Guitar Lesson using 3 chords – E5, F#5, and A5.

3 chords.

A large amount of variations can be created from these simple chords. 3 chords that contain 2 notes each for a total of 5 different notes.

E, B, C#, F#, and A.

Here are some ideas I came up with. The first one is my first riff ever, and the latter are ideas and variations that can come from these 3 chords.


These 3 chords have 5 notes that you can work with as well.

They are called chord tones.

Each chord has 3 notes called a triad.

But some of them repeat here which actually makes it easier to compose and riff with.

These are basic triads meaning no extended notes like 7ths  or 6ths so imagine the possibilities if you did use them.

F#, C#, E, G#, B, A

If you look at like this it might help…

E, F#, G# A, B, C# 

Also known as E Major but its missing the D#

…and in F# Minor …we have a D.

So the only note that is missing is D. So in actuality this is the E Mixolydian scale. I thought it would help because the notes are in order going up the 6th string on frets 0, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9.

There are all kinds of things you can do with these six notes and these 3 chords.

Listen to the recordings again to help you get some rhythmic ideas.

You can also listen to your favorite music for some great rhythmic ideas.


Use More Chords

You know how they knock 3 chord songs?

Well, its because they DON”T use chords all over the neck. The creativity bar is set low.

Set higher standards for yourself starting today.

If you use other shapes and other parts of the neck your music sounds much more interesting to the ear.

Try arpeggiating the chords. After you have done that come up with a riff.

Next come up with a melody line using these chords anywhere on the neck.

Remember you can use a single string for any melodic idea.

Finally, add some phrasing elements to your riff.