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What's a cowboy chord?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by agent2x4, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. agent2x4

    agent2x4 Tele-Holic

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    I've heard that term mentioned before...just curious as to what it meant. Are they open string chords played close to the nut? Is it related in any way to a "tonic" chord?

    Is the term descriptive or derogatory in nature? I hope it's descriptive because I'm guessing I play lots of cowboy chords (per my above definition) in addition to other chords.

    Just askin'.
     
  2. telesteve

    telesteve Tele-Meister

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    My understanding is that cowboy chords are open chords, and G, C, and D in particular. I tend to use them a lot also.
     
  3. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    BTW -- a "tonic" chord would be the chord based on the root note of the key. In G major, G is the tonic, so a G chord would be the tonic chord.

    Tune in next week, when we discuss the dominant and subdominant chords. ;)
     
  4. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think that the term is sometimes used in a derogatory fashion because they are 'beginner's' chords and 'real' guitar players are supposed to use barre chords, apparently. Generally it's used when people are being modest and self-derogatory, as in, 'I only know a few cowboy chords'.

    But some of the best tones you get out of a guitar are when open strings are involved, so there's nothing wrong with first position chords.
     
  5. txspreacher

    txspreacher Friend of Leo's

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    Good points. You can get great tones using open chords, plus sometimes your dang hand just gets to cramping and cowboy chords are a little easier on it!
     
  6. Dookychase

    Dookychase Tele-Meister

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    Of course, they're not to be confused with cowgirl chords!
     
  7. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    Well then call me cowboy, and the boys from AC/DC too, 'cause a real good chunk of my playing, and theirs, is open chords and fragmented barre chords.

    They just sound bigger, and bigger is better.
     
  8. txspreacher

    txspreacher Friend of Leo's

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    Well, that's quite the Texan attitude for a NY feller...wait, that's another thread! Yeah, they do have a big wide-open sound. When I need something trebley, I even play "F"-form movables - cool for banjo rolls!
     
  9. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Open chords rule. I can play just about any chord, just about anywhere on the neck, but I play first position open chords whenever possible. My rythm style revolves around them, they just sound so much cooler and bigger than barre chords. I love them because in addition to strumming, you have almost endless possibilities for hammer-on and pull off notes within the chord. My style is close to finger picking, but I can't finger pick, never could, so I adapted my flat picking style to do bsically the same thing. People say it's weird to watch, but it sounds good. Yep, give me the cowboy chords over barres any day. I'll play 'em when necessary, but I can do WAY more with the open chords for my style of music.

    Jake
     
  10. Joel Terry

    Joel Terry Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey, I like that, Ben! Count me in, too--I love playing open chords down near the end of the neck. Really heavy-hitting stuff.

    Joel
     
  11. lewis

    lewis Poster Extraordinaire

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    The only chord(s) I know.
     
  12. txspreacher

    txspreacher Friend of Leo's

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  13. telesteve

    telesteve Tele-Meister

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    Malcolm Young calls the lower part of the neck "the dusty end."
     
  14. agent2x4

    agent2x4 Tele-Holic

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    I also like the sounds of cowboy chords, especially on an acoustic. I think barre chords can sound kind of lackluster on an acoustic, other than Bm or something. If there's a bass player present, I don't usually barre the low E string on barre chords anyway, unless the song demands it.
     
  15. tellypicker

    tellypicker Tele-Meister

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    Well....

    .....certain cowboys, like good ole' Ranger Doug for one, uses ALL the chords.....

    any of you Nashville fellers see him with the Time Jumpers please say howdy to him for me. Tell him I'm Jim from Virgil's Wisconsin Opry and he may remember me although I've been in Austin for a good three years now...

    ps. regarding the actual topic, I thought it was the C7 shape that you moved up and down the neck...
     
  16. txspreacher

    txspreacher Friend of Leo's

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    Re: Well....

    I do that pretty often, too, in addition to "F". Depends what I need to do.
     
  17. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    guy van duser...

    ...does a whole medley of cowboy tv show theme songs, and man, does he throw a new spin on it! just about went out and built a home-on-the-range campfire with my guitars...
     
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