the bass.
An Alternate to this chord is the complicated to name but easy to play G6sus4/B which is a G major chord with C and E notes and B in the bass. This chord only requires 2 fingers to play.
G6sus4/B is often placed as a passing chord between C major and A minor. Just like the G D/F# Em progression the C G6sus4/B (or G/B) Am progression creates a linear bass line. Here the bass notes are C B and A. Songs that use this progression include:
- Redemption song by Bob Marley
- From St Kilda to Kings Cross by Paul Kelly,
- Opportunity by Pete Murray
- Grand Optimist by City & Colour (capo 2)
- Landslide by Fleetwood Mac (capo 3)
A well known song that does this is Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. The song could just play the chords C G and Am however if you add the bass note B to the G chord it creates a bass line that steps down with the notes C B and A. It is easier to play G6sus4/B on guitar verses G/B as you can keep finger in place on fret 1 of 2nd string.
Listen to the audio of landslide.
A song that uses both these slash chords and progressions together is Opportunity by Australian singer/song writer Pete Murray. In the verses it plays the G D/F# Em chord progression twice followed by C G6sus4/B Am chords which are also played twice.
Here Pete Murray emphasises the bass notes of the chords by only playing strings 3 4 5 for the C G6sus4/B Am chords and strings 4 5 6 for G D/F# Em. Played this way you can get away with playing the G6sus4/B and D/F# chords with just one finger.
Listen to the audio of Opportunity.
Try the slash chords learnt in this guitar lesson in songs that you play to create a baseline and a connection between C to Am and G to Em chords.